Northern Switchgear Antrim Senior Football Championship
St Mary’s Aghagallon 2-11
Naomh Éanna 1-8
When St. Enda’s sit down to analyse where it all went wrong following their six point defeat to St. Mary’s Aghagallon in the Antrim Senior Football Championship at Glenavy, they will surely look to two first half goal opportunities that they were denied by Aghagallon keeper, Damian O’Hagan.
First, he got down well to deny Odhran Eastwood from close range before making a stunning stop to prevent Ciaran Thompson from scoring a certain goal less than a minute later.
The lough shore side struck with a goal of their own when Ruairi McCann was pulled down as he bore down on goal by Eathon Gibson, who received a yellow card for his troubles and Ruairi Loughran fired past Donal Walsh from the penalty spot to give his side a lead they would never again lose.
Aghagallon went on to lead by three at the break despite playing into a strong breeze and Eunan Walsh extended their lead in the opening minute of the second half with a superb point from 50 meters to give his side a massive lift.
After a cagey opening, Odhran Eastwood opened St. Enda’s account with a fine score on six minutes while Ruirai Scott doubled the advantage with a long-range score on nine minutes after making full use of the breeze at his back.
St. Enda’s had plenty of possession at this stage but were reluctant to shoot, often over playing the possession game while it took Aghagallon 10 minutes to register their first point through Ciaran Brady,
Slowly though St. Enda’s began to enjoy a bit of success and looked to be in for the game’s opening goal but goalkeeper Damien O’Hagan somehow got down to his right to deny Odhran Eastwood and a minute later came off his line to block a Ciaran Thompson shot from point blank range.
Naomh Éanna did get some reward from their period of dominance when wing half-backs Killian Jennings and Padraig Hamilton linked up for the former to score to move them 0-3 to 0-1 ahead on 14 minutes.
Adam Loughran replied for St. Mary’s to leave the minimum between the sides before Gareth Magee levelled matters following a foul on Coalan Farr.
Frank Fitzsimons switched Michael Morgan and Eastwood and the move paid dividends right away with Eastwood’s pass placing Morgan in the clear and he fired over to restore his side’s one point lead.
It was to be the last time they would lead however as Gibson’s rash challenge on Ruairi McCann, as he raced clear on goal resulted in a penalty with Ruairi Loughran confidently dispatching the spot kick to the net.
Aghagallon missed a few chances to stretch their advantage before another Magee free gave them a three-point cushion at the break.
Eunan Walsh extended that lead on the restart with the best point of the game and Gareth Magee looked in for a goal moments later but dragged his shot wide of the target. He made amends by converting another free on 37 minutes as Aghagallon moved five clear with Naomh Éanna struggling to secure possession against the breeze which had increased in intensity.
Ruairi Loughran landed his first from play to increase the lough shore side’s lead to six and the writing was on the wall when Adam Loughran won possession from a Walsh kick-out to return the ball between the sticks.
Loughran was then fouled with Magee knocking over the resulting free as Aghagallon moved 1-9 to 0-4 ahead with five unanswered points and the boys in green were managing possession well and forcing their opponents to chase the game.
Ruairi Scott landed a much-needed point for St. Enda’s before substitute Ryan Kennedy followed with another following good work from Maskey to give the Hightown support some hope but Magee continued to display unerring accuracy from placed balls and brought his tally to 0-5 before Gibson picked up his second booking for a rash challenge on McCann.
Four minutes later James McAuley followed him and any hopes of a St. Enda’s comeback went with him though Frank Fitzsimmon’s side kept going to the final whistle.
Conan Lyttle and Eastwood (free) fought against the odds with points, but Aghagallon always had a reply and a 60 yard solo by Eunan Walsh resulted in his second point of the game while his midfield partner McCann set up Paul Mulholland for a goal on the hour-mark to put St Mary’s 2-11 to 0-8 ahead.
In injury-time, a high ball in from Kennedy led to a fisted goal from fellow substitute Philly Curran which served to put a better look on the scoreboard but it was too little too late and it’s Aghagallon who go through to a meeting with St. Teresa’s while St. Enda’s will take some consolation from their division 1 survival, secured with a win at Aghagallon on Monday night last.
AGHAGALLON: D O’Hagan; M McKenna, D Donnelly, P Mulholland 1-0; J Lamont, J Lenehan, M McStravick; E Walsh 0-2, R McCann; C Brady 0-1, A Loughran 0-2, C Farr; G Magee 0-5 (0-5fs), R Loughran 1-1 (1-0 pen), P Branagan.
Subs: O Lenehan for R Loughran (50mins), F Bustard for Farr (56mins), D Marshall for Magee (64mins).
NAOMH ÉANNA: D Walsh; C Lyttle 0-1, M McNamee, C McAuley; P Hamilton 0-1, J McAuley, K Jennings; E Gibson, J Maskey; M Morgan 0-1, R Scott 0-2 (0-1f), C Thompson; E Nagle, P Healy, O Eastwood 0-2 (0-1f).
Subs: R Kennedy 0-1 for Jennings (42mins), C O’Neill for Morgan (45mins), P Curran 1-0 for Thompson (50mins).
REFEREE: K Doherty (Rasharkin).