St. Patrick’s back in the grove

Antrim Senior Football Division Three

O’Donnell’s 0-7

St Patrick’s, Lisburn 1-20

At the start of the present division 3 campaign, post Covid-19 St. Patrick’s Lisburn were one of the favourites to take the title but things got off to a bad start when they lost on the opening day to fellow favourites, Rasharkin.

Following the lockdown they looked very much back in the grove as they proved much too good for O’Donnell’s at McRory Park on Sunday with the home side having little answer to the sharp moving Lisburn men.

Michael Fegan had impressed early on for the visitors and found the net in the 14th minute but he blotted his copy book when he was shown Red along with O’Donnell’s Sea Og McVeigh following an off the ball incident.

It didn’t unduly upset the visitors as they continued to control matters with the entire starting front six and both midfielders on the score sheet for St Patrick’s as they cruised home in an impressive display against an O’Donnell’s team that showed the odd glimpse of what they can do, but their moments were few and far between.

Francis McMeel was to reel off eight points in this game and he got the visitors off and running from a free in the opening minute but Cailean Walsh replied at the other end before putting his side into the lead from play shortly after.

McMeel hit back with two of his own – both from play – before Aaron Thmpson chipped in from a free forSt. Patrick’s as they edged two ahead after 12 minutes.

O’Donnell’s hit back with Patrick Meenan finding the target to leave just one in it, but the visitors responded in devastating fashion and Fegan took a pass on the overlap in the 15th minute before blasting to the net.

It was from a kick-out that the goalscorer and McVeigh tangled, prompting referee Martin Quinn to dismiss both as Thompson and McMell added points for the visitors to leave it 1-6 to 0-3.

Naomh Padraig were now in almost total control and two McMell frees either side of a Chris Morgan score helped them into a 1-9 to 0-3 lead at the half.

McMeel picked up where he left off after the restart, scoring from play and a free before Conall Donegan – a half-time sub for the hosts replied with a point.

Cailean Walsh added a free, but O’Donnell’s needed much more to get back into this game and that spark wasn’t to come as St. Patrick’s began to pull clear.

Chris Morgan added a couple of points for the visitors as both teams emptied their bench with Dominic Devine then getting in on the act with a good score to leave it 1-14 to 0-5 entering the final quarter.

Following the brief stoppage for water, Conor Dixon took over the free-taking role and split the posts for St Patrick’s whilst O’Donnell’s goalkeeper Conor Walsh converted a long free and Josh McMullan burst through to reply at the other end.

Donegan hit his second of the day for O’Donnell’s with five minutes remaining but this was to be their last score as Naomh Padraig finished with a flurry and Ben McMullan, Dixon (free), Mark Torbitt and Shane McEvoy raised white to seal an impressive victory  and register the first victory for Cormac McKenna’s side in their third outing of this 2020 league campaign.

O’DONNELL’S: Conor Walsh (0-1 free); Joeseph Rafferty, S O’Donnell, G Sloan; C McGuigan, C Walsh, C McKissock; C O’Donnell, S McVeigh; P Meenan (0-1), John Rafferty, J McKenna; J Walker, J O’Donnell, Cailean Walsh (0-3, 1 free). Subs: C Donegan (0-2) for C McGuigan (HT), D Walsh for J Rafferty (42), S Seawright for P Meenan (44).

ST PATRICK’S: P O’Neill; Jack McMullan, P Burns, P Craig; S McEvoy (0-1), T O Meallaigh, C Burns; M Fegan (1-0), D Devine (0-1); B McMullan (0-1), F McMeel (0-8, 4 frees), C Morgan (0-3); A Thompson (0-2, 1 free), Jack McMullan (0-1), M Torbitt (0-1). Subs: C Ewing for Jack McMullan (42), C Dixon (0-2, both frees) for A Thompson (50), R Kennedy for D Devine (51), M Cherneck for C Burns (51), O Gorman for F McMeel (51).

REFEREE: Martin Quinn (Naomh Éanna)


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