Youthful Saints get off to a winning start

ACFL Division 2 Reserve

Tir na nOg 0-8 All Saints 3-14

A youthful All Saints pulled away in the second half to record a comprehensive victory over Tir na nOg at Whitehill tonight. Gerard O’Callaghan and Eamon McKillop have taken over the management reigns having stepped up from a successful number of years in charge of youth teams and it was no surprise that they included quite a number of last year’s minors in their starting line-up.

It was Tir na nOg who got off to the better start however with Emmet Murray pointing them ahead after 30 seconds as they faced the slight breeze. The lead was short lived however with the visitors replying through an Oisin Connolly pointed free and points from Rory McVeigh and Connolly again had them two in front by the 6th minute.

All Saints had found their grove and further points from Ronan McKillop and McVeigh again moved them four in front before Pearse Sheerin stopped the rut with a pointed free for the home side in the 13th minute.

Rory McVeigh and Pearse Sheerin exchanged further points before Adrian Scullion and Ronan McKillop moved All Saints five in front but Pearse Sheerin had the final point of the half to leave it 0-8 to 0-4 at the break in favour of the Slemish Park side.

With the elements now in their favour the Whitehill men looked like making a game of it as they opened the second half brightly with early points from Gerard Martin and the impressive Pearse Sheerin but the visitors responded with a vengeance.

Youngsters Ronan McKillop and Adrian Scullion combined and their pace and movement opened up the Tir na nOg defence with McKillop getting on the end of the move to fire low past Sean Paul McAtamney for the game’s opening goal.

The impressive McKillop followed with a good point but All Saints looked in a bit of trouble when Patrick Ferris received a black card following a drag down on Pearse Sheerin. Sheerin pointed the resulting free and Declan Mallon added another to close the gap to four after 12 minutes and again a comeback looked on the cards but it failed to materialise.

It was to be their final score however and instead it was the visitors who found another gear and their team play and movement off the ball, coupled with pace in vital areas began to open up the Whitehill defence.

Oisin Connolly pointed from play and followed from a free with Cormac Magill adding another before the flood gates opened. Patrick Ferris marked his returned to the action with a fine goal and the impressive Rory McVeigh got in for their third in the 24th minute with Joe Rafferty concluded the scoring with a late point.

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