AIB Ulster Club Intermediate Hurling Championship quarter-final
St Gall’s (Antrim) 2-19 Lisbellaw (Fermanagh) 1-16
ST Gall’s were forced to work hard for Sunday’s Ulster Club Intermediate Hurling Championship win againt Fermanagh champions Lisbellaw at Brewster Park before getting over the line with six points to spare. Level at the break the Antrim champions certainly knew they had a fight on their hands at it took two second half goals from Sean McAreavey and Mark Napier to seal the deal and book a semi-final spot against Derry champions Swatragh.
However the Milltown men will be forced to face the Derry men without their star man CJ McGourty who received a straight red card, a decision which St Gall’s are likely to appeal.
St Gall’s started well and had two points on the board through CJ and Kieran CJ McGourty before Lisbellaw hit back through Shea Curran and Conor O’Shea to square the game. CJ gave his team back the lead before and error by St Gall’s netminder McGreevy gifted the Fermanagh men a goal, a score that really put some impetus into their challenge
The Fermanagh champions began to pull clear as Ryan Bogue and Caolan Duffy hit two apiece to pull five points clear before Karl Stewart stepped in with an excellent score to halt the Lisbellaw charge. Two points from CJ and one each from Tomás Ó Ciaráin and Jackson McGreevy brought them back into contention and when CJ added two more they were two clear with first half time almost up. However the Fermanagh men hit back to level in added time with two Curran points which sent them in at the break on level terms at 1-9 to 0-12.
St Gall’s edged ahead again early in the second half through Karl Stewart but Lisbellaw hit back with three on the trot from John Parl McGarry, Barry McPhillips and Ryan Bogue. CJ and Kieran McGourty hit points apiece to bring the Antrim champions level and it remained that way after Niall O’Neill and Bogue exchanged scores. The introduction of substitute Sean Burke was to have an instant impact for St Gall’s as he broke through soon after coming on to set up corner forward Sean McAreavey for hit team’s first goal.
CJ’s red card soon afterwards could well have derailed the St Gall’s challenge and when Lisbellaw fought back to within a point with just five minutes of normal time remaining, the nerves were jangling yet again for the St Gall’s followers. However Burke stepped up to the mark again and after winning a long ball from Aodhan Galalgher he found corner Mark Napier with a hand-pass and the corner-forward fired home from close range to put his team back in charge. Lisbellaw battled away but 14 man St Gall’s were now in control and late points from Karl Stewart and Andy McClean had them six clear at the final whistle.
ST GALL’S: K McGreevy; S Morrison, J McDaniel, A Hannaway; N O’Neill (0-3), S Burke, J McGreevy (0-1); J Hopkins, K Stewart (0-3, 0-1f); CJ McGourty (0-8, 0-4s), K McGourty (0-2), T Ó Ciaráin (0-1); S McAreavey (1-0), A Gallagher, M Napier (1-0).
Subs: C Burke for S Burke (43mins), A Healy (0-1) for McAreavey (47mins), M Donnelly for K McGourty (60mins).
LISBELLAW: C McPhillips; C Rafferty; B McPhillips (0-1), D Bannon; T Cleary, D Teague, B Duffy; R Bogue (0-4, 0-2fs), C McShea (0-1); S Curran (1-6, 0-5fs), M Slevin, JP McGarry (0-1); C Corrigan, J Duffy, Caolan Duffy (0-3).
Subs: R Porteous for B McPhillips (48mins), A Breslin for D Teague (50mins), A McShea for Slevin (60mins), Ciaran Duffy for B Duffy (61mins).
REFEREE: J Clarke (Cavan)