GAA: ANTRIM JUNIOR FOOTBALL CHAMPIONSHIP FINAL 2014
Antrim Junior Football Championship Final
St Malachy’s 3-2 St Comgall’s 0-9
THE old adage that ‘goals win games’ certainly proved true in the Antrim Junior FootballChampionship decider at Ahoghill on Sunday as the men from the Markets bridged a nineyear gap tosecure the 2014 title. St Malachy’s last captured the junior crown back in 2005 and although they started this one as outsiders, they came good on the day to get the better of the Antrim men.
St Comgall’s did make the early running but despite a plentiful supply, the target was proving elusive in a trend which was to continue, and indeed proved a failing that was to prove fatal in the end for the South-West side. Having failed to capitalise on several well laid approaches in the opening minutes, foiled by a packed defence and thwarted by poor finishing, St Comgall’s were delivered a severe blow in the ninth minute as St Malachy’s grabbed a goal.
Collie Connolly may well have been the man to get his hand to a Karl McCavanagh lofted free into the danger zone, which defied the Antrim net-minder Paul Burns as the ball took a wicked deflection, changing course dramatically to find the corner of the net. St Comgall’s looked to reply, but it was to be their opponents who were quick to add a point.
Centre back Anthony Dobbin – who was to prove the rock that St Malachy’s were to build ultimate success on – intervened to halt a St Comgall’s approach and his up-field clearance allowed Pat Turleyto split the posts, and it was 1-1 to no score at the 11th minute.
St Comgall’s were quick to reply and when Paddy Quinn opened the account with a 12th minute point and wing half back Oisin Crilly came forward to add another a minute later they looked settled to the task. Kevin Kidd’s charges had entered the fray as strong favourites but despite a lot of chances and the lion’s Share of possession they were not to make another mark for the remainder of the first period.
The half-time whistle wasdrawing near when Karl McCavanagh snatched an injury time goal. Anthony Dobbin was the instigator when he launched a long relieving clearance that found McCavanagh free inside his marker and the corner forward blasted to the corner of the net to see his side at 2-1 to 0-2 at the short whistle.
After a poor first half, St. Comgall’s looked to make a good start to the second period and got it when Ciaran Quinn pointed.The pre-match favourites were soon on the mark again as Paddy Quinn clipped a close free over the bar in the 35th minute. St Comgall’s looked to have regained the positive and it was backs to the wall for the men from the Markets as they looked to hold on in the face of unrelenting pressure. Myles Devine and Paddy Quinn added further scores for the Antrim men who trailed by just one on 43 minutes.
St Malachy’s were almost constantly on the back foot and the game was level when Pearce McAuley pointed. Indeed, the Mal’s looked in some trouble as McAuley struck again to raise a 46thminute white flag that ensured St Comgall’s had taken the lead for the first time.
St Malachy’s were not about to make any concessions however and when the excellent Anthony Dobbin made another intervention to thwart the Antrim men in their ambitions, it was tohave a major bearing on the outcome. The centre forward burst into enemy territory before unleashing a hit and hope that corner forward Karl McCavanagh rose highest to get a fist to and send the ball to the back of the net.St Malachy’s now held a 3-1 to 0-8 advantage, but St Comgall’s replied with a Myles Devine score in the53rd minute.
The South West side seemed back on track as they continued to press forward but St Malachy’s stood firm in defiance and when Anto McLaughlin scored in the 55th minute they had gone a couple ahead and their victory had been sealed.
ST MALACHY’S: Sean Turley, Jimmy Carlisle, Dermot Dignan, Paul Carlisle, Mark Connolly, Anthony
Dobbin, Sean Coleman, Aiden Mc-Cavanagh, Patrick Smith, Collie Connolly (1-0), Stephen Carson,
Patrick Turley (0-1), Karl McCavanagh (2-0), Sean Shivers,Thomas Rice.
Subs: John Scullion
for S Shivers, Anto Mc Laughlin (0-1) for S Coleman, Darren O’ Neill for M Connolly, Ciaran Drayne
for T Rice, Gerard Flynn for S Carson
ST COMGALL’S: Paul Burns, Stephen Webb, Ryan Mc Auley, Conor Mc Lornon, Oisin Crilly (0-1),
James Mc Alornon, Jordan Duffy, Daryl McNeill, Eoin Gribben, Brian Williamson, Patrick Quinn (0-3),
Dylan Murdock, Myles Devine (0-2), Ciaran Quinn (0-1), Peter McAuley.
Subs: Pearce Mc Auley (0-2) for C Quinn, Richie Leahy for Peter Mc Auley
REFEREE: Fintan McCotter