Sarsfields 1-17 Clooney Gaels 0-20
A point from James O’Connell in the 59th minute earned Clooney Gaels a deserved share of the spoils as they shared the points with a good Sarsfields side at the Bear Pit yesterday. A goal from Mark Rea in the 49th minute appeared to have swung it in the way of the home side but the visitors came strong in the closing stages.
It was Sarsfields who enjoyed the better of the opening half and went on to lead 0-10 to 0-8 at the break with Malachy Campbell, Donal McKernan, Gary Lennon and Ryan Carson putting the 0-4 to 0-1 ahead after three minutes, the Clooney point coming from a James O’Connell ‘65’ in the 1st minute.
The ‘Paddies’ were simply flying in the early stages and went further in front through Daniel McKernan, Donal McKernan and Mark Rea with the visitors replying through a point from PJ O’Connell but the Ahoghill side looked badly off the pace at this stage of the game.
Donal McKernan and James O’Connell exchanged frees to leave the home side leading 0-8 to 0-3 after 16 minutes but Clooney began to get a foothold on proceedings in the run into half-time with PJ O’Connell and his brother James sharing four points and Sarsfields responding through Daniel McKernan (0-2) to lead by two at the short whistle.
James O’Connell reduced the gap to one on the restart but Sarsfields replied through a couple from Donal McKernan to move four in front and at this stage they looked the better side. Gary Lennon extended their lead to four with a point in the 34th minute with PJ O’Connell keeping the visitors in touch with a point at the other end.
Exchanges were fairly even at this stage with Clooney Gaels starting to enjoy more possession with PJ O’Connell, Donal Graham and Dan O’Neill on target for the visitors but Sarsfields kept their nose in front through Daniel McKernan and Mark Rea to lead 0-15 to 0-12 with 19 minutes remaining.
The South West side stepped it up a notch at this stage but were rocked back on their heels when Mark Rea rose to flick a dropping ball to the net in the 49th minute to move five in front and it was Sarsfields who were in pole position going into the home straight.
James O’Connell and Caolan McKernan exchanged further points but the visitors dug deep to produce a fighting finish. James O’Connell pointed a free and added another from play and substitute Colla McDonnell got his name on the score-sheet and another from the splendid O’Connell had the sides level with five minutes remaining.
Goal scorer Rea looked to have grabbed victory for the Stewartstown Road men with a point in the 58th minute but Ahoghill refused to concede and it was fitting that James O’Connell would send over the final point of the game to level the contest and give his side a well earned point.
Sarsfields: David Ward, James Cunningham, Niall McAlea, Jack Daniels, Caolan Mervyn, Eoghan Rogers, Jim McKernan, Kevin McKernan, Caolan McKernan, Daniel McKernan, Ryan Carson, Donal McKernan, Malachy Campbell, Mark Rea, Gary Lennon. Subs: Daniel McKernan (Snr), Kevin Ward, Brendan McGibbon, Noel Ferris, Pearse Cusack, Patrick Sheridan, Paul Carson
Clooney Gaels: Martin Graham, Harry O’Donnell, Bernard Graham, James Maghee, Francis Neeson, Fionnbar O’Neill, Eamonn Brady, Patrick Graham, Gerard Graham, Owen Neeson, Eoin Graham, PJ O’Connell, Daniel O’Neill, Ronan Graham, James O’Connell. Subs: Thomas McGlone, Donal Graham, Colla McDonnell, Patrick Dougan, Ryan McPeake, Diarmaid Scullion
Referee: Hugh Torney (Ballycran)