Biddies overpower All Saints to earn semi-final place

Casement SC JHC quarter-final

St Brigid’s 2-20 All Saints 0-7

As expected St. Brigid’s Cloughmills proved too strong for neighbours, All Saints in this Casement SC JHC quarter-final in Cloughmills today. The division 4 winners started well enough and actually led briefly after four minutes when Liam Cassley edged them ahead but once the division 3 runners up found their range they slowly pulled away from the Ballymena side.

Aaron Smiley pointed St. Brigid’s into an early lead before Ciaran Neeson from a free and Liam Cassley edged the visitors 0-2 to 0-1 ahead for the first and only time in the contest. It was to be short lived however as Liam Kearns equalised and the home side looked in for an early goal but Ciaran Cassley advanced from his line to make a brave blocking save to deny Kearns.

It provided only momentary respite however as Aaron Smiley sent over a monster effort from all of 70 meters but Damian Gillan replied for the Slemish Park side to level matters for the third time with only seven minutes gone.

That was as good as it got for the visitors as Smiley, Liam Kearns and Stephen Smyth hit unanswered points for the home side and then Kearns collected a good pass from Eoin Dobbin before firing to the net in the 12th minute.

Aaron Smiley caught the resulting puck out before returning the sliotar between the posts and Stephen Smyth and Aaron Smiley 0-2 moved the ‘Biddies’ 10 ahead at the end of the opening quarter as they began to dominate proceedings.

The visitors were finding it increasingly difficult to mount an attack at the other end but Ciaran Neeson was wide from a free as they briefly threatened before Aaron Smiley, Stephen Smyth with a great long range effort and Gary McCollum added to St. Brigid’s ever increasing tally.

The visitors were giving it everything and were finally rewarded for their efforts when Ciaran Neeson pointed a free and Liam Cassley followed with another from play to take their total to five but it brought about another surge from the Cloughmills’ side.

Ciaran Cassley in the All Saints goals brought off his second excellent save of the game to deny Stephen Smyth but the same player finished the first half scoring with an injury time point to leave St. Brigid’s leading by 1-14 to 0-5 at half time and even at this stage they looked to have one foot in the semi-final.

Ciaran Neeson sent over a great point in the 2nd minute as the game got underway again but any hopes of an All Saints revival were soon dispelled as play became disjointed and fractious as the half continued.

The home side were soon into their stride again as Geoffery Og Laverty and Liam Kearns from a close range free and then from play moved them further ahead at the end of a low scoring third quarter with Ciaran Neeson replying with All Saints 7th point of the game in the 19th minute.

Once again St. Brigid’s replied through an excellent point from Stephen Smyth before Ciaran Cassley in the All Saints goals pulled off another courageous stop to deny Liam Kearns but Ruair Laverty followed up with a point after collecting the rebound.

The superb Cassley was finally beaten for the second time in the game as Liam Kearns finally found a way past him from close range with time almost up and Aaron Smiley added the final point of the contest in injury time to see St. Brigid’s advance convincingly into the semi-final where they will meet Rasharkin.

Shane O’Neill’s will meet Glen Rovers, Armoy in the other semi-final with all four semi-finalists coming from division 3 and we should be in for a couple of excellent games in two weeks-time.

St. Brigid’s: 1 Christopher McKernan, 2 Martin Dobbin, 3 Sean McKendry, 4 Aaron McGuckian, 5 Johnny Duffin, 6 Conor Laverty, 7 Joe Smyth, 8 Ruairi Laverty, 9 Geoffery Og Laverty, 12 Eoin Dobbin, 14 Liam Kearns, 15 Stephen Smyth, 17 Gary McCollum, 19 Stephen Martin 20, Aaron Smiley Subs|: Michael Reid, Ryan Dobbin and Reece Watt

All Saints: 1 Ciaran Cassley, 2 Daniel Gray, 3 Colum Neeson, 4 Kevin Brady, 5 Dwayne McKee, 6 Luke O’Rawe, 7 Padraig Magill, 8 Cormac Lemon, 9 James O’Boyle, 10 Eoin Magee, 11 Damian Gillan, 12 Cormac Magill, 13 Ciaran Neeson, 14 Liam Cassley, 15 Vinny Esler.

Subs: Benny McDonnell, Conor O’Rawe, Conrad Duffin and Cathaoir Cunning

Referee: Sean Elliott (Lamh Dhearg)

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