Senior Football Championship (Group 3)
St James Aldergrove 1-11 St Enda’s 2-11
By Geordie McGuckin
A strong finish and a couple of late scores ensured a win for St Enda’s in this hugely enjoyable Group 3 Championship game in Crumlin on Wednesday evening. The win ensures the Glengormley outfit remain in contention for a place in the quarter finals but it was far from a stroll in the late summer sunshine as anticipated by most of the pundits.
In the event the Hightown residents were pushed all the way by the Crumlin outfit and a stunning goal, manufactured and finished by the excellent Andy Flood, asked questions aplenty of their visitors.
The centre backs 56th minute strike saw the Aldergrove men just a point in arrears but the visitors responded well and late points from Gerard Crossey and the hard grafting Kristan Healey saw them over the line with three points to spare.
The game, which was deferred for a couple of weeks, saw Eamon Mc Auley take charge as St Enda’s fresh from an eye opening win over a fancied Lamh Dhearg arrive at Crumlin as very warm favourites as they lined out against a seemingly out of form Aldergrove in the warm late summers evening on a pristine sod
If the home side were billed as no-hopers by many that fact appeared to have eluded them, and from the outset they gave as good as they got and had gained a three point lead by the 10th minute. Conor Browning opened the scoring in the 2nd minute and was soon followed on the same route by both Ronan Hanna and Declan Gough as Aldergrove opened a 0-03 to 0-00 advantage by the 10th minute.
The home side enjoyed midfield superiority in the opening phase with the impressive Ryan Owens and Gerard Mallon dominating this central sector.
It took the visitors a while to gain a foothold on the Crumlin sod but after Odhran Eastwood got them on the board they spurned a couple more chances to add to their scoring in the next few minutes and the home side still led 0-03 to 0-01 at the first water break.
Suitably refreshed by the short break the Hightown men nipped away on the positive and despite playing second fiddle to their hosts in the opening quarter a 17th minute Odhran Eastwood goal, constructed by a subtle Cormac Scott cross, saw them take the lead and they soon added a further point to stretch the lead to 1-02 to 0-03.
Aldergrove hit back as Declan Gough split the posts, and when Ronan Hanna added another they were back on terms at the end of the opening period at 0-05 to 1-02.
Having dominated the last minutes of the first half Aldergrove started the second period in the same positive manner and early points from Ronan Hanna and an exquisite Seamus Mc Garry finish from an acute right sided angle followed suit to secure a two point cushion.
The Hightown men were quick to regain composure however and after Odhran Eastwood and Kristan Healey had raised white flags apiece to restore parity, Eoin Nagle cleverly rounded goalkeeper Shane O’ Neill and planted the leather in the net to give the Hightown men a 2-05 to 0-10 lead at the second water break.
The last quarter began with the destination for the points still in doubt and although the visitors had nipped away to a three point advantage via points from Odhran Eastwood, Ruairi Scott, and defender Conor Mc Auley, back came the Crumlin men and a superb fetch at the back and a goal from Andy Flood ensure the issue remained very much in doubt.
St Enda’s replied as Peter Healey raised another white flag and although Seamus Mc Garry pointed at the other end it was to be the Hightown men who were to finish the stronger.
Gerard Crossey opened a two point margin when he raised a 31st minute white flag with the hard working Kian Healey adding another to ensure a 2-11 to 1-11 championship victory for Naomh Eanna to keep them in the running for a place in the quarter final stages.
Referee E Mc Auley (Erin’s Own)
Shane O’ Neill, Eoin Gough, Emmett Irvine, Thomas O’ Callaghan, Christopher Browning, Andy Flodd (1-01), Christopher Mc Veigh, Gerard Mallon, Ryan Owens, Declan Gough (0-02), Conor Morris, Conor Browning (0-01), Conleth O’ Toole, Ronan Hanna (0-03), Seamus Mc Garry (0-04)
Eamon Creanor for E Irvine
Ryan Mc Carthy for C O’ Toole
Paddy Flodd, Fiontan Eastwood, Michael Mc Namee, Owen Kennedy, Conan Lyttle, Ciaran Thompson, Conor Mc Auley (0-01), Michael Morgan, Kristan Healey (0-02), Peter Healey (0-01), Eoin Nagle (1-01)), Gerard Crossey (0-01), Cormac Scott, Ruairi Scott (0-01), Odhran Eastwood (1-05)