All Saints emerge after night of drama

Creagh Concrete Minor Football A

Group 1

All Saints 2-9 Aldergrove 2-8

Pics by Dylan McIlwaine

All Saints Ballymena recorded a one point win over a determined and talented St. James’ Aldergrove in a night of drama at Quinn Park tonight. A game that was scheduled to start at 7-30 didn’t get under way until 8-03 after the appointed referee failed to appear with John Hasson of the home club stepping into the breach and doing a good job in difficult circumstance.

Four minutes into the game Aldergrove’s Eoin Hamill fell awkwardly after a coming together with Patrick Ferris of All Saints sustaining a serious arm injury with an ambulance summoned as the young mid-fielder lay in some distress on the Quinn Park pitch.

Team mentors from both sides and a medic who had been at the game attended to the stricken player until the ambulance arrived and took him to hospital with the game restarting at 8-42 and Glen Dunham pointed the visitors into the lead.

Ciaran Campbell replied for All Saints to level the contest and then put his side one ahead with six minutes gone and might have been in for a goal in a full blooded hard hitting contest of real championship football.

Daniel Shields brought matters all square for the second time and then All Saints Jack Agnew got in a great block to deny bustling full-forward, Connall Hanna as he looked in for a goal. Things were certainly warming up with little quarter asked or given as Oisin Connolly edged the Quinn Park side ahead again in the 17th minute.

Ciaran Campbell made an excellent mark before firing over to extend the home side’s lead but Malachi Burns replied for the visitors to leave just one in it again by the 19th minute.

The diminutive Campbell was operating as a lone striker for the Ballymena side and providing an outlet for the long ball and he got in for the game’s opening goal, firing home from close range to put his side four in front with eight minutes remaining to the break.

The visitors tried to respond but were guilty of a couple of bad misses before Aidan Scullion extended the home side’s lead from a 26th minute free and his side looked to be heading to the turnover with a healthy lead but the visitors were having none of it.

As half time approached Connall Hanna was finally rewarded for his hard work when he got in for a goal for the Crumlin side with a late Ronan McKillop reply giving All Saints a 1-7 to 1-4 lead but it was clear that this one was far from over.

On the restart Hanna fired over in the second minute to close the gap to two and at the other end Noah Jeffries pulled off a good save to deny Oisin Connolly at the expense of a ‘45’.

David Johnston closed the gap to the minimum once more as the hits went in hard and fast with referee Hasson doing his best to keep the game flowing before All Saints struck with a cheeky goal from Aidan Scullion who soloed in from the right wing before chipping the keeper with 12 minutes gone.

This was championship football at its best with no quarter asked or given as Connall Hanna and Daniel Shields for St. James’ and Ciaran Campbell for All Saints exchanged points to leave the gap at three but the visitors were still fighting for every ball and were rewarded for their effort.

All Saints full-back, Jack Agnew was felled as a rasping shot struck him on the face and Lee McCusker gathered the rebound to fire to the net from close range and the sides were level with six minutes of normal time remaining.

Both sides had chances to win the game during the closing stages and both missed opportunities before Aidan Scullion became the All Saints hero as he split the posts in the 59th minute and it was to prove to be the game’s final score.

As I said before, this was a full blooded game of championship football and despite all that went on before the real action got under way, those who attended were certainly kept on their toes and entertained and a draw would probably have been a fair result.

All Saints: Daniel McCoy, Jude Casey, Jack Agnew, Richard McCann, Patrick Ferris, Michael Read, Ronan McKillop, Conall Killough, Cal O’Brien, Aidan Scullion, Oisin Connolly, Joseph O’Rawe, Ciaran Campbell, Jamie Montgomery, Sean Hasson.

Aldergrove: Noah Jeffries, Logan Fleming, David Aiken, Conor Ferguson, Malachi Burns, Eoin Gough, Lee McCusker, Emmet Irvine, Eoin Hamill, Daniel Shields, Glen Dunham, David Johnston, Aaron O’Connor, Connall Hanna, Cormac McGarry.

Referee: John Hasson

Correction: I stated in last night’s report that the match referee (Sean Laverty) failed to turn up. I have been reliably ionformed this morning that Sean Laverty was notified by the appropriate body that the game had been cancelled. My appologies to Sean.

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