Junior B Hurling Championship Group 1
All Saints 1-20 St. Brigid’s 1-13
Ciaran Neeson struck 14 points from play and from placed balls to lead a good All Saints side to a seven point victory over St. Brigid’s in this keenly contested Junior Hurling B Championship clash at Quinn Park today.
In their first season in the Antrim league, St. Brigid’s have performed well and are sure to be a force in the future and they pushed the home side most of the way with the sides locked at 1-12 to 0-15 with five minutes of normal time remaining.
Significantly Neeson scored 0-4 during those closing minutes and when his striking partner, Cory Little got in for his side’s only goal as the game moved into time added on, it was all over.
Neeson got matters off to the perfect start for All Saints when he sent a 70 meter free between the uprights and he followed with another from 60 meters to move his side two in front after four minutes play.
St. Brigid’s had an ace marksman of their own as Fearghal Leyden replied from frees in the 6th and 7th minutes to square matters but Neeson replied from another placed ball to edge his side ahead again with 10 minutes gone.
Chris Lundy struck the game’s first score from play to tie the contest for the second time but the home side began to settle and Damian Gillan and Ciaran Neeson (0-3) had them four in front by the 20th minute.
St. Brigid’s tried to respond and Ciaran Cassley in the All Saints goals brought off a great save to deny the visitors what looked a certain goal with the resulting ‘65’ tailing wide before Fearghal Leydon and Chris Lundy responded with points to leave it 0-9 to 0-5 by the 28th minute.
St. Brigid’s were giving as good as they got and points from Fearghal Leyden and Paul McCrudden in reply to another Neeson effort left three between the sides at the change of ends.
Eoin Daly replaced Dara Hasson in the All Saints attack at the start of the second half but it was the Musgrave Park side who opened the half strongly and threatened for a time to take over. Fearghal Leydon pointed in the second minute and then Rory Flanagan rose to get his stick to a tantalising delivery from the same player to flick to the net and St. Brigid’s were ahead for the first time.
That man Neeson brought his side back on level terms once more but St. Brigid’s were growing in confidence and Ciaran Cassley had to be at his best to deny Rory Flanagan a second goal with only six minutes of the new half gone.
It proved a wakeup call for the home side with Padhraig Magill firing over a massive point to restore their lead, Ciaran Neeson added another from a free and then set up Sean O’Rawe to stretch the All Saints lead to three and they seemed to have weathered the early storm.
Not so! The excellent Fearghal Leyden replied again for St. Brigid’s and then substitute Phelim Lennon added another and it was all square at the second water break and very much in the balance.
At the start of the final quarter the Quinn Park side began to turn the screw with the strong direct running of Eoin Daly drawing a couple of frees which were dispatched by Ciaran Neeson with Fearghal Leyden replying from a 40 meter free with six minutes of normal time remaining.
All Saints took control in the run in to the final whistle with the hard working Cory Little getting his first point of the day and Neeson pointing three frees (1 ‘65’) before Little got in for the goal his efforts over the hour deserved.
The final score of the game fell the way of the excellent Fearghal Leyden when his long delivery bounced over the bar but it was All Saints who led by seven at the final whistle and they were deserving winners despite a sustained challenge from a good St. Brigid’s side.
All Saints: Ciaran Cassley, Tewrence Diamond, Chris McAfee, Kevin Brady, Sean O’Rawe, Luke O’Rawe, Colum Neeson, Padhraig Magill, Vinny Esler, Jack Magill, Damian Gillan, Gary Miskella, Cory Little, Ciaran Neeson, Daire Hasson. Subs: Eoin Daly for Daire Hasson,
St. Brigid’s: Damian McLarnon, Thomas McCarney, Peter Heaney, 19) Aidan McGleenon, Gerard Henvey, Bryan Hallihan, Chris Lundy, Murdoch McKibblen, Fearghal Leyden, Joseph McCarney, Conor McAllister, Rory Flanagan, Oisin McDonnell, Oliver Lennon, Paul McCrudden, Reuben Carleton. Subs: Phelim Lennon for Oliver Lennon, Rory Brolly,
Referee: Sean Elliott (Lamh Dhearg)