OB Construction Intermediate Football Championship
All Saints 2-17 Glenravel 2-06
All Saints secured their semi final place in this year’s OB Construction Intermediate Football Championship with a convincing victory over neighbours Con Magees. We may have just entered the season of Autumn but the large crowd at Quinn Park were treated to elements of all four seasons throughout the sixty minutes. The game threw in to glorious sunshine and ended in a biblical downpour that only the most avid spectators remained to see. Along the way a strong diagonal wind made flowing football impossible though both teams did their best in this winner takes all affair.
Going into the game the maths was pretty straight forward. A win, draw or defeat by six points or less would see the home side safely into the semi final, whilst their opponents needed a victory of seven points or more; a mountain to climb given the results from games between these two earlier in the season. That mountain became Himalayan within six minutes of the start as All Saints’ Connell Lemon netted on the third and fourth minute and Con Magees full back Conor Carey saw red after an altercation on six minutes. The mathematicians would have known Glenravel needed to outscore All Saints by thirteen points from then to the end of the game, the realists would have known the game was over as a contest.
Ballymena had done their homework and knew they needed to stifle Glenravel danger man, Eamon Fyfe if they were to stop their opponents getting a head of steam. Fyfe attracted a lot of attention from the men in black and white and he earned and converted a penalty on nine minutes with a piledriver no keeper could get near. It took to the tenth minute before either umpire needed to reach for a white flag as double goalscorer Lemon pointed from a tight angle. Five minutes later, Saints’ captain, Michael McCarry popped over a free to extend their lead to 2-02 to 1-00.
Aiden O’Donnell put over a placed ball to reduce the lead to four points but the locals hit back with two more points off the boot of corner forward Ronan McKillop and another free from McCarry. Again, O’Donnell put over a free but All Saints came straight back with two more, McKillop and McCarry once again the providers. Eamon Fyfe scored a lovely point from distance on the stroke of half time to leave the score 2-06 to 1-03 in favour of Ballymena.
Glenravel needed a good start to the second half but instead their opponents pointed after twenty seconds through Kavan Keenan and one minute later Michael McCarry put over another free to extend the lead to eight points. Aiden O’Donnell put over a couple of frees for Con Magees on the thirty third and thirty ninth minutes, between which Kavan Keenan put over the best score of the game as he soloed the length of the pitch at pace before rifling over when a goal was possible.
At this stage the heavens opened and Saints went on to record five further points without reply. Peter McReynolds, Kavan Keenan and Connell Lemon the providers. With ten minutes remaining, Sean McKay (goal) and Conor McNeil (point) put some respectability back on the scoresheet from a green and white point of view, however the Saints rallied again to finish with three further scores from Emmet Killough, Ronan McKillop and Ciaran McGarry to leave the final score 2-17 to 2-06.
Ballymena won this game deservedly doing so, went through the group stage unbeaten. They now go into a semi-final where their likely opponents will be neighbours Dunloy. Glenravel’s season comes to an end but they will look back with some pride in it. They finished third in the group and third in Division 2 which can be considered a good return for a team in only their second year in this division.