Aghagallon storm into last four

Northern Switchgear Antrim Senior Football Championship quarter-final 

St Brigid’s 0-07-0-14 Aghagallon 

Kevin Herron reports from Hannahstown

Photographs: Bert Trowlen 

Aghagallon had seven points to spare over St Brigid’s at Hannahstown this afternoon after they ran out 0-14-0-07 winners in the first of today’s Northern Switchgear Antrim Senior Football Championship quarter finals. 

The tie was a repeat of last year’s quarter-final which the South-West side connivingly won to set up a meeting with Portglenone in the semi-final and a similar outcome would see history repeat itself. 

Eunan Walsh floated over the opening score of the game, but Conor McAleer dropped successive frees over the bar to move St Brigid’s ahead after 12 minutes. 

The Musgrave Park outfit would extend their lead when James Smith swung in a high ball that Joseph Finnegan caught cleanly and claimed the mark- before converting the resulting dead-ball. 

McAleer added his third point of the half after playing a short free to Smith- who was pulled back- and the resulting free was dropped over the bar to make it 0-04-0-01. 

Aghagallon cut the deficit through back-to-back frees from Gareth Magee and then restored parity from an angled David McAlernon score. 

The momentum was with last year’s Championship runners up and they would edge ahead before the break after a free-flowing move resulted in Padraig Gowdy dropping a shot over the crossbar to give his side a 0-05-0-04 lead at the midway stage. 

Ruairi McCann doubled Aghagallon’s lead upon the second half’s resumption for his first score of the afternoon. 

At the other end half-time substitute Peter Webb dropped a free short and after the ball was knocked out of Damien O’Hagan grasp; possession was switched to Conor McAleer to send over his first score from play. 

Webb would tie things up for the third time in proceedings, though Aghagallon forged ahead again through a third free of the afternoon from Gareth Magee. 

They extended their lead from the same scenario, this time Eunan Walsh kicked a superb effort from the outside of the boot and Magee inched them 0-09-0-06 ahead with little over ten minutes remaining from his fourth free of the contest. 

Aghagallon’s refused to let up and the scores continued, Eunan Walsh turned over a kick-out and claimed the mark before picking out Ruairi McCann with a neat pass- McCann made room for a shot and swung it between the posts. 

It would be McCann’s last contribution for the afternoon after he shown a black-card by referee Brendan Toland with five-minutes remaining. 

Despite playing the remainder a man light, they went six-ahead through a converted Eunan Walsh free. 

St Brigid’s needed a goal if they had any aspirations of mounting a late fightback, but they could only muster a consolation point from Finn McKernan. 

Late points from substitute Enda McCartan and Jonathan Hannan completed the rout for Aghgallon as the ran out seven-point winners at the conclusion to set-up a semi-final meeting with Portglenone in a fortnight’s time. 

St Brigid’s: D Heery, J Morgan, C King, F McKernan (0-01), P King, J Toner, O Boyle, F Meenagh, J Dowling, R Boyle, P Finnegan, C McAleer (0-04, 0-03f), J Smith, P Bradley, J Finnegan (0-01m). Subs: P Webb (0-01) for P Bradley (HT), N Lundy for O Boyle (51), P Henvoy for F Meenagh (55). 

Aghagallon: D O’Hagan, D Donnelly, J Lavelle, C Maginnis, David McAlernon (0-01), P Mulholland, Daryl McAlernon, E Walsh (0-03, 0-02f), J Lenahan, P Gowdy (0-01), A Loughran, J Hannon (0-01), G Magee (0-054f), R McCann (0-02), N McShane. Subs: P Brannigan for D McAlernon (35), O Lenahan for J Lenahan (40), E McCartan (0-01) for N McShane (45). 

Referee: Brendan Toland (Lámh Dhearg)

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