Tir na nOg ease home for opening day victory

Andersonstown SC IFC Group 2

St. Paul’s 2-14 Tir na nOg 3-18

St Paul’s and Tir na nOg served up an entertaining Intermediate Championship Group 2 opener at Shaw’s Road last night. The visitors looked in danger of running away with it during the opening exchanges when they raced into a 2-3 to 0-0 lead after 8 minutes.

They were still in a commanding position at half time when they had extended their advantage to 10 points but were forced to fight off a St. Paul’s rally in the second half.

The visitors got off to a flying start with Colm Duffin firing to the net in the opening minute when he followed up on a rebound and Aaron McNeilly added a point from a ‘65’ as Tir na nOg opened at a blistering pace.

Kevin Murray in the St. Paul’s goal brought off a great save as Tir na nOg pushed forward again but was helpless as Kevin McCann rattled the net in their next attack to move his side 2-1 to 0-0 ahead with only 5 minutes on the clock.

It was all one way traffic at this stage as Darragh Fagan added a couple of quick fire points to move the visitors nine ahead before Sean Lawell registered St. Paul’s first score as he sent over a good point with 9 minutes on the clock.

Kevin McCann for Tir na nOg and Declan Chapman for the home side exchanged further points and Eamon Og McAllister for the Whitehill side and Sean Lawell for St. Paul’s followed with fast exchanges but the home side were having difficulty in dealing with the sheer intensity of the opposition.

By half time Tir na nOg had put themselves in a strong position with Colm Duffin, Christy Sheerin 0-2, and Eamon Og McAllister adding further points and Anthony Gallagher and Sean Munce replying for the Shaw’s Road side.

Tir na nog made the better start to the second half as they added a point through Ciaran Logan but St. Paul’s replied through an excellent long range effort from their centre-half and another from Conall Duffy from all of 70 meters.

The Randalstown side were still enjoying the better of the exchanges as they came straight back with points from Ciaran Logan and Colm Duffin but slowly the ‘Hoops’ were starting to gain a foothold and they struck with a goal from Sean Munce and points from Sean Lawell, Munce and Anthony Gallagher to bring themselves right back into contention at the end of the third quarter.

Eamon Og McAllister and a couple from Ciaran Logan eased the pressure but St. Paul’s were now enjoying some success and a goal from Sean MacCorraidh and a point from Conall Duffy had them right back into contention by the 23d minute and only four points separated the sides.

Just when it looked like a St. Paul’s comeback was gaining momentum the Whitehill side produced a moment of magic of their own as they replied immediately with a goal at the other end with Colm Duffin applying the finish to put a bit of daylight between the sides.

The home side never gave up and added four points in the run in to the final whistle with Anthony Gallagher leading the way with 0-3 and the impressive Sean Lawell getting the other but a well organised Tir na nOg were always able to respond and Duffin, Daniel Martin and Aaron McNeill were all on target at the other end to see them collect the points.

St. Paul’s: 1 Kevin Murray, 2 Aaron Carey, 3 Fionntan Gamble, 24 Thomas Duffy, 5 Tiarnan Auld, 6 —-7 Conor Gallagher, 8 Mark Munce, 9 Sean Lawell, 10 Conall Finnegan, 11 Declan Chapman, 12 Anthony Gallagher, 13 Conall Duffy, 14 Sean MacCorraidh, 15 Sean Munce

Tir na nOg: 1 Kevin Sheerin, 2 Tony Martin, 3 Ryan O’Neill, 4 Connor McCamphill, 5 Daniel Martin, 6 Caoimhin Duffin, 7 Manus Smith, 9 Aaron McNeilly, 10 Eamon Og McAllister, 11 Christy Sheerin, 12 Niall Devlin, 13 Kevin McCann, 14 Coplm Duffin, 15 Darragh Fagan, 17 Emmet Martin, 19 Oliver McAtamney, 20 Kevin Kerr, 22 Connor McKenna, 23 Ciaran Logan, 24 Josh Higgins, 16 Michael Higgins.  

Referee: Lorenzo McMullan

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