Glenravel 3-15 St Pauls 2-03
By Aodh O’Loan
Not that long ago these two sides would have competed in Antrim Football’s top tier but now both find themselves plying their trade in Division 2, both surely intent on a return to Division 1 status. The early 10:00am throw in certainly didn’t suit the travellers who showed glimpses of exciting football but were eventually well beaten by the home team.
Glenravel dominated from the throw in and in the opening minute Eamon Ward arrowed a twenty yard pass to Eoin Hynds in front of goal however his clever side footed effort slid past the St Paul’s keeper but was rescued on the line by Niall McStarvick to prevent a certain goal. A few minutes later a great team move by the home team found Eamon Ward again but his nonchalant lob was diverted by Jack McAulfield’s fingertips in the St Pauls net to once again deny a Glenravel goal. Having squandered a few opening chances the home supporters may have been wondering if those missed chances would come back to bite them. David Higgins calmed their nerves with the opening score of the game on eight minutes when he and midfield partner Martin McCarry combined well to put Higgins through and this time he found the net with a rasper. One minute later Eoin Hynds stretched the lead to four points, and just on ten minutes Aodhan Kavangh opened St Paul’s account with a point. From the tenth to fifteenth minute Con Magees really took hold of the game and put over four points without reply in a dominant spell. Callum Higgins, Eoin Hynds, Cathal Hynds and Sean McKay the providers to leave Glenravel ahead 1-05 to 0-01. However, St Pauls were starting to get a lot more possession and with eighteen minutes gone they netted a fine individual goal through Micéal Duffy who rounded several Glenravel defenders before unleashing a pile driver low to the keeper’s left hand. When Liam McLarnon followed up with a pointed free a few minutes later we were down to a three point game 1-05 to 1-02. But the home side regained control of the game for the remainder of the half and would go on to record three more points from the boots of Daniel McQuillan, Eoin Hynds and Callum Higgins to leave six points in it at the break with Con Magees ahead 1-08 to 1-02.
Eoin Hynds stretched Glenravel’s lead on resumption but St Paul’s replied with a goal which was almost a carbon copy of their first goal. This time Liam McLarnon rounded a few defenders along the end line before delivering a speculative low cross which Aodhan McKavangh was first to pounce on and volleyed to the Glenravel net reducing the gap to four points. But once again the home team grabbed the game by the scruff of the neck and when Eoin Hynds found Callum Higgins in front of goal there was only going to one outcome. That was followed by points from Sean McKay, Eoin Hynds and Callum Higgins to open up a ten point lead and effectively put the game to bed. That cushion allowed Glenravel to empty the bench and how gratifying it must have been for manager Joe Cassidy to see three of the substitutes scoring in the final ten minutes. Daniel McQuillan got his second of the day and when brother Connor netted there was time for family celebrations. Daragh Donaghy and Shea O’Broin rounded off a comprehensive victory for the men in green and white.
No doubt the early start and depleted lineouts had a major effect on this game and if they meet again later in the season it could be a very different affair altogether.
Glenravel: Jude Scullion, Owen McCusker, Sean Higgins, Conor Carey, Charlie Henry, Cathal Hynds (0-01), Daniel McQuillan (0-02), David Higgins (1-00), Martin McCarry, Sean Pol McKenna, Eoin Hynds (0-05, 2f), Eamon Ward, Sean McKay (0-02), Callum Higgins (1-03, 1f), Declan McAuley
Subs Used: Shea O’Broin (0-01) Senan Black, Conor McQuillan, Daragh Donaghy, Aiden McKenna
St Pauls:: Jack McAufield, Aodhan McKavanagh (2-00), Pearse Magee, Micéal Duffy (0-02), Niall Ward, Jonathan Rodgers, James Farrell, Conall Duffy, Barry Burns, Paul O’Hanlon, Coaimhín Duffy, Aiden Finnegan, Niall McStravick, Paul McCullough, Liam McLarnon (0-01)