ACFL Div. 3
St. Agnes 1-13 Na Piarsaigh 3-10
Na Piarsaigh travelled to Woodlands on Sunday to face a St.Agnes’ side that were unbeaten to date in the league.
That looked set to continue as they won the throw-in and steamed forward, and an inside ball was cleared illegally and the ref had no option but to point to the stop. The penalty taker went for McKenna’s left but the Na Piarsaigh keeper pulled off a smart save.
A let off some would say but the Aggies men continued to pour on the attack recording 1-2 without reply. Poor shooting from the North Belfast men was the reason they were scoreless but plenty of time to remedy that. Oisín Grew was brought on and it seemed to spark his side.
Deegan got his side off the mark after a great approach by McFarlane, the opposition replied but then Moreland reduced the deficit. Then the North Belfast Gaels started to turn the screw. Oisín Grew cut inside two men and hit a lovely point; not to be outdone the younger Grew, Fionn struck one of his own.
Aggies briefly stopped the rot to equalise but the rest of the half belonged to Na Piarsaigh as they took the game by the scruff of the neck.
By now the away side were moving the ball well with O’Neill and McFarlane controlling midfield and setting up platforms for attack, one led to Sean Moreland taking advantage on a loose ball, he still had work to do but rifled the ball to the net.
Shortly after the away side got their second goal as a ball was brilliantly claimed by Daniel Magee only for him to be dragged to the ground. Young Fionn Grew had no hesitation in taking the ball and struck it past the keeper’s right hand side. Still they weren’t finished as a superb ball by Deegan through to Magee meant the only option was a point.
To finish off the half again the away side were pushing forward and as the ball meandered around the 13″ Daniel Magee was alert enough to pick it and slammed it home. This was the final score of the half and left the away side six points to the good.
The two sides swapped points at the beginning of the half with Sean Moreland being played a lovely pass by Cormac O’Neill. The West Belfast men were determined to keep their unbeaten record and an almost certain goal was denied by a goal line clearance by Aidan Bannon whilst McKenna was responsible for some first class saves between the sticks. The home side added two points to bring the gap back to four but Na Piarsaigh were creating chances of their own but were being wasteful in attack though Deegan added a couple to his tally with assists from Oisín Grew. The fight remained in the Aggies men and they continued to attack, predominantly down the right hand side putting a lot of pressure of Aodhán McCavana who proved himself up to the task.
This resulted in St.Agnes’ launching long balls towards the square, but these were dealt with by a sturdy defence, but the Aggies still managed to add three points to make it a dramatic two point game.
Time was nearly up and sensing that his side needed a score, Deegan did just that to give his side that wee bit of a cushion.
There was time for one more chance and the Aggies resorted to the Hail Mary but again the Pearses defence was resolute and only a point was given away. As the game went end to end a wide was the last play of the day as the away side held out to earn a 3-10 to 1-13 in what was an entertaining game of football.
A good win for Conor Henry’s men but he must be concerned by his scoring percentage. Next up is an uncomfirmed game away to Ballycastle. Barring that then it is straight into Championship.
Man of the Match : Eamonn McKenna – saved a penalty in the first half and made several crucial saves in the second balf, this was when the West Belfast men had the upper hand and at one stage narrowed the gap to two points. Other good performances from Donaghy, Moreland and both Grews.
Naomh Piarsaigh:1.E.McKenna, 2.A.Goodall, 3. A.Bannon, 4.A.McCavana, 5
Cormac Gillespie, 6. Piaras Donaghy, 7. Darren O’Neill, 8. Cormac O’Neill, 9. Thomas McFarlane, 10. Paddy Nolan, 11. Liam Deegan(0-4) 12. Sean Moreland (1-3), 13. Stephen Fitzsimons, 14. Daniel Magee (1-2), 15. Fiomn Grew (1-1)
Subs: O.Grew (0-1) for A.Goodall, A.Callaghan for D.O’Neill, P.Davison for S.Fitzsimons