Andersonstown SC Antrim IHC – Group 1
St Galls 0-17 Cushendun 2-14
Paul McIntyre reports from De La Salle Park.
Blistering starts to the beginning of each half helped Cushendun to a three-point win over St Galls at Milltown on Saturday evening.
Of their final total of 2-13, 2-9 was registered in the opening ten minutes of each half as the Robert Emmets got their campaign off to the best possible start.
Dominic McQuillan and Harry Kilgore both found the back of the St Galls net while Fiontan McQuillan finished with 0-7 from placed balls.
The visitors also had goalkeeper Gareth McGhee to thank for their victory. Twice McGhee denied Jackson McGreevy as the home side went chasing victory.
McGhee was forced into a stunning full stretch save in the 26th minute when it looked like McGreevy’s effort was destined for the top corner. Cushendun then had McGhee to thank again deep into second half injury time when he got down quickly to his left to keep out a low drive from a McGreevy free.
It was a save that denied St Galls a deserved share of the spoils and they are still chasing their first championship win after two outings.
Cushendun showed no ill-effects from their long journey to Belfast and after 6 minutes they found themselves three to the good as two frees from Fiontan McQuillan and an effort from play from Calum Kilgore saw the Emmets take an early stranglehold of the game.
Jackson McGreevy opened St Galls account in the 7th minute but Cushendun replied instantly when Dominic McQuillan nipped in behind the home defence to rifle a powerful shot past Kurtis McGreevy in the home goal.
When Pierce Bannon scored in the 11th minute, it looked like Cushendun were going to cruise to victory as they led 1-5 to 0-1, but inspired by Jackson McGreevy, St Galls came roaring back into the tie.
Five unanswered points from the St Galls target man, including a sublime sideline puck, cut the arrears to just one before David Kilgore knocked over Cushendun’s first point in 9 minutes with half time fast approaching.
But McGreevy continued to carry the fight and either side of McGee’s stunning save, the St Galls talisman converted a free and 65 to send the teams in level at the break, with the scoreboard at the short whistle reading St Galls 0-10 Cushendun 1-7.
Cushendun wasted no time in restoring their two-point advantage as efforts from McGhee and Conor McHugh edged the visitors back in front.
Again, it was Jackson McGreevy who responded for St Galls but almost instantly Cushendun took further control of the contest.
Pierce Bannon ran through the heart of the St Galls defence and he picked out Harry Kilgore who had the time and space to pick his spot and claim the visitors second goal of the day.
Cushendun were enjoying a bit of a purple patch and Kilgore, McHugh and two frees from Fiontan McQuillan helped the Robert Emmet’s to a six-point advantage with less than ten minutes left on the clock.
But just like in the first half, St Galls came roaring back.
Jackson McGreevy’s 12th point of the game was followed by efforts from Mark Napier, Cormac Sheehan and Dubhaltach Mac Liam to set up a Grandstand finish and the gap was now only two-points.
Fiontan McQuillan’s free in the 3rd minute of additional time gave the visitors a little bit of breathing space, but there was still time for one more attack from St Galls. And from Jackson McGreevy’s low free, they nearly rescued a deserving point, but McGhee’s sharp reactions denied the St Galls sharpshooter a match saving goal, and ensured that Cushendun return back to the north coast with the victory points.
Teams & Scorers:
St Galls: Kurtis McGreevy, Daniel Churchill, Connlá McCarthy, Ewan Rush, Gairech Mac Adhaimh, Ryan Irvine, Jeff Frampton, Dubhaltach Mac Laim (0-1), Jack Hopkins, Fergus Donnelly, Ciaran McCaffrey, Patrick Friel, Niall O’Neill, Jackson McGreevy (0-12 5f, 2 ‘65’, 1 Sideline, Mark Napier (0-3).
Replacements: Cormac Sheehan (0-1) for McCaffrey (40), Sean McAreavey for O’Neill (43), Leo Morgan for Friel (47), Gregory McGreevy for Churchill (51).
Blood Sub: McCraffrey for Mac Liam (57 – 59).
Gareth McGhee (0-1f), Jack McKay, Aidan Corbett, Sean Hamilton, Calum Kilgore (0-1), Daniel O’Hara, Thomas Scally, Conor Bannon, Pierce Bannon, (0-1), Harry Kilgore (1-0), Fiontan McQuillan (0-7f), James Morgan, Dominic McQuillan (1-0), Conor McHugh (0-2), David Kilgore (0-2).
Replacement: Conrad McDonnell for Morgan (45).
Referee: Mr Ray Matthews (Rossa).