ACHL Division 2
Creggan 3.13 v Sarsfields 3.19.
Niall McKenna was the star of the show as Sarsfield’s came out tops in a thrilling contest against Creggan at their Staffordstown Road ground on Wednesday evening. In the battle of second against third it was Sarsfield’s who outscored the home side in the second half with McKenna contributing 1-11 of his sides total to lead his side to a win that keeps their outside chances of winning the division alive.
Sarsfields remain in second place with this six point win but they didn’t get things handy as Creggan led 1-03 to 0-01 with 10 minutes gone as they made a bright start to this encounter. As the half progressed the Stewartstown Road side played their way into contention and by half time the sides were level at 1.08 apiece.
Jack Daniels raised the 1st flag from throw in, sprinting down the wing to deliver a fine point off the hurl just seconds into the game. It took the home side a further 2 minutes to respond – a point delivered off the hurl of Conor Small while Kevin Rice bagged a goal running through the opposition from mid-field to deliver the ball at point blank range, giving the keeper David Ward no chance to respond.
The home side increased their tally with further points by Aidan McKeown and Rice again to go 4 points clear but their lead didn’t last long as the City side increased their tally with 3 unanswered points from Niall McKenna and a goal from Ryan Carson.
Creggan hit back to take the lead once more with 4 points from Oran McCann (all frees) and with 25 minutes gone, the home side led by 4 points. Sarsfield’s rallied and it was again left to Niall McKenna to narrow the gap with 3 points from play to leave them just one behind. Oran McCann added another point from play while Carson got the final score of the half to level things.
Creggan’s dead ball specialist, McCann, got the home side up and running in the 2nd half with a pointed free just seconds in to give his side back the lead but the visitor’s response was immediate with Niall Carson bearing down on goal to pull the trigger from 10 yards out. Creggan’s keeper, Emmett Long made a point blank save but the rebound was doubled into the net by Ryan Carson to put the City side 2 points ahead.
Following Carson’s goal Sarsfields began to dominate, scoring the next 4 points with Mark Rea, Ryan Carson and Niall McAlea all on target from play. Creggan were now struggling for scores with a few wayward shots when there were better options available and it took another 10 minutes to get their next score, a point from Oran McCann but this did little to deter the visitors as they continued to increase their tally. Mark Rea added a point before the excellent McKenna followed with a goal to leave the Kickham’s a mountain to climb.
Creggan were now 7 points in arrears but they produced a strong finish to push the opposition right to the wire. Points from Conor Small (0.02), Ciaran Rice (0.01}, Mark McCann (0.01) and a consolation goal from James Dougan closed the gap but it just wasn’t enough as the visitors had plenty left in the tank with further points from Niall McKenna (0.04), Caolan McKernan (0.01), Ryan Carson (0.01) and Aaron Stewart (0.01).
Sarsfields are level with St. Enda’s on 20 points but the Glengormley side have a game in hand and with only a couple of games remaining look favourites to take the division 2 title which would leave Sarsfields in a play-off against the team that finishes second bottom in division 1.