Graham Tarmac Antrim Junior Football Championship, Group Two
St Malachy’s 1-9 St Agnes’ 1-8
St Malachy’s managed to take the win on Friday night in a tense match against St Agnes’ at Cherryvale in one of the opening games of the Antrim Championships.
St Malachy’s began the match strong, keeping St Agnes’ from getting a point until 14 minutes.
Karl McCavana put the South Belfast men strongly in the lead within the first minute with a great goal, a free the next minute saw Aidan Connor earn a point, followed immediately after by points from Ciaran Vernon, Paul Carlisle, Colin Connolly and Paul Millar putting the South Belfast side up 1-5 before the 15 minute mark.
At this point the rain began to bucket down in torrents, and the Aggie’s took their chance, with Conall Turley and Ryan Reilly earning two points in rapid succession for the West Belfast men.
St Mal’s struck back quickly with Jack McGivern putting on a good show to get another point for the South Belfast squad.
The tone of the match changed at 23 minutes when a huge altercation broke out caused by a dodgy tackle from the Aggies, and the resulting ruckus saw two Aggies men awarded yellow cards, and St Mal’s goalkeeper Sean Turley sent off with a red for joining the commotion, and was replaced by Chris McNeela.
The scene took several minutes for the referee Sean Elliott to gain control, and after this Elliott adopted a firm no nonsense approach, which saw scores of cards being handed out for the remainder of the match.
Aggies seemed to recover from the opening of the match, and used this to gain a point when James Halleron scored a free, putting them up to 0-3.
The next two minutes saw two more yellow cards being award to St Mal’s, with Fra Brennan and Aidan Connor both being awarded cards.
Aggies motored on, playing a quick game of catch-up, with Dylan Cunningham and two from Declan McLarnon earning the West Belfast men two points, putting them up to 0-6 before the whistle went for half time.
St Mal’s regained some strength going into 40 minutes of play, with points coming from both Paul Carlisle and Jack McGivern who put in a tremendous effort throughout the match.
Referee Sean Elliott’s tough line on foul play continued to cause issues with players on both sides, and at 40 minutes Anthony Dobbin, who had come off earlier as a substitute earned a second yellow card for disagreeing with a decision.
At the 45 minute mark Shea Lynch came on for St Mal’s to replace Ronan Maneely, and a minute later Briondan McLarnon earned a second yellow card and was sent off the pitch.
Once play resumed, St Mal’s earned themselves another point from Ciaran Vernon, putting their total up to 1-9, the point being well deserved for Vernon who had put great effort in throughout the game.
A bad tackle the following minute saw Karl McCavana from St Mal’s awarded a second yellow, and subsequently sent off, with that being three players from St Mal’s who were sent off in total throughout the match as referee Sean Elliott took a draconic stance on any infringements.
A flurry of points from St Agnes’ almost saw the West Belfast men win the match, with points coming thick and fast with two from Paul Kennedy, a brilliant goal in the back of the net from Paul McStravick, and a point in the final minute from Matthew Corr, but it wasn’t enough to see them over the line, and the game ended with a point between them, the victory to St Malachy’s and the scoreline 1-9 to 1-8.
ST MALACHY’S: S Turley, C Connolly (0-1), S Carson, C Corr, D Quinn, M Connolly, P Hanna, A Dobbin, C Vernon (0-2), J McGivern (0-2), A Connor (0-1), R Maneely, P Millar (0-1), K McCavana (1-0), P Carlisle (0-2)
Subs: C McNeela for S Turley (23 mins), F Brennan for A Dobbin (16 mins), S Lynch for R Maneely (44 mins), S O’Neill for C Corr (50 mins)
ST AGNES’: C Carroll, B McLarnon, R Reilly (0-1), K McCormick, P Carroll, M Caldwell, D Cunningham (0-1), J Halleron (0-1), P Mulgrew, C Comptson, C Turley (0-1), M Corr (0-1), C McBride, R Carroll, D McLarnon (0-1)
Subs: P McStravick (1-0) for K McCormick (Half time), K McAllister for M Caldwell (Half-time), P Kennedy (0-2) for P Mulgrew (60 mins)
REFEREE: Sean Elliott (Lámh Dhearg)