Dunloy, Ballymena

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Naomh Pádraig See Off Dogged Ardoyne


The captains with referee Conall James Roberts before the match.

Kickham's Ardoyne 0-10 Naomh Pádraig Lisburn 0-12


Despite playing three-quarters of the match admirably with fourteen men, Ardoyne eventually succumbed to the numerical advantage and bowed out of the Antrim JFC against Naomh Pádraig at Woodlands on Friday night.


The Lisburn men had recorded a comprehensive league victory over their opponents just over a week previously, but it was much closer this time as the boot of Cormac Mullan kept the men in black and white in the game til the dying minutes when the steadying influence of Man of the Match Francis McMeel helped St Pat's over the line.


Mullan had opened the game with an accurate 45 to give the North Belfast men an early lead, only for Francis McMeel to notch his first free of the evening up the other end to bring his side level.


Jim Óg McAuley and Barry McKervey points saw the Kickham's exert control on the early stages of the game, but Lisburn showed flashes of their potential, Declan Burns fielding a high ball and having to be well defended. Indeed, such was the threat of Burns that Ardoyne stationed Conor Carter in front of him as a double marker.


The Belfast side were dealt a blow minutes later when Barry McKervey received his marching orders, judged to have struck a Lisburn player in a session of handbags close to the St Pat's goalmouth.


Ardoyne however adapted well to the disadvantage, dropping into formation and making the next few minutes difficult for Lisburn as they attempted to break them down and it took patient build-up from the St Pat's men to release Josh McMullan to finish from 25 yards.


A further Mullan free for Ardoyne was followed by an Eoin Fay point from a free, making amends for his earlier profligacy. Trailing by one point, Naomh Pádraig struggled to find the target as shot after shot fell to the left and right of Patrick McCullough's goalposts.


Cormac Mullan was proving efficient at the other end and another free extended the Ardoyne lead to two points after Ciaran McNeill was fouled. An Eoin Fay response was again followed by another Mullan free as the teams headed in at the half time break with the fourteen men leading by two points.


After a lengthy spell in the dressing room, after which Lisburn had to be coaxed out by the linesman, play finally resumed for the second half and Francis McMeel halved the deficit immediately.


Still defending resolutely, the North Belfast side continued to frustrate their opponents, soaking up the pressure and attempting to hit them on the break. Eventually the pressure began to tell and Eoin Fay sent over the equalising score from a free.


The fourteen men would not lie down however and Mullan was again on hand to tap over a free following a foul on Gary McKernan, but the Lisburn response was almost immediate, McMeel adding a free of his own to level proceedings again at 0-07 apiece.


A truly inspiring kick from Cormac Mullan then wrestled the lead back for Ardoyne as he cut in from the right flank and from an impossible angle unleashed a perfect effort with the outside of his right boot over the bar.


The Kickham's defending continued to force St Pat's into risky shot selections and the wide count continued to rise. Lisburn then had a sniff at goal as substitute Conor Dixon broke through only to see his effort crash off the post.


Dixon then got on the score sheet with a point of his own before Eoin Fay added another to give them a one-point lead, only for a strong Kevin Lynch run to yield another free for Ardoyne, which Mullan slotted to restore parity.


The extra man was now beginning to tell and St Pat's were in full control in midfield and winning every breaking ball. Points from substitute Martin Kennedy and a further Eoin Fay free gave them some breathing space at 0-11 to 0-09.


With four minutes left on the clock, Ardoyne continued to chase and another Mullan free from 40 yards was punched over by Gerard Óg McFarlane to keep them in touch with St Pat's. An injury stoppage to allow treatment to Pearse Marley came at a frustrating time for Ardoyne and on resumption Lisburn worked the ball to the hands of McMeel who applied the finish and opened a two-point lead.


The Gavin James the Gentleman's Barber Man of the Match, Naomh Pádraig's Francis McMeel.

Ardoyne turned the screw for the last few minutes, Ciaran McNeill forcing an excellent save from Peter O'Neill in the Lisburn goal, but the St Pat's line held to see them through to the last four.


Kickham's Ardoyne: Patrick McCullough, Pearse Marley, Gerard Óg McFarlane (0-01), Eoin Gerard Crossan, Conor Carter, Pádraig Lynch (c), Kevin Lynch, Gary McKernan, Declan McCormick, Keelan McCallan, Cormac Mullan (0-01, 0-06f), Jim Óg McAuley (0-01), Brendan Mailey, Barry McKervey (0-01).


Naomh Pádraig Lisburn: Peter O'Neill, Paul Law, Thomas Burns, Jack McMullan, Shane McEvoy, Tighearnan Ó Meallaigh, Eoin Fay (0-02, 0-03f), Thomas Fay, Mark Torbitt, Ben McMullan, Francis McMeel (0-01, 0-03f), Pádraig McMahon, Josh McMullan (0-01), Declan Burns, Mark Chernak.


Scoring Substitutes: Conor Dixon (0-01), Martin Kennedy (0-01)


Referee: Conall James Roberts


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