ACFL Division 2
Glenavy 2-10 Aldergrove 1-18
St. James Aldergrove made it six wins from six starts in division 2 and at this early stage of the season they look favourites to make the return to division 1 football at the end of the year. Its early days of course but the Crumlin side are playing an expansive brand of football that has proved too good for all their opponents to date.
On Sunday they faced neighbours Glenavy at Chapel Hill and while St. Joseph’s got themselves back into contention with a Fergal Henry goal, early in the second half they were forced to concede to a strong finishing Aldergrove side.
Declan Gough for St. James and Ruairi Forester for Glenavy exchanged early points and a further exchange between Ryan Owens for the visitors and Malachi Doherty from a long range pointed free for the home side had the sides tied for the second time.
The visitors started to settle however and Declan Gough, Ronan Hanna from a free and Gough again pointed them three in front by the end of the opening quarter before Glenavy responded with a Thomas Gallagher goal to level matters for the third time.
This score should have lifter the Chapel Hill side but instead it brought a strong response from the visitors as Cormac McGarry from play and Seamus McGarry from three pointed frees saw them move four in front after 21 minutes.
Malachi Doherty from a well struck long range free interrupted the visitors but they came storming back again with points from Ronan Hanna, Cormac McGarry and Declan Gough to move six in front before Patrick Gallagher replied with the last point of the half for the home side to leave it 1-4 to 0-12 in favour of the Crumlin side.
The visitors had enjoyed the benefit of a fairly strong breeze in the opening half and when Fergal Henry pointed a free and Fiontan O’Boyle hit the opening two points of the half, Glenavy looked like making a game of it.
James Trowlen and Seamus McGarry moved the gap out to five once more but the men in orange were starting to have a wee bit of success and Darragh Armstrong looked in for a goal but shot over before Fergal Henry found the Aldergrove net and suddenly there was only one point between the sides.
Thomas Gallagher fired over the equaliser and for the first time in the game serious question were being asked of the visitors. Brian McQuillan answered those questions with a fine long range point and when Seamus McGarry palmed a cross field pass to the Glenavy net normal service had been resumed.
The visitors were now firmly back in control and Ronan Hanna had the ball in the Glenavy net again but play had been called back for an earlier free which the big number 14 confidently stroked over and Seamus McGarry added another before Conor Browning was shown Black.
Browning pulled down Patrick Gallagher as he broke through on goal with Fergal Henry pointing the resulting free but the final score of the game fell to St. James’ Oisin Graham to leave the visitors comfortable winners in the end with their promotion dreams very much alive.
Glenavy: 1 Stephen Daly, 2 Malachi Doherty, 3 Oisin Hamill, 4 Matthew Hamill, 5 Darragh Doherty, 6 Conor Hamill, 7 Rian Phillips, 8 Ciaran Loney, 9 Fiontan O’Boyle, 10 Ruairi Forester, 11 Charles Gallagher, 12 Patrick Gallagher, 13 Thomas Gallagher, 14 Fergal Henry, 15 Darragh Armstrong
Aldergrove: 1 Sean O’Neill, 2 David Aiken, 3 Chris McVeigh, 4 Aiden Ervine, 5 Conor Browning, 6 Christopher Browning, 7 Eoin Hamill, 8 Brian McQuillan, 9 Conleth Hendron, 10 Declan Gough, 11 Seamus McGarry, 12 Ryan Owens, 13 Cormac McGarry, 14 Ronan Hanna, 15 Oisin Graham
Referee: Colm McDonald (St. Gall’s)