Winning start for Greencastle Wolfe Tones

Wolfe Tones 1-10 0-10 St Patrick’s Lisburn

report by Fintan Quinn

Greencastle made the short trip up to Glengormley to host what was our first competitive game since 1971 against St Patrick’s Lisburn. Our young team led by a management team of Enda McAtamney, Brendan O’Hara and Tony Curran ultimately secured an historic first win in what was an entertaining and tough game.

The sun had been splitting the trees all day and the Loughshore Parish men were hoping for a victorious outcome on what was a perfect evening for a game of Gaelic Football.

There has been a real buzz about this side of town and a decent sized crowd from north Belfast GAA circles and beyond had made their way to Naomh Eanna, some perhaps more out of curiosity than anything else.

The Tones were on the back foot, probably down to nerves as much as anything else, for much of the first half and trailed by three points to an experienced Lisburn outfit at the interval.

The visitors were ultimately reeled in by Greencastle who kept the scoreboard active.

St Patrick’s forwards managed to skip their markers on several occasions during the first period but a mixture of luck and some poor shooting meant the Tones only trailed by six points to three at the break.

A half time rallying call by McAtamney saw the Tones charge out of the blocks in the second half. St Pats forwards who had been losing their men on a regular basis in the first period now had a little less room as Conor McMullan, Neil Brannigan and Christopher Graham tightened the screws in defence.

The team began to do the simple things well and as the Lisburn men were caught and eventually overtaken on the scoreboard the enthusiastic crowd got louder and a little more nervous.

There was a lot more riding on this than a couple of points in South Antrim Division Two – this was the Tones saying they were back and were doing so in style.

The decisive score came with ten minutes to go when substitute full forward Stevie Rea won an aerial ball and palmed it off to Mr Reliable, Kieran (Kiwi) Moloney and the Serpentine Road colt rammed it home off the near post. That was the pivotal moment and proved to be the winning of the game for the Tones.

Following a further exchange of points with the sun beginning to set over north Belfast, the Tones heard the final whistle blow on what was an historic first competitive game in generations to finish out three point winners on a scoreline of Wolfe Tones, Greencastle 1-10, St Patrick’s, Lisburn 0-10.

A number of players gave a good account of themselves on their first ever competitive outing, with the midfield duo of Kieran Moloney (1-1) and Joe Reid (0-2) superb on the night.

Gerard McDonnell (0-3), Odhran Hassan (0-2), captain Paul Carlin (0-1) and Sean Harkin (0-1) rounded out the scoring.

All 17 men who played on the night left with their heads held high following this historic event.

A special shout out to Bawnmore man Jordy O’Kane who played his last game for a while as he leaves shortly for University in Liverpool.

In what was a great night for the Greater Greencastle community the Wolfe Tones feel they have rubber stamped their return to the GAA. Many said it couldn’t be done and although the rejuvenated club is in its infancy there are plenty of green shoots on shiw.
With a strong management and coaching team in place, willing volunteers behind the scenes and some solid footballers some of the pressure is now off and it’s time to enjoy ourselves. Rumour has it that several of the players may already have done so…..

Team: Danny McIvor, Conor McMullan, Neil Brannigan, Christopher Graham, Aodhan Moloney, Stevie Lowrie, Rory MacAuley, Joe Reid, Kieran Moloney, Gerard McDonnell, Paul Carlin, Jordy O’Kane, Decky Smyth (Marty Smith), Sean Harkin (Stevie Rea), Odhran Hassan

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