ACFL Division 1
A decent crowd assembled at Kelly park when league leaders Portglenone hosted recently resurgent St Brigids. On a perfect night for football, it was the hosts who got a better start with opening scores from Oisin Doherty, Ronan Kelly and a fairly fortunate goal from Michael Hagan to give the bannsiders a foothold that they never relinquished.
St Brigids worked hard to make sure that gap didn’t extend any further than four points at any point, and kept themselves competitive throughout, with Niall Duffy and Oran Downey particularly prominent.
The gap at half time was five, but it was a completely different St Brigids in the second half. Playing with a new urgency and quality they took the game to Casements, but the hosts also stepped up and did enough to maintain a four or five point cushion throughout.
Some good individual contests were taking place, Shane Delargy holding Enda Downey to a limited role throughout being the highlight. Oisin Doherty, in most peoples eyes the man of the match, continued his fine vein of form that was worthy of a recent county call up with an impressive individual haul of 7 points, a mixture of long range frees and from open play.
James Smyth worked tirelessly in an unfamiliar midfield position, and he lit a spark of kind when he found the net with five minutes left, setting up a frantic finish which kept the enlivened support on its toes. The hosts lost two players to a red and a black, and St Brigids finished with a flourish, but it was too little too late as Portglenone saw the game out for a fully deserved two points that keep them at the head of the league table.
St Brigids will point to the unavailability of 6 county panellists that will obviously make a noticeable difference as the season develops, but for now Casements are moving nicely, rotating players and building a solid panel as John McKeever maintains his focus on developing a panel that can go a step further than in recent seasons.
Casements. Ryan O Neill Ronan Delargy Shane Delargy Jonny Convery Ryan Convery Ruairi Hagan Caolan Tierney Niall Delargy Niall Mc Keever Fergal O Kane Michael Hagan Ciaran McKenna Ronan Kelly Oisin Doherty Conall Delargy
Subs used Conor McGee Paddy Kelly Oran McGarry
St. Brigid’s: Decky Heery, Callum Webb, Conor King, Finn McKernan, Shay Campbell
John Toner 0.01, Reuben Carleton (Peter Lundy 20), Fergal Meenagh 0.1, James Smith 1.02
John Morgan, Oran Downey, Niall Duffy 0.01 (Joe McCarney 55), Enda Downey 0.04
Calum Downey, Rory McErlean 0.02 (Cathal Conway 55)
Referee: Kevin Parke