Thiar Theas Antroma CLCG
South West Antrim GAA


6th August 2018

Report & pics by Saffron Gael Breslin Cup Final All Saints 2-13 St. James Aldergrove 3-7 When St. James’ towering full-forward, Ryan McCarthy fired to the net from close range in the 7th minute of the second half to complete his hat-trick and put his side ahead for the first time in the game things didn’t look good for All Saints, Ballymena who had looked comfortable at the break when they deservedly led by 1-8 to 1-3. Suddenly the Slemish Park side were under the cosh and serious questions were being asked for the first time but they were questions that an excellent All Saints were able to answer as they picked themselves up of the canvas to take the game to their opponents in the final quarter. A goal from the penalty spot from Harry Wylie after Ronan McKillop was brought down in full flight gave them a cushion and with the result still in the balance Adrian Scullion pointed in the 30th minute to ensure there would be no way back for the Crumlin side. It was St. James Aldergrove who got off to the better start with Conor Adams pointing them in front in the third minute but All Saints replied through team captain, Oisin Connolly before Ronan McKillop got in for a goal with five minutes gone. St. James’ keeper, Rory McBriar seemed to be having problems with his kicking cone and his attempted short kick out saw McKillop rob Conor Ferguson but with plenty still to do the All Saints number 10 kept his cool to fire to the net from close range and put his side in the ascendancy. Adrian Scullion raised the second loud cheer of the night from the sizeable All Saints support when he sent a ‘45’ between the posts in the 18th minute with McKillop following with another from play to open up a six point gap with 19 minutes gone. Aldergrove had been on the back foot for a time but they replied with their first score for 19 minutes when Michael Blaney and then Glen Durham pointed frees. Jake White, who was excellent in the All Saints engine room all night, soloed 40 yards for a great point and normal service seemed to have been resumed but the Crumlin side were starting to have a wee bit of success. They replied with a goal from Ryan McCarthy in the 24th minute, the big full-forward had earlier given warning when he was foiled by a good save from Jason Givens but this time there was no stopping him as he fired an unstoppable shot to the net. Suddenly there was only two between the sides despite All Saints earlier dominance but the Ballymena lads returned to the offensive with a strong finish to the half and points from Oisin Connolly, Ronan McKillop and Aidan Scullion saw them heading to the Whitehill dressing rooms five points in front. The Ballymena side attempted to press home their advantage at the start of the second half with Jake White running at the Aldergrove defence but the All Saints mid-fielder blotted his copy book as he was wide of the target twice in the opening minute. They were rocked back on their heels as Aldergrove responded and the excellent Ryan McCarthy soloed through for a great individual goal before Michael Blaney added a 4th minute point and suddenly there was only one between the sides. Oisin Connolly from a 6th minute free increased that lead to two but St. James were now enjoying much more of the play and when Shaun O’Callaghan was dispossessed after fielding a Michael Blaney free, McCarthy was on hand to force the ball home and the Crumlin lads were in front for the second time. Could All Saints respond? Well respond they did as they introduced Ross Mckay to defence in an attempt to negate the Ryan McCarthy threat and almost immediately Ronan McKillop raced clear at the other end but his well struck shot sailed over when a goal looked on. With White and Wylie again gaining the upper hand at mid-field Oisin Connolly pointed them ahead again in the 14th minute but St. James were far from finished and drew level again through Aaron O’Connor. It was still anyone’s game as Patrick Ferris and Ryan McCarthy exchanged further points going into the final quarter and then McCarthy brought a loud cheer from the Aldergrove support as he edged his side in front again with a point in the 19th minute. Again the All Saints response was quick and decisive and Ronan McKillop was chopped down as he raced through on goal with referee Sean McAtamney pointing to the penalty spot and Harry Wylie applied the Coup- de -grace. There was still eight minutes of normal time remaining but the winners managed possession efficiently during the closing stages, closing shop at the back and Aidan Scullion concluded the scoring with a point in the 30th minute. A very entertaining game of football and both sides should be applauded for their efforts and the quality of play. For the winners jack Agnew, Luke Mulholland and Shaun O’Callaghan excelled in defence while Jake White was superb at mid-field where he had good support from Harry Wylie. In a lively and skilful attack Oisin Connolly led by example while Aidan Scullion, Roan McKillop and the flying Ciaran Campbell were best in a good all round unit. Aldergrove certainly played their part in making this a memorable game and their never say die attitude kept them in contention right until the final whistle. Ryan McCarthy was superb for the Crumlin side with David Aiken, Eoin Gough, Aaron O’Connor and Michael Blaney others to shine. All Saints: Jason Givens, Luke Mulholland, Jack Agnew, Michael Read, Conall Killough, Shaun O’Callaghan, Patrick Ferris, Harry Wylie, Jake White, Ronan McKillop, Oisin Connolly, Aidan Scullion, Ciaran Campbell, Niall Esler, Charlie Metrustry. Subs: Ross McKay for Michael Read, Ryan Mark for Charlie Metrustry Aldergrove: Rory McBriar, Lee McCusker, David Aiken, Conor Ferguson, Eoin Gough, Emmet Irvine, Logan Fleming, Eoin Hamill, Aaron O’Connor, Glen Dunham, Michael Blaney, Conleith O’Toole, Daniel Shields, Ryan McCarthy, Conor Adams. Referee: Sean McAtamney (Tir na nOg)

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