St Mary’s took three points when comfortably seeing off South Belfast side Ulidia FC at a blustery Mallusk on Saturday.St Mary’s skipper Oliver Breen elected to play with the wind advantage in the first period while Eoin McNicholl came closest to opening the scoring when clipping the woodwork.
The deadlock was broken for St Mary’s on 15 minutes when front man Conal Breen flicked a pass through to Eoin O’Reilly to open the scoring and Jack Parke added to their tally minutes later after converting NcNicholl’s precise cross.
Oliver Breen scuffed a penalty kick past the post for St Mary’s as the half time break approached while at the other end, full backs Aidan Quinn and Oisín Donaghy dealt with many of the Ulidia attacks.
As the teams changed ends for the second period, the Ulidia comeback never materialised as an Eoin McNicholl’s free-kick found Eoin O’Reilly lurking 12 yards out to register a third St Mary’s goal.
O’Reilly went on to complete his hat-trick on 40 minutes, finishing off a great move involving Cormac Morgan, Cathal McGarrity and Jack Parke.
Aided by the strong breeze, Ulidia applied some pressure to the St Mary’s defence and forced several corners but some stout defending by Trevor McCormick, Patrick Ross and Cormac Morgan kept the St Mary’s clean sheet intact.
St Mary’s added a further three goals from the in-form Jack Parke, an O’Reilly header and an Oliver Breen penalty kick while the scoring was complete in the dying minutes when Ulidia hammered a free-kick past St Mary’s stand-in goalkeeper Morgan for a well-deserved consolation goal.
Man of the match: Jack Parke.
St Mary’s FC 5
Comber Rec 3
This game was a surprisingly good footballing affair despite the windy conditions.
As St Mary’s pushed forward in the first ten minutes they really should have taken the lead with a couple of great opportunities.
It was Comber who scored the first goal but it was only a minor setback as St Mary’s equalised just five minutes later as Marty Murphy slotted the ball home.
St Mary’s went on to build great momentum and squandered great chances while Comber posed a real threat from long throws and set pieces around the box.
St Mary’s could have taken the lead when it appeared that the Comber ‘keeper caught the ball behind the line, however play was waved on.
Gerard Christie stepped up to take a free-kick and the ball rocketed into the roof of the Comber net to put St Mary’s into the lead at half time.
The second half began much like the first with St Mary’s retaining possession and it was Paddy McDiarmaid who added to the tally, bending the ball into the bottom right corner.
At 3-1 St Mary’s became complacent and allowed Comber to win more possession in the middle of the park.
Comber’s second goal came courtesy of a very generous penalty.
At 3-2 St Mary’s were quite nervy but Decky Kane converted a good cross to make the score 4-2. As St Mary’s pressed for a fifth goal they left their backline outnumbered allowing Comber to strike back. Aidan O’Reilly scored the 5th goal in injury time to secure the win.
“The boys held their shape and defended brilliantly on several occasions, with Shay Bannon, in particular, pulling off a great save with his foot.
“This was a great game and a great result,” said manager James Tohill. Man of the Match: Cormac Eastwood.
St Mary’s 4
Albert Foundry 2
St Mary’s overcame league leaders Albert Foundry after a great display in Mallusk.
The North Belfast men came into this game on the back of two impressive victories against Bloomfield and Ulidia.
Within the first minute St Mary’s grabbed the opener when Conor Campbell converted Conor Kearney’s across.
St Mary’s, who were missing Matthew Harvey and Cormac Ross from injury and illness, started with a 4-5-1 formation.
This meant St Mary’s had an extra man in midfield with Conor Campbell thriving in his free role.
Within ten minutes it was 2-0 with Conor Magee collecting a lovely through ball before sliding it into the net from the edge of the box.
St Mary’s pressed again and were unlucky not to grab a third with TJ McCaffrey going close.
Albert Foundry pulled a goal back with a shot that evaded Matthew Gibson. St Mary’s dominated midfield with Emmett McCracken and Luke Kelly playing well while Pearse Magee created havoc throughout. Half-time: 2-1.
Ten minutes into the half Albert Foundry were wrongly awarded a penalty.
Matthew Gibson heroically saved the spot kick and made an even better save from the rebound.
Five minutes later St Mary’s broke away and TJ kept his composure to beat the goalkeeper.
Again Albert Foundry rallied but the centre back pairing of Matt McCann and Conor Kearny remained strong.
The Saints grabbed a fourth and it was that man TJ who slid the ball home for his second of the game.
With five minutes remaining Albert Foundry grabbed a lifeline, again a shot from long distance, which was helped by the wind.
Conor Burrows was introduced and he stood strong.
The back four of Jordan, Michael, Conor and Matt were superb while the midfield trio of Luke, Emmett and CC were creative and solid. Forwards TJ, Pearse and Conor Magee were full of energy.
Emmett McCracken was magnificent, Pearse Magee again was superb in all areas and TJ was fantastic in leading the line. Man of the match TJ McCaffrey.
St Mary’s FC Results
U11s lost 4-1 to Bloomfield
U12s won 4-1 against Ulidia
U16s won 5-3 against Comber
U17s won 4-2 against Albert Foundry