Battling St Patrick’s leave the Ulster stage

AIB Ulster Club Junior Football Championship (round one)

St Patrick’s Lisburn 1-06 (Antrim) O’ Rahilly’s Collegeland 0-13 (Armagh)

Antrim representatives, St Patrick’s Lisburn’s first taste of Ulster club championship action ended in defeat when they lost out to the more streetwise Collegeland of Armagh at Glenavy today.

The Armagh champions more direct football and ability to take scores proved the difference against a St. Patrick’s side who were too slow and laboured in their approach play.

Collegeland crossed the winning line and into the next round with a 0-13 to 1-06 win at Chapel Hill and were full value for their win.

The St Patrick’s men held their own during the opening quarter and were level with  the Orchard county representatives at 0-03 apiece at the end of the opening quarter after the O’ Rahilly’s men had enjoyed a positive start. However the Antrim champions failed to make a further mark on the board for the remainder of the opening half as the O’Rahilly’s dominated the remainder of the half.

Collegeland, with the impressive Shane Donnelly leading the way took the initiative in the second quarter and back to back white flags raised by the former were followed by a trio of points from placed efforts as Jason Kelly despatched all between the posts to ensure a 0-08 to 0-03 interval advantage.

The second period progressed in much the same vein as the first with Collegeland more direct in approach. Lisburn didn’t lack in endeavour but found the way to the target a tough route to navigate despite the best efforts  of the hard working Niall Ward.

St Patrick’s were restricted to just a couple of scores in the third quarter from Ben Mc Mullan and Francis Mc Meel and at the 50th minute Collegeland had gone seven points clear and were looking comfortable.

St Patrick’s kept battling right to the end with Niall Ward, Sean Casey, and Ben Mc Mullan leading by example but although the Antrim champions posed a few problems, they were unable to break down a strong Collegeland defence. Niall Ward finally found a way through when he drilled a 20 metre free to the corner of the net in the 61st minute but it arrived too late to influence the result.

A dark and dreary afternoon coupled with incessant rain greeted the representatives from Antrim and Armagh as St Patrick’s Lisburn and O’ Rahilly’s Collegeland lined out at Chapel Hill in the opening round of the Ulster Club Junior Football Championship.

The Orchard county side entered the fray as firm favourites and had earned a three point lead by the 8th minute as Scott Mc Cann raised back to back whites and team captain Cathair Mc Geary added another.

The Antrim representatives, having spurned a couple of early chances were off the mark in the 10th minute as central defender Tighearnan O’ Meallaigh stroked a 40 metre free between the posts.

This score seemed to lift the Lisburn side and they enjoyed a period of ascendancy and points by Conor Dixon, and Mark Chernek ensured parity at 0-03 apiece at the start of the second quarter.

Collegeland responded and Shane Donnelly, who looks a class act, restored the O’ Rahilly’s advantage with a fine 18th minute point which was pushed over by Lisburn net minder Peter O’ Neill before adding another less than a minute later.

It was backs to the wall for the Antrim men in the latter stages as the O’ Rahilly’s took control and Scott McCann punished defensive errors when he steered a trio of free kicks over the bar in quick succession to ensure an 0-08 to 0-03 advantage.

Lisburn tried to reply in the latter stages but both Eoin Fay and Ben McMullan were just wide of the target.

Collegeland started the second half on the positive as the impressive Shane Donnelly added a 33rd minute point with Ben Mc Mullan replying for Lisburn. Back came Collegeland with a  38th minute point from Tyrone Mc Geary after Pauric Mc Geary chased and recovered what had looked a lost cause.

St Patrick’s were striving to get their game together with the ever industrious Niall Ward leading by example but the Orange county representatives were proving sure footed in defence and quick on the counter.

Shane Donnelly strode forward after Tom Murphy had made intervention to add another point and ensure a 0-11 to 0-04 advantage at the 45th minute and St. Patrick’s proiblems were compounded when they lost keeper, Peter O’Neill to a black card.

Lisburn reduced the deficit when Francis Mc Meel grabbed a stylish 48th minute point but such was soon negated as Brian McGeary signalled his arrival on the scene with his first touch after a 50th minute introduction.

Lisburn badly needed scores but the O’ Rahilly’s defence stood strong and a well-constructed counter attack opened the way for Brian Mc Geary to double his personal haul with another point at the 59th minute.

The die looked well and truly cast but the Antrim champions continued to press in the closing stages.

Niall Ward finally found a way through when his drilled free deflected of a defender in a crowded goalmouth and ended in the net but the final whistle sounded from the resulting kick-out.

So its Collegeland who go through to a place in the next round while St. Patrick’s are left to reflect on a season where they were relegated from division 2 but won their first Junior championship since 1995.

 St Patrick’s: Peter O’ Neill, Jack Mc Mullan, Thomas Burns, Sean Casey, Ben Mc Mullan (0-01), Tighearnan O’ Meallaigh (0-01), Eoin Fay, Denver Taggart, Mark Torbit, Shane Mc Evoy, Mark Chernek (0-01), Francis Mc Meel (0-02), Niall Ward (1-00), Josh Mc Mullan, Conor Dixon (0-01)

Subs

Colm Burns v E Fay

Thomas Fay for J Mc Mullan

Rory Kennedy for D Taggart

Peter Casey for P O’ Neill (black card)

O’ Rahilly’s: Niall Brady, Tiernan Mc Geary, Stephen Clancy, Ruairi Mc Geary, Stefan Mc Kenna, Shane Donnelly (0-04), Cahir Mc Geary (0-01), Ryan Mc Parland, Robert Mc Quaid, Tyrone Mc Geary (0-02), Scott Mc Cann (0-02), Tom Murphy, Jason Kelly (0-02)

Subs

Aidan Mc Cracken for S Mc Kenna

James Mackle for R Mc Parland

Oliver Murphy for J Kelly

Brian Mc Geary (0-02) for S Mc Cann

Referee J Lewis (Fermanagh)

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