ACFL Division 2 Reserve
All Saints 5-15 St. James Aldergrove 1-9
All Saints, Ballymena maintained their position at the top of the Division 2 Reserve league with a convincing win over St. James Aldergrove at Slemish Park tonight. The visitors matched the home side score for score during the opening half and looked well placed at half time when they trailed by a single point but after the break the Slemish park side upped their game considerably.
Diarmuid McNally, who had scored the opening goal for All Saints went on to complete his hat trick and goals from Conor Stewart and a superb effort from Micky Dorrity saw them run out clear winners as they moved the ball about with confidence.
The opening exchanges were fairly even as Conor Stewart pointed in the opening minute and Diarmuid McNally added a goal with three minutes gone. St. James responded with a goal from Conal Quinn and points from Fergal Burke and Luke Sinclair in response to one from McNally had the sides all square with 20 minutes gone.
Youngster Conor Stewart was running the show for the home side at mid-field and he pointed them ahead again in the 24th minute with the accurate Diarmuid McNally adding a point but a pointed Ferghal Burke free closed the gap to the minimum with three minutes to go to the break.
All Saints should have moved further ahead in the final minute of the half as Conor Stewart soloed through from mid-field but his well struck attempt at goal was superbly saved by St. James keeper. Oisin McGarry who dived to his left to turn his shot away.
The second half was less than a minute old when McNally got his fist to a dropping delivery and flick the ball to the net, a mirror image of Conal Quinn’s goal for the visitors in the opening half and it seemed to shift the Slemish park side up another gear.
Diarmuid McNally followed with a point and then the excellent Stewart soloed through again but this time young McGarry had no answer to his daisy cutter which nestled in the corner of the net with seven minutes of the new half gone.
St. James’ replied with a point from Owen Masterson but Joe Rafferty and Owen Daly responded with points for the home side who were beginning to get on top all over the field. The Aldergrove side continued to battle however and Anthony Brown sent over a good point but the home defence were giving little away.
The home side replied through Joe Rocks with Michael Brazier responding for the visitors and when DIarmuid McNally extended the Ballymena lead again Conal Quinn kept the visitors in touch with a point at the other end in the 16th minute.
St. James were almost in for the goal they needed but Fergal Burke’s attempt to break through was crowded out at the expense of a ‘45’ which Shane O’Neill struck sweetly between the uprights in the 21st minute and when Conal Quinn followed with another from play we looked to be set for a tight finish.
It was at this stage that All Saints really started to turn the screw however and Micky Dorrity, who had worked hard without reward to this point, sent over a couple of excellent points with Conor Stewart and two from Declan McNally putting the contest out of reach.
A strong run from full-back Ronan Ward set up McNally who completed his hat trick and Dorrity brought the loudest cheer of the night from the home support with goal number five as the Slemish Park side ran out convincing winners.
This win sees All Saints move five points clear at the top of the league with St. Ergnat’s Moneyglass second and Tir na nOg third after 7 rounds of games.
All Saints: Emmet McAllister, Ronan Laverty, Ronan Ward, Vincent Esler, Joe Rocks, Cormac Magill, Eoin Walsh, Conor Stewart, Rory McVeigh, Niall Shannon, Eoghan Daly, James Gillan, Lee Kirk, Michael Dorrity, Diarmuid McNally. Subs: Joe Rafferty, Rhys O’Mullan, Padhraig Magill.
Aldergrove: Oisin McGarry, Odhran Crainey, Corry Fogerty, Aaron Magirr, Mickey Brazier, Michael McCarthy, Fearghal Hanna, Ryan Maguire, Fionn McDonagh, Ferghal Burke, Eoin Masterson, Anthony Brown, Shane O’Neill, Connell Quinn, Luke Sinclair, Subs: Lorcan Rooney, Paddy Morris
Referee: Joe McCavana (St. Comgall’s)