Sensational Super T’s seal semi-final spot

OB Construction Intermediate Football Championship Quarter-Final

Saturday 9th September

Report by Niall Kelly 

St Teresa’s 2-12   Aldergrove 1-13

A hot and humid Pairc Úi Dhoctairtigh played host to a pulsating encounter in which the hosts ripped up the script to secure a meeting with Ballymena in the Semi Finals in a fortnight’s time. Few would’ve honestly given the Glen Road side much of a chance with eight positions separating them in the league and the fact that Aldergrove with so much firepower in their arsenal, harboured serious Championship hopes. Nevertheless, the quiet optimism from the home dugout and inspired performances across the pitch for the men in blue and yellow helped them over the line to clinch a memorable win.

Proceedings were mirroring predictions in the early stages and with barely five minutes on the clock, Aldergrove had already mounted a four-point lead and were playing with a vigour and swagger that matched their Championship credentials. However, fast forward 50 minutes later and roles were reversed as Robbie Gallagher’s emphatic finish to the net bolstered the host’s lead to five points with the same number remaining on the clock. Despite a dogged resurgence from the men in red, Naomh Teresa held out to send the raucous home crowd into raptures at Fiontann McCotter’s final whistle.

Aldergrove enjoyed the lion’s share of the early stages and it was a likely source who opened the scoring in ex county ace, Seamus McGarry. The visitors then dealt the home side a hammer blow on the fifth minute. A delicious diagonal ball from Gerald Mallon was fetched superbly on the edge of the square by Ronan Hanna who nonchalantly rounded the keeper before firing in from close range.

St Teresa’s responded through the trusty left boot of Jay Mallon but the men from Crumlin continued to launch marauding attacks from deep with Declan Gough putting the finishing touches on two of these before Hanna struck again. This seemed to stir the hosts from their slumber as they kicked into gear with their formidable half-forward line doing most of the damage. Jay Mallon doubled his tally before Niall McCann curled over the first of five for the afternoon.

The hosts were doing their utmost to nullify the threat of McGarry from play but were powerless to stop his pinpoint accuracy from the dead ball. The Aldergrove number fourteen increased his side’s lead to six with five minutes of the half left and again it was looking ominous for the hosts.

With the short whistle fast approaching, the game took a dramatic turn as St Teresa’s were handed a lifeline with a penalty for a foul on Anton Taylor. Hearts were in mouths as Shane O’Neill pulled off a superb save in goal, only for Jay Mallon to make amends, courageously diving in to fist the ball to the net on the rebound. Game on.

Ronan Hanna responded once more for the visitors but now it seemed the pendulum of momentum was swinging favourably for the hosts as Mallon struck once more before Conor O’Rawe put the gloss on a flowing, intricate move just before the interval to leave the scores 1-05 to 1-07 in favour of the visitors.

The end of the first half served as a warning to Aldergrove as to what would come in the second as Niall McCann opened the scoring on the 32nd minute before man of the match, Philip Maguire levelled proceedings minutes later. Inspired and spearheaded by Maguire, St Teresa’s were now clicking seamlessly across the pitch with much more impetus and purpose to their passing.

The trusty right boot of McCann was to come to the fore again as he twice judged the ever-increasing breeze to curl over perfectly from range to give his side a lead that they would refuse to relinquish for the remainder.

Aldergrove seemed somewhat shellshocked at the bombardment their defence was under as they couldn’t seem to gain yards. They did however get some reprieve when Declan Gough fired over to finish a blistering counter, illustrating the attacking potential present within their armoury. Buoyed by this, they began to pepper the St Teresa’s box and Ryan McCarthy was desperately unlucky not to find his side’s second major after being denied by a superb save from St Teresa’s net-minder, Ciaran Murtaugh.

As the game continued to sway to and fro, Maguire’s influence on proceedings was growing in prominence and his lung-busting, driving run paved the way for Conor O’Rawe to double his tally. The St Teresa’s number 12 then turned provider for Anton Taylor who fisted over the bar from close range on the 50th minute to increase the lead to four.

The game was being played at a frantic pace as Aldergrove continued to probe for avenues to claw back the lead. Step forward McGarry once again, who unleashed a monstrous effort from distance before substitute Cormac McCarthy emulated his captain with another pearler of a point.

Five minutes now remained with the game tantalisingly in the balance. Aldergrove seemingly were now in the ascendancy but St Teresa’s substitute Robbie Gallagher had other ideas. The number 19 negotiated himself just the right amount of space on the 21-yard line to latch on to another Maguire pass. With a flurry of red defenders baring down on him, Gallagher let fly with an audacious effort which nestled perfectly in the bottom right of the despairing O’Neill in goal, triggering an almighty roar from the unwavering home support.

To their credit, as they had done all game, Aldergrove refused to lie down and straight away sought about launching a revival. Red shirts were now camped in the St Teresa’s half as the onslaught began. Conor Morris pointed for the visitors before McGarry despatched from a free as the game approached injury time. With just a kick of the ball in it, the visitors continued to search for that all-elusive goal which just wouldn’t come. McGarry split the posts once more from range but it wouldn’t be enough as St Teresa’s held firm to cling on for victory.


St Teresa’s:

C Murtaugh; A Dougan, P Johnston, R Mallon; C O’Rawe (0-02,) E Gault, S Maguire; L Cassin, A Vardell; J Mallon (1-03,) N McCann (0-05,) P Maguire (0-01;) M Small, A Taylor (0-01,) P McGoldrick

Substitute Scorer:

R Gallagher (1-00)


S O’Neill; E Gough, C McVeigh, A Irvine; C Browning, A Flood, E Hamill; R Owens, B McQuillan; D Gough (0-03,) J Trowlan, G Mallon; O Graham, S McGarry (0-06,) R Hanna (1-02)

Substitute scorers:

C McCarthy (0-01) C Morris (0-01)

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