St Pauls come back to beat Cuchullains

OB Construction Intermediate Football Championship

Group 2 – Round Robin 2

Dunloy 0-11 St Pauls 0-14

Sunday August 15

Brendan McTaggart reports from Pearse Park, Dunloy

St Paul’s fought their way back from seven points down on Sunday afternoon to record their first win of the 2021 championship against Dunloy.

It was a superb turnaround by the Shaws Road side who held the Cuchullains to just two points in 38 minutes and one scoreable free within scoring range over the entirety of the hour.  An excellent defensive performance once they got to grips with the Dunloy attacking unit.

Seaan Elliott top scored for the Cuchullains with a tidy tally of five points beside his name for his hours work in a lively performance that saw him come into some close attention from St Pauls in the second half as they looked to take a stranglehold of the game.

The introduction of Conor Hughes at half time gave St Pauls a further attacking edge with the substitute landing two fine points in the second half while Liam McLarnon and Conal Duffy shared eight points equally between them.  The midfield duo of Conal Finnegan and James Farrell excelled in the second half as the visitors to Pearse Park made use of the elements as St Pauls sniffed the chance of turning the tide and made sure they left Dunloy with the championship points.

Dunloy made all the early running with Ryan McGarry and Ryan McFarlane dominant in midfield.  If they didn’t win the high ball cleanly, they made sure the vast majority of breaking ball was falling to a green and gold shirt.  With Seaan Elliott and Eoin O’Neill showing the home sides early intent by dissecting the uprights either side of Liam McLarnon’s fourth minute point for St Pauls.

BJ Burns and Conal Duffy were full of running and causing the Dunloy defence problems early on.  Burns restored parity to the sides in the 10th minute before the visitors had the first sight of goal.  Burns finding Liam McLarnon but the St Pauls target man pulled his shot wide of the near post.

The miss sprung the Cuchullains into action as they went on to score seven unanswered points.  Elliott majestic with how he glided across the pitch and evaded tackles with effortless ease while McGarry and McFarlane turned everything that came their way, turning the screw in favour of the home side, Elliotts fourth white flag of the half in the 22nd minute opening a seven point lead for the Cuchullains.  St Pauls rallied in the time that remained in the first half though with Liam McLarnon (two), Duffy and Burns finding their range with Elliott’s fifth of the half the solitary Dunloy response to leave the home side ahead by 0-10 to 0-6 at the short whistle.

With a strong wind at their back, St Pauls dictated the second half and slowly chipped into the Dunloy lead.  The four point advantage was halved by the 38th minute thanks to a brace of points from Duffy (one free) before Dunloy opened their account for the second half, a free from substitute Deaglan Smith.  It would be the Cuchullains only score of the second half however as St Pauls reeled in the deficit.

They did it the hard way however with Aodhan Kavanagh black carded in the 44th minute to reduce the Shaws Road men to 14 men.  They had all the momentum however and made light of the home sides numerical advantage.  They increased their intensity with a high press and pressurised each Dunloy kick out.  It looked inevitable and by the 48th minute St Pauls took the lead for the first time in the match.  Liam McLarnon and two from substitute Conor Hughes putting them into a lead they wouldn’t relinquish.

Dunloy fashioned a goal chance with 6 minutes remaining with Elliott and substitute Michael Smith combining but after selling a sumptuous dummy, Smith’s riffled effort went wide of the post.

St Pauls continued to dictate the play and stretched their lead to three by the final whistle with Colm McLarnon and Duffy splitting the uprights to finish what was a remarkable recovery from the Shaws Road side. 

TEAMS

Dunloy: Conor McGilligan; Cathair McCloskey, Aidy Scullion, Anton McGrath; Oran Quinn, Conor Kinsella, Aaron Crawford; Ryan McGarry, Ryan McFarlane; Eoin O’Neill, Karl Fitzpatrick, Seaan Elliott; Chrissy McMahon, Shane Dooey, Anthony Smith

Scorers: Seaan Elliott 0-5; Eoin O’Neill 0-3; Aaron Crawford 0-1; Shane Dooey 0-1; Deaglan Smith 0-1 (1f)

St Pauls: Kiefer Toolan; Niall Ward, Sean Bradley, Patrick Copeland; Mark Munce, Don Burns, Aodhan Kavanagh; Conal Finnegan, James Farrell; Padraig Lowe, Niall McStravick, Colm McLarnon; Conal Duffy, Liam McLarnon, BJ Burns

Scorers: Liam McLarnon 0-4 (1f); Conal Duffy 0-4 (3f); BJ Burns 0-2; Colm McLarnon 0-2; Conor Hughes 0-2

Referee: Colin Mallon (St Mary’s, Aghagallon)

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