Bright start puts St Gall’s on the road to glory
A three-goal blitz in the opening 18 minutes put St Gall's in the driving seat in last night's football semi-final at Casement Park in a game they won with ease.
They will be now odds-on to claim their ninth title this decade and await the winners of the replay between St Brigid's and Portglenone.
Playing an attractive brand of attacking football, the Milltown men's first goal arrived in the fourth minute when Rory Gallagher finished to the net after he had been found by a neat flick by CJ McGourty. It was McGourty who added the second soon after with a sublime effort from an acute angle that left keeper Kevin Doyle with no chance. The third St Gall's goal came from the foot of Kevin Niblock who converted a penalty after Paul Veronica had been foot-blocked as he bore down on goal.
The early onslaught by the champions caught Cargin cold and they had to rely on three points from county star Ciaran Close and a fisted effort from Paul McCann to keep them in the hunt. However, St Gall's were passing well and using the open spaces to their advantage.
Points from Sean Kelly, Sean Burke, Terry O' Neill and Gallagher sent the Belfast side in at the break with a three goal advantage.
After the break the game was marred somewhat a series of late tackles and off-the-ball incidents.
For Cargin, Ciaran Close continued to show his undoubted class by adding some excellent points but, despite this, the St Gall's backline remained in control throughout.
Two points from Tomas McCann and one from Close with five minutes left brought the deficit to four points. The St Gall's defence was solid in the face of Cargin's late onslaught and points from Kevin McGourty and Rory Gallagher saw the Belfast side safely through.
Meanwhile reigning champions Cushendall booked their place in this year’s senior hurling final with a 1-14 to 1-9 victory over Loughiel at Ballycastle. A goal from Conor McCambridge 11 minutes into the second half helped the ‘Dall to their win and they will now face Dunloy in the decider at Casement Park.
St Gall’s: R Gallagher, S Kennedy, A McLean, C Brady, P Veronica, A Healy, S Kelly (0-2), K McGourty (0-1), S Burke (0-1), T O’ Neill (0-1), K Niblock (1-0 pen), A Gallagher, C McGourty, Rory Gallagher (1-2), CJ McGourty (1-1, 1f). Subs: D O' Hare for S Burke, M Kelly for Veronica, C Gallagher for CJ McGourty.
Cargin: K Doyle, M Kane, B McCann, K O’ Boyle, T Scullion, J Crozier, P McKeever, G McCann, M McCann, P McCann (0-2), E McCann, T McCann (0-2, 1f), C Close (0-7, 3f), E O’ Neill, J Laverty. Subs: C Scullion for E McCann, E McGrogan for P McKeever.