GYMCO JFC – Group 1
St. Malachy’s 3-6 Na Piarsaigh 0-21
A fine exhibition of point taking saw Na Piarsaigh outscore St. Malachy’s to go top of the GYMCO Group 1 yesterday and on this form they look likely to qualify for the play-offs.
The North Belfast men made the short trip across the city today for a Belfast derby against St Malachys at Cherryvale. Coach Conor Henry made 2 changes to his starting line up from last week with Stephen Fitzsimons and Luca Gianetto both doing enough when they came on against Ballycastle to earn a starting place this week.
Pearses started quickly running at speed at the Malachy’s defence which gave them no option but to foul leading to Liam Deegan raising the first white flag of the day with a great strike from the floor. The open start presented St Malachy’s with opportunities and they pointed a good long range score soon after to level up. Pearses kept their composure though and continued to work the ball through the hands to find openings with full forward Daniel Magee putting them back in front. Penalty hero from last time Fionn Grew was having a lot of joy in the top left corner and soon looked like he was certain to score a goal after great work from Dan Magee but instead of punching into an empty net he tried to meet it with and acrobatic volley that looked better than the result with the keeper making an easy save. Two minutes later he looked certain to make amends as he bore down on goal only to be crowded out by the keeper and 2 defenders. This was to be his last involvement as a late challenge from one of the defenders left a lasting mark that led to him being substituted for his older brother Oisín.
This led to Pearses taking their eye of the ball for a moment and a long hopeful ball into the box by St Malachy’s led to confusion between Eamon McKenna & James Smith and Malachy’s were able to tap into an open net. Pearses struck back with another Deegan free and 2 points from Oisín Grew putting them back in front before lightning struck for a second time with another hopeful ball into the square causing panic again and another poor goal given away. Both teams struck 2 more points before the break with Deegan scoring 1 free and 1 from play for Pearses. The away side had been the better side in the first half but despite scoring 7 times they had kicked 6 wides and were 2 behind.
HT St Malachy’s 2-03 Na Piarsaigh 0-07
Henry made one change at half time bringing on Frankie Davison for his first game of the season trying to bring a more calming influence to his defence.
The second half started well for the North Belfast men with Dan Magee and Sean Moreland scoring quick points to level the game up. Momentum was in their favour but this quickly disappeared when a penalty was conceded and converted giving St Malachy’s a 3pt lead.
Pearses captain Piaras Donaghy started to exert more influence in the middle of the park as he started to run the hand passing game as Pearses tried to keep possession and work their openings Deegan scored another from play and a free to cut the deficit to 1 before Malachy’s raised 2,white flags themselves. Pearses did not panic though and stuck to their game. Oisín Grew and Sean Morland scored great points before Luca Gianetto finished a great team play with the corner back scoring a fine point from 40 yards for the score of the day to level the game again.
With 15 minutes left Pearses stuck to their guns and moved the b all around with St Malachy’s chasing shadows at times. Oisín Grew pointed again to give Pearses the lead before Phil Davison was brought on for Stephen Fitzsimons. Davison nearly scored with his first touch kicking narrowly wide but made up for it straight away to give his side the lead. This was a lead Pearses were not again to lose as they scored 9 of the last 10 points with the last 6 points coming 3 a piece from Deegan and Davison.
This was an excellent win for the North Belfast men and at half way in the group stage puts them 2 points clear at the top. The coaching team will be pleased to see only 1 wide kicked in the 2nd half but the soft goals will have to be stopped if they are to contend at the business end of the season. Next up is the visit of St Agnes to the Cricky on the 12th August
1) E McKenna 2) L Gianetto (0-01) 3) J Smyth 4) A McCavana 5) D O’Neill 6) A Bannon 7) P Nolan 8) C O’Neill 9) T McFarlane 10) S Moreland (0-02) 11) P Donaghy 12) L Deegan (0-09 7f) 13) F Grew 14) D Magee (0-02) 15) S Fitzsimons
Subs O Grew (0-04) for F Grew. F Davison for J Smith. P Davison (0-03) for S Fitzsimons