ACFL Division 2B
Davitt’s 1.14 St. Joseph’s 1.14
Report: Terry Cormican
With both sides on ten points at least a point was needed to guarantee division two football next season for both sides. A highly entertaining game resulted in the point secured to escape a relegation battle. Played on a 4G pitch on a very hot evening the players deserve the highest praise in keeping their supporters on tender hooks until the final whistle. Once again the country side allowed a seven point lead to vanish and were relieved when substitute James Gallagher equalised with the last kick of the game.
Fergal Henry cut in from the wing to split the posts for the opening score but Caomhan Slane levelled the game with a well worked point. Thomas Gallagher and Michael McCourt pointed to edge the hill side two in front but Aaron Slane, the Davitt’s goalkeeper replied with the first of his five pointed frees. The visitors slowly got on top however, enjoying their best spell of the game scoring 1.04 without reply. Thomas Gallagher took a pass from his brother Anthony and gave the home keeper no chance when he rattled the back of the net and Ciaran Loney with two and Fergal Henry landed points to give their side a sizeable lead.
Instead of kicking on they let the Belfast side back into the game with a pointed free from their keeper Slane. A long kick into the big square allowed James Lindberg to add a point and again route one football paid dividends as Niall McPartland gained possession and finish to the net. Padraig McPartland landed a pointed free from an acute angle to leave the minimum between the sides and Thomas Gallagher and Caomhan Slane exchanged points to leave the halftime score 1.07 to 1.06 in the orange men’s favour.
On the restart Padraig McPartland levelled the scores and Caomhan Slane put the home side in front for the first time before Niall McCann levelled the scores with a well taken point. Once again indiscipline in the visitors defence cost them dearly when the home keeper came up and pointed a free and the sides were level when Niall McCann gained possession and split the posts.
Davitt’s were now exerting a lot of pressure on the Glenavy defence and were rewarded with a pointed free from Aaron Slane. The visitors rallied however and James Gallagher, who had entered the fray and Niall McCann put their side one up with ten minutes remaining.
It was obvious this one was going to go down to the wire as Padraig McPartland and James Lindberg put their side one up with a point apiece but James Gallagher pointed a free to level the scores for the seventh time. Jake Nelson brought off an excellent save at the expense of a forty five which Aaron Slane pointed for his fifth point to edge Davitt’s ahead entering added time and it looked like they would claim the points. To their credit the visitors kept plugging away and were rewarded when Ryan Malley stole up from corner back to score an excellent point. This was Ryan’s first senior game having stepped up from minor and he proved he was worthy of selection.
From the kick-out Davitt’s won the ball in the middle and quickly transferred it to Padraig McPartland who kept his nerve to put his side ahead again but in an exciting finish James Gallagher gained possession from the kick-out and returned it over the bar to level the scores at 1.14 apiece. The final whistle blew to the relief of both sides and their supporters. A word of praise is not out of place for referee Conall James Roberts who did an excellent job.
Glenavy: J. Nelson; R. Malley; J. Phillips; M. Kane; R. Phillips; P. Gallagher; C. Grant; P. Traynor; M. Johnston; M. McCourt; N. McCann; A. Gallagher; T. Gallagher; C. Loney; F. Henry.
Subs:C. Hamill; F. Cunningham; P. O’Neill; D. Shannon; J. Gallagher.