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Kelly remaining positive despite St Gall's collapse

By John Campbell

Two Ulster club championship titles from 13 attempts in the past 14 years is a statistic that provides speculation in relation to St Gall's ability to remain as a major force in Antrim.

The team's eclipse by Monaghan champions Clontibret on Sunday after they had been 0-6 to 0-0 in front with just 10 minutes gone has raised questions about their staying power and indeed about the future of a number of their players.

But while bitterly disappointed at the manner of Sunday's defeat - his team scored just three points in 53 minutes of play following their opening surge -long-serving skipper Sean Kelly is not quite reaching for the panic button.

In a match in which some of the St Gall's luminaries failed to come up to scratch, Kelly strove to provide example and leadership.

"We're disappointed that the game did not go our way but at the same time when you miss the kind of chances that we missed you can't have too many complaints," states schoolteacher Kelly.

"When it comes to the Ulster club championship we have learned this lesson over the past few years - if you don't take chances, you don't win. I'm not blaming the forwards, the team has to assume responsibility."

St Gall's approach work looked promising but their shooting proved alarmingly erratic.

"We had got ourselves into good scoring positions but we weren't able to take advantage of these situations and we paid the penalty," adds Kelly.

In the last three minutes of the game St Gall's were guilty of the cardinal error of twice kicking the ball into the arms of Clontibret goalkeeper Conor Fadian and the scores which emanated from the ensuing lightning counter-attacks ultimately brought the curtain down on St Gall's involvement.

Now players like Kelly, Colin Brady, Anto Healy, Aodhan Gallagher and Terry O'Neill may consider their futures but St Gall's, too, have some emerging talent.

Jackson McGreevy, Niall O'Neill and Conor Burke are among young guns who look set to enjoy a protracted spell in the side and although McGreevy was sent off on Sunday, skipper Kelly certainly had no harsh words for him.

"Jackson is not the kind of player who gets involved in untoward incidents but the referee was very close to it and judged it to be a red card so that did not help us," admits the skipper.

Belfast Telegraph


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