Larkin Cassidy Solicitors IFC
All Saints 0-7 St Paul’s 0-6
The scoring may not have been high at Quinn Park Ballymena on Wednesday evening but the excitement levels certainly were as All Saints came with a late burst to beat St Paul’s by a single point, the winner from the boot of Peter Pizza McReynolds from a 45 in the 57th minute.
In atrocious weather conditions scores were at a premium, and at the half time water break it was one point each, Sean McVeigh getting the All Saints point on six minutes and Don Burns replying for St Paul’s five minutes later. Things didn’t improve much in the scoring stakes after the restart but McReynolds and Benny McDonald pushed All Saints two clear with points in the 19th and 21st minutes, before Mickey Joe Cooper brought his team back to within one at half time with a point from a free. (0-3 to 0-2)
When McReynolds put Ballymena 0-4 to 0-2 clear within a minute of the restart there must have been the feeling that they would go on to dominate but incredibly they did not score again for the next 24 minutes. They did have a load of chances but scoring was very difficult in the driving rain, but St Paul’s clawed their way back into the game with points from Niall Peoples, Ruairi Hamill and Colm McLarnon, his shot brilliantly turned over of the feet of All Saints goalkeeper Steven McAvoy when a goal looked certain. That score put St Paul’s a point clear midway through the second half and when Liam McLarnon added another in the 54th minute the Shaw’s Road side appeared to be in a strong position.
However All Saints had a response and when Sean McVeigh ended their barren spell with a well taken point on 55 minutes, it breathed new life into them and Martin McCarry had them level a minute later with another fine score. The game was there for the taking but the momentum was now with All Saints and Pizza sealed the win with a fine strike from a 45 three minutes from time.
Despite their first defeat of the campaign St Paul’s had already secured their semi-final place and go forward to play Moneyglass in the semi-final on Sunday week, while All Saints take on old rivals Dunloy in the other semi on the same day.