Larkin Cassidy Solicitors Intermediate Football Championship
Moneyglass 1-15 St Paul’s 0-15
After all the months of lockdown and limited entertainment this years Antrim Championships are more than making up for the shortage.
Tonight saw newly promoted St Pauls travel down the M2 to take on a strongly fancied St Ergnat’s side at Quinn Park, Ballymena.
A large crowd turned out expecting a close game and no one left Quinn Park short changed. The game had it all. Drama, excitement, missed chances, pressure points…the lot.
St Pauls hit the ground running with a point from big full forward Liam McLarnon and were dominating play but just weren’t converting their possession into scores and were punished when Moneyglass midfielder Colum Duffin equalised five minutes later.
The Shaw’s Road men regained the lead when corner back Aidan Kavanagh raced up the field and slotted over a fine effort, but from the resulting kick out Paddy McCormick latched on to a through ball and the sides were level once again.
St Pauls however were still dominating possession and hit three unanswered points, two from the excellent Seasamh MacConboine and one from Daniel Laverty.
St Ergnats reduces the gap to two before St Pauls sharp shooter MacConboine restored the Shaws Road men’s three point advantage.
Dermott McErlain hit back with a point for the South West side but St Pauls finished the half strong with another two scores from Liam McLarnon and a fourth point from MacConboine.
Moneyglass looked a shadow of themselves which was purely down to the intensity St Pauls had brought to the game and the half time whistle couldn’t have come at a better time for the St Ergnats men.
The second half got underway and immediately St Pauls settled back into their groove with a fine score from Liam McKenna to stretch the city men’s lead to five.
Moneyglass were now feeling the pressure and though they began to win a lot more possession, they kicked six consecutive wides before registering their first score of the second half through Conor Boyd who kicked over a free after 42 minutes.
County star Colum Duffin added another two frees as Moneyglass eventually started finding the target.
The turning point of the game, then came as St Pauls corner forward Liam McKenna found himself through on goal with just the keeper between him and glory. He went for power over precision resulting in the ball sailing over the bar. A goal at this stage would surely have ended Moneyglass hopes but they were handed a lifeline.
The St Ergnet’s men seized the opportunity with points from centre back Boyd and the impressive Jack McCoy but the Hoops still sensed victory when McKenna kicked over another point to put them two points up again with normal time nearly up.
St Ergnats back were now well and truly to the wall, but they showed their mettle and dug deep and when Colum Duffin kicked over his fifth of the night, and Dermott McErlain brought them level for the first time as time ebbed away.
St Pauls thought they had snatched victory again when Liam McLarnon kicked over three minutes into stoppage time but there was time for one more attack.
Moneyglass needed a leader and they found it in Jimmy McMeel when in the last attack of the night he kicked over an inspirational point to send the sides into extra time, though St Paul’s were left aggrieved when they thought they should have had a free seconds from the end.
The crowd were certainly getting value for money and the players sensed the pressure with no one being able to convert a score in the first extra stanza. Fatigue was setting in and the physios were certainly “earning their corn” with players cramping up everywhere.
It was do or die now for both sides as the ball was thrown in for the last phase of play.
Moneyglass won the ball and broke with renewed vigour and when it broke to big Seanchann Duffin he smashed the ball to the net to send Moneyglass support into raptures.
They won the resulting kick out and Dermott McErlain fired over from thirty yards to give the South West men some breathing space for the first time as the sides exchanged two points each.
Suddenly the scores were coming thick and fast and Seasomh MacComboine kept St Pauls in touch with two frees, only to see them cancelled out by two fine scores from Liam Brady.
Cormac O’Hanlon added another for the Belfast men but it was not going to be enough as the clock had beaten them.
St Pauls will be devastated they didn’t put this one to bed but Moneyglass showed great resilience and now can look forward to another tough encounter with Dunloy in the final.
St Ergnats Teamsheet
1 Mark Carey
2 Peter McCormick
3 Tiernan Duffin
4 Eamonn Kelly
5 Fearghal Duffin
6 Conor Boyd (0-2)
7 Jervis Weir
18 Seanchann Duffin (1-0)
9 Colum Duffin (0-5)
10 Patrick McCormick (0-1)
11 Jimmy McMeel (0-1)
12 Dermott McErlain (0-3)
13 Jack McCoy (0-1)
14 Kevin Marron
15 Sean Kelly
Subs Ryan Doyle, Liam Brady (0-2), Niall Boyd.
1 Kiefer Toolan
2 Neil Ward
3 Sean Bradley
4 Aidan Kavanagh (0-1)
5 Joe Duffy
6 Don Burns
7 Conall Finnegan
8 Cormac O’Hanlon (0-1)
9 James Farrell
10 Colm McLarnon
11 Niall Peoples
12 Daniel Laverty (0-1)
13 Seasomh MacComboine (0-6)
14 Liam McLarnon (0-3)
15 Liam McKenna (0-3)