Andersonstown SC Intermediate Hurling Championship Group 1
St Galls 2-17-2-13 Creggan Kickhams
Kevin Herron reports from Milltown
St Galls fought back from two-points behind at the break to see off Creggan with a 2-17-2-13 victory at Milltown on Sunday evening.
The visitors dominated for large spells of the opening half with Kevin Rice’s early strike helping them into a 1-08-0-05 lead.
But Anton McCaffrey netted before the break and St Galls quickly got back on terms afterwards and hit the front with substitute Sean McAreavey making an impact from the bench and Mark Napier pulling in some vital scores.
A Morgan Nelson goal helped Creggan eventually restore parity, but they were undone late-on by a Napier goal in injury-time that helped the hosts to victory and a second win in the Group.
Sean Duffin got Creggan off the mark early-on and things got better when Kevin Rice made an angle for himself and shot low past Kurtis McGreevey and to the net.
The visitors extended their lead through a point from Oran McCann before Jackson McGreevy initiated a reply for St Galls.
Duffin floated over his second point of the half and the Staffordstown outfit almost had a second goal when Aidan Maguire picked out Morgan Nelson, the wing-half forward looked to be heading towards the target but opted for a point.
It was largely one-way traffic and Creggan moved 1-05-0-01 ahead after Kevin Rice adjusted his run and steered the ball between the posts.
St Galls were in need of some inspiration and Niall O’Neill produced an excellent effort from range that sailed between the posts.
The sides traded the next four scores equally, Creggan twice re-established their seven-point lead with points from Sean Duffin and Morgan Nelson.
On both occasions the hosts produced points of their own at the other end, Fergus Donnelly picked out Jackson McGreevy to swing over his second point and Mark Napier then produced a stunning score from a difficult angle.
Napier quickly doubled his tally for the evening, but Kevin Rice guided a shot between the sticks to ensure Creggan were in control with a 1-08-0-05 lead.
Although that lead would be halved before the interval, on 26 minutes a fantastic long ball into the forward-line from Jackson McGreevy was seized by Anton McCaffrey- who turned and sent a low shot to the net past Brendan Prenter.
Fergus Donnelly would clip over a point in the aftermath and at the break, only two-points separated the sides, and it was all to play for.
St Galls began the second period on the front-foot with Ryan Irvine converting a free and Jackson McGreevy producing a fine point from range to tie things up at 1-08 apiece.
McGreevy would nudge the Miltown side ahead for the very first time and Mark Napier fizzed a shot over the crossbar to double their advantage.
Their lead was halved when Oran McCann converted a free to get Creggan up and running again.
Napier would bring his tally to four for the evening with a straight-forward placed-ball and substitute Sean McAreavey wasted no time in making an impact from the bench with a point that give his side a 1-12-1-09 lead.
The Galls extended their lead through a further Napier free- though with 12 minutes remaining Creggan salvaged a lifeline.
Declan McCann hoisted a high ball forward, a flick-on fell invitingly to Morgan Nelson and his low shot flew past Kurtis McGreevy to bring the deficit back to the bare minimum.
Substitute McAreavey would double his tally, but at the other end Oran McCann picked out namesake Ruairi to float over a reply and bring it back to a one-point game.
Ruairi McCann then got to the resulting puck-out and laid the ball off to Sean Duffin- who swung over the equaliser to tie the game up a 1-14-2-11.
Points were again traded in the aftermath with Patrick Friel edging St Galls ahead and Oran McCann restoring parity through a close range free.
Friel doubled his tally from out wide and gave the hosts an advantage that they wouldn’t let slip in injury-time.
The crucial score arrived two minutes in after Sean McAreavey chased a lost cause and recycled the ball to Mark Napier to fire to the net and give their side a 2-16-2-12 lead.
Oran McCann converted a free in the aftermath to ensure that his side would at least have the chance of an equaliser if time allowed it, but they wouldn’t get that chance as Sean McAreavey floated over his third point from his introduction to ensure that St Galls made it two-wins from two at the start of their Championship campaign.
St Galls: K McGreevy,L O’Ciarain, J McDaniel, D Wilson, N O’Neill (0-01), R Irvine (0-01), C McCarthy, J Hopkins, F Donnelly (0-01), T O’Ciarain, R Wilson, J McGreevy (0-04), P Friel (0-02), A McCaffery (1-00), M Napier (1-05, 0-02f).
Subs: S McAreavy (0-03) for F Donnelly (43), G McGreevy for R Wilson (43), C McCaffery for R Irvine (57), C Sheehan for A McCaffery (59).
Creggan Kickhams: B Prenter, A Maguire, A McKeown, J McAteer, D McCann, L McCann, T McLarnon, K McCann, R McCann (0-01), M Nelson (1-02), O McCann (0-04, 0-03f), S Duffin (0-04), D Mulholland, K Rice (1-02), D Carey.
Subs: B Maguire for D McCann (50).
Referee: Eamon Hamill (St Teresa’s)