O’Donnell’s maintain their challenge at the top end of the division 3 table with a resounding win over St. Agnes last night at Woodlands to maintain their joint second place position and improve their score difference as the hit the home side for six.
The MacRory Park side took the initiative from early in the game with Ciaran Ferran dominating at mid-field and by half time they were well on their way to victory where they led by 2-6 to 0-5 with the impressive Ciaran Ferran getting the opening goal.
A great move from deep in defence led to the O’Donnell’s second goal with Eugene Gallagher getting on the end of a fluent move to finish to the net.
Padraig McKissock 0-2, Eugene Gallagher 0-2, Richard McAvoy 0-2 and Cailean Walsh were the point scorers for the visitors while Dylan Cunningham 0-2, Conor Mclean, Brian Crossan and Colin Clarke were the St. Agnes point scorers.
The Whiterock Road side continued to dominate as the second half got under way and Ciaran Ferran got on ther end of a long delivery to finish to the net for their third goal. St. Agnes continued to give it everything and were rewarded when Conor McLean flicked a dropping ball to the net but it provoked another response from a rampant O’Donnell’s.
Despite emptying their bench O’D’s continued to score freely with Ciaran Ferran bringing his personal goal scoring tally to four and Darra White getting another with Conor Walsh replying with a quickly taken free for St. Agnes second goal.
O’Donnell’s now sit on 13 points from 8 starts in joint second place with Naomh Comhghall who have the same number of points from the same number played but have a superior score difference while Naomh Padraig Lisburn top the table 0n 14 points from 8 games played.
St. Agnes: 1 Paul McStravick, 2 Paul Kennedy, 3 Niall Gillespie, 4 Games Grieve, 5 Conor Compston, 6 Dylan Cunningham, 7 Killian McCormick, 8 James Halleron, 9 Colin Clarke, 10 Paul McClenaghan, 11 Brian Crossan, 12 Cioran Flannery, 13 Paddy Toner, 14 Conor McLean, 15 Conor Gilligan, 17 Matt Carlin, 18 Peter McCullough, 19 David McGaharan, 20 Luke Duffy
Naomh Padraig Lisburn maintain their slender one point lead at the top of the table over Naomh Comhghall Antrim following this convincing win over Laochra Loch Lao on Wednesday night.
The opening exchanges were fairly even with Tarlac Barclaigh opening the scoring for Laochra in the 2nd minute before the Lisburn men replied through Francis McMeel and two from Conor Dixon to go ahead after six minutes.
Dixon fired over his third of the game before Cuilte MacGiolla Fhiondgin replied for the home side but Dixon continued to make point taking look easy as he added two more to move his side three clear by the 14th minute.
Both sides wasted opportunities but the visitors moved further ahead through Ben McMullan, Conor Dixon and Eoin Dixon to move 0-8 to 0-3 ahead after 30 minutes with the Laochra Loch Lao point coming from Jack Mac Lomhair.
After the break the Lisburn men continued to call the tune with Mark Chernek, Eoin Dixon and Chernek again on target but Laochra were fighting hard to stay in contention and replied through Cathal O Ceallaigh, Caoimhin O’Daimhin and Jack MacLomhair.
Back Came Naomh Padraig with points from Eoin Dixon, and Conor Dixon and when Mark Torbitt intercepted a short kick-out to fire to the net in the 39th minute they were in almost total control.
Josh McMullan and two from Oisin Gorman saw the visitors increase their lead with PJ O’Prey pulling one back for Laochra Loch Lao and in the run in to the final whistle Eoin Dixon added two more with Conor Dixon getting another to leave Naomh Padraig convincing winners by 16 points.
The Lisburn side sit a point above nearesdt rivals, Naomh Comhghall Antrim who had a big win over St. Malachy’s on the same night and the race for the division 3 title looks like being between these sides.
ACFL DIVISION 3 St Malachy’s 1-6 – 1-11 Na Piarsaigh A sunny but cold night over at Cherryvale saw St Malachys host Pearses, with both clubs needing a win to keep their chances of a top 5 finish alive before the league splits. St Malachy’s were looking to get back to winning form after disappointing results against Naomh Padraig and Laochra Loch Lao in previous weeks, whereas Pearses were looking to make it 4 wins on the bounce. First Half: The game started with St Malachys winning the throw in, controlling the ball early before lumping the ball forward to try and grab an early score but Ciaran McCavana done well to get the ball and play it out of defence. The first real chance of the game went to Pearses where the St Malachy’s keeper made a great save to deny Fionn Grew, and St Malachys themselves drove up the pitch with a chance of their own but denied by some great defending from the Pearses back line.
The first score of the game went to Oisin Grew after some great play from Piaras Donaghy, driving the ball forward and passing it off to Oisin. 0-0 to 0-1. The score was soon 1-0 to 0-2 after Naoise Ó Cuilín scored immediately after the first score of the game, before St Malachy’s #13 played a great ball into his forward line for the first goal of the game, all within the first 5 minutes. The game was very back and forward in the first 10 minutes, with St Mals working the ball forward from midfield, with their #11 winning and scoring a free to make it 1-1 to 0-2 before some great from Pearses from the resulting kickout to grab the second goal of the night. Naoise Ó Cuilín done well to hold a pass from Barry Harper, then from a few nice passes between Sean Moreland and Piaras Donaghy, Piaras plays a brilliant pass through to Naoise who smashes the ball home. The next 10 minutes was very much in Pearses favour with scores from Piaras Donaghy, Naoise Ó Cuilín & Phil Murray extending the lead to 5 points, with the St Malachy’s keeper making another good save to deny Sean Moreland during this time. St Malachy’s reacted to this pressure by breaking down a good attack from Pearses, running the ball through the middle of the pitch to grab their third, then fourth scores of the game, to make it 1-3 to 1-6 close to half time. Pearses fail to capitalise on some sloppy passes and kickouts from St Malachys right before half time to extend the lead going into the break. Half time Score: St Malachy’s 1-3 to 1-6 Na Piarsaigh Second half: St Malachy’s win the throw in and immediately try and get a score immediately but the ball falls to a pearses man and the North Belfast men win a free from a great turnover from Phil Murray, which allows Fionn Grew to get his first score of the game to make it 1-3 to 1-7. Another turnover in the middle allows Conall Hughes to get in on the action to make it 5 in Pearse’s favour, with St Malachy’s then missing a good chance themselves putting the ball wide from within the 21 immediately after this score. Both teams driving forward and missing chances themselves was the story for both teams over the next 5 minutes with St Malachys with some sloppy passing and Pearses hitting the post from a high free. St Mals then drove forward themselves, with their #20 scoring a free off the deck just inside the 45 to reduce Pearse’s lead back to 4. 1-4 to 1-8. Some more St Malachy’s pressure led to some attacks into the pearses defence, driving forward to reduce the difference to 3 from a score from St Malachy’s #13 halfway through the second half, with some good defending after thus denying St Malachys a second goal, before #13 puts the ball wide. A bad challenge from St Malachy’s #7 gave Pearses the opportunity to get back on the scoresheet with a quick free played between Piaras Donaghy and Liam Deegan to allow Piaras to get his second of the evening, making the score 1-5 to 1-9 in Pearse’s favour with 10 mins to go.
Another long ball into the box from St Malachy’s finally results in another goal, but the referee rules the goal out due to a square ball and pearses capitalise immediately after this by winning a free up the pitch to allow Naoise Ó Cuilín to restore Pearse’s 5 point lead. 1-5 to 1-10. St Malachy’s continue their pursuit of a goal during the last 5 or so minutes but some brilliant defending from the likes of Aodhan McCavana and James Smyth help pearses hold out the St Malachy’s attack. The threat from St Malachys resulted in a point scored to bring this back to a 4 point game with only a few minutes remaining. Pearses finished the game with a score from Liam Deegan to take the game to 1-6 to 1-11 in Pearses favour and help secure a 4th win on the bounce. Full time Score: St Malachy’s 1-6 to 1-11 Na Piarsaigh Na Piarsaigh: N’Largey, D’O’Neill, A’McCavana, C’McCavana, C’O’Neill, B’Harper, N’Gorman, P’Murray (0-1), J’Smyth, S’Moreland, P’Donaghy (0-2), C’Hughes(0-1), N’Ó’Cuilín (1-4), F’Grew(0-1), O’Grew(0-1) Subs: L’Deegan (0-1) for S’Moreland F’McCallan for J’Smyth
Division 3 leaders St Patrick’s Lisburn produced their best performance of the year as they beat St Malachy’s by 5-13 to 0-8 in Wednesday evening’s league game at Kirlwoods Park, all five goals coming from different players.
There was little between the sides in the early stages with two points from Eoin Dixon and one from Conor, being answered by one each from St Malachy’s Jack Mcgivern and Odhran Devine to leave just a point between the sides. However when Conor Dixon grabbed his team’s opening goal on 12 minutes the gap began to widen and a second goal, this time from Ben McMullan, after a defence splitting pass by Che Smyth, helped them to a 2-6 to 0-3 lead at half time.
Eoin Dixon and St Malachy’s Odhran Devine exchanged points early in the second half before the Lisburn side got their third goal, this once coming from Oisin Gorman. Odhran Devine, Patrick Smyth and Ciaran Vernon kept plugging away as they each fired over points for the Mals, but a great finish from Rory Kennedy on 50 minutes brought goal number 4 for Naomh Padraig. Kennedy and Vernon exchanged points on 53 minutes before Mark Chernek put the seal on the home teams’ win with goal number 5, which he finished to the bottom corner of the Mal’s net.
Both teams have a couple of weeks of a break now before their next outings when St Patricks will travel to Coláiste Feirste to take on Lochra Loch Lao while St Malachy’s are at home to Belfast rivals Pearses
Aggies travelled to North Belfast on a perfectly sunny Wednesday evening hoping for a different result to their slim defeat to Lisburn in the previous game. At the Cricky they came upon a Pearses outfit who had shook off early season rust with returning numbers and were on the back of two successive victories. This game also marked the first run out in Pearses’ new home kit sponsored by the North Belfast Community Foodbank in the original green and gold the club wore in their early years.
Pearses started quickly with two early chances that slid wide of both posts in the first couple of encounters. These let-offs seemed to waken Aggies up who opened the scoring with two unanswered points early in the first half. Pearses got their account for the evening opened with good work down the right flank by Seán MacMuralain, his pass was fed to Naoise Ó Cuilín who turned and fired over from distance.
The game was level when Stephen Fitzsimons picked the ball up on the right hand side of the pitch, worked his way central past 3 Aggies’ players and continued his good form from recent weeks by sending his shot straight over the black spot. As the game settled, the Pearses’ defence broke up an Aggies’ attack, a switch of play by Brendan Devine started a quick counter attack, after a number of successive hand passes the ball again found Fitzsimons who put the North Belfast side ahead for the first time in the game.
Aggies pulled level with a point from distance that looked like it could be dropping into the net rather than over the bar but solid goalkeeping from Niall Largey allowed the goalkeeper to tip it over the crossbar and ensure the damage was only a point. Largey was called into play again collecting another Aggies’ shot that dropped short before starting another break, a fumble from the Aggies goalkeeper fell to Fionn Grew who fired wide.
While scores were level at 3 points apiece, Aggies’ had several chances, all of which drifted wide as they began to get a hold on the ball. However, a kick-out won dominantly by Barry Harper who turned and fed Naoise Ó Cuilín the ball from his mark was sent sailing between the posts as the North Belfast side started to smell blood. Following that, pressure from Seán MacMuralain forced a throw ball from the Aggies’ defence near the side-line. Pearses’ reliable free taker Fitzsimons duly stroked the ball between the posts from the angle.
Aggies pulled back within 1 when they found the boys in green and gold light at the back as the fired over from close range. However, this solely preceded the best moment of football in the game. Pressure led to Aggies conceding possession close to their own 45m line, a rapid attack ensued with Naoise Ó Cuilín and Phil Murray cutting through the opposition defence with overlapping runs and hand passes, finally, as the keeper came rushing out the smart Naoise Ó Cuilín slipped the ball to Fionn Grew who made no mistake from short range to score his 7th goal of the season.
Another Aggies’ point was followed by Seán MacMuralain’s first point of the evening. Before Niall Largey was forced into a point blank save which looked a certain goal for the team in black. Fitzsimons fired over again from a tight angled free which has begun to become a regular occurrence this season. Before dragging narrowly wide as Piaras Donaghy drove through multiple fouls in the middle of the park and slipped the ball to Fitzsimons, on this occasion, there was a rare miss for the inform forward. As the half time whistle approached Aggies had the chance to bring it to a one score game, however, their goal bound shot hit the cross bar and Aggies only managed a point from this opportunity.
Half Time – Cumann an Phiarsaigh 1-7 0-6 Naomh Úna
As the second half began Pearses started on the front foot immediately. Donaghy won the ball from the throw in, and quickly the ball found Seán MacMuralain who made no mistake in slotting the ball between the sticks. Aggies then went straight up the pitch and slotted over from distance to cancel the opening score of the half. Pearses began to up the gears when Donaghy shrugged off 3 challenges before dipping it over the bar, this was followed by a forward mark taken by Naoise Ó Cuilín who composed himself and slotted between the posts. Fionn Grew then latched on to a bad kick out from the Aggies keeper before sending his shot between the posts. These 3 unanswered Pearses’ points seen the North Belfast side open a gap of 7. However, Aggies did not lay down and answered back with 3 of their own which began to create a bit of nerves for the team from the North of Belfast.
Good play from Aodhán McCavana allowed Naoise Ó Cuilín to thread a lovely ball to his cousin Fionn Grew who turned and settled the nerves of the Pearses spectators as he fired over the bar from wide right. Aggies came straight back up the pitch and a spectacular block from Cormac O’Neill which was tidied up by Ciaran McCavana in the full back line and seconds later captain Piaras Donaghy was casually slotting the ball over the bar. Donaghy nearly got himself a goal as he fielded a wayward kickout from the Aggies’ keeper, he burst towards goal, going past numerous players and drew a brilliant save from the keeper between the sticks.
Seán MacMuralain added another point from wide right as he continued to cause the away team issues with his pace. Before Largey again saved a goal bound effort, as he shoved off fouls from the Aggies corner forward, he started a break which led to a short range free in. Stephen Fitzsimons fired over again despite the cries from the Aggies’ defensive shield. Pearses began to kill the game with multiple passes back and forth on the edge of the Aggies’ 45m line. A quick break once Aggies regained possession led to a close range point which was the last Aggies would get on the night as the game was rounded up with good work from Oisín Grew who set up Donaghy to add another score to his tally and give the team in green and gold a strong result.
Full Time – Cumann an Phiarsaigh 1-16 0-11 Naomh Úna
Line up N Largey, C McCavana, J Goodall, B Devine, C O’Neill, A McCavana, N O’Gorman, B Harper, P Donaghy (0-3), S MacMuralain (0-3), S Fitzsimons (0-5), P Murray, N Ó Cuilín (0-3), F Grew (1-2), O Grew Subs C Burns, C Hughes, G McIlroy, L Giannetto, T MacMuralain, T Johnston, OÓ Cuilín, R Bannon