ACFL Division One
St Teresa’s 0-04 St Brigids 3-11
From Kevin Herron at McDonnell / Doherty Park
St Brigid’s climbed out of the relegation play-off spot and condemned Ahoghill to a two-legged tie with Moneyglass after a comfortable 3-11-0-04 victory over St Teresa’s in the bottom two battle at the Glen Road this evening.
The South Belfast side scored 1-05 unanswered, with Ronan McGrady finding the net almost ten minutes before the break.
Colm McGoldrick eventually opened the home sides account, but Jack Dowling doubled his side’s goal tally at the interval.
The hosts had their best period of the game after the break, though St Brigid’s regained the initiative and a third goal from Rory Brolly helped his side to an easy victory and ensured they avoided the dreaded end of season play-off ahead of this weekend’s championship meeting with Portglenone.
It took six minutes for the opening score to arrive on a wet and windy Glen Road as Ronan McGrady was the recipient of a quick Rory Brolly pass and the half-forward shot over the bar.
The hosts saw plenty of early possession though but were turned over on numerous occasions. St Brigid’s doubled their lead after Joseph Rainey was penalised for moving on his mark – Ronan McGrady picked out Paul McComiskey who angled the ball over the bar.
The opening goal should have arrived for the dominant visitors after 13 minutes as McGrady played a one-two with McComiskey, but he shot straight at St Teresa’s keeper Matthew Mallon.
Rory Brolly opened his account for the evening and kicked his side into a 0-03 to 0-00 lead at the midway point in the half.
With little over ten minutes to the break the opening goal arrived. Peter Lundy fed the ball into the path of Ronan McGrady who appeared to be crowded out, however McGrady found room and rifled to the net to give his side a 1-03-0-00 advantage.
Peter Lundy landed his side’s next score before St Teresa’s responded after 23 minutes through Colm McGoldrick.
McGrady (free) and Jack Dowling kicked further points and just before the break St Brigid’s scored their second goal to claim a commanding lead at the break.
Matthew Mallon’s kick-out caught his side flat-footed as Rory Brolly quickly seized upon the confusion. Brolly switched the play with Dowling who found the bottom corner to give his side a 2-06-0-01 half-time lead.
A converted Ronan McGrady free increased his sides lead upon the resumption but St Teresa’s had their best spell of the game in the aftermath and kicked three successive scores in a four-minute period.
Conor McCann fisted pass released Anton Taylor who shot high over the bar, Taylor doubled his tally through a converted free and Joseph Rainey popped the ball over to Aidan Clarke for his sides third on the trot to close the gap (0-04-2-07).
Jack Dowling landed a terrific point to end the host’s momentum and the full-forward should have claimed his second goal on 42 minutes.
A high ball in on top of Dowling was punched, though it was only into the mid-drift of Mallon in the St Teresa’s goal.
The hosts almost pulled a goal back with little over ten minutes remaining as Anthony Vardnell popped the ball to Liam Gault whose pass found Anton Taylor, but the half forward’s low strike fizzed across the face of goal and inches past the post.
Instead it was St Brigid’s who found the net at the other end. Full-back Finn McKernan popped up in an advanced position and slipped in Ronan McGrady, McGrady picked out the darting run of Rory Brolly who applied the simple finish past Matthew Mallon to make it 3-08-0-04.
Three further points followed through Diarmuid McLaughlin, Rory Brolly and Ronan McGrady (free) and a fourth goal passed the visitors bye late-on as McGrady’s cut-back was skewed wide by Ethan Carleton.
In the end it mattered little as St Brigid’s got the job done and preserved their Division One status for next season ahead of the opening round of the Senior Football Championship this weekend.
St Teresa’s: M Mallon, P Glennon, R Mallon, E Hamill, C McGoldrick (0-01), C Mallon, J Mallon, J Rainey, A Varndell, L Gault, A Taylor (0-02, 0-01f), L Cassin, A Clarke (0-01), C McCann, M Small. Subs: P McGoldrick for L Cassin (30 mins); L Cassin for E Hamill (49 mins); C McEvoy for J Rainey (54 mins).
St Brigids: K McGovern, D McGarvey, F McKernan, N McDonald, P King, J Toner, D McLaughlin (0-01), M Cummings, C Conway, P McComiskey (0-01), R McGrady (1-04, 0-03f), P Lundy (0-01), R Brolly (1-02), J Dowling (1-02), E Carleton. Subs: S McKernan for J Dowling (55 mins); E McKeever for C Comway (57 mins).
Referee: Charlie Hemsworth (St Pauls)