St Gall’s collect 5th title in a row


October 31st 2005 Antrim SFC final


St Gall’s completed a five-in-a-row of titles with an 0-11 to 0-8 victory over Portglenone in Sunday’s final at Casement Park to qualify for next Sunday’s Ulster Championship clash with Carrickmore but victory was achieved at a cost after captain Sean Kelly was injured to leave him a doubt for that game . This victory was secured at a time when St. Gall’s were the dominant force in Antrim football and was their fifth win on the trot.

The Milltown side would go on to extend that winning sequence to eight in the years that followed. The Bann-siders were hit a heavy blow in the build up to their first final when star forward, Kevin Madden was ruled out and went into this game as underdogs.
A poor first half ended with St Gall’s 0-4 to 0-3 ahead, despite playing against a stiff end-to-end wind. Portglenone, in their first county final, levelled through a Gerard McAleese point just after the break but St Gall’s surged clear with Karl Stewart scoring four points to book a place against Carrickmore in the AIB Ulster Championship first round the following Sunday.
In the closing minutes, Portglenone put in a final surge with three late points but it was too late for any comeback as the Milltown Row side held on to possession as they ran down the clock. Tyrone champions Carrickmore beat Fermanagh side Teemore 2-8 to 0-5 the previous day to secure their place in the quarter-final clash at Casement Park. St Gall’s stand-in captain Mark McCrory said playing well against the wind was key to winning the game.
“On a day with a lot of wind we knew in the first half that we had to stop them getting a big lead,” the midfielder said. “We had the wind advantage in the second half and it definitely helped. “It is an unbelievable feeling – I was 29 when I won my first championship and to win five in a row after that is beyond my wildest dreams. “We know Carrickmore well from our two meetings last year so there will be no surprise packages” the St. Gall’s captain concluded.

SCORERS – St Gall’s: A Gallagher 0-1, S Burns 0-3 (2f), K Stewart 0-4 (1f), K McGourty 0-2, K Niblock 0-1. Portglenone: T Convery 0-2 (1f), M Graham 0-1, O Doherty 0-1, S McCallion 0-3f, G McAleese 0-1f.

ST GALL’S – P Murray; S Kennedy, A McLean, CD Brady; G McGirr, S Kelly, A Healey; M McCrory, A Gallagher (0-1) P Gribben, S Burns, T O’Neill; K Stewart, Kieran McGourty, Kevin McGourty. Subs: K Niblock for Gribben (58), C Smyth for Kelly (56), C Gallagher for Kieran McGourty (60), C Crossan for O’Neill (61).

PORTGLENONE – B McCann; J Kearney, D Hagan, P Carey; J McKeever, T Convery, S Doherty; J Storey, M McCarry; B McErlean, M Graham, O Doherty; S McCallion, R Mulholland, G McAleese. REF – P Mullan (St Paul’s)         .”

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