Andersonstown SC Antrim IHC, Group Two
Gort Na Móna 0-15 St Paul’s 1-18
A Cairbre O’Cairealain goal late in the contest swung this game the way of the visitors as St. Paul’s recorded their first win in Group 2 of the Andersonstown SC IHC at the third attempt when they defeated Gort na Mona at Enright Park on Sunday but with only one game left-at home to Cloney Gaels-qualification for the quarter-finals looks a difficult ask.
Stephen Rooney got them on their way with a pointed free but Dessie McClean replied from another free for the home side to square the contest as the hits went in early in the game.
St Paul’s took the lead again with points from Caolan Duffin, and Anthony Gallagher before Cairbre O Caireallain pointed twice from frees to put the Shaw’s Road side into a four point lead. St. Paul’s extended that lead to five midway through the opening half and at this stage looked in total control.
Gort na Mona were finding the posts a difficult target as they struck a number of wides before Dessie McClean got their second point in the 23d minute and the same player pointed two frees in quick succession to cut the deficit to three points.
Back came the visitors with points from Conall Finnegan and a fine long range effort from Frankie Sewell to re-establish control and Anthony Gallagher added another as St. Paul’s continued to dominate the exchanges but Gort na Mona kept in touch with Darren Boyd and McClean to the fore and at half time only four points separated the protagonists.
Dessie McClean got the Turf Lodge side off to a good start when he pointed on the restart and substitute Patrick McCaffrey followed with two more to bring the sides level and suddenly we had a game on our hands.
McCaffrey thought he’d put his side into the lead for the first time but his effort from 30 yards was ruled wide after consultation with the umpires.
Things were really starting to heat up and referee Colm McDonald was a busy man trying to keep a lid on matters and Dessie McClean looked certain to give the home side the lead but was denied by an excellent hook by Marcas Munce as the game moved into the closing ten minutes.
It still looked anybody’s game at this stage but St. Paul’s struck a decisive blow from the resulting counter attack with Cairbre O’Caireallain getting on the end of a fluent movement before sending his shot to the net and put his side back into the lead.
Gort na Mona looked stunned and before they could recover St. Paul’s top scorer on the day, Cairbre O Cairealain added a point and Marcas Munce followed with another after a strong solo run out of defence to put the game out of reach of the Turf Lodge men.
James Connolly and Desmond McClean replied for Gort na Mona but two O Cairealain frees sealed the game for the away side who must beat Ahoghill in their last game and hope results elsewhere in the group go in their favour if they are to qualify for the quarter-finals.
GORT NA MÓNA: N Healy, L Dixon, C Devlin, J Connolly, P Courmane, P McHugh, T Morton, D Hughes 0-2, N Henry, A McDonagh, G McKenna, D Boyd 0-3, D McClean 0-8 (5 frees), C McCann, M MacMaolain,
Subs: C Healy, D Dixon, N McGivern, R Coleman, P McCaffrey 0-2,
ST PAUL’S: K Murray, M Munce 0-1, F Gamble, C Gallagher, F Sewell 0-2, S Rooney 0-3 (0-3 Free), T Auld, C Finnegan 0-1, C O’Carroll 0-1, C Duffin 0-1, A Gallagher 0-1, Cairbre O Caireallain 1-8 (0-5 Frees), S Munce, S Mac Corraidh, T Duff
Subs: N Martin, P Og Donnelly, C Gamble, A Grego
REFEREE: Mark McDonald (St Gall’s)