Strong second half performance sees All Saints win again

All County U17 HL Division 2

All Saints 3-18 Ard Na Ria 4-9

All Saints produced a strong scoring burst in the third quarter of this U17 Hurling League division 2 encounter to overcome the challenge of a good Ard Na Ri at Slemish Park today and maintain their unbeaten start to this year’s campaign.

It looked something of a formality for the Slemish Park side when Joseph O’Rawe pointed after 30 seconds before following with a goal to leave his side leading by four with only two minutes gone. Any notions of an easy day for the home side was soon dismissed however as the visitors came roaring back to draw level through a Fintan Cleary point and a goal from Niall Duffy.

It soon became clear that the combination side were not there just to make up the numbers as David Prenter kicked over to give them the lead and Fintan Cleary followed with a great point to move the visitors 1-3 to 1-1 ahead with 11 minutes on the clock.

TP McGurk for All Saints and Cleary for Ard Na Ri exchanged further points and Aodhan McGarry cut the gap to one before Fintan Cleary punished a slip by All Saints keeper, Ciaran McQuillan to scramble the sliotar over the line and leave his side leading by four points going into the first water break.

The home side looked in a spot of bother but strong words from Joey McNally, Roisin O’Boyle and Paul McGarry seemed to lift them and they came out strongly to hit the first three points of the second quarter through TP McGurk (0-2) and an Aodhan McGarry free to leave just one in it after 18 minutes.

A fine point from Manus McCrossan edged Ard Na Ri two in front but the momentum had swung in the way of the home side as Matthew Mullan replied with a point before Kevin O’Boyle hammered the sliotar to the net to put All Saints two in front after 25 minutes.

David Prenter replied with an excellent point for the visitors but the final point of the half fell to Aodhan McGarry to leave the Ballymena side with a slender 2-8 to 2-7 half time lead and all still to play for in the second half.

All Saints made a bright start to the second half as Aodhan McGarry, Matthew Mullan and Joseph O’Rawe struck unanswered points in the opening five minutes and when Fintan Brady fired home their third goal with eight minutes gone it looked a long way back for the city combination.

Kevin O’Boyle added a great long range point before Gairech McAdam finally got the visitors opening score of the second half when he pointed a good long range free with McGarry replying for the home side just before the second water break.

All Saints were threatening to run away with it at this stage and further points from Matthew Mullan and the excellent Kevin O’Boyle moved them ten in front but the plucky visitors refused to throw in the towel and Niall Fallon lifted their spirits when he shot to the net.

Gary McAdam added a point but once again the home side found a response through Aodhan McGarry and Joseph O’Rawe (0-2) and it looked done and dusted. TP McGurk added another but the visitors were handed a slender lifeline when referee Seamus Reid spread his arms to award a penalty.

Niall Fallon duly obliged from the award to fire home his side’s fourth goal and Niall Duffy followed with a point but it was as close as they got as All Saints finished strongly to run out winners by eight points and maintain their place at the top of the league.

All Saints: Ciaran McQuillan, Diarmuid Casey, Conor McKenna, Archie McGreevey, Senan O’Boyle, Conan McMullan, Rhys Haveron, Aodhan McGarry, Kevin O’Boyle, Fintan Brady, Joseph O’Rawe, TP McGurk, Matthew Mullan, Daniel McCoy, Rian Thom. Subs: Pearse Martin, Edward McKendry, Rory Taggart, Conor O’Hara

Ard Na Ri: Caoimhin Pierce, Emmet Corey,  Eoghan O’ Mainnin, Oliver Corey, Owen McCarney, Brian McGurk, Oisin Kelly, Manus McCrossan, Gary McAdam, Aodhan McDonagh, Niall Fallon, Diarmuid Martin, David Prenter, Fintan Cleary, Niall Duffy. Subs: Niall McDonnell, Cormac Barnes, Caolan Baird.

Referee: Seamus Reid (Ardoyne)

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