Saffrons weather Storm Ciara barrage to beat London

Allianz National Football League Division 4

London 0-10 Antrim 0-14

The London weather may have caused a raft of cancellation across the city on Sunday but the their footballers and visitors Antrim are made of sterner stuff and their Division 4 game at McGovern Park Ruislip went ahead. Storm Ciara was causing havoc throughout the country and the players on both side deserve the highest of praise for battling through horrendous conditions. Antrim made good use of the elements in the opening half and went in at the break 0-9 to 0-1 to the good. However the wind was so strong nobody really knew if that lead was sufficient but to their credit they defended manfully in the second half to claim a hard fought win.  

Paddy Cunningham in action during Antrim’s win over London. Pic by Sheila Fernandes

With the wind at their backs in the opening half they dominated play, despite conceding the opening score to London’s late replacement Rian MacGillamath in the fourth minute. Paddy Cunningham brought Antrim level six minutes later and when Dermot McAleese put them in front in the 12th minute they began to find their range in the gale force wind. Paddy McBride followed with his team’s third score and a minute later midfielder Colm Duffin broke through for number four. Paddy Cunningham send over the fifth from a free on the 45 metre line and soon after Ruari McCann grabbed the sixth Dermot McAleese cut in along the twenty metre line to swing one over with his left foot to stretch the lead to 0-7 to 0-1.

McAleese was on fire at this stage and added two more excellent scores before the break to send the Saffrons to the changing rooms with a 0-9 to 0-1 lead at the break.

Paddy McBride made it ten points without reply for Antrim when he grabbed the opening score of the second half, but London ended their 35 minute scoreless spell when substitute Conor Kelly split the Antrim posts. Niall Delargy responded for Antrim to put them 0-11 to 0-2 ahead but London midfielder Liam MacGiollamachain pulled another one back for his team soon afterwards. Paddy Cunninham sent over a twenty metre free off the hands of the London goalkeeper to put his team nine clear by the 46th minute.

Dermot McAleese who scored three points during the opening half. The Casements man wore number 3 but played up front when his team had the gale force wind at their backs . Pic by Sheila Fernandes

London closed the gap with two points without reply through Thomas Clarke as confidence grew in the Exile ranks and they got it back to four points as Storm Ciara began to bite harder. Conor Murray arrested the slide when he and Lamh Dhearg clubmate Paddy Cunningham combined for a well taken point and Paddy McBride eased the nerves when he sent over a point into the teeth of the gale. London closed the gap to four points when their excellent midfielder pulled one back but the men in Saffron weathered the storm to hold on for a 0-14 to 0-10 win, a victory that gets their promotion push back on track.

This pic by Sheila Fernandes, taken near the end of the game, gives you some idea just how horendous the weather conditions were at Ruislip.

ANTRIM – Andrew Hasson, Patrick Gallagher, Dermot Mc Aleese (0-03), Mark Gardiner, Declan Lynch, James Mc Auley, Peter Healey, Colum Duffin (0-01), Marc Jordan, Adam Loughran, Patrick Mc Bride (0-03), Niall Delargy (0-01), Conor Murray (0-01),Ruairi Mc Cann (0-01), Paddy Cunningham (0-04)


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