Ardoyne 1-7 Tir na nOg 0-13
Tir na nOg have one hand on the division 2 trophy and promotion after this three point win over Kickham’s Ardoyne at the Crickey last night. They certainly didn’t get it all their own way against an Ardoyne side who have proved difficult to beat at Fennell Park this year and it took two injury time points from Aaron McNeilly and Barry McCormick to usher the visitors over the winner’s line.
Tir na nOg were first off the mark and they took the lead from a Darragh Fagan point in the 2nd minute but Ardoyne replied through Kevin Lynch and Aidan McNeill to take the lead after seven minutes.
There was little between the sides at this stage with Kevin Sheerin and Darragh Fegan edging the Whitehill side one in front by the 13th minute before Cormac Mullan squared matters once more as he split the posts with 14 minutes on the clock.
It was end to end stuff as both sides battled to gain the upper hand as Barry McCormick for Tir na nOg and Cormac Mullan for their hosts exchanging further points to tie matters again by the 23d minute.
The visitors certainly knew they were in a game at this stage but they began to get on top in the lead up to half time as they hit the vfinal two points of the half through Christy Sheerin and Ciaran McKeown to lead 0-6 to 0-4 at the break but there was still plenty to play for in the second half.
Play was halted for five minutes early in the second half following an injury to an Ardoyne player who had to be replaced but when matters got under way again it was visitors, Tir na nOg who made the early running.
Darragh Fagan extended the visitors lead with a point on the restart and when Barry McCormick and Fagan again fired over, Tir na nOg were five in front after 14 minutes and appeared to be gaining the upper hand.
Ardoyne had other ideas however as they came back strongly from two pointed Aidan McNeill frees but the Whitehill side were beginning to find a bit of rhythm and when they moved five in front once more it looked as good as over.
Aaron McNeilly and Sean Duffin were the men on target and with only three minutes of normal time remaining the points looked to be safely in the bag but Ardoyne quite simply refused to throw in the towel
Cormac Mullan, who had posed a threat all evening, split the posts as the game entered the closing stages and when Kevin Lynch fired to the Randalstown net things were very much in the melting pot and only a point separated the sides.
Tir na nOg are unbeaten for a reason however and when the pressure was on they kept their composure and late points from Aaron McNeilly and the excellent Barry McCormick eased them home and they can collect the title as early as tomorrow night when they travel to Glenravel.