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Gaelic Games: Éire Óg find the answers to deny St Malachy’s


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O’Neill’s Sportswear Antrim Football League Division Three
Éire Óg 1-13 St Malachy’s 3-3

SEVEN points from the boot of PJ Toal helped Éire Óg make it back-to-back wins in Division Three on Wednesday and deny St Malachy’s their first points of the campaign.

Although the South Belfast side arrived at Woodlands with an eye for goal, they couldn’t muster enough scores as Éire Óg responded to the majors each time to see themselves over the line.

Both sides probed early but it took a few minutes for the opening score and it proved to be a huge boost for the visitors as a long ball was broken down to James McGivern who burst in on the left and thumped high into the net.

Éire Óg responded well as Toal opened his account for the night from a free and Ronan Donnelly sent over from range.

It was certainly a lively start to the game that continued when Patrick McDiarmid guided over for the South Belfast men, but momentum was with the hosts as Toal landed another free and then on 13 minutes they were in for their goal as Stephen Erskine intercepted an attempted pass, fed Conor McKenna who shrugged off a challenge and finished low.

Toal would kick his first from play, but on 17 minutes the sides were level once more as Anthony Dobbin was tripped inside the area when trying to get onto a long ball and a penalty was awarded that was well finished to the corner by team captain Ciaran Vernon.

St Malachy’s failed to build on that as Éire Óg had a good run to the break with four scores as Mark Graham and Conall Smyth found their range in-between a pair of Toal frees to put their side into a 1-8 to 2-1 lead at the half.

St Malachy’s made a decent start to the second period as Anton McGreevy got his hand to a dropping Vernon free to guide the ball over, but Conor McKenna hit back and then with his first touch since being introduced, Conor Erskine clipped over to push the gap to five.

That remained the difference after Vernon and Toal swapped points as the game was becoming disjointed with plenty of hits going in but little by way of flowing play.

It appeared to suit St Malachy’s who were pressing up in search of a way back and after a few chances for scores coming and going, they were right back in it with 55 gone as from a turnover, Vernon put McDiarmid away to lash low to the new and leave two between them.

But this was as close as they would get as late points from Ronan Donnelly and Toal seventh of the night sealed the points for Éire Óg as St Malachy’s continue their search for their opening points of the season.

ÉIRE ÓG: C McMenamin; C Rice, P Loughran, R Clarke; J Devlin, C McKenna (1-1), S McEvoy; C Smyth (0-1), PJ Toal (0-7, 5f); D Campbell, R Donnelly (0-2), E McNulty; S Erskine, M Graham (0-1), C Carberry.
Subs: C Erskine (0-1) for C Carberry (36), E Holmes for E McNulty (44), D Doonan for S McEvoy (58)

ST MALACHY’S: S Turley; D Dobbin, E McIntosh, C Corr; P Hanna, D Quinn, C Conolly; P McDiarmid (1-1), C Vernon (1-1, 1-0 pen, 0-1f); James McGivern (1-0), Jack McGivern, R Lagan; A McGreevy (0-1), S Carson, A Dobbin.
Subs: S Lynch for R Lagan (34), P Millar for A McGreevy (34), JP Lagan for P Hanna (55), G McManus for E McINtosh (58)

REFEREE: Charlie Hemsworth (St Paul’s)

O’Neill’s Sportswear Antrim Football League Division One
Tír na nÓg 1-12 Naomh Éanna 1-11
Cargin 6-11 Glenravel 1-7
Lámh Dhearg 0-9 All Saints, Ballymena 1-10
Portglenone P-P St Brigid’s
Creggan 0-13 St Gall’s 1-12
Aghagallon 0-7 O’Donovan Rossa 1-9
St John’s 2-12 Ahoghill 0-7

O’Neill’s Sportswear Antrim Football League Division Two
St Paul’s 0-11 Sarsfield’s 0-8
St Teresa’s 2-10 Glenavy 0-15
Ardoyne 4-10 Dunloy 3-14
Davitt’s 2-8 Gort na Móna 1-6
Rasharkin 0-13 St Patrick’s, Lisburn 0-14

O’Neill’s Sportswear Antrim Football League Division Three
O’Donnell’s 5-14 Wolfe Tones 1-7
St Agnes’ 3-6 Pearse’s 1-13
Laochra Loch Lao 0-7 St Comgall’s 2-19
Éire Óg 1-13 St Malachy’s 3-3

Do you have something to say on this issue? If so, submit a letter for publication to Conor McParland at c.mcparland@belfastmedia.com or write to Editor Anthony Neeson at Andersonstown News/North Belfast News, Teach Basil, 2 Hannahstown Hill, Belfast BT17 0LT

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