Hagan seals Casement’s win with late point

Senior Reserve Cup football

Casement’s Portglenone 2-13 St Gall’s 3-9

By John McIlwaine

A point from a free by second half substitute Michael Hagan gave Casement’s victory over St Gall’s in Wednesday evening’s Senior Reserve Football Cup at Kelly Park, Portglenone. In a game in which the fortunes swung one way then the other a late scoring spurt by the visitors appeared to have earned them a share of the spoils, but there was still time for a deciding score and when Casement’s Stephen Kelly was dragged back when closing down on the St Gall’s goal, Hagan duly slotted the ball between the posts.

After starting with two early points from Brendan Bradley and Lorcan McIlroy in the first two minutes St. Gall’s lost their way and never scored for the next 19 minutes, despite having plenty of possession. Casement’s were proving much more efficient in front of the posts and they hit five points without reply between the 4th and 11th minutes through Ciaran Lynch (3), Stephen Kelly and Niall Kelly. St Gall’s ended their drought with a Michael Hopkins point and when full forward Conn Doherty added another a minute later they had the gap back to a single point. However the home team finished the first half strongly and after Fergal O’Kane scored a brilliant goal from a narrow angle, Niall Kelly added two more points to give his team a 1-7 to 0-4 lead at the break.

When Kelly got the opening score of the second half Casements were seven up and cruising, or so it seemed but St Gall’s hit back strongly and goals from Jarleth Mervyn and Conn Doherty closed the gap to a single point again. Corner forward Kevin Bradley brought the visitors level with a point from a free before Caolan Chada edged them ahead with a great point from out near the right hand sideline. Just when it appeared that St Gall’s had wrestled the initiative from the home side the Portglenone men responded with style as they hit 1-4 in a ten minute spell of dominance, the goal a really class finish from Hagan after a mazy run through the heart of the St Gall’s defence.

Five to the good and just two minutes of normal time left to play it appeared to be all over but St Gall’s came back again with a Michael Hopkins goal and two points to square it up in injury time. Had it ended that way few from either side would have had any complaints, but the Portglenone men had one last kick in them and when Stephen Kelly was fouled going through Hagan sent over the resultant free to give his team the win.

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