OB Consturction Intermediate Football Championship Final
Glenravel Con Magees 2-11 All Saints Ballymena 0-14
Glenravel beat close rivals Ballymena in this OB Construction Intermediate Football Championship final at Kelly Park, Portglenone to cap a fantastic season having already won the Division 2 league title earlier in the year. The saying goes you have to lose one to win one – whether you believe in that or not is irrelevant but defeat at the same stage last year to neighbours Dunloy certainly didn’t seem to feature much in the after match celebrations of the men in green and white. This was always going to be a close affair – there was virtually nothing between the two sides in the league campaign and the “all or nothing” aspect of Championship football allied with the rivalry that exists between these neighbouring Clubs guaranteed a tight game, lacking in flair but abundant in commitment. Ballymena will point to an injury list robbing them of some marquee players but in the end Glenravel despite some wayward shooting had just too much fire power and a stronger bench which really made a difference on the day.
Ballymena opened the scoring with a point from the impressive Connell Lemon and that was cancelled out by a fine point from distance from Eoin Hynds with five minutes gone and one minute later a Glenravel’s shot on goal was parried by keeper Ryan Stewart into the oncoming path of Declan Traynor who side footed to the net for the game’s opening goal. Hynds and Ronan McKillop would exchange points and Aiden O’Donnell would stretch Con Magees lead to four points but that seemed to inject some drive into All Saints who would benefit from sloppy passing by their opponents and they would record the next four points without replay. Lemon, McKillop, Brendan McDonnell and Shaun O’Callaghan the providers and suddenly All Saints were back level. At this stage Glenravel’s manager decided to look to the bench for inspiration and the introduction of Ryan McQuillan paid dividends almost immediately when he posted the first half’s final score shortly after introduction. McQuillan would prove to be a thorn in the All Saints side until the end of the game.
Glenravel got off to the best possible start in the second half with four consecutive points in the opening ten minutes from Eoin Hynds, David Higgins, Eamon Fyfe, Rian Lennon whilst Saints could only manage a single point from a free by Ronan McKillop. Con Magees introduced Conleth O’Loan as sub and he also had a significant impact on the match almost straight away with several turnovers and clever passes helping his side open up their opponent’s defence. With twenty minutes remaining Glenravel got their second goal from Ryan McQuillan and were now leading 2-08 to 0-07. But they then opened the door and Ballymena didn’t need much of an invitation as they clawed their way back into the game. All Saints would go onto to score five points through McKillop, veteran Sean McVeigh, Brendan McDonnell, Shea O’Brien and Shaun O’Callaghan the marksmen whilst Eamon Fyfe provided Glenravel’s only reply.
As we entered the final minutes there was only a goal between the teams and All Saints created their only real goal chance of the game but the ball ricocheted off crossbar and post into the waiting hands of Cathal Hynds much to the delight of the green and white supporters. Ryan McQuillan and Callum Higgins exchanged points with Joe Rafferty and Ronan McKillop to leave the a three point gap between the teams as referee Fiontann McCotter brought the contest to a conclusion and a sea of green and white invaded Kelly Park in Portglenone, the disappointment of last year a distant memory at this stage.
R McQuillan 1-2, D Traynor 1-0, E Hynds 0-3, E Fyfe 0-2, 1 free, R Lennon 0-1, C Higgins 0-1, A O’Donnell 0-1, D Higgins 0-1.
R McKillop 0-5, 4 frees, J McDonnell 0-1, P Ferris 0-1, S O’Callaghan 0-1, C Lemon 0-1, S McVeigh 0-1, S O’Brien 0-1, B McDonnell 0-1, M McCarry 0-1, D Brennan 0-1
Con Magee’s: J Fyfe, C Henry, S Higgins, C Carey, R Lennon, N Swann, D Traynor, E Hynds, C Hynds, C McKeown, C Higgins, D McQuillan, A O’Donnell, D Higgins capt., E Fyfe
Subs: R McQuillan for D McQuillan (26), C O’Loan for A O’Donnell (37), C McNeill for C McKeown (46), E McCusker for D Traynor (56)
All-Saints: R Stewart, E Walsh, J McDonnell, C O’Brien, P Ferris, S O’Callaghan, C Lemon, S McVeigh, E Killough cpat., S O’Brien, R McKillop, J Rafferty, B McDonnell, C McGarry, C Campbell.
Subs: M McCarry for C Campbell (42), L O’Rawe for E Killough (48), R O’Mullan for P Ferris (60), D Brennan for S McVeigh (56).
Referee: F Mac Oitir (Sarsfields)