Ahoghill win the battle of the St. Mary’s

HomeFit ACFL Division 1

Ahoghill 2-11 Aghagallon 1-4

Photographs: Bert Trowlen

St. Mary’s Ahoghill took another step on the road to division 1 survival when they proved too good for an understrength St. Mary’s Aghagallon at Cloney last night. Goals from Eamonn Brady after 17 minutes of the first half and Michael O’Connell, midway through the second sent the Ahoghill side to a convincing victory.

The visitors were first off the mark when Padraig Gowdy pointed them ahead in the opening minute but Ahoghill replied through James and PJ O’Connell to take the lead with 10 minutes gone. Jonathan Hannon replied for the Aghagallon St. Mary’s to restore parity after 12 minutes but it was the Cloney men who began to find their feet.

Conor Crossey and PJ O’Connell replied with points for the home side before Eamonn Brady struck with the game’s opening goal to move Danny O’Neill’s side five clear at the start of the second quarter but they lost a player to a straight red at this stage.

It failed to disrupt their rhythm however as Tomas McGlone and James O’Connell extended their lead to seven by the 23 minute before Enda McCartan replied with Aghagallon’s first score for 14 minutes when he dissected the posts with four minutes remaining to half time.

James O’Connell replied from an injury time free to leave the Cloney men seven to the good at the change of ends and despite being down to 14 men it was hard to see Aghagallon coming back in the second half given their lack of threat during the opening period.

Donal Graham and Frankie Neeson extended the Ahoghill lead to nine by the 8th minute of the second half and when Michael O’Connell got in for his side’s second goal in the 15th minute it was all over.

Aghagallon hadn’t scored for 28 minutes but they were handed a lifeline when they were awarded a penalty in the 24th minute and Eunan Walsh stepped up to fire past Noel Crossey in the Ahoghill goals.

It was merely consolation at this stage however with James O’Connell and PJ O’Connell replying with points for the Ahoghill side and Ryan O’Neill concluding the scoring with a point for the visitors with time almost up.

This win moves St. Mary’s Ahoghill onto 10 points from 14 starts, one above Aghagallon and three ahead of Tir na nOg who both have a game in hand. Gort na Mona looked to be heading for division 2 a couple of weeks ago but have given themselves a fighting chance with a win over St. Brigid’s last night, their second win in four days and the battle for survival has become just as intriguing as the battle for the title and looks like going right down to the wire.

Ahoghill: 1 Noel Crossey, 2 Francis Neeson, 3 Bobby Magee, 4 Bernard Graham, 5 Patrick Dougan, 6 Thomas McGlone, 7 Eamonn Brady, 8 Neil O’Connell, 9 Patrick Graham, 10 James O’Connell, 11 Owewn Neeson, 12 Fionnbar O’Neill, 13 PJ O’Connell, 14 Donal Graham, 15 Conor Paul Crossey

Aghagallon: 1 Damien O’Hagan, 2 Aaron Doherty, 3 Aidan Mulholland, 4 Ryan O’Neill, 5 Ciaran Maginnis, 6 Paddy Brannigan, 7 Padraig Gowdy, 8 Pauric Maginnis, 9 Eunan Walsh, 10 Ruairi McShane, 11 Enda McCartan, 12 Marc McAfee, 13 Jonathan Hannon, 14 David McAlernon, 15 Darryl McLarnon

Referee: Conal Roberts (St. John’s)

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