St. Paul’s ease into semi-final

Casement Social Club Junior Hurling Championship quarter-final

St. Paul’s 6-32 All Saints 2-8

St. Paul’s produced a performance of power and precision to sweep aside the challenge of All Saints Ballymena at a bright and pleasant Dunsilly today. The Shaw’s Road side, one of the competitions favourites were given a run for their money during the opening 20 minutes but in truth were never really troubled by a young All Saints side who never the less gave it everything.

St. Paul’s opened sharply and threatened to over run their opponents in the opening quarter when they raced into a 0-6 to 0-0 lead with Stephen Rooney, Caolan Duffin 0-2 and Rooney with three more (1’ 65’) the men on target.

All Saints were battling hard but looked a little overawed up to this point but when Damian Gillan fired a free through a crowded goalmouth in the 17th minute they started to show a bit of belief. Gillan followed with a point from a 40 meter free to cut the deficit to two points but this score brought a quick response from the Shaw’s Road side.

James Farrell began their second scoring burst and the superb Stephen Rooney pointed a couple of frees and another from play before Kieran O’Boyle replied with a good point for All Saints to keep his side in touch.

Vincent Esler added another fine point and at this stage the belief was starting to grow amongst the Ballymena side before Caolan Duffin and Colm McLarnon replied for St. Paul’s to leave them 0-12 to 1-3 ahead after 21 minutes.

Damian Gillan added to the All Saints total as he pointed another free and Stephen Rooney for St. Paul’s and Gillan from a sideline cut for the Ballymena side exchanged further points to leave it 0-13 to 1-5  with 25 minutes gone.

St. Paul’s began to turn the screw with half time approaching and Caolan Crossan and Colm McLarnon added points with Vincent Esler getting his second for the ‘Town’ and Conal Finnegan concluding the first half scoring with a late point for St. Paul’s to leave them 0-16 to 1-6 in front at the break.

All Saints needed a good start to the second half if they were to keep in touch with their excellent opponents but in the event it was St. Paul’s who came racing out of the starting traps with a Caolan Duffin goal in the opening minute and Colm McLarnon and Stephen Rooney followed with points as gaps started to appear in the All Saints defence.

Damian Gillan interrupted the onslaught with a Ballymena point but it was only temporary respite as Caolan Duffin replied with a goal in the 8th minute and added two quick points as the All Saints challenge began to collapse.

Damian Gillan replied from a free in the 12th minute but the ‘Hoops’ were now scoring at will and James Farrell got in for their third goal and a flurry of points from Andy McMorrow, Colm McLarnon and Farrell again saw them move out of site at the second water break.

On the restart Farrell was on hand to finish to the net again following a good save from Ciaran Cassley before All Saints replied with their second goal of the game very much against the run of play.

The Ballymena side were awarded a free about 35 yards out and Damian Gillan opted to hang it in around the square and in the scramble that ensued the sliotar was adjudged to have crossed the line to offer the tiring All Saints some consolation for their efforts.

It brought only temporary respite however as St. Paul’s finished as they had started, well on top, and Stephen Rooney added 2-6 and Andy McMorrow a point as the floodgates opened with All Saints glad to hear the final whistle.

A polished performance for the Shaw’s Road side and last year’s beaten finalists will fancy their chances of going all the way this time though Emmet’s Cushendun could have something to say about that.

St. Paul’s had excellent performers all over the pitch but in Stephen Rooney they have a player of the highest order while Caolan Duffin, Andy McMorrow and Colm McLarnon are others who know where the posts are.

Spare a thought for All Saints. They came up against a side who are much better than anything hey have faced in the recent past and hurled out of their skins in the first half to keep the scoreline respectable before succumbing to a second half avalanche.

Ciaran Cassley in goals brought off a number of fine saves and Colm Neeson, Conor and Luke O’Rawe and Padhrig Magill hurled themselves to a standstill in defence. Vincent Esler and Cormac Magill battled against the odds at midfield while Damian Gillan was their main scoring threat but Kieran O’Boyle, Gary Miskella and Kevin Brady had their moments.

St. Pauls: Kevin Murray, Daire Stevenson, Gerard Carberry, Sean Bradley, Fionntan Gamble, Frankie Sewell, Sean Lawell, Conall Finnegan, Declan Chapman, Caolan Crossan, Stephen Rooney, Colm McLarnon, Caolan Duffin, James Farrell, Naoise O’Caireallain Subs: Andy McMorrow, Anthony Gallagher, Niall Martin,

All Saints: Ciaran Cassley, Dwane McKee, Colum Neeson, Conor O’Rawe, Terence Diamond, Luke O’Rawe, Padhraig Magill, Vincent Esler, Cormac Magill, Kieran O’Boyle, Damian Gillan, Rory McAllister, Daire Hasson, Gary Miskella, Kevin Brady. Subs: Brendan McDonnell, Ryan McAuley, Donny McKendry, PJ O’Kane

Referee:Eamon Hamill

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