St Gall’s win well as Con Magees regret missed chances

Andersonstown Social Club Intermediate Hurling Championship

Glenravel 0-07    St Galls 0-14

St Galls emerged victorious in this low scoring game where first touch hurling and accurate score taking were in short supply. To be fair both teams struggled under the heavy grey sky and constant drizzle making fast flowing hurling almost impossible. St Galls victory was largely down to a combination of indiscretion by the home team in the defensive third of the pitch being punished by accurate free taking from the visitors’ corner forward, Mark Napier, who got half his team’s scores, six of which were frees from  relatively easy positions.

The Belfast men would have been strong favourites having ploughed their trade this season a division above Con Magees who were making their Intermediate Championship debut having secured the Junior Championship last year. But a narrow two point lead on the short whistle would have had the city men  a little nervous in the half time changing rooms.

St Galls started the game in full flow with the opening three scores from Patrick Friel and two from Mark Napier. Declan McAuley making a welcome return to the starting lineup after a long layoff got Con Magees off the mark after eight minutes but that was cancelled out one minute later when St Galls’ burly full forward Antoin McCafferty pointed from close range. Glenravel had been playing well in the opening quarter but some wayward shooting found them trailing 0-04 to 0-01 at this stage. That would change over a three minute period when Niall Donnelly, Johnny Fyfe and Connor Deery brought the home side level after fifteen minutes of the first half. The second quarter was a dull affair for the purists with only two points recorded over a fifteen minute spell, both for St Galls from play by Fergus Donnelly and Patrick Friel.

The home support would have been happy enough with the half time scoreline but disappointed Glenravel hadn’t been a little more accurate from open play.

Sean McKay was introduced to the Con Magees forward line at the start of the second half at the expense of Declan McAuley who had done well in his first game back. However defensively the home team were starting to leak frees which Mark Napier and Ryan Irvine converted in the opening two minutes to double St Gall’s lead to four points and put some daylight between the teams for the first time. Connor Deery and Mark Napier traded frees before Declan Traynor picked off the score of the game when his quick thinking lead to a lovely point to reduce the gap to three points. St Galls would stretch the lead to four again when Fergus Donnelly pointed from play so we headed into the final quarter with St Galls ahead by four 0-10 to 0-06 and struggling to kill off Glenravel. However, in the final quarter the Division 2 side’s experience and guile won through. As the light was fading so were the home side’s chances with Con Magees resorting to conceding frees which Mark Napier (3) and Ryan Irvine (1) happily converted. Glenravel’s only response was fine point from play by Johnny Fyfe as the game ticked into added time leaving a final score of 0-14 to 0-07 in favour of St Galls.

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