ACFL Division 1

Despite Naomh Bríd’s league season ending in a nine-point home defeat to the Antrim senior champions, there were sufficiently encouraging signs from the performance of Conor MacSherry’s young charges to provide a degree of confidence ahead of this week’s U21 Championship tie with Rossa.

This was a very useful precursor to Saturday’s clash (at Rossa 4pm), as while St Gall’s had rested a number of senior regulars, their line-up was still liberally laced with a clutch of All-Ireland Club medal holders, including Gallagher, O’Hare, Burke, Stewart and CJ McGourty.  Despite falling quickly into arrears from three St Gall’s scores, the Malone side eventually settled and frees from McGrady and Mooney overhauled the deficit briefly before a Stewart goal atoned for a couple of earlier near misses for the visitors. Half-time: Naomh Bríd 0-04 Naomh Gall 1-04.

In the second period O’Hare continued to rule the roost at midfield and the Milltown domination in the crucial quarter was unbroken despite a succession of ineffective positional switches.

It’s a thankless slog to compete against a machine that has lifted ten out of the last 11 past Antrim Championships but in fairness to the home side, despite the match being long decided with a second St Gall’s goal and a succession of points, they kept their effort and discipline going right to the final whistle.

There was plenty of quality football and, crucially, endeavour, on display to suggest that Naomh Bríd can deliver away to Rossa.

The standout player for Naomh Bríd, before his precautionary withdrawal, was corner back Ciaran Mackle, who had a stormer in the first half.

ST BRIGID’S: M Salters, M Kelly, M Malone, C Mackle, B Synnott, G Bogue, P Lundy, B Kelly, C Mooney, J Dowling, A Sweeney, C McGrady, R McGrady, P Mooney.