Northern Switchgear Antrim SFC:
Cargin 0-9 Aghagallon 0-8
A point from substitute, Tom Shivers deep into injury time saw Cargin book their place in the last four of the Antrim SFC after a tight battle with St. Mary’s Aghagallon, who played the last twenty minutes without their Antrim forward, Ruiri McCann after he was shown a red card.
The Agahgallon full forwward was sent off following an incident involving his namesake, Paul McCann and his side trailed by three going into the final ten minutes but they fought right to the end and were perhaps unfortunate not to get something from the contest.
With time almost up David McAlernon fired over the equaliser but it was Cargin youngster, Tom Shivers who held his nerve to convert the winner, four minutes into time added on.
The same sides met in last year’s final when there was little to separate them in an epic match, and while Sunday’s clash didn’t quite reach the levels of that one back last October it was never the less compelling due to the closeness of the scores.
Kevin O’Boyle picked up Aghagallon danger man Adam Loughran and with Jamie Lamont doing a man-marking job on Tomás McCann, both teams struggled for scores early on.
Pat Shivers gave Cargin the lead and Justin Crozier made it two, but both sides were wasteful in their finishing. Cargin had much more of the possession, but they could never get away from their oppenents due to some poor finishing.
It took Aghagallon 11 minutes to land their first point through a Gareth Magee free, but they were level moments later when the same player converted a second free following a foul on right half forward Johnny Hannon.
The champions replied with a great point from youngster, Conhuir Johnston with Ruiri McCann replying at the other end as the two sides fought to gain the upper hand.
Tomas McCann restored the Cargin lead with a beautifully struck free from distance and the reigning champions had claims for a penalty waved away when Conhuir Johnston was challenged by Darryl McAlernon, but referee Colm McDonald brought play back for an earlier infringement.
Pat Shivers converted the resulting free to move Cargin 0-5 to 0-3 ahead with 24 minutes gone but a Ruairi McCann point from play cut the gap back to one and at this stage the Champions were guilty of some bad misses.
At the other end it was their keeper, John McNabb who came to his side’s rescue as he made a save to deny Oisin Lenehan follow a swift break from defence by the Agahagallon side. A high ball into the Cargin danger area was palmed back across the goal by Ruairi McCann. Lenahan will probably feel he should have caught the ball but he palmed it towards goal but hit it straight at the keeper who caught it and cleared the danger. In a game of few goal chances it was to be a significant moment in the match.
Cargin started the second half brightly as they increased their lead through a Jimmy Gribbin point but a foul on Ruairi McCann at the other end allowed Gareth Magee to close the gap to one once more.
It would prove to be the big Aghagallon striker’s last piece of action of the contest as he was shown Red following an off the ball incident after referee Colm McDonald consulted with his umpires.
With the extra man Cargin looked to make use of their numerical advantage and Johnston from play and Thomas McCann from a free moved them three ahead and they looked at last to be taking control.
Aghagallon had other ideas however as they threw everything at their opponents in an effort to salvage something from the game and David McAlernon pointed in the 56th minute to close the gap to two.
Adam Loughran converted a free with time almost up to leave the minimum between the teams and when the fourth official signalled six minutes of injury time it was still in the melting pot.
David McAlernon fired over the equaliser under pressure after Eunan Walsh robbed Cargin keeper, John McNabb and at this stage an upset looked possible.
However it would be Cargin who would show just why they are champions as substitiute Tom Shivers who was on for his brother Pat, looped over a point from near the endline deep in added time to give Erin’s Own a one-point win and a place in the last four. Aghagallon had one last chance to bring the game to extra time, but a hurried shot was off target and a relieved Cargin were through to face St Brigid’s in two weeks time.
Cargin scorers: C Johnson 0-2, P Shivers 0-2 (0-1, 0-1f), T McCann 0-2 (0-2fs), J Crozier 0-1, J Gribbin 0-1, T Shivers 0-1.
Aghagallon scorers: G Magee 0-3 (0-3fs), R McCann 0-2, David McAlernon 0-2, A Loughran 0-1 (0-1f).