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Antrim Football Championship: St Gall’s leave it late to see off St John's

St Gall’s 0-9 St John's 0-6: All-Ireland champions St Gall’s lived dangerously at Casement Park last night, needing two late scores to finally put away St John’s in the Antrim SFC semi-final.

St Gall’s fielded a side short of a number of the All-Ireland winning team from St Patrick’s Day. Kieran was the only McGourty brother who started with Kevin Niblock and Andy McLean two other notable absentees.

However St Gall’s could — and should — have been out of sight by the short whistle, notching seven wides in the opening half, all from scorable positions.

It was a poor opening half that produced just seven scores, with St John’s edging the honours by a point at the break.

Michael Pollock opened the scoring for St Gall’s after two minutes, but the All-Ireland champions failed to raise another flag until the 20-minute mark with a number of players guilty of glaring misses.

Karl Stewart, Michael Pollock, Kieran McGourty and Sean Burke were among the culprits while St John’s made the most of their chances at the other end.

Veteran Brian McFall was the main target man and he leveled matters for the Johnnies after nine minutes. Stewart converted a free to edge St Gall’s back in front before McFall’s second from play had the sides level on the 21st minute.

CJ McGourty was introduced just before the break but his first contribution was to set up Burke for another St Gall’s wide. The pick of the first half scores came in injury time when St John’s sub Joe Hand sent over a long range point to give his side a 0-4 to 0-3 lead at the short whistle.

St Gall’s got their first from play through Terry O’Neill after the restart and Benny Martin and Aodhan Gallagher (pictured) also pointed to leave St Gall’s 0-7 to 0-5 to the good, St John’s’ point coming from Enda McKenna.

Colm McFall narrowed the gap to a point on 53 minutes but O’Neill and Stewart added points for the champions to see them into another Antrim final.

Meanwhile, in Ladies Football, a new name will be inscribed on the Brendan Martin Cup after Tyrone beat Kerry in a hard-fought replay in Banagher to set up a September 26 final showdown against Dublin.

Tyrone had to do it the hard way as they came from three points down at half-time (1-2 to 0-8) to secure victory.

Tyrone coach Niall Colton reflected: “In the first match, we went 1-3 to 0-0 ahead and, at that point, maybe a bit of complacency set in.

“We didn't kick on and dominate but on Saturday, the girls were more switched on. Neamh Woods' sin-bin upset us and put us out of stride but we knew what to expect from Kerry.”

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