Ulster Intermediate Football League
All Saints 0-9 Clann na Banna 1-4
In what turned out to be the proverbial, game of two halves, it was All Saints Ballymena who made all the early running against visitor Clann na Banna at Quinn Park on Sunday morning. With the slight breeze at their back an understrength Ballymena side threatened to run away with it during the opening 30 minutes but were forced to hold on for a narrow win in the end.
With only a handful of their regulars in the starting line-up, Baker Bradley’s side made a strong start with team captain Emmet Killough settling them with an excellent early point and Michael McCarry moving them two in front from a 5th minute free.
James McGrath got the Banbridge side off the mark with a point in the 9th minute but the home side responded through Benny McDonnell before Michael ‘Gooch’ McCarry hit the next four scores of the game with an imperious exhibition of free taking.
The visitors fought hard to get into the game but could find no way through a solid looking All Saints defence where full-back, James Gillan and youngster, Archie McGreevey cut out anything that came their way.
They were thankful to returning keeper, Ryan Stewart who pulled off a number of good saves including a 28th minute penalty but the visitors will feel they should have been much closer than the 0-7 to 0-1 deficit they took into half time.
All Saints lost full-forward Peter McReynolds to injury, only two minutes into the second half and it proved a serious setback to the home side as ‘Pizza’ had been proving a willing target man with his pace and intelligent movement.
Slowly Clann na Banna started to get a foothold with team captain, Malachy Magee splitting the posts in the 9th and 10th minutes but when Michael McCarry pointed a 13 meter free for his 5th point of the game normal service looked to have been restored.
The Banbridge side were starting to believe however and when Liam Vaughan raced clear for a point in the 24th minute the momentum was very much with them. Indeed Vaughan might have had a goal but blazed over with only Stewart in the home goals to beat.
The goal that they had threatened did arrive as Donal Scullion took advantage of a quick free from mid-field after Rory McVeigh had been penalised for charging and the Clann na Banna substitute found himself in the clear to fire past Ryan Stewart and leave just a point between the sides with only a minute of normal time remaining.
All Saints looked in trouble but to their credit they rallied and James McDonnell moved forward from defence to screw over a good point from a difficult angle to see his side take both points following a draw away to Keady last week.
All Saints: Ryan Stewart, Eoin Walsh, James Gillan, Archie McGreevey, Rory McVeigh, James McDonnell, Cal O’Brien, Emmet Killough, Luke O’Rawe, Conor Corr, Michael McCarry, Charlie Metrustry, Brendan McDonnell, Peter McReynolds, Connor Brennan.
Subs: Joshua Blair for Peter McReynolds,
Clann na Banna: Eamon McNally, Liam Og Magennis, Odhran McMullan, Dara Scullion, Callum Burns, Michael Mallon, Shane Nelson, Eoin Scullion, Fergal Vaughan, Garrett Campbell, Liam Vaughan, Taylor Hill, James McGrath, Connor Lenaghan, Malachy Magee.
Subs: Donal Scullion and Shane Haughey
Referee: Ritchie Leahy