Top of the table clash finishes all square

U-15 ACFL Division One 

St Pauls 4-05-3-08 St Brigids 

Kevin Herron reports from Shaws Road 

St Pauls and St Brigids played out an entertaining 4-05-3-08 draw in their top of the table clash at the Shaws Road on Thursday evening. 

Early goals from Niall Carmichael and Sean Og McLaren had the hosts in the lead at the break and despite Luke Louge netting early in the second period, McLaren notched two further strikes to seemingly send the hosts on their way to victory. 

But league-leaders St Brigids showed resolve to claw their way back level through majors from Peter Molloy and substitute Daniel Kelly as the sides settled for a point apiece at the conclusion. 

St Pauls made the brighter opening and hit the net within the opening sixty seconds through a low finish to the net from Niall Carmichael.

The corner-forward added a point moments later and despite James Higgins responding with a free, the hosts restored their early four-point advantage through a fine Oisin Cusack score. 

The Shaws Road outfit stretched their lead with a second goal courtesy of Sean Og McLaren to put his side 2-02-0-01 to the good. 

Higgins notched up his second point of the half and further scores from Luke Louge and Joseph Lorgan ensured that four-points separated the sides at the break (2-02-0-04). 

Cian McCann charge’s out of defence

Like the opening half, there was a goal within sixty seconds of play resuming and it fell to the visitors. 

Peter Molloy won a flick from the break ball and directed a long ball into the path of James Higgins- whose layoff found Luke Louge to fire past Shea Kearns. 

But St Paul’s restored their four-point lead a few minutes later, winning a free to the4 right-hand side of the pitch; Ciaran Rogers-Duffy dropped his effort on top of the square and a flick on Sean Og McLaren had the hosts 3-02-1-05 to the good. 

James Higgins converted a free at the other end, but St Brigid’s conceded a fourth goal with little over ten minutes gone in the second period. 

The duo that combined for St Pauls third again linked up, this time Rogers-Duffy swung in a side-line free on top of McLaren- who shot into the roof of the net to give his side a little more breathing space. 

A converted free from Ciaran Rogers-Duffy and an Oisin Gamble point further increased St Pauls advantage. 

St Brigid’s attempted to stay in touch with James Higgins dropping over his third free of the evening. 

Higgins then played the providers role in Peter Molloy finding the net to make things interesting again at 4-04-2-06. 

A further converted free from Higgins made it a three-point game and the league-leaders comeback was complete with five-minutes remaining. 

Higgins pounced on Shea Kearns kick-out and advanced into a dangerous position before fisting the ball across for substitute Daniel Kelly to slam a low shot to the net and tie things up. 

Daniel Kelly wheels away in delight after levelling the scores late-on

Both sides sought a winning score and looked as though the hosts had claimed victory through an excellent angled free from Ciaran Rogers-Duffy. 

However, St Brigid’s won a free of their own in time added on and James Higgins kicked a straight-forward free in front of the posts to ensure the Musgrave Park outfit claimed a share of the spoils on the Shaws Road. 

St Pauls: S Kearns, O Donnelly, K Farrell, M Vallely, C McCann, C Ward, N O’Neill, C Trainor, C Burke, F Maxwell, O Gamble (0-01), O Cusack (0-01), C Rogers-Duffy (0-02f), S Og McLaren (3-00), N Carmichael (1-01). Subs: J Toal for O Cusack (41), T Mickleburgh for F Maxwell (48), O Leonard for O Donnelly (53). 

St Brigids: J Power, F Murtagh, D Oglesby, C Friel, J Mulgrew, P Molloy (1-00), P O’Connor, D McGurk, C MacElhatton, C O’Connell, R Bray, C McKavanagh, J Higgins (0-06, 0-04f), L Louge (1-01), J Logan (0-01). Subs: J McKay for C McKavanagh (29), D Kelly (1-00) for R Bray (42), J Hetherington for D Oglesby (48). 

Referee: Brendan Toland (Lámh Dhearg)

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