OB Construction Antrim IFC quarter-final
Sarsfield’s 1-13 St Paul’s 1-8
Sarsfields produced a strong closing quarter to overcome the challenge of neighbours, St. Paul’s in a very competitive OB Construction Intermediate Football Championship at the Bear Pit on Saturday evening.
The home side kicked six of the final seven points of the game with ace marksman, Kevin McKernan leading the way to earn themselves a place in the semi-final where they will meet Con Magee’s for the second year in succession.
This game was played with real championship intensity and was not for the faint hearted as every ball was contested as if their lives depended on it and it was St. Paul’s Liam McLarnon who put his side ahead with a point in the second minute.
Sarsfield’s wasted a chance to get back on level terms as Phillip McPeake shot wide when well-placed and the home side were guilty of a number of misses at this early stage while Jack McAufield in the visitors goals was dealing with everything that came his way.
The Sarsfield’s pressure was starting to tell however and McAufield was finally beaten in the 8th minute as Conor Glenholmes sent Daniel McKernan through for the game’s opening goal.
Garry Lennon followed from a pointed free and then Caolan McDonnell came forward from defence to add another from play before St Paul’s kicked St. Paul’s first point for 13 minutes to leave a goal between the sides.
Mark Munce then collected a long pass out of defence before laying the ball off to the overlapping Lorcan Phillips and Phillips made no mistake as he applied a cool finish.
The home side responded with Niall McKenna and Gary Lennon bisecting the St. Paul’s posts and another from a Phillips free had the hosts 1-4 to 1-3 ahead as Ray Matthews sounded his half time whistle.
There had been little to separate these two neighbours and deadly rivals during the opening half and that theme continued on the restart as Cormac Murray extended the Sarsfield’s lead with Liam McLarnon and Phillips from another free bringing the sides level.
The same player edged the visitors in front from another free but Sarsfield’s came back strongly as Kevin McKernan equalised before edging the ‘Paddies’ in front again from a free.
It still looked anybody’s game as Lorcan Phillips continued to display his free taking ability from another free to bring the Hoops level once more and a further exchange from McKernan and Phillips left it on a knife edge going into the final quarter.
A Phillips free briefly put St Paul’s ahead, but Kevin McKernan came more into the game, opening his account from play and then a free nudged Satsfield’s back in front before Phillips tied it up once more as the game entered the final quarter.
The home side seemed to find another game going down the home straight however with Cormac Murray converting after a mark and substitute, Conor Moley added another from play.
Kevin McKernan added another from a free and McPeake followed with another before Jack McAufield brought off a good save as Sarsfield’s threatened again.
A free from Patrick Doyle kept St. Paul’s in touch and they might have had the goal they needed when Liam McGoldrick climbed above the pack to get his fist to a dropping ball but his effort rebounded of an upright and was cleared to safety.
Daniel McKernan was then show ‘Black’ but Sarsfields were in no mood to relinquish their hard earned advantage as they stood strong in defence and Caoimhin McDonnell made victory secure from a break away as he fisted over.
Sarsfields will now meet Glenravel in a repeat of last year’s semi-final which the Con Magee’s won while All Saints face a St. Teresa’s side who made a few sit up and take notice with their win over Aldergrove on Saturday in the other quarter-final.
Sarsfield’s: M Brady; C McDonnell (0-2), J McNally, M McPolin; P McPeake (0-1), D McKernan (1-0), L Mitchell; C McKernan, C Murray (0-2, 1 mark); E Marvyn, N McKenna (0-1), C Glenholmes; N McAlea, G Lennon (0-2 frees), K McKernan (0-4, 2 frees).
Subs: S Walsh for N McAlea (40), C Moley (0-1) for E Mervyn (43), K Floyd for C Glenholmes (50)
ST Paul’s: J McAufield; A Kavanagh, S Rooney, Conall Duffy; M Duffy, J Farrell, N Ward; C Hughes, C McLarnon (0-1); D Quinn, M Munce, L Phillips (1-4, 0-4 frees); S Mac Corraidh, L McLarnon (0-2), P Doyle (0-1 free).
Subs: Caoimhin Duffy for D Quinn (HT), D O’Sullivan for M Duffy (39), N McStravick for C Hughes (44), B Burns for S Mac Corraidh (44), A Finnegan for L Phillips (55)
Referee: Ray Matthews (Rossa)