Antrim Senior Football Final: St Galls’ belief helps net title
St Gall’s 2-13 Cargin 0-10: St Galls captain Colin Brady insists that confidence was high in the Milltown camp in the run-up to Saturday’s Antrim championship win over Cargin — despite a less-than-impressive display in the semi-final.
The reigning All-Ireland champions dispatched their arch rivals with a clinical second-half display after leading by just two points at the break.
But two CJ McGourty goals in the second-half eased St Galls to what was a ninth Antrim SFC title in 10 years.
Cargin went into the game with high hopes of causing an upset after St Galls had struggled past St Johns in the semi-final, but Brady rubbished any suggestions that his side were in anything less than a confident mood in the build-up to the final.
“I wouldn’t have said there were any doubts in the St Galls camp after the semi-final,” said Brady.
“Other people maybe thought that of us, we hadn’t performed well, but I don’t think we were able to field the same team two weeks in a row since March.
“So that probably had us a bit up and down over the year, but we always believed in ourselves, believed in our ability and in what we can do and we just do all we can to stick to it.”
Cargin put it up to the All Ireland champions for much of the first-half. The sides were level five times during a nip and tuck opening 30 minutes, but St Galls landed three unanswered points before the break through CJ McGourty, Terry O’Neill and Anto Healy to lead 0-7 to 0-5 at the short whistle.
McGourty bagged his first major just after the restart and by the time he rippled the net on 43 minutes, St Galls already had one hand on the McNamee Cup.
The prolific corner forward ended a superb move by blasting to the top corner from 25 yards. He then added another free to bring his scoring total for the night to 2-5.
Michael Pollock converted two frees to ensure the game’s last scores from Kevin O’Boyle and Mark Kelly were no more than consolation efforts for Cargin.
St Galls will now begin the defence of their Ulster title against the Armagh champions as they aim to bag their third provincial title of the past decade.
“We have confidence in our own abilities and what we can do, but we also know how hard Ulster is,” Brady said.
“It’s really tough, but we believe as much as any team going into Ulster that we can go on and win it.”
St Galls: Ronan Gallagher; P Veronica, C Brady, B Martin; T O’Neill (0-1), S Kelly, A Healy (0-2); S Burke, A Gallagher; M Pollock (0-3, 0-2f), Rory Gallagher, K Stewart; K Niblock (0-1, ‘45’), CJ McGourty (2-5, 0-4f), Kieran McGourty
Subs: Kevin McGourty (0-1) for S Burke, A Hannaway for A Healy, C Kerr or Ronan Gallagher, C Gallagher for K Stewart, S Burns for M Pollock
Cargin: K McNally; B McCann, G McCann, K O’Boyle (0-1); J Crozier, T Scullion, D Craig; J Carron, M McCann; J Laverty (0-1), P McCann (0-1), C Close (0-2f); G O’Boyle (0-3, 0-1f), T McCann (0-1f), F Johnston
Subs: S McCloskey for J Carron, E McGrogan for C Close, M Kelly (0-1) for F Johnston, D Johnston for P McCann
Referee: G Walsh (Aghagallon).