The Devenish Antrim Junior Football Championship semi-final
St Pat’s Lisburn 1-22 O’Donnells 0-09
From Kevin Herron at Woodlands
Pics by Bert Trowlen
St Pat’s Lisburn booked their place in the final of the Devenish Junior Football Championship for the third year in succession after running out 1-22 to 0-09 winners over O’Donnells in Friday evening’s semi-final at Woodlands.
The sides were evenly matched in the opening quarter as Richard McAvoy kicked five of his sides opening scores and brought his side back on terms after Conor Dixon had edged Lisburn in front with the games only goal.
But O’Donnells went over 40 minutes without a score and struggled to deal with the threat from outstanding corner-forward Josh McMullan.
McMullan drew numerous fouls that were converted by Dixon and Francis McMeel as their side hit 17-points unanswered to comfortably progress to the decider in a few weeks time.
St Pat’s began the game as favourites though it was O’Donnells who made the brighter start under the Friday night lights at Woodlands.
Padraig McKissock opened the scoring with a delightful angled point, only for Ben McMullan to bear down on goal and pop the ball over in response.
O’Donnells twice restored their lead though points from Ciaran Ferran and McKissock (free) with Mark Chemek replying for St Pat’s in-between.
The games only goal arrived after eight minutes, Francis McMeel’s quickly taken free released Josh McMullan who advanced and fisted the ball across to Conor Dixon and Dixon steered the ball high into the roof of the net – past Conor Walsh in the O’Donnell’s goal to make it 1-02-0-03.
McKissock levelled the game with two placed balls in succession, but St Pat’s hit the front again through a goalkeeping error from Walsh who let Sionan O’Suilleabhan’s shot bounce over him and the bar.
Midfielder O’Suilleabhan doubled his tally after a neat interchange with Tighearnan O’Meaghllaigh, though Richard McAvoy converted his fourth free of the half after Patrick Meenan’s dangerous run was obstructed.
It would prove to be the Whiterock sides final score of the half as St Pat’s hit nine unanswered points to take a commanding lead at the break – though a defensive clearance from Sean Casey saved goalkeeper Peter O’Neill’s blushes as Richard McAvoy’s fisted pass evaded Jonathan O’Donnell unmarked in the area.
Josh McMullan switched the ball to Francis McMeel to double his sides lead once again, McMullan was causing the O’Donnells defence plenty of bother and the corner-forward popped over his first of the evening and was twice dragged to ground in the aftermath as Conor Dixon converted back to back frees.
McMeel converted his sides third successive placed ball as the Lisburn men were firmly in the driving seat.
Sionan O’Suilleabhan conjured up his third score of the half and scores from McMeel (free), Chemek and Dixon (free) had their side 1-13-0-06 to the good at the interval.
St Pat’s picked up were they left off before the break as Francis McMeel converted an early free. Ben McMullan almost claimed his sides second goal on the 39th minute, but his low shot fizzed across the face of Conor Walsh’s goal and narrowly wide.
Dixon and McMeel both converted further frees and three points in a dominant three minute period from Josh McMullan, Ben McMullan saw their side’s lead expand (1-19-0-06).
O’Donnells kept plugging away as Ciaran McKissock’s neat pass found Ciaran Ferran whose low shot drew a save from Peter O’Neill.
O’Neill also had to deny Padraig McKissock a certain consolation goal, but in the scramble that ensued in the aftermath – referee Paul Burns awarded a free for a foul on the St Pat’s goalkeeper.
Half-forward Mark Chemek added his third point of the evening in the aftermath and it was his sides 16th unanswered score since O’Donnells last registered.
With less than a minute of time remaining the Whiterock men ended their scoreless spell through a fifth converted McAvoy free – with a sixth closely following.
Patrick Meenan made it three points unanswered for O’Donnells, though it was little more than scant consolation deep into added time.
St Pat’s regained their composure late on and points from Tighearnan O’Meaghllaigh and Mark Chemek saw their side run out 1-22-0-09 winners at the conclusion as Lisburn sealed a place in the final for the third year running.
Niall Wards side will be hoping that will be third time lucky on this occasion and will be able to sit back and watch from the side as Ardoyne take on Ballycastle in tomorrow’s second semi-final at Toome.
O’Donnell’s: C Walsh, J Rafferty, J Lavery, G Diamond, C McKissock, C Walsh, C O’Donnell, S Seawright, J Rafferty, M McKenna, P Meenan (0-01), R McAvoy, J O’Donnell, C Ferran, P McKissock (0-07, 0-06f) . Subs: J Walker for C O’Donnell (25); L Doyle for J Lavery (HT); P Golden for M McKenna (50); C O’Donnell for GD Doherty (53); C Donegan for J O’Donnell (54).
St Pat’s Lisburn: P O’Neill, S Casey, T Burns, J McMullan, B McMullan (0-03), T O’Meaghllaigh (0-01),E Fay, S O’Suilleabhan (0-03), M Torbitt, A McDonald, M Chemek (0-04), F McMeel (0-05, 0-04f), N Ward, J McMullan (0-02), C Dixon (1-04, 0-04f). Subs: T Fay for A McDonald (47); R Kennedy for J McMullan 55); C Burns for N Ward (59); P McMahon for E Fay (61).
Referee: Paul Burns (St Comgalls).