ACFL Division 1
St. Mary’s Ahoghill 1-11 St. Brigid’s 2-5
Two late goals for the visitors only served to put a better look on the scoreline as Chris McGlone’s St. Mary’s Ahoghill got their 2023 campaign off to a winning start with a fairly convincing win over St. Brigid’s at Clooney on Sunday.
The Musgrave Park men edged a cagey and low scoring opening half to lead 0-4 to 0-3 at the break but Ahoghill upped the ante on the restart, holding their opponents scoreless for 25 minutes and hitting an impressive 1-8 in the process.
Perhaps the writing was on the wall for St. Brigid’s when Declan Heery saved a Thomas McGlone penalty just before half time but they failed to read the signals and were made to pay by a slick an efficient home side.
Peter Lundy 0-2, Rory McErlean and James Smith were the St. Brigid’s first half marksmen with James O’Connell, Ronan Graham and Fionnbar O’Neill on target for the home side. Pick of those scores was James O’Connell’s point when he took a great long range pass from Gerard Graham in the 22nd minute before claiming and converting a mark.
Despite that late penalty save there were signs that St. Mary’s were getting on top and they started the second half on the front foot and Bernard Graham, Bobby Magee, James O’Connell, Ronan Graham and three more from the elusive James O’Connell had them 9 in front by the 10th minute as their defence closed shop on the Brigid’s attack.
Eamonn Brady led by example as he consistently won dirty ball and forced turnovers with his tenacious tackling and it took 25 minute for St. Brigid’s to raise their first flag when James Smith split the posts.
Conor Crossey’s goal in the 27th minute ensured there would be no way back for the Belfast side but they did keep going to the end and were rewarded by late goals from Rory McErlean and another in injury time from Toirleach Brolly.
In between Dan O’Connell got his name on the Ahoghill score-sheet with a good point and while Ahoghill’s new manager, Chris McGlone will be unhappy with those late concessions he will be take a lot of positives from his sides overall performance which augers well for the season ahead.
Ahoghill: 1 Noel Crossey 2 Seamus McKeever 3 James (Bobby) Magee 4 Harry O’Donnell 5 Finbar O’Neill 6 Eamon Brady 7 Diarmaid Graham 8 Patrick Graham 9 Tom McGlone 20 Dan O’Neill 11 Shea Madden 12 Bernard Graham 13 Conor Crossey 14 Ronan Graham 15 James O’Connell
St. Brigid’s: 1 Declan Heery 2 Joseph McCarney 3 Conor King 4 Finn McKernan 5 Reuben Carleton 6 John Toner 7 Sean McKernan, 8 Fergal Meenagh 9 John Morgan 10 Toirleach Brolly 11 James Smith 12 Peter Lundy 13 Marcus Lynch 14 Ben Doherty 15 Rory McErlean
Referee: Eamon McAuley (Cargin)