Tir na nOg edge top two battle

Reserve Football Shield Group 1

All Saints 2-6 Tir na nOg 2-12

A strong Tir na nOg reversed their league defeat on the opening day of the season when they defeated All Saints, Ballymena in the opening game of the Reserve Football Shield at Quinn Park tonight. In a team with a sprinkling of senior players it was substitutes Shane Donnelly and Daniel O’Neill who came up with the important scorers in a game that was still very much in the balance with ten minutes remaining.

Darragh Fagan pointed the visitors ahead from a close range free in the opening minute but an excellent attacking move saw Oisin Connolly finish to the net in the third minute to give All Saints the lead.

Fagan replied from another free, and his free taking was to prove vital over the hour, before Pearse Sheerin tied the contest with Tir na nOg’s first point from play with eight minutes gone. Exchanges were fairly even at this stage of the game with Oisin Connolly edging the Quinn Park side ahead once more before Darragh Fagan levelled matters before edging them one in front from another free as referee Richard Leahy blew for the water break.

Points from Oisin Connolly and Ronan McKillop brought All Saints back on terms with 25 minutes gone but the final score of the half was to fall to Darragh Fagan who pointed his fourth free of the half and his fifth in total to leave the Whitehill side one in front at the short whistle and all still to play for in the second half.

It was Tir na nOg who made the brighter start to the second half as they started to run directly at the home defence and it paid early dividends when substitute Daniel O’Neill got on the end of a tantalising cross after a strong run from Brandon McLarnon to palm to the net.

Shane Donnelly pointed a close range free to push the Randalstown side five in front and they were threatening to run away with it at this stage but All Saints found a response. Ronan McKillop pointed a 9th minute free and another from play by Oisin Connolly closed the gap to three by the 12th minute.

Another from the excellent Connolly edged the home side closer and they were enjoying a bit of success at this stage with the strong running Patrick Ferris denied a half chance by Sean Paul McAtamney as they continued to threaten.

Tir na nOg rode the storm and replied with points from another Fagan free and one from play by Shane Donnelly and they appeared to be taking control once more but another strong penetrating run from Patrick Ferris created an opening for substitute Michael Sloan and he fired home from close range to leave the game back in the melting pot.

It looked ‘game on’ with five minutes of normal time remaining but it was to prove to be the home side’s final score and Tir na nOg finished with a flurry as Daniel Martin found the net at the other end. Shane Donnelly added a point before Darragh Fagan brought his personal tally to 0-7 from yet another free to see the visitors home victorious by six points

All Saints: Niall Shannon, Conall O’Neill, Ronan Ward, Jude Casey, Patrick Ferris, Phelim Killough, Michael Read, Joe Rocks, Conall Killough, Niall Walsh, Oisin Connolly, Mark Murchan, Ronan McKillop, Diarmuid McNally, Shaun O’Callaghan. Subs: Shea O’Brien, Michael Sloan, Darra Mussen, Kevin Brady

Tir na nOg: Sean Paul McAtamney, Ryan Crilly, Niall Cassidy, Peter Cullen, Brandon McLarnon, Barry Magee, Oliver McAtamney, Kevin Kerr, Ciaran Logan, Darren O’Kane, Darragh Fagan, Connor McCamphill, Emmet Murray, Pearse Sherrin, Daniel Martin. Subs: Shane Donnelly for Pearse Sherrin, Daniel O’Neill for Darren O’Kane, Ciaran Byrne

Referee: Richard Leahy (St. Comgall’s)

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