Vernon leads St Malachy’s to semi-final spot

Graham Tarmac Junior Football Championship – Group 1

Ballycastle 0-5 St Malachy’s 1-11

It took them a while to get going, but once they did, St Malachy’s had too much know-how for Ballycastle when the sides met at Pairc MacUilin on Friday evening in the Junior Football Championship.

When Marty Jamison pointed a free for the home side on twenty minutes to level the scores at 0-2 apiece, it looked like this was going to be close affair, but St Malachy’s hit back with a bang and added seven points in a row to lead by 0-9 to 0-2 at the interval. Jamison added a point from a ‘Mark’ six minutes into the second half to give the home team some hope, but when St Malachy’s Ronan Maneely finished superbly to the Ballycastle net seven minutes later it was clear there was no way back for the ‘Town’.

St Malachy’s Ronan Maneely (10) curls a shot into the top corner of the Ballycastle net for the only goal of the game in Friday evening JFC round robin game in Ballycastle. Pic by John McIlwaine

Eoin Magee put Ballycastle ahead from a pointed free early in the game, but man of the match Ciaran Vernon soon had St Marlachy’s level, and the midfielder put them ahead on twelve minutes. On twenty minutes Marty Jamison brought the ‘Town’ level from a free but when Jack MGivern put St Malachy’s back in front two minutes later, something seemed to click for the Belfast men. Paul Divine, Karl McCavana and Ronan Maneely sent over three points in as many minutes to put then in charge and flow continued as Ciaran Vernon, Colm Connolly and Vernon again all pointed from play to open up a seven point half time lead. (0-9 to 0-2)

Eoin Magee send over a Ballycastle point from a free

Six minutes into the second half Jamison gave the home team a bit of hope when he finished well after calling a ‘Mark’, but he scores were proving hard to come by for both teams. It was thirteen minutes before St Malachy’s got their first score of the second half, but it was worth waiting for as a flowing move out of defence sent Maneely clear on the left and the right half forward soloed through to curl his shot to the top corner of the Ballycastle net.

Eoin Magee (2) and Conor Kelly pointed frees for Ballycastle, but they were never going to catch the Mals , who came back with points from Maneely and Vernon to wrap up the win and book a semi-final spot.

St Malachy’s legend Liam Boyle, now resident in Ballycastle, was at last nights game at Pairc MacUilin . Liam captained the Antrim team that won the 1969 All Ireland Under 21 Football title, beating Roscommon in Croke Park.
Ciaran Vernon of St Malachy’s presents a sponsorship cheque to the Saffron Gael after last nights game in Ballycastle

BALLYCASTLE

Eamon Butler, Conal Magee, Conor Donnelly, Oisin Donnelly, Ciaran McAuley, Shane Farley, Eoin Boylan, Eoin Magee, Caolan O’Connor, Darren McKillion, Darren Campbell, Stephen Magill, Conor Kelly, Martin Jamison, Tiernan Heggarty.

Subs – Leon Bailey, Tadg Donnelly, Brian McLarnon, Niall McDermot

ST MALACHY’S

Fintan McBride, Colin Connoly, Stephen Carson, Caoimin Corr, Daniel Quinn, Mark Connolly, Pearse Hanna, Anthony Dobbin, Ciaran Vernon, Ronan Maneely, Aidan Connor, Jack McGivern, Paul Millar, Kark McCavana, Paul Carlisle

Subs Paul Divine.

REFREE – Ryan O’Reilly (Con Magees)

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