Town take the victory to seal semi-final spot

Devenish Antrim Junior Football Championship

Ballycastle 0-10 St Agnes 0-6

Ballycastle 0-10 St Agnes 0-6
A dominant second half display saw Ballycastle book thier place in the semi-finals of the Antrim Junior Football Championship as they recorded a 0-10 to 0-6 victory over St Agnes at Hightown on Friday evening. Trailing by 0-4 to 02 at the break the men from the Town must have fancied their chances when they came out for the second half having restricted the Aggies to just four points after having played against a strong breeze in the first. They were level within three minutes of the restart and went ahead after five and though St Agnes fought back to level on 36 minutes they could only manage one more point from then until the end and Ballycastle added five more to safely secure a semi-final spot.

Playing into the pavilion end of the field, and against the wind, Ballycastle were first to score when left half forward Stephen McIlroy curled over a free from thirty metres but St Agnes hit back with two well taken points from Conor Turley and Cormac McBride in the 5th and 8th minutes. Midfielder Caolan McCaughan brought Ballycastle level on 12 minutes but it was to be their last score of the opening half and while the Aggies were far from proficient they did manage two more scores from Kevin Grieve in the 15th minute and Cormac McBride in the 29th to lead by 0-4 to 0-2 at half time.

When Ballycastle hit the first three points of the new half through Stephen McIlroy and Mark Higgins (2) it looked like plain sailing for the North Antrim men, but a good move by the Aggies saw centre half back Ryan Reilly swing over the equaliser in the 36th minute. Ballycastle responded well and when Marty Jamison found TT Butler clear in front of goal the big centre forward swung over the lead point from thirty metres, and when Stephen McIlroy added another two minutes later they were back in control. McIlroy then dropped a high ball into the Aggies ‘square’ from out on the sideline. At first it appeared to be dropping over the bar but it landed on top of the crossbar and bounced clear where Gabriel McTaggart collected and sent it over to give his team a three point cushion.
The odds were really stacked against the Falls Road men at this stage but to their credit they never gave up the fight and when midfielder Ronan Carroll swung over a free at the end of the third quarter they were just two points in arrears. Ballycastle went three clear again when Marty Jamison pointed from the left corner but that still left just one score in it, and it wasn’t until substitute Dairmuid McShane grabbed a great point to push the lead out to four that they were able to relax a little and see out the game.
BALLYCASTLE: Paud McAuley, Oisin Donnelly, Stephen McGill, Conor Donnelly, Thomas McIlroy, Ronan McCarry, Conor Boyd, Caolan McCaughan, Eamon Elliott, Rory Magee, Tiernan Butler, Stephen McIlroy, Gabriel Crawford, Marty Jamison, Mark Higgins.
Subs – Dairmuid McShane
ST AGNES: Colm Carroll, Patrick Carroll, Briondan McLarnon, Matt Carlin, Cormac Flanerry, Ryan Reilly, Conal Turley, Patrick Mulgrew, Ronan Carroll, Matthew Murdock, Cormac McBride, Conor Pelan, Conor Gilligan, Declan Crummey, Kevin Grieve.
Subs – Declan McLarnon, James Halleron,
Referee – Martin Quinn.

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