Vernon’s late points seals St Malachy’s victory

Graham Tarmac Junior Football Championship Quarter final

Laochra Loch Lao 1-8 St Malachy’s 0-12

Two late points from Anthony Dobbin and man of the match Ciaran Vernon guided St Malachy’s to the semi-final of the Junior Football Championship at Caolaiste Feirste on Friday evening. For most of the game the Markets’ men appeared to be in control and when they went five clear ten minutes into the second half it looked like they were going to get home with a bit to spare. However Laochra Loch Lao worked their way back into the game and when they hit a goal and two points to go a point clear with just five minutes left to play, it looked like they were bound for the semi-final. However Dobbin and Vernon came to St Malachy’s rescue to tip the scales back in their favour in the run in in a thrilling finish.

Aidan Connor and Ciaran Veron gave St Mal’s an early lead and it was nine minutes for Laochra raised their first flag through Conor McGucken. Rian McShane brought them level on 14 minutes but St Malachy’s had the better of the second quarter and points from Stephen Carson, Anthony Dobbin and Ronan Maneely, in reply to just one from Laochra’s McGucken, saw the Markets men go in at the break with a 0-5 to 0-3 lead.

When Patrick Smyth, Shea Lynch and Aidan Connor added the first three points of the second half the Mal’s lead was out to 0-8 to 0-3 and they appeared to be in full control. However the excellent McGucken got his team going again with a point on forty minutes. Ciaran Vernon replied within a minute for St Malachy’s to restore his team’s five point advantage, but Caomhin O Daimhin and Tomas Toland there was just three between the sides entering the final quarter.

St Malachy’s Centre forward Shea Lynch put the gap out to four on 46 minutes, when Diarmaid Mac grabbed the only goal of the game Laochra Loch Lao were back in contention. The Laochra fans were in full cry when Aaron Strain brought them level, and when corner forward Oisin McCrabhagain edged the in front for the first time in the match in the 55th minute the scene was set for a thrilling finale.

There pressure was well and truly on St Malachy’s at this stage, but they found an answer when it was really needed and Anthony Dobbin pointed to bring his side level. Extra time appeared to be on the cards, but Ciaran Vernon proved the hero of the hour when he sent over the winning score to book a semi-final place in two weeks time.

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