Saints emerge victorious after tense penalty shoot-out

U17B Football Championship quarterfinal

All Saints 2-15 Moneyglass 2-14 a.e.t and penalty shootout

All Saints scraped through a tight and tense encounter with Moneyglass at a balmy Quinn Park by the narrowest of margins with the final kick of a penalty shootout. 

All Saints took an early lead with a super 45m free off the deck by Pearse Martin but Moneyglass responded well and were more potent in attack when chances arose and replied with 4 unanswered scores, with the pick of them a fine long-distance effort from their full forward, Ewan McGrath, who had an epic battle with Murphy at full back for Ballymena. 

Moneyglass were in the ascendancy and Ballymena couldn’t find their rhythm with Moneglass midfielders Duffin and O’Donnell in control at this stage. Ballymena needed a lift and when Sean O’Brien won a free out on the left Sean McDermot sent the ball in high and on target, destined for a point, but it deceived the visitors defence and ended in the net.

The teams were level, and shortly after Ballymena scrambled a 2nd major when a high ball got lost in the sun and the keeper could only parry the dropping ball into the onrushing Finn Connon to smash to the net from close range.

Both teams were battling hard in the heat in a scrappy contest but Sean McDermott slotted over a fine free to wrap up the scoring at the break, 2-02 to 0-04.

The second half was similar to the first as the sun broke through and Moneyglass started it better with a point from play to cut the gap to three. Saints responded with another free from McDermott but St Ergnat’s were defending well and centre back McErlaine made numerous interceptions and turnovers to thwart the stuttering Ballymena attack. 

Both defences were doing well and McKillop was sweeping up a lot of loose ball at 6 for All Saints with scores hard to come but Mitchell popped over a free from the right to stretch the All Saints lead to 4.

The game became edgy and when McDermott was hauled down around the half way line, a fracas ensued with Gerard Dougan issuing a yellow card to a player from both sides.

Unfortunately for the Ballymena side the player concerned had been issued an earlier yellow and would take no further part with the home side now down to 14 with 12 minutes remaining.

Moneyglass took advantage of the extra man and popped over a point to bring it back to 3 and the pressure was building on the Slemish Park men.

Robert Crooks made a fine block to deny a Moneyglass goal but McGrath’s 45 was well struck and dropped under the crossbar to level the game with only minutes remaining. 

All Saints made a number of changes and McDermot landed another free only for Moneyglass to respond with one of their own and send the game into 20 mins extra time. 

F.T. Ballymena 2-06  Moneyglass 1-9

With the temperature rising it was Moneyglass again who started best and from a misplaced Ballymena short kickout, they took full advantage scoring from a rebound off Balmer who had made a fine save in trying to atone for his error. McDermott converted a free in response and midfielder Jakub Kaczmarek broke through to score a fine point to leave the minimum between the sides again. The impressive Harry Connon kicked over a screamer on the spin from 35m out and teams were level again.

All Saints pressed again and Bradley slalomed through the blue defence to fist the ball agonisingly off the crossbar. A scramble ensued and Logan slotted the rebound to the net only to be denied when referee Gerd Dougan called play back for an earlier infringement which Bradley slotted over to put his side one ahead.

With time almost up, Moneyglass broke forward and their half forward was hauled down 40m from goal with the offending Saints man seeing Black. The Moneyglass No 11 calmly fired over the black spot to send the tie to a dreaded penalties shoot-out. 

All Saints 2-10

Moneyglass 2-10 

The first 8 penalties were superbly taken by both sides with Saints keeper Balmer saving the visitors last penalty. Up stepped Harry Connon, just back from injury, to slot to the bottom corner to hand All Saints victory. 

In a game that no team deserved to lose, the Ballymena men scraped through to the semi-finals 5-4 on penalties. 

All Saints Ballymena: Kane Balmer, Matthew Watt, Paddy Murphy, Robert Crooks, Ryan Laverty, Corey McKillop, Sean McDermot, Jakub Kaczmarek, Paidin Mitchell, Sean O’Brien, Pearse Martin, Callum Hendron, Connor O’Hara, Conan McKeown, Finn Connon. Subs: Harry Connon, Ciaran Logan, Fiontan Bradley, Pearse McAuley, Orran Mayo, Micheal Connolly, James Anderson, Nicholas Agnew, Callum King, Jack Patterson, Daniel Henry

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