OB Construction IFC Group 1
Kickham’s Ardoyne 3-7 All Saints 2-13
All Saints travelled to Fennell Park to open their intermediate championship campaign against last year’s Junior Champions, Ardoyne who had acquitted themselves well in the league.
All Saints started this game in whirlwind fashion with a well taken goal by Kavan Keenan inside 30 seconds.
It looked as though the visitors would dominate as they registered a further 2 points from McCarry from frees leaving them 5 points up in the first 7 minutes.
However, Ardoyne started to settle and got their first score on the board from a Cormac Mullan free followed by a goal from Aidan McNeill following a mix up in the All Saints defence to narrow the gap to 1 point.
Both sides exchanged a further point apiece to leave it a one point game at the first water break with All Saints leading 1.3 to 1.2.
All Saints then extended their lead with a well taken goal by Conal Lemon just after the water break.
However, Ardoyne continued to battle hard and contest every ball keeping themselves in the game registering a further 3 points in the 2nd quarter to just a single score from the Ballymena side.
As half time approached, All Saints were reduced to 14 men as Peter McNicholl received a black card giving Ardoyne the numerical advantage. Despite this, the Sl;emish Park side retained their 2 point lead at half time, leading on a scoreline of All Saints 2.4 to Ardoyne 1.5.
On the restart, Ardoyne registered the first score of the half through Cormac Mullan to close the gap to 1 but All Saints then hit a purple patch with 4 unanswered points to extend their advantage to 5 points despite being a man down.
However, Ardoyne showing grit and determination clawed their way back registering a 2nd goal from Joe McNeill and and a further point from a Cormac Mullan free to close the gap to 1 point and at this stage the momentum seemed to be swinging in favour of the North Belfast side. However Michael McCarry then extended All Saints lead to 2 points as the water break approached leaving the score 2.9 to 2.7.
Ardoyne continued to look dangerous on the counter attack and reduced the gap to 1 point from a Mullan free and it still looked anybody’s game at this stage.
The visitors stepped it up a gear as the clock ticked down and registered 4 unanswered points to extend their lead to 5 and give themselves some breathing space. Ardoyne, continued to ask questions of the All Saints defence however and registered their 3rd goal and final score of the game from Declan McCormick as the final whistle approached.
All Saints will have been relieved to take the 2 points back up the road and Ardoyne will have been encouraged by this performance against one of the favourites for the competition.
James McDonnell (0.1)
Conal Lemon (1.1)
Sean McVeigh (0.1)
Kavan Keenan (1.0)
Michael McCarry (0.5 4F)
Shea O Brien
Conor Stewart (0.2)
Ronan McKillop (0.1)
Reece O Mullan for Peter McNicholl (37 mins)
Peter McReynolds (0.2) for Shea O Brien (45 mins)
Joe Rafferty for Ronan McKillop (50 mins)
Ardoyne scorers: Aidan McNeill 1-1, Cormac Mullan 0-4, Declan McCormick 1-1, Joe McNeill 1-0, Kevin Lynch 0-2.