High flying Saints impress

Larkin Cassidy Solicitors IFC Group 2- Round 1

All Saints Ballymena: 0.14 Tír na nÓg: 0.07

Ballymena kept the scoreboard ticking over with six different scorers to beat Tír na nÓg by double scores on Sunday in Round 1 of the Intermediate football championship.

Michael McCarry lined out at number 11 on Sunday afternoon and orchestrated the Ballymena attack from get go, with less than a minute gone he pointed for the home side. McCarry would finish the game with a personal tally of 7 points. A minute later, Ciaran O’Neill levelled the scores with a strong breeze on his back. For the only time in the game Tír na nÓg took control after Aodhan Tolan flicked the ball onto Ciaran Logan who scored followed by a 45 from Darragh Fagan.

Ballymena were reduced to 14 men after Sean McVeigh was sin binned however, the visitors failed to capitalise on this advantage and did not score during McVeigh’s absence. Just prior to the water break Brendan McDonnell scored from a placed ball and Michael Dempsey pulled off an excellent save from a Conor Stewart effort. McCarry added his second point of the game, after All Saints counter-attacked the blues and Peter McReynolds played him in. With 20 minutes played Tír na nÓg had hit a handful of wide balls which was going to prove decisive in the second half when they would be playing against the wind. Michael Dempsey was called upon for the second time in the half when dangerous talisman Kavin Keenan sneaked into the back post and hit an excellent shot, only to be denied by Dempsey. The ball spilled and All Saints drew a foul which McCarry duly put over the bar.

With half time in sight, the sides traded points with a Peter McReynolds 45 and a Ciaran Logan point for Tir na nÓg to leave the minimum between the sides in Ballymena’s favour at the short whistle sounded.

On the restart, Conal Lemon punished a poor kick out and pointed, less than a minute later his second effort was tipped over the bar by Dempsey to widen the gap to three points. In the next 10 minutes, All Saints continued to turn the screw with a McCarry (free) and Conor Stewart point while Tír na nÓg were wasteful up front hitting three wides. Man of the match, McCarry was denied a major when his effort rattled the inside of the post and ran wide off the far post. After 13 minutes, substitute Niall Cassidy got the visitors first score of the half , however this was cancelled out with yet another Michael McCarry point. With a quarter of the game remaining, Karl Doherty blew a penalty against Tír na nÓg for a foot block in the small square. Peter “Pizza” McReynolds was also denied by the same post team mate McCarry narrowly missed at moments before. With five points separating the teams Tolan reduced the deficit to four with a neat point but Darragh Fagan and McCarry were both accurate in front of posts to stretch Ballymena seven clear in the end.

Round 2 of the pool stages continue on Wednesday night. With a quick turn around Tír na nÓg host St. Patrick’s Lisburn, whilst All Saints travel to Rasharkin. Both games throw in at 7.30pm.

Ballymena

1. N. Shannon 2. J. Gillan 3. P. McNicholl 4. J. McDonnell 5. K. Keenan 6. C. McGarry 7. C. Lemon 8. S. McVeigh 9. P. McAleer 10. P. McReynolds 11. M. McCarry 12. E. Killough 13. C. Stewart 14. S. O’Brien 15. B. McDonnell 16. S. McAvoy 17. C. Lemon 18. J. Rafferty 19. R. O’Mullan 20. M. Downey 21. R. McVeigh 22. C. Loughran 23. E. Campbell 24. O. Connolly 25. A. Scullion Subs: C. Loughran for S. O’Brien, E. Campbell for E. Killough, O. Connolly Scorers: M. McCarry (0.7- 3 frees), B. McDonnell (0.1), P. McReynolds (0.1- 1 45), C. Lemon (0.3), C. Stewart (0.1), S. McVeigh (0.1)

Tír na nÓg

1.M. Dempsey 2. D. Mallon 3. C. McGrellis 4. P. Cullen 5. C. O’Neill 6. C. Duffin 7. C. Logan 8. R. O’Neill 9. B. McCormick 10. A. McNeilly 11. A. Tolan 12. D. Fagan 13. S. Duffin 14. K. Sheerin 15. A. Tolan 17. B. Magee 18. N. Cassidy 19. D. O’Kane 20. K. Kerr 21. E. Óg McAllister 22. P. Sheerin 23. C. McKeown 24. M. Tolan Subs: N. Cassidy for D. Mallon, E. Óg McAllister for C. Dobbin, C. McKeown for P. Cullen Scorers: C. O’Neill (0.1), C. Logan (0.2), D. Fagan (0.2- 1 45/1 free), N. Cassidy (0.1), A. Tolan (0.1)


Referee – Karol Doherty (Rasharkin)

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