Gorts keep themselves in the survival race

Homefit Antrim Football League Division One 

St Brigid’s 0-10 Gort na Móna 0-12

When Gort na Mona recorded their first win over Aghagallon on the 27th of April in what had been an otherwise disastrous league campaign there would have been few who would have predicted the upturn in results and performances that were to follow.

On Sunday they recorded a great win over St. Mary’s Ahoghill at Enright Park and last night they travelled to Musgrave Park and came away with another splendid win over St. Brigid’s to further close the gap on the teams above them.

A strong second half performance gave them a real fighting chance of moving off the bottom and they are now just one point behind Tír na nÓg, although the Randalstown side have a game in hand having received the bye on Wednesday evening.

Gort na Mona have run into a fine vein of form and a new found confidence that comes with winning was again apparent as a fine second-half display of patience, disciplined defending and some fine finishing saw them edge out the home side in a good contest.

St. Brigid’s looked like they were on course for a win early on as from the throw-in, they went straight on the attack with Paul Bradley fisting over the first of five points on the night after just 10 seconds.

Gort na Móna were giving nothing away easily and building with patience out from defence, but took a little while to carve out a decent opening that did come on five minutes as they moved the ball through the hands quickly and Patrick McCaffrey applied the finish.

The home keeper, Reuben Carleton was then called into action to deny Aidan McDonagh’s goal bound effort with St Brigid’s breaking straight up field and Joe Finnegan fielded a long delivery before setting up Marcus Lynch who fired over.

Bradley then converted a free and added another soon after from play with Patrick Finnegan riding a challenge to set up Joe Finnegan to put St. Brigid’s four clear and seemingly on their way to victory.

Gort na Móna absorbed this period of pressure with McCaffrey hitting back with a point immediately and then Padraig McHugh kicked a free to bring the visitors right back into contention and it was clear that the Gorts were in the mood for a battle.

Feargal Meenagh responded with one for the South Belfast men, but there was a sense that Gort na Móna were growing into the ascendancy as they finished the half well.

Eamonn Scannell won possession from a 50-50 ball and finished with a fine point and then good work from Padraic McHugh set up Darren Boyd and ‘Diesel’ finished from distance to leave just the minimum between the sides at half time with St Brigid’s leading 0-6 to 0-5.

Thomas McCaffrey stepped out from goals to convert a long range free on the restart and bring the sides level but Patrick Finnegan edged the host ahead once more but the visitors were starting to play with confidence and a dogged determination.

Dessie McClean got them back on terms with an excellent point in the 37th minute and before the cheers had died down Darren Boyd added an equally impressive effort to edge the visitors in front for the first time.

Jack Dowling and Bradley combined to find Conor McAleer who levelled the contest once more but the momentum was now with the Turf Lodge men who were playing with a lot of confidence and a greater hunger than the home side.

Another turnover in defence saw Darren Boyd find Dessie McLean with an inch perfect long range pass in acres of space and he placed Padraic McHugh to apply the finish and restore the Gorts lead.

McClean then came close to adding a goal in the 47 minutes as he collected a stray kick-out and with Carleton out of his area, his effort from 30 meters was just wide of the post.

The same player convert a mark following another excellent pass from ‘Diesel’ Boyd, while Eamonn Scannell finished a great move to put three between the sides and the points looked secure.

St Brigid’s were not finished however as Bradley converted a 55th minute free but Scannell replied to keep the gap at three as the game entered the closing stages.

St. Brigid’s threw everything at their opponents in an effort to salvage something from the game and Bradley’s fifth point of the game in injury time closed the gap to the minimum but the Gort na Mona defence stood strong to claim another vital brace of points.

ST BRIGID’S: R Carleton; J Morgan, J McCarney, T McCarney; R Boyle, M Cummings, F Meenagh (0-1); C Slevin J Dowling; P Finnegan (0-1), M Lynch (0-1), N Lundy; J Finnegan (0-1), P Bradley (0-5, 2 frees), C McAleer (0-1).

Subs: S McKernan for T McCarney (42), T Brolly for N Lundy (44), J Toner for C McAleer (46), E Carleton for M Lynch (56), R Devlin for C Slevin (57).

GORT NA MÓNA: T McCaffrey (0-1 free); S Campbell, T Keenan, P Cournane; C Donnelly, M Savage, N Henry; C Magee, C Carson; E Scannell (0-3), P McCaffrey (0-2), A McDonagh; D McClean (0-2, 1 mark), D Boyd (0-2), P McHugh (0-2, 1 free).

Subs: P Mulvenna for S Campbell (44), N Melaney for E Scannell (56), M McMullan for A McDonagh (60+3), T Scannell for D McClean (60+5).

REFEREE: Paddy Tumelty (Lámh Dhearg)

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