Division 3 League Cup semi-final
Pearses 2-10 St Comgall’s 1-10
A goal four minutes into injury time by Sean Seamus Moreland booked Pearses a place in the Division 3 League Cup final at the expense of hitherto unbeaten St Comgall’s in Saturday’s semi-final at Dreen, Rasharkin. The Belfast men were holding on to a slender one point lead as St Comgall’s penned them into their own half. However great work by team captain Piaras Donaghy and midfielder Ethan Devine saw the ball moved up into the right corner of the pitch. It looked like they would use the opportunity to run down the clock but under pressure from two defenders the ball was looped in across the St Comgall’s ‘square’ where it fell perfectly for Moreland and the left half forward drilled a left footed shot across goalkeeper Anthony Watson into the back of the net.
The game of course was still not over at this stage, but though St Comgall’s brought the gap back to a goal with another point from Tom Patchett they could not get the goal they needed to bring the game to extra time.
Playing with the breeze behind them Pearses fell a point behind when Miles Devine sent over a St Comgall’s point in the opening minute, but it would be another 18 minutes before the Antrim men troubled the scoreboard operator again.
Ethan Devine brought Pearses level with a great point from a free, struck off the ground from 45 meters, the first of three such scores Devine would send over in the opening half. A lovely point from the left corner from Fionn Grew put Pearses ahead on four minutes and they were two clear two minutes later when Liam Deegan sent one over from the other corner. Less than a minute later Deegan let a dropping ball fall inside him before gaining possession and drilling it to the net to put his team five clear.
The dominance didn’t end there as two more beauties from Devine frees were followed by points from play by Deegan and Magee and the gap was out to nine points 0-10 to 0-1.
St Comgall’s were in deep trouble but to their credit they began to show some of the form that had kept them unbeaten in the league proper and after Paddy O’Connor got their second point Miles Devine breathed new life into them with a well taken goal. Moreland came back with a point for Pearses but a Devine point just on half time cut the gap back just to five points.
Considering the strength of the breeze five points certainly was within range for the Antrim side, and when Tom Patchett cut it back to four early in the second half it looked a bridgeable gap. However when they pressure was on Pearses showed great resolve and Ethan Devine eased the pressure with an excellent score against the breeze.
St Comgall’s appeared to have a plan to drop high balls in on top of the Pearses keeper, and twice inside three minutes that paid dividends when there were forward rising in the ‘square’ to punch them over. Pearses eased the pressure again when Pairis Donaghy and Ethan Devine combined again for Devine to score another vital point, but they were soon under pressure again as St Comgall’s hit back with three on the trot, two from Conor McAuley and one from Tom Patchett to cut the gap back to a single point.
It seemed certain that the equaliser would come as the Antrim men created chances but some brilliant defending by the Pearses rear-guard somehow kept them at bay. If they were to hold on it was clear they would need something at the other end and when their two star men Donaghy and Devine worked the ball upfield again Moreland provided the killer blow with a sweetly taken goal that sets up a final meeting with Rasharkin on Wednesday evening.