Antrim Hurling League Division Two
St Gall’s 4-16 Bredagh 4-16
JACKSON McGreevy struck late on to earn St Gall’s a share of the spoils in a thrilling 4-16 apiece draw with Bredgah in their league opener at Milltown on Sunday afternoon.
Both sides had relative periods of control in the absorbing contest, and it was Bredagh who started with two early goals.
Neal Torney saw his flick-on cleared off the line and Sean McGourty was on hand to slam to the net within two minutes.
Points were traded between Niall McFarland and Cormac Sheehan before the visitors’ second goal arrived.
Full-forward Torney intercepted a pass and held off the pressure of Niall O’Neill before flicking a shot low to the corner of the net past Joe McDaniel to give his side a 2-1 to 0-1 lead.
St Gall’s responded through an angled score from Mark Napier and a further Sheehan free to close the gap.
The sides traded the next four scores equally as Tiernan Sheehan converted two frees and Declan McCartney opened his account for the afternoon to give Bredagh a five-point lead on three occasions.
However, Cormac Sheehan landed his third placed ball of the afternoon and further replies from Fergus Donnelly and Sean McAreavey kept the hosts in touch.
St Gall’s moved to within two points through Cormac Sheehan’s fourth conversion and another fine Napier score.
Tiarnan Sheehan matched his namesake’s tally from the placed ball with two converted frees in-between a floated effort from Dubhaltach Wilson to edge his side 2-6 to 0-9 ahead.
Five minutes before the break, parity was restored as Odhran McIlhatton dropped a diagonal pass into the corner where Sean McAreavey won it and laid the ball off for Mark Napier to fire to the net.
Neal Torney missed the chance to double his goal tally for the afternoon, firing inches past the post.
It was St Gall’s who would lead at the break when Sean McAreavey popped over his second point of the half and goal scorer Napier added his third to give their side a 1-11 to 2-6 advantage.
The hosts increased their advantage upon the resumption through a further Cormac Sheehan free, though Declan McCartney doubled his personal account from the same scenario and Mark Patterson then swung over from play to narrow the deficit to a single point.
St Gall’s extended their lead with their second goal in the 35th minute. Joe McDaniel spotted Jackson McGreevy in space and his high ball was helped into the path of Mark Napier by Ferguson Donnelly, Napier then coolly picked out the run of Sean McAreavey who flicked the ball to the net and made it 2-12 to 2-8.
Substitute Ben Christie and Tiarnan Sheehan (free) pointed to half the deficit, though the hosts grabbed their third goal of the game and moved five ahead.
McAreavey dropped in a short shot that Bredagh keeper Ian Galway gathered and tried to clear, Jackson McGreevy got to the loose ball ahead of Declan McCartney and poked the ball into the path of Fergus Donnelly to fire low to the corner and move St Gall’s 3-12 to 2-10 in front.
Niall McFarland and Declan McCartney (free) responded to cut the deficit to a goal and midway through the half parity was restored for the second time in proceedings.
Tiarnan Sheehan had the chance to pull a score back with a free from range, but his effort dipped, and Joe McDaniel failed to keep it out as the scores were tied at 3-12 apiece.
St Gall’s regained the lead through substitute Lorcan O’Ciarnan and Tiarnan Sheehan levelled again from a long-range free - his seventh of the afternoon.
Bredagh led for the second time in the afternoon through a fine Declan McCartney point and a Ben Christie effort from the tightest of angles that squeezed inside the posts.
It looked as though their insurance score arrived when Neal Torney gathered a pass from Declan McCartney and steered a low effort inside the right-hand post for his second goal of the afternoon to give his side a 4-15 to 3-13 advantage.
Converted frees from Jackson McGreevy and Tomas O’Ciarnan brought things back to a single-score game though with a minute plus added time remaining.
A fifth point of the afternoon from Declan McCartney had his side a four to the good going into time added on with Jackson McGreevy converting a free to keep his side in with a chance of claiming a share of the spoils.
The hosts would have the opportunity to salvage a point when Niall McFarland clipped the stick of Niall O’Neill and referee Niall Clifford awarded a free.
Jackson McGreevy seized responsibility and his low effort bobbled low to the net to tie things up at 4-16 apiece.
Neither side was able to force the winner as Clifford brought proceedings to an end and in truth, both sides would probably have settled for a share of the spoils at some point over the course of the 60 minutes.
ST GALL'S: J McDaniel, E Rush, N O’Neill, D Wilson (0-1), R Irvine, T O’Ciaran (0-1f), O McIlhatton, G Mac Adaimh, G McGreevy, P Friel, C Sheehan (0-5f), J McGreevy (1-2f), F Donnelly (1-1), S McAreavey (1-2), M Napier (1-3).
Subs: L O’Ciaran (0-1) for P Friel (37), D Delaney for C Sheehan (49).
BREDAGH: I Galway, E Maguire, A Carey, PJ Lavery, L Hogan, N McFarland (0-2), T Sheehan (1-6f), M Patterson (0-1), M Lavery, R Curran, D McCartney (0-5, 0-2f), N Smyth, O McFlynn, N Torney (2-0), S McGourty (1-0).
Subs: R McCamphaill for PJ Lavery (28), B Christie (0-02) for R Curran (HT), C Blaney for O McFlynn (38).
REFEREE: Niall Clifford (Armagh)