ACFL Div. 2 Group 1
All Saints 0-12 Dunloy 3-3
A goal by Anthony Doran with four minutes remaining earned Dunloy a share of the spoils in this ACFL Division 2 clash at Slemish Park on Sunday. The Ballymena men led for most of the game and indeed had a couple of chances to win it in the end but perhaps the run out was more important than the result with Championship scheduled next weekend.
The home side opened brightly, moving the ball around confidently and led 2-0 after 8 minutes through Conal Lemon and Micky McCarry but they were caught out in defence when a Caolan Gillan cross from the right evaded a couple of defenders and Liam McCann applied the finish to the net from close range.
Michael McCarry restored parity with a point in the 12th minute and when Odhran Quinn received his marching orders for retaliation it appeared to be going All Saints way. The home side were enjoying the lion’s share of possession but Dunloy continued to look threatening on the break and Sean Elliott raced away to restore their lead with a point in the 12th minute.
Following the water break, Conor Stewart who was having a big influence at midfield, brought matters square once more but once again the home defence was caught on the break and Niall Shannon in the All Saints goals got down sharply to deny Sean Elliott as he raced through.
It was end to end stuff as the Slemish Park men responded again and Peter McReynolds looked to be in for a goal but had his shot pushed over by keeper Conor McGilligan at the expense of a point. The home side continued to press and Eoin Campbell looked in for a goal but McGilligan came sharply off his line to deny him at the expense of a ‘45’.
Caolan Loughran confidently sent the resulting ‘45’ between the sticks to complete the final action of the first half with the men in white holding a 0-7 to 1-1 lead and looking good value for it and they will probably feel that they should have been further ahead.
GOING THEIR WAY
Things appeared to be going the way of the Ballymena side when Peter McReynolds extended their lead with a point on the restart but they received a bad blow when Ciaran McGarry was shown Red for throwing an elbow and parity in numbers had been restored.
Pizza McReynolds extend the home lead to five as the Ballymena side continued to enjoy plenty of possession but the visitors were giving nothing away easily and Kevin ‘Red’ McAllister opened their second half account with a smart point in the 10th minute.
The home side management looked intent of giving their bench a run out with Stephen McAvoy having replaced Niall Shannon in goals and they introduced Joe Rafferty and Brendan McDonnell, pulling Michael McCarry and James Gillan ashore.
Dunloy were now coming more and more into the game and Caolan Gillan pointed a 12th minute free to close the gap to three points and a nervousness began to creep into the All Saints play. They introduced Matthew Downey and Aidan Scullion but their play was now becoming a bit disjointed.
Eoghan McGrath had replaced Shane Dooey in the Dunloy ranks as the visitors continued to prod for an opening and their patience was rewarded when Ryan McFarland broke through a porous home defence to fire home their second goal and bring matters all square with ten minutes remaining.
The Ballymena side had lost their way and they needed a response and Caolan Loughran replied from a 40 meter free and followed with another from 30 meters and they looked like they might see out the game and when James McDonnell added another from play they looked to have prevailed.
The visitors were far from finished however and they put another penetrating attack together with substitute Anthony Doran raising the biggest cheer of the day as he fired past Stephen McAvoy to level the contest.
Doran’s strike was to prove the last score of the game with Caolan Loughran pulling a late free wide and Brendan McDonnell off target as the home side pressed in the closing stages but in the end both sides had to settle for a share of the spoils.
All Saints: Niall Shannon, James McDonnell, James Gillan, Rhys O’Mullan, Kavan Keenan, Ciaran McGarry, Connell Lemon, Cormac Lemon, Conor Stewart, Peter McReynolds, Michael McCarry, Shea O’Brien, Caolan Loughran, Emmet Killough, Eoin Campbell. Subs used: Stephen McAvoy, Joe Rafferty, Brendan McDonnell, Matthew Downey, Aidan Scullion.
Dunloy: Conor McGilligan, Karl O’Kane, Adrian Scullion, Aaron Crawford, Callum Scullion, Kevin McQuillan, Oran Quinn, Ryan McFarlane, Padraig McGilligan, Anthony Smith, Sean Elliott, Liam McCann, Shane Dooey, Caolan Gillan, Kevin McAllister. Subs used: Anto McGrath, Caolan Molloy, Anthony Doran, Ciaran McQuillan, Keelan Molloy
Referee: Paul Burns (St. Comgall’s)