ACFL Division 1B
Tir na nOg 2-10 St. Brigid’s 1-9
Two second half goals from flying full-forward, Ciaran Dobbin provided Tir na nOg with a vital lifeline in their fight Against relegation and paved the win for an excellent win over St. Brigid’s at Whitehill last night.
The visitors held a narrow 1-6 to 0-8 lead thanks to a James Smith goal early in the second half but Dobbin got on the end of an Eamon Og McAllister cross and turned his marker before firing to the net in the 15th minute to give his side a lead they would not lose.
The early exchanges were close and even as Michael Cummings put the visitors in front with a point after 30 seconds before Darragh Fagan replied at the other end to level matters with only a minute gone.
Conor McAleer restored St. Brigid’s lead but Eamon Og McAllister fired over at the other end and might have had a goal in the 7th minute.
Both teams were playing the possession game with St. Brigid’s slow and methodical in the build-up while the home side were much quicker when they broke and Patrick Finnegan for the Musgrave Park side and Eamon Og McAllister for Tir na nOg exchanged further points to leave it 0-3 to 0-3 by the 8th minute.
The scored slowed down for a time before Barry McCormick gave the home side the lead with a good point in the 16th minute but Conor McAleer brought matters level from a free that had been brought forward for dissent and then restored St. Brigid’s lead from another free in the 20th minute.
The closing minutes of the half belonged to the Whitehill men as Ciaran Dobbin fired over the equaliser following a mark and then Eamon Og McAllister raced clear on goal with his shot parried by Seamus McKenna and Christy Sheerin fisted the rebound over when a goal looked certain.
Sheerin’s point gave the home side a narrow 0-6 to 0-5 lead at the interval but within a minute of the restart Conor McAleer squared matters once more from a close range free before Darragh Fagan punished a foul on Ciaran Dobbin to restore the home side’s lead.
Fagan was wide of the target from another free in the 6th minute and the visitors came back strongly and a strong run from Joseph Finnegan placed James Smith for a goal from close range and St. Brigid’s had regained the lead with ten minutes on the clock.
Things were certainly warming up and Fagan made amends for his earlier miss as he closed the gap to one before a piece of individual magic involving Eamon Og McAllister saw him place Dobbin for his side’s opening goal at the end of the third quarter.
Aaron McNeilly pointed a 17th minute free to move Tir na nOg three in front but substitute Conor Slevin brought it back to two with virtually his first touch with 21 minutes gone. Joe Finnegan made it a one point game again before Jack Dowling received Black for the visitors and it proved to be a severe blow with Dowling putting in a big shift at mid-field for the visitors.
It was Tir na nOg who took advantage of the extra man and Ciaran Dobbin shook off three defenders to somehow place the ball in the visitors net with just three minutes remaining.
St. Brigid’s needed a goal if they were to get back into contention but had to settle for a Patrick Finnegan point as the Tir na nOg defence closed shop and Darragh Fagan kicked over the insurance point from a free in time added on to secure a massive win for the Randalstown side.
This win moves Tir na nOg onto 10 points, one above Aghagallon who suffered a heavy defeat at home to St. Enda’s and just one behind last night’s opponents with Tir na nOg having a game in hand over the Musgrave Park side.
Last night’s defeat to St. Gall’s leaves Gort na Mona’s position looking precarious while Aghagallon look in serious trouble as well following a heavy defeat at home to St. Enda’s but Tir na nOg travel to Enright Park on Friday night and a win there would go a long way to securing division 1 status for next season
Tir na nOg: 1 Sean Paul McAtamney, 2 Oliver McAtamney, 3 Ethan Higgins, 4 Peter Cullen, 5 Ciaran O’Neill, 6 Barry McCormick, 7 Aaron McNeilly, 8 Ryan O’Neill, 9 Christy Sheerin, 10 Ciaran McKeown, 11 Eamon Og McAllister, 12 Darragh Fagan, 13 Connor Hastings, 14 Ciaran Dobbin, 15 Daniel Martin. Subs: Kevin Kerr for Conor Hastings
St. Brigid’s: 1 Seamus MacKenna, 2 Sean MacTharnan, 3 Finn McKernan, 4 Daniel Foster, 5 Fergal Meenagh, 6 Michael Cummings, 7 Oran O’Boyle, 8 James Smith, 31 Jack Dowling, 10 John Toner, 11 Ethan Carleton, 12 Patrick Finnegan, 13 Joseph Finnegan, 14 Conor McAleer, 15 Peter Lundy, Subs: 17 Conor Slevin, 18 Peter Webb.
Referee: Sean Laverty (St. Ergnat’s)