Report from Saffron Gael, link to SaffronAid Gael report : https://thesaffrongael.com/2017/11/06/st-endas-stand-firm-to-repel-late-aghagallon-challenge/
Antrim U21 ‘A’ Football Championship quarter-final
St Mary’s Aghagallon 0-7
Naomh Éanna 0-9
Naomh Éanna stood firm to repel a late challenge from St. Mary’s Aghagallon in this keenly contested U21A football championship quarter-final and advance to the semi-final at Pairc na Gael on Sunday. In a game where the home side started brightly, the Glengormley side moved into a 0-9 to 0-5 lead late in the game but Aghagallon came strong in the closing stages but fell just short in the end.
There was little to choose between the sides throughout, but Naomh Éanna were more clinical in the scoring zone while their opponents had to work much harder for their scores throughout the hour.
Both teams were forced to start without keys players with Aghagallon’s Eunan Walsh held in reserve until the second half while Joe Maskey and Peter Healy remain injured for the Hightown side.
It was the home side who made the brighter start, hitting the opening two points in quick succession from Shane Russell and raiding wing-back Pat Branagan and at this stage they were looking good but they were unable to build on this bright opening.
Both side employed a sweeper with Jamie Lamont taking up the role for St Mary’s and Naomh Éanna had difficulty breaking down a well-organised home defence during the opening exchanges.
It took seven minutes for the visitors to breech the Aghagallon defensive wall when Ciaran Thompson set up Odhran Eastwood for a good point and this score seemed to settle the Glengormley side though Aghagallon were still enjoying the majority of possession.
They spurned a few chances at the other end however and paid the price when their opponents levelled after 10 minutes when Conan Lyttle split the posts following a good build up.
Still, St Mary’s just about held the upper hand in terms of possession and hit the front once more when Adam Loughran took a fine score.
Defenders Aaron Doherty and Aidan Mulholland were enjoying great success in snuffing out the threat of the Naomh Éanna danger men but Aghagallon were increasingly wasteful in front of the posts as the game became scrappy.
After 10 scoreless minutes Ruairi Scott broke the deadlock with a point out of the top drawer when he fired over with the outside of his right boot from the best part of 40 yards to level the game at 0-3 all and it was clear we were in for game.
Significantly though the home side began to spurn chances leaving Shane Russell and Adam Loughran isolated in attack where they were outnumbered time and again as their colleagues tried to find them with long through balls.
As Aghagallon’s wides tally rose to seven, they fell behind for the first time in the game when Eastwood converted a free which was moved forward for dissent and the Glengormley side took that 0-4 to 0-3 lead into the half-time break.
Míle buíochas le Saffron Gael