Dunloy firmly back in the hunt

OB Construction Antrim IFC Group 2

Sarsfield’s 0-9 Dunloy 0-11

Pics: Bernie McAllister

Cuchullain’s Dunloy travelled to the Bear Pit on Sunday knowing that nothing other than a win would do if they were to maintain their qualification ambitions and win they did.

The visitors produced a gusty second half comeback to keep their Intermediate Championship ambitions alive and qualification from Group 2 will now be decided on the final round of games in a fortnight’s time

The home side led by three at the break and again 11 minutes into the second half, but Sarsfield’s were unable to shake off the challenge of a determined Dunloy who finished on top.

Sarsfield’s, playing against the breeze in the first half, wasted no time in getting off the mark when Gary Lennon fired over the bar with just 16 seconds on the clock.

The hosts had an opportunity for an early goal but Mícéal Ferris was off target, but they doubled their lead when Rian McShane fisted over the bar moments later.

Dunloy opened their account on six minutes when a delightful punt pass from Karl Fitzpatrick set up Christopher McMahon for a well-taken point.

Lennon and Fitzpatrick then exchanged frees before Dunloy had their first goal chance with Keelan Molloy firing wide after Dunloy intercepted Michael Brady’s short kick-out.

Sarsfield’s were on top at this stage but wasted a number of opportunities before Niall McKenna got them back on track with a converted free on 24 minutes while Thomas Skillen landed a great point to move his side 0-5 to 0-2 ahead.

Molloy and McKenna exchanged frees to leave Sarsfield’s 0-6 to 0-3 ahead at the half-time interval.

Dunloy made a bright start to the second half and drew level within five minutes as Molloy gotr them on their way and Seaan Elliott and McMahon hit two points in quick succession to tie the game at 0-6 each.

Lennon hit back with a point for the Paddies and an inspirational point from McKenna moved the home side two clear once more and they appeared to again be getting on top.

The home side then had appeals for a penalty turned down when Daniel McKernan was brought downbut referee Ray Matthews was well-placed to make the call and Lennon tapped over the resulting free as Sarsfield’s moved 0-9 to 0-6 ahead on 41 minutes.

The home side looked to be in a strong position at this stage but they failed to score in the final quarter and Dunloy closed the gap back to a single point before the water break with Molloy (free) and McMahon on target.

The North Antrim side finished strongly with a great score from Elliott and they took the lead minutes later with Molloy finishing off a brilliant attack involving Eoin O’Neill and substitute Declan Smyth.

Sarsfield’s could not find a response and a late free from Molloy sealed the victory as and it remains all to play for ahead of the final round of games on Sunday, October 3.

Dunloy visit Glenavy and St Paul’s host Naomh Padraig with both teams needing handsome wins to overhaul Sarsfield’s at the top of Group Two and it could be down to the calculator to decide who advances to the semi-finals.

SARSFIELD’S: M Brady; P McPeake, M McPolin, M Johnston; E Mervyn, D McKernan, L Mitchel; C Murray, N McKenna (0-2, 0-1f); R McShane (0-1), G Lennon (0-5, 0-3fs), M Ferris; T Skillen (0-1), N McAlea, K Floyd.

Subs: C Laverty for Skillen (20), K Carson for McAlea (25), S Walsh for Floyd (50), E Quinn for McPolin (56), C Glenholmes for Mervyn (56).

DUNLOY: C McGilligan; C McCloskey, C Kinsella, E McFerran; O Quinn, A Crawford, A McGrath; R McGarry, R McFarline; E O’Neill, K Fitzpatrick (0-1, 0-1f), S Elliott (0-2); C McMahon (0-3), K Molloy (0-5, 0-3fs), S Dooey.

Subs: K McQuillan for McFarline (HT), D Smyth for Quinn (35), A Smyth for Dooey (37).

REFEREE: R Matthews (Rossa).

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