All Saints 2-11 Portglenone 1-13
A point from Peter ‘Pizza’ McReynolds, deep into injury time saw All Saints claim victory over Casement’s Portglenone in this O’Cahan Cup first round game at Quinn Park tonight. As the rain poured down the home side broke from a period of sustained pressure by the visitors and McReynolds held his nerve to send over the deciding score and send his side into the next round.
Second half goals from Michael McCarry and Rory McVeigh had put All Saints in the driving seat but the visitors threw everything at them in the closing stages and a scrambled goal from Ruairi Hagan in the 31st minute cut the gap to a point.
Michael Hagan levelled matters from a close range free in the 34th minute and it looked like we were heading for a replay but time was not yet up and McReynold’s late, late score gave the division 2 side a famous victory over their division 1 opponents.
Portglenone travelled to Ballymena tonight without a number of regulars with Niall Delargy, Dermot McAleese, Niall McKeever and Paddy Kelly all missing from the starting line-up but would still have been fancied to win this game while All Saints gave starts to Emmet McAllister, Joe Rocks and Oisin Connolly from the team who lost to Dunloy in last week’s Intermediate championship semi-final.
It was the visitors who threatened in the opening minute with Emmet McAllister in the All Saints goals getting down to push away a Ryan Convery cross with a number of players lurking before Brendan McDonnell put the home side ahead with a point in the 4th minute.
McDonnell, who was a constant threat all evening, doubled his side’s lead before Kieran McKenna opened the visitors account with a point in the 12th minute. Michael Hagan levelled matters but the Quinn Park men were defending well to contain the visitor’s threat.
All Saints continued to look dangerous on the break with Brendan McDonnell looking menacing every time he gained possession and points from Shea O’Brien, Michael McCarry and McDonnell in response to similar scores from Aidan McAleese and Conall Delargy had the Ballymena side 0-5 to 0-4 ahead by the 25th minute
A great point from Caolan Tierney levelled matters but a late point from the mercurial McDonnell saw the home side lead by one at the break and they might have been further ahead but Ryan Convery in the Portglenone goals brought off a great save with an outstretched foot to deny Emmet Killough with Rory McVeigh shown Black after a late challenge in the follow up.
The second half continued in much the same vein as the first with All Saints sitting deep but continuing to look dangerous on the break and after Conall Delargy levelled matters the home side responded with a goal from Michael McCarry and a pointed free from the team captain.
It remained nip and tuck throughout the second period with Michael Hagan and Conall Delargy keeping the visitors very much in touch but a point direct from a ‘45’ by Peter McReynolds and a Rory McVeigh goal in the 24th minute appeared to have put All Saints in control.
The visitors laid siege on the home goals in the closing stages and when Ruairi Hagan finished to the net from close range there was only one in it as the game headed into time added on and Michael Hagan followed from a pointed free to bring matters all square.
It looked like we were heading for a replay at this stage but Peter McReynolds fired over the winner deep into injury time and it is the Ballymena side who go forward to the next round while Portglenone will probably reflect on the number of chances they wasted on the night.
On a night not conducive to good football both sides served up a very entertaining game and it was a pity there had to be a loser.
All Saints: Emmet McAllister, Matthew Downey, James Gillan, Joe Rocks, James McDonnell, Peter McNicholl, Ciaran McGarry, Sean McVeigh, Emmet Killough, Peter McReynolds, Shea O’Brien, Brendan McDonnell, Michael McCarry, Oisin Connolly, Rory McVeigh, Subs: Eoin Campbell forRory McVeigh, Conal Killough for James McDonnell, Aidan Scullion for Oisin Connolly.
Portglenone: Ryan O’Neill, Johnny Convery, Shane Delargy, Ronan Delargy, Ryan Convery, Connor McGhee, Caolan Tierney, Michael Donnelly, Fergal O’Kane, Conall Delargy, Kieran McKenna, Ruairi Hagan, Michael Hagan, Ciaran Lynch, Aidan McAleese
Referee: Richie Leahy (St. Comgall’s)