Intermediate Hurling Championship semi-final
St Endas 1-12-1-18 St Galls
By Kevin Herron at Corrigan Park
St Galls had six points to spare over St Endas as they booked their place in the Intermediate Hurling final against Creggan with a 1-18-1-12 over the Hightown men at Corrigan Park this evening.
The Milltown men were always in charge of the all Belfast affair and led by three at the break – after which CJ McGourty fired home the first goal.
St Endas were always chasing shadows though they claimed a consolation goal deep into injury-time through Ruairi Diamond – in the grand scheme of things it meant very little however.
St Galls began the game on the front foot with Sean McAreavey firing over the first point inside the opening sixty seconds and the Milltown men doubled their lead as Karl Stewart pulled the ball across to Conor Burke who popped the ball over the bar.
Ruairi Donaghy confidently burst forward and drove the ball over the bar for St Enda’s opening point in response – though Anto Healy scored a terrific point and Kieran McGourty confidently fired over the bar to give his side a 0-04-0-01 lead inside of eight minutes.
John McGoldrick registered his first score courtesy of a converted free – St Galls responded with a point from Tomas O’Ciarnan but it could so easily have been a goal as the full-forward burst towards the target, though opted for a pop over rather than test Philip Curran in the St Endas goal.
Cormac Ross narrowed the deficit to two-points again just before the midway point in the half – St Galls stretched their lead to three again thanks to a second point from the lively Kieran McGourty though Brendan Cormican popped the ball to Ruairi Donaghy who claimed his second point with a well struck shot from range to make it 0-06-0-04.
St Endas reduced the arrears to the bare minimum by the 21st minute as John McGoldrick scored his second with a floated effort that dropped onto the roof of the net before Karl Stewart hit his first point of the evening from a quick sideline ball to restore his sides two-point advantage.
Tomas O’Ciarnan increased his sides lead with a fine turn and point but Cormac Ross let fly with a high shot that dropped over the crossbar in response .
St Galls almost had the opening goal three minutes before the break – Sean McAreavey robbed Cillian Jennings in possession and saw his low angled drive parried by Philip Curran, a point arrived courtesy of O’Ciarnan.
St Endas looked as though they would go in at the break just two-points in arrears as John McGoldrick converted his second free of the half but Tomas O’Ciarnan made it three scores on the spin and four in total to give his side a 0-10-0-07 lead at the interval.
O’Ciarnan was in fine form for St Galls and converted a free four minutes into the second-half to stretch the Milltown men’s lead further.
The games opening goal arrived after 38 minutes – Sean McAreavey’s switched the play to Karl Stewart who picked out brother in-law CJ McGourty and CJ rifled low to the corner of the net, giving Curran no chance to put St Galls 1-11 to 0-07 ahead.
McGourty landed an immediate point but St Endas eventually replied nine minutes into the half through a John McGoldrick converted free.
CJ McGourty made it three scores on the spin through the same scenario and midway through the second-half McGoldrick converted his fourth free of the contest to keep his side in touch at 1-13-0-09.
Substitute Mark Napier confidently shot over the bar and after Michael McNicholl was adjudged to have chopped on an opponents stick in the middle of the field, the resulting free was played short and Niall O’Neill registered his first point since his introduction five minutes into the second period.
St Endas rallied briefly in the final ten minutes and hit three scores on the bounce – Ruairi Donaghy conjured up his third point of the evening and Michael McNicholl atoned for giving away a free as he handed the ball off to Brendan Cormican who popped the ball over the bar to make it 1-15-0-11.
The Hightown side needed a goal and urgently and it almost arrived seven minutes from time through substitute Ruairi Crummey but Kurtis McGreevy made himself tall to turn away Crummey’s low drive.
The resulting 65′ was played short and Ruairi Donaghy converted from Cormac Ross quick reactions.
St Galls responded with three straight scores of their own – Tomas O’Ciarnan wriggled clear of danger and shot high over the bar before CJ McGourty converted his second free of the evening.
O’Ciarnan converted a further free to bring his personal tally to seven two minutes into six added – and in the final minutes of injury-time St Endas secured a consolation goal.
Cormac Ross dropped in an angled free and Ruairi Diamond scrambled the ball to the net past Kurtis McGreevy to restore some pride.
In the end it had little affect on the outcome at St Galls booked their place in he Intermediate final in two weeks time with a 1-18-1-12 win.
St Endas: P Curran, C Jennings, M O’Hare, M McGivern, J Maskey, M Mullan, E O’Connor, C Ross (0-02), A McGowan, J McGoldrick (0-05, 0-04f), R Donaghy (0-03), B Cormican (0-01), D Lowry, C McSteen, R Diamond (1-01). Subs: R Crummey for A McGowan (34 mins), M McNicholl for O Breen (44 mins), D Maguire for B Cormican (51 mins), M McQuillan for E O’Connor (55 mins).
St Galls: K McGreevy, A Gribbon, J McDaniel, A Hannaway, R Irvine, A Gallagher, J McGreevy, J Hopkins, A Healy (0-01), CJ McGourty (1-03, 0-02f), K McGourty (0-02), C Burke (0-01), K Stewart (0-01), T O’Ciarnan (0-07, 0-02f), S McAreavey (0-01). Subs: N O’Neill (0-01) for A Gribbon (34 mins), M Napier (0-01) for K Stewart (41 mins), G McGreevy for S Burke (48 mins), P Lennon for A Healy (54 mins), M Donnelly for S McAreavey (55 mins).
Referee: Brendan Toland (Lamh Dhearg)
Pics by John McIlwaine