OB Construction Antrim Intermediate Football Championship
Sarsfield’s 0-9 Dunloy 0-11
DUNLOY produced a gusty second half comeback to keep their Intermediate Championship ambitions alive at Sarsfield’s on Sunday afternoon.
The home side led by three at the break and again 11 minutes into the second half, but Colin Toal’s men were unable to shake off a determined challenge from the North Antrim men who finished on top.
The result means that Sarsfield’s could be joined on six points by both Dunloy and St Paul’s after the final round of games on Sunday, October 3.
Sarsfield’s, playing against the breeze in the first half, wasted no time in getting off the mark when Gary Lennon fired over the bar with just 16 seconds on the clock.
The hosts had an early sight on goal when Mícéal Ferris fired across the face of goal, but they doubled their lead when Riain McShane fisted over the bar moments later.
Dunloy got off the mark on six minutes when a delightful punt pass from Karl Fitzpatrick set up Christopher McMahon for a well-taken point.
Lennon and Fitzpatrick then exchanged frees before Dunloy had their first goal chance with Keelan Molloy firing wide after Dunloy intercepted Michael Brady’s short kick-out.
Sarsfield’s spurned a good few chances before Niall McKenna got them back on track with a converted free on 24 minutes while Thomas Skillen landed a great point to move his side 0-5 to 0-2 ahead.
Molloy and McKenna landed frees for their respective sides as Sarsfield’s took a 0-6 to 0-3 lead into the half-time interval.
It took the Cuchullains just five minutes of the second half to draw level. Molloy got his side up and running with a stunning point while off balance before Seaan Elliott and McMahon hit two points in quick succession to tie the game at 0-6 each.
Lennon hit back with a point for the Paddies and an inspirational point from McKenna moved the home side two clear once more.
A foul on Daniel McKernan right on the 14-yard line was close to yielding a penalty, but referee Ray Matthews was well-placed to make the call and Lennon tapped over the free as Sarsfield’s moved 0-9 to 0-6 ahead on 41 minutes.
However, Sarsfield’s failed to score in the final quarter of the game and Dunloy closed the gap back to a single point before the water break with Molloy (free) and McMahon on target.
On the restart, Dunloy drew level thanks to a great score from Elliott and they took the lead minutes later with Molloy finishing off a brilliant attack involving Eoin O’Neill and substitute Declan Smyth.
A late free from Molloy all but sealed the victory as Sarsfield’s failed to threaten a goal and it remains all to play for ahead of the final round of games on Sunday, October 3.
Dunloy will be at Glenavy and St Paul’s host St Pat’s with both teams needing handsome wins to overhaul Sarsfield’s in Group Two.
SARSFIELD’S: M Brady; P McPeake, M McPolin, M Johnston; E Mervyn, D McKernan, L Mitchel; C Murray, N McKenna (0-2, 0-1f); R McShane (0-1), G Lennon (0-5, 0-3fs), M Ferris; T Skillen (0-1), N McAlea, K Floyd.
Subs: C Laverty for Skillen (20), K Carson for McAlea (25), S Walsh for Floyd (50), E Quinn for McPolin (56), C Glenholmes for Mervyn (56).
DUNLOY: C McGilligan; C McCloskey, C Kinsella, E McFerran; O Quinn, A Crawford, A McGrath; R McGarry, R McFarline; E O’Neill, K Fitzpatrick (0-1, 0-1f), S Elliott (0-2); C McMahon (0-3), K Molloy (0-5, 0-3fs), S Dooey.
Subs: K McQuillan for McFarline (HT), D Smyth for Quinn (35), A Smyth for Dooey (37).
REFEREE: R Matthews (Rossa).