Late Mullan show seals Ballycastle victory

U-15 ACHL Division 1 

Corpus Christi Gaels 4-06-3-10 Ballycastle

Kevin Herron reports from Davitt Park 

Ballycastle staged a late comeback to get the better of the Corpus Christi Gaels at Davitt Park on Monday evening- securing a 3-10-4-06 win. 

Trailing by five late-on a decision to send goalkeeper Anthony Mullan into the forward line and reshuffle the side paid dividends as Mullan struck twice in the closing stages to see his side grasp victory from the jaws of defeat. 

Leading through early scores from Conor Anderson and Cadhan Crawford, the visitors were pegged back through Ronan Donnelly’s effort was bounced over the bar- followed by an impressive Conor Corr point. 

James Wilson swung over a fine point to give Corpus Christi the lead for the first time, but Conor Donnelly converted a free to restore parity for the second time. 

The opening goal of the game arrived just before the quarter-hour mark, Arden Kelly floated a ball in on top of Corpus Christi Gaels keeper Michael Kennedy – who gathered- but his clearance was charged down by Daragh Donnelly and the ball ended up in the back of the net to give the visitors a 1-03-0-03 lead. 

Although Fionn McCallin responded with a converted free, Ballycastle would extend their lead. 

Donnelly followed his goal with a nice point and Tiarnan Staunton chipped in to send them four-points clear. 

The hosts hit back three minutes before the break after Fionn McCallin tried to forge his way to goal, Stephen Thompson picked up the loose ball and although his initial effort was blocked- he found the net at the second time of asking to make it 1-05-1-04. 

Two minutes later and Corpus Christi Gaels got their noses in front at the interval. Ballycastle keeper Anthony Mullan left his goal unguarded in attempting to clear the danger, but his clearance landed at the feet of Thompson who returned it towards the empty goal and gave his side a 2-04-1-05 lead at half time. 

Cadhan Crawford reduced arrears upon the resumption with a converted free- though Corpus Christi replied with their third goal of the game on 39 minutes. 

Fionn McCallin showed a burst of pace to advance into the danger zone, his shot was blocked, and Aaron Tierney applied the finishing touches to make it 3-04-1-06. 

Crawford and Conor Donnelly converted frees in-between one at the other end from Fionn McCallin to leave three-points the difference at the second-half water break.  

Corpus Christi hit their opening point of the half through Conor Corr and the half-forward was on the scoresheet again moments later. 

Chasing the game in the final ten minutes Ballycastle opted to bring goalkeeper Anthony Mullan out of goals and a defensive mishap whilst the change was taking place resulted in Corr dropping an effort from range into the net and giving his side a 4-06-1-08 advantage. 

With darkness quickly descending Daragh Donnelly’s free dropped perilously close to the net though landed over the bar. 

Ballycastle’s change in approach paid off a few minutes later, now playing outfield goalkeeper Anthony Mullan was roaming around the forward line and came into possession before powering an effort to the net that reduced the deficit to three points. 

Mullan would get a further opportunity before the death as he found space and shot low past Michael Kennedy to give his side the slenderest of leads with time almost up. 

Corpus Christi Gaels were unable to find the leveller and Ballycastle went back to north-Antrim with a 3-10-4-06 win in an exciting and free flowing encounter. 

Corpus Christi Gaels: M Kennedy, L McIlroy-Tully, J Winters, F McKinney, P Graham, O Cosgrove, O Quinn, J Wilson (0-01), C Darragh, D King, C Corr (1-02), A Tierney (1-00), R Donnelly (0-01), S Thompson (2-00), F McCallin (0-02f). Subs: M Og Gaskin for O Quinn (HT), J Hughes for S Thompson (HT), C Maguire for F McKinney (41), S McAuley for A Tierney (43), C Daly for L McIlroy-Tully (47), S Smyth for F McCallin (56), D McNally for S McAuley (580. 

Ballycastle: A Mullan (2-00), E McCaughan, C Baudant, P McCaughan, C Boylan, C Donnelly (0-02f), N McClean, A Hughes, C Mooney, C Crawford (0-04, 0-03f), D Donnelly (1-02, 0-01f), T Staunton (0-01), C Anderson (0-01), O Coyles, F Mullan. Subs: A Kelly for C Mooney (12). 

Referee: Ray Matthews (Rossa)

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