Glenravel edge a very evenly balanced contest

Antrim Football League – Division 2

Glenravel 0-13  Sarsfields 0-12

Con Magees, Glenravel emerged victorious in a very even game at Fr Maginn Park in beautiful Spring sunshine. The last time these sides met was in the Intermediate Championship semi final in September last year with the same team winning but that was a totally different game. Both sides were even at half time and only a single point in it at the end, indeed very little ever separated these sides over the hour with the lead changing hands a couple of times. Special mention also to referee Ray Matthews who handled the game well; in truth both sides came to play football which probably eased his job on the night.

The first five points of the evening all came from open play with Philip McPeake scoring for Sarsfields in the opening minute but Eamon Fyfe and Eoin Hynds would level and put Glenravel ahead. Garry Lennon and Eamon Fyfe would exchange points before the former put Sarsfields ahead from a free. Lennon was very accurate with dead balls over the hour. So with ten minutes gone both sides were even at three points each. There followed an eleven minute spell where neither side could raise a flag but on twenty two minutes Lennon would nudge Sarsfields ahead once more. Fyfe and Conor Glenholmes traded points to keep the Paddies narrowly ahead but on the stroke of half time David Higgins pointed to restore parity and the sides retired to their changing rooms all square at 0-05 each.

Rian Lennon gave the home side the lead on resumption but back came the Belfast men with points from Garry Lennon and big midfielder Cormac Murray and they were back in front. Niall Swann surged forward with one of the scores of the game to restore parity but shortly after Brian Healy put the visitors in front again. The second half was just a repeat of the first as the ding dong battle continued with neither side really dominating. The home side however hit a purple patch as we entered the final quarter and with points from Eamon Fyfe, Declan Traynor and David Higgins suddenly there was a two point advantage for Con Magees; the first time in the game that more then a single point separated the teams. Tomas Skillen reduced the deficit to a single point and then with eight minutes left on the clock came a pivotal moment in the game. Garry Lennon surged through the Glenravel defence and offloaded to Sam Walsh who was through one on one with Johnny Fyfe in the Glenravel goals. Fyfe held his nerve and saved a pile driver from Walsh when he looked odds on to score.

Who knows how the  game would have ended if that had been converted. Lennon levelled the game minutes later and then a brace of points from Eamon Fyfe put Glenravel ahead by two as we entered stoppage time. The visitors managed to reduce the gap to the minimum through midfielder Ethan Mervyn but Aiden O’Donnell popped up with a fine score to restore the home side’s two point lead. Sarsfields went desperately in search of scores over the closing minutes but despite  Garry Lennon getting the final score in Fr Maginn Park it wasn’t enough to bridge the gap. So Glenravel took both points but they were hard earned against a very strong  Sarsfields outfit. 

Eamonn Ward, grandson of Sarsfields legend Jimmy Ward RIP, in action for Con Magees Glenravel against his granda’s old team at Fr Maginn Park on Wednesday evening

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