St Ergnat's Moneyglass 1-08 Naomh Séamas Aldergrove 1-12
An Andrew Flood goal at the beginning of the second half turned the tide of this game in favour of the league leaders as they moved two clear at the top of ACFL Division 2 with victory over St Ergnat's in Moneyglass this evening.
Having begun last week neck-in-neck at the top, losses to Dunloy and Rasharkin had knocked both Naomh Séamas and St Ergnat's off their perch. While the Aldergrove lads recovered to defeat Davitt's, Moneyglass were turned over by the minimum against a resurgent St Brigid's side and were looking to get back on track on home soil.
The hosts started the game brightly, Ryan Boyd collecting a short pass and firing over efficiently to open the scoring before tapping over a free to see St Ergnat's two to the good within minutes of referee Brendan Toland's throw-in.
Aldergrove's early forays were being met with intense pressure from the home rearguard who were in determined mood, forcing the league leaders back and turning the ball over regularly. It took a hard-earned free from Ronan Hanna to get them on the scoresheet before points from Liam Brady and Dermot McErlain again settled the hosts.
Despite another Hanna free, the Moneyglass side were making the early running, Seanchann Duffin catching a superb mark and eventually ending the move by swinging over to raise another white flag before the water break at the mid-way point of the second half.
St Ergnat's could have done without the break and it seemed to disrupt their momentum, a third Hanna free splitting the posts as the game resumed. A Brian McQuillan foul allowed Liam Brady to slip over another free for the hosts, but the Aldergrove midfielder immediately atoned for his error, racing forward to cancel it out with a fine score.
The lively Dermot McErlain then left the net rippling for the first goal of the evening, a quick, accurate kick pass from the foot of captain Tiernan Duffin finding McErlain in front of his man. The half-forward threw the dummy to evade the defender, before firing past the onrushing Chris Taggart to the roof of the net.
Not allowing his team time to dwell on the setback, Brian McQuillan again surged upfield to notch a hanging, right-footed effort before Ronan Hanna again found his range from placed balls, firing over two more before the break.
St Ergnat's began the second half in the same fashion as the first and immediately won possession, Dermot McErlain nipping in front of the defender and bursting through, only to see his goalbound effort palmed away by Taggart in the Aldergrove goal.
Naomh Séamas kept the ball alive and launched a full-pitch counter-attack, moving the ball quickly through the hands as the Moneyglass defence scrambled. The ball eventually found its way to Andrew Flood, who made no mistake from 15 yards, slotting the ball low past the outstretched arms of Mark Carey in the St Ergnat's goal to give the away side the lead for the first time.
With their tails up, the Naomh Séamas forwards were wreaking havoc. First Donal Laverty had to be alert to block Brian McQuillan's effort, then Mark Carey saved superbly from Ronan Hanna as the full forward twisted through the St Ergnat's rearguard and fired off a shot.
Laverty once again proved his mettle minutes later, blocking a Ryan Owens shot that looked destined for the net before Ronan Hanna settled the Aldergrove heads by tapping over another free kick.
After a brief interlude for an incident behind the Moneyglass goalmouth, play resumed with the home side visibly rattled, conceding an immediate free that the grateful Hanna gleefully glided over.
Liam Brady lifted the siege, slotting over Moneyglass' first score of the second period before James Trowlen hit an immediate reply to restore the gap to two points as the game entered the last ten minutes.
Chris O'Kane increased the gap to three, converting a left-footed free after Brian McQuillan had been upended on the way through before Moneyglass lost Dermot McErlain to injury, having caught a fine mark from the resulting kick out.
With time running out, the hosts were forced to go for the goal that would rescue the game, but they couldn't find a way through the organised Naomh Séamas defence and it was left to captain Chris O'Kane to cap a fine counter-attacking move to increase the lead to four and seal the victory in the dying embers of the game.
St Ergnat's Moneyglass: Mark Carey, Miran Neeson, Donal Laverty, Kevin McPeake, Patrick McCormick, Conor Boyd, Sean Kelly, Tiernan Duffin (c), Niall Boyd, Seanchann Duffin, Liam Brady, Dermot McErlain, Gavin Murray, Ryan Boyd, Jack McCoy.
Naomh Séamas, Aldergrove: Chris Taggart, Paul Cushley, Ferdia Carson, Stephen Gorman, Fearghal Hanna, Chris McVeigh, Tomas O'Callaghan, Ryan Owens, Brian McQuillan, Conor Browning, Chris O'Kane (c), Seany Fay, Ronan Hanna, Andrew Flood.
Referee: Brendan Toland (Lámh Dhearg)