OB Construction Antrim Intermediate Football Championship, semi-final
All Saints, Ballymena 3-10 St Teresa's 2-7

IT was a bit of a slow burner at Hightown in Saturday's Antrim Intermediate Football Championship semi-final, but All Saints powered home in the second period to get the better of St Teresa's.

After a fairly forgettable opening 30 minutes, the second half came to life with goals aplenty and three red cards, two for the victors including Kevan Keenan who blotted his copybook late after bagging two earlier majors, but by the time of his dismissal top-scorer Ronan McKillop had thumped home the Ballymena side's third goal to effectively make it safe.

Liam 'Baker' Bradley's side took a while to find their feet in front of the posts, but grabbed momentum before the half and carried it over.

St Teresa's kept at it and did end up with numerical advantage after initially being man Shortt when Anthony Varndell was dismissed early in the second period, but a late Robbie Gallagher goal would prove little more than consolation.

John Mallon kicked St Teresa's into an early lead fro a free, but it was All Saints who were getting on the front foot a little more in the opening quarter.

However, possession and territory was counting for nothing as the accuracy from shots bypassed them, kicking five wides and one into the goalkeeper's hands before they finally got off the mark 17 minutes in through Ronan McKillop.

Philip Maguire tried to find a way past Patrick Ferris

Philip Maguire tried to find a way past Patrick Ferris

By this time, St Teresa's had a second on the board through Paul McGoldrick as they were making more of their forward forays, yet the opening period was dominated by teams aiming to hold onto possession and pass around and back for the most part.

The West Belfast outfit would stretch that lead as Sean Maguire zipped a great pass into the chest of Anton Taylor to turn and curl over, while Niall McCann kicked a free to extend the gap to three.

All Saints were coming more into it as they attempted to press up and it was McKillop from a free with their second and they had drawn level by half-time at 0-4 as Conall Lemon split the posts and McKillop landed his third of the day with the final act of the opening period.

They picked up where the left off upon the resumption as Patrick Ferris curled over minutes in to put them in front and there they would stay.

Two minutes later came their opening goal as a long ball broke and it was Keenan who thumped a rasping shot high into the top corner. To compound matters for the city side, Varndell was shown red for what appeared to be back chat to the officials.

Keenan then thumped a shot just over but Ballymena's numerical superiority was wiped out almost immediately as Ciaran McGarry was dismissed.

St Teresa's appeared to take immediate advantage as a good move resulted in Taylor playing McGoldrick in to roll home and leave just two in it and while Brendan McDonnell and Niall McCann traded points, this was as close as the West Belfast men would get.

Points from McKillop and Cal O'Brien after a good one-two extended the margin and after Luke Cassin pulled one back to leave three in it, St Teresa's had a great chance of an equalising goal when Taylor did well to work his way in but his shot was cleared off the line.

That came after Ciaran Murtagh made a goods to at the other end, but the pendulum would then swing decisively in favour of All Saints as after McKillop kicked a free, whey were awarded a penalty on 52 minutes as Shane O'Callaghan was bundled over and Keenan slotted home.

The ball spills free

The ball spills free

A third goal almost came immediately as the stray kick-out was pounced on by Shea O'Brien, but Murtagh recovered to save.

However, there was nothing he could do on 56 minutes as substitute Ciaran Campbell put McKillop in to finish low and finish the game as a contest. But in the aftermath, Keenan saw red that he will regret as it will almost certainly rule him out of the final.

St Teresa's kept at it and McGoldrick scooped a shot over and then in stoppage time, All Saints were caught out when playing about at the back as Gallagher nipped in to intercept and with goalkeeper Ryan Stewart out of goal, he found the empty net.

It was too little, too late, however, as All Saints saw out the dying moments to move into the decider.

ST TERESA'S: C Murtagh; A Dugan, P Johnston, R Mallon; C O'Rawe, E Gault, S Maguire; L Cassin (0-1), A Varndell; J Mallon (0-1 free), N McCann (0-2, 1 free), P Maguire; M Small, A Taylor (0-1), P McGoldrick (1-2).
Subs: D McCann for E Gault (33), R Gallagher (1-0) for M Small (38), R Hamill for R Mallon (58), C McGoldrick for L Cassin (58)

ALL SAINTS: R Stewart; E Walsh, J McDonnell, C O'Brien (0-1); P Ferris, S O'Callaghan, J Rafferty; S McVeigh, E KIllough; S O'Brien, R McKillop (1-5, 0-2 frees), C Lemon (0-1); B McDonnell (0-1), K Keenan (2-1), C McGarry.
Subs: M Read for E Walsh (20), L O'Rawe for E Killough (49), C Campbell for C lemon (51), M McGreevey for B McDonnell (58), M Downey for R McKIllop (60)

REFEREE: Brendan Toland (Lámh Dhearg)