ACFL Division One
Naomh Éanna 2-12 St Brigid’s 0-10
Pics by JJ Lawell
St. Enda’s recorded their second win from three starts when they defeated St. Brigid’s at Hightown on Wednesday evening. A goal from Kristian Healey after 40 minutes clinched it for the Glengormley side who were pushed hard for most of the game by St. Brigid’s with matters all square early in the second half.
St. Enda’s were a goal ahead at the interval with Rory Scott providing the finish midway through the opening half. Healey’s major turned matters decisively in the direction of the home side who went on to hit 1-5 without reply as the St. Brigid’s challenge welted.
Healey finished as top scorer with 1-3 with Odhran Eastwood in excellent form for the Hightown men, finishing with 0-5 and he was very much involved in the build up to both St. Enda’s goals while his Antrim colleague, Peter Healey got through a mountain of work.
It was St Brigid’s who were first off the mark in the artic conditions at Hightown with Peter Webb’s third-minute effort sneaking just inside the posts with Eastwood responding from a free, but the visitors were back in front when Conor McAleer slotted over following good work from Paul Bradley.
.Eastwood levelled matters for a second time from a free and then he turned provider when he sent Ruairi Scott free from an inch perfect delivery and the former made no mistake as he fired to the net.
The home side were dominating possession at this stage but their finishing was letting them down, while St Brigid’s were struggling to get their game together at the other end against a packed defence.
The sides exchanged points in the closing stages of the half with Bradley punishing a foul on Patrick Finnegan before Eastwood kicked his third free as the hosts went in at the break leading 1-3 to 0-3.
After a lacklustre opening 30 minutes it was St. Brigid’s who made a bright start to the second period
with Conor McAleer kicking a free a couple of minutes in before Peter Webb converted two beauties off his left boot from play to level the game on 38 minutes.
At this stage it was St. Brigid’s who looked the more likely winners but Naomh Éanna responded to reclaim the lead as Kristian Healy cut inside onto his right and shrugged off a challenge to fire over and a minute later the same player swung matters back in favour of the Hightown side. Eastwood found Healy to the left of goal and the wing-forward produced an excellent finish to find the far corner of the net.
St. Brigid’s pushed on at this stage as Peter Healy gained some reward for his efforts as he split the posts and Conor Maxwell added another from a tight angle on the right with Eastwood landing an almost identical score to make it 2-8 to 0-6 on 49 minutes.
St. Enda’s looked to have matters sewn up at this stage but St Brigid’s dug deep and found a response as Paul Bradley sent over and then Jack Dowling kicked two excellent points, either side of a James Smith effort to halve the deficit and give the South Belfast men some hope with five minutes remaining.
It was as close as they got however with Eastwood firing over after Ronan O’Neill’s attempt at a fisted point came off the post, while Kristian Healy kicked another two scores either side of one from Donal Walsh to complete the scoring.
NAOMH ÉANNA: M O’Boyle; F Eastwood, P Hamilton, C Maxwell (0-1); P Healy (0-1), C Lyttle (0-1), R O’Neill; P Curran, M Morgan; C Morgan, D Walsh (0-1), K Healy (1-3); R Scott (1-0), O Eastwood (0-5, 3 frees), G Crossey.
Subs: F O’Connor for M Morgan (48), C Scott for G Crossey (54), S McBride for C Morgan (60+1), O Kennedy for P Curran (60+2)
ST BRIGID’S: J McKenna; J Morgan, M Cummings, S McKenna; P King, S Campbell, F Meenagh; J Toner, J Dowling (0-2); P Webb (0-3), P Finnegan, N Lundy; P Bradley (0-1), J Smith (0-1), C McAleer (0-3, 2 frees).
Subs: R Finnegan for J Toner (20), D Foster for S McKenna (46), M Lynch for N Lundy (48), J Finnegan for P Webb (52), J McCarney for S Campbell (60).
REFEREE: Darren McKeown (St Gall’s)