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Fixtures & Results 2012 - ACFL Div 1

ACFL Div 1
13 May 2012
St Gall's 1-08 v 1-03 Rasharkin

No Change at the summit as St.Galls maintain 100% record


Reigning league Champions St.Galls made it six from six as St.Mary’s Rasharkin became their next victims at the Milltown venue on Sunday past. Both sides had notable absentees and were forced to use the depth of their bench, CJ and Kevin McGourty, Kevin Niblock, Sean Burke and Colin Brady most notable for the home side while the South West side were worse off with no less than ten injuries within ranks. The Milltown side would be wary of their guests as the St.Mary’s outfit collected both league points at the start of the 2011 season at Dreen courtesy of St.Galls.


Sean McDermott’s clubman James Reid took up the whistle for this game as the St Galls’ grounds man added the finishing touches with the line marker close to through in. Having won the toss the St Galls’ skipper, Anto Healey, elected to play with wind advantage in the first period.


Both sides traded possession in the opening throws of the game but neither team made a difference on the scoreboard until Rasharkin’s Connor Gribben played Johnny McAleese a pin point pass under pressure from Andy McClean, McAleese obliged fourteen metres out on the fifth minute. The visitor’s response was instant when Ciaran McGourty split the posts for the home side thanks to a brilliant threw ball from Kevin McDonald.


St.Galls enjoyed much possession during the middle period of the first half without registering, as the wides tally mounted through wayward shooting and the St Marys defence forcing them to shoot under pressure. On the eighteenth minute Rasharkin were gifted a chance to fire themselves in front by three when a penetrating move through the St Galls defence saw Johnny McAleese dispatch a perfect pass to the advancing Alan McNeill, Chris Kerr on the St Galls line done brilliantly to read the situation, the big man done enough to put the McNeill off and clear his lines.


Anto Healey broke the deadlock on the twenty first minute; he watched his thirty yard effort sale over the Rasharkin crossbar following a brilliant supporting run. St Galls nippy corner forward Brendan Bradley pushed the home side into a two point lead on the thirtieth minute with a well taken effort out on the wing. Rasharkin then went from two down to one up when they raised the green flag a minute into injury time. St.Mary’s defender Paddy Hasson cannoned a long ball to the edge of the St Galls square as Johnny McAleese cleverly tipped the ball over the head of Chris Kerr, injuring himself in the process.


The visitor’s lead was short lived, however, when Brendan Bradley for St Galls bagged a goal at the other end two minutes later. This effort was well struck and may have been saved by Donal McLarnon on the Rasharkin line but fortunately for the home support the shoot took a deflection from defender Connor Gribben to nestle at the back of the St.Mary’s net as James Reid called time on the first half. 

Half time score St Galls 1-3 Rasharkin 1-1.


St Galls manager Karl McCabe wouldn’t have been impressed with his sides wides tally in the first period and made his feelings clear during the half time interval, the Milltown men responded instantly and fired three points over inside the first five minutes of the restart. The first from Ciaran McGourty after two minutes, followed by Brendan Bradley and a great effort from Niall O’Neill.


St Marys who had adapted a defensive strategy in the first period elected to use the elements in the second half with fast ball to the inside forwards. With ten minutes on the clock, Eamon McNeill who had gained possession in his own half was upended following a surging run making his way goalward. Galls defender Aidan Gribben was forced to retire following the incident as Rasharkin’s top scorer Johnny McAleese landed a peach from the set piece to reduce the deficit to four points. Brendan Bradley for the home side took his personal tally to 1-3 midway through the half, with a fantastic effort skilfully using the swirling breeze to good affect, before man of the match Ciaran McGourty increased the St Galls grip to six points after twenty minutes. Rasharkin’s Johnny McAleese who collected all his sides scores took his return to 1-3, finished the scoring after twenty five when he converted to leave the final score 1-8 to 1-3 in a low scoring affair. 


Although up against it for most of the game the under strength Rasharkin side never threw in the towel and played hard until the final whistle.  Donal McLarnon was brilliant in goal, Sean Hasson, Dominic McFerran, Alan McNeill, Connor Gribben, Paul Doherty, Benny Hasson, Cathal Mooney, Eamon McNeill, Johnny McAleese and Brendan Etherson fought hard for the visitors.


St.Galls missing a few regulars also demonstrated why they are top of the heap, any side to come away with points from Milltown this season will have earned them. Just another day at the office for this sleek West Belfast side who can feel proud of the efforts from Aidan Gribben, Anto Healey, Mark Kelly, Sean Kelly, Kevin McDonald, Sean O’Hara and Brendan Bradley with special mention going to Ciaran McGourty in a man of the match performance.


St.Mary’s Rasharkin: Donal McLarnon, Conor Hasson, Sean Hasson, Dominic McFerran, Peader McMullan, Alan McNeill, Connor Gribben, Paul Doherty (Capt) and Benny Hasson, Shane Hasson, Cathal Mooney, Brendan Etherson, Johnny McAleese (1-3), Eamon McNeill and Paddy Hasson.


Subs: Conor McKillop


St Galls Belfast: Chris Kerr, Pearce McBride, Andy McClean, Aidan Gribben, Anto Healey(Capt)(0-1), Mark Kelly, Sean Kelly, Kevin McDonald, Aidan Gallagher, Terry O’Neill, Ciaran McGourty (0-3), Niall O’Neill (0-1), Darren O’Hare, Sean O’Hara and Brendan Bradley (1-3).


Subs: Damien Cummings, Tony Bell and Terry Austin

 Referee: James Reid (Sean McDermott’s)