Dunloy, Ballymena

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St Gall's Seal Intermediate Glory


Joe McDaniels lifts the IHC trophy. Pic from St Gall's Facebook Page.

Naomh Gall 1-16 Kickham's Creggan 0-17


A first half Jackson McGreevy goal proved decisive as the Milltown Row men clinched their first Intermediate title since 2009 at a blustery Lámh Dhearg on Saturday afternoon.


Long-serving forward CJ McGourty produced a Man of the Match performance to see his side over the line as they refused to panic when facing into the second half chasing a four-point deficit.


Creggan will rue the thirteen wides they hit throughout the course of the game, and it took until the last ten minutes of the first half for them to really come to life and start to take advantage of the strong wind in their favour, their half time lead of four points proving too slender to see them home.


The Belfast men initially made a mockery of the wind advantage, Mark Napier giving them an immediate lead from the right flank before CJ McGourty slotted his first free of the afternoon to see St Gall's take an early two-point lead.


Aidan Maguire harnessed the wind beautifully to get the Kickham's off the mark, floating over a long range effort from the half way line as he made his way forward, before talisman Conor McCann landed a free from 65 yards to level up the score.


CJ McGourty restored the St Gall's lead with a sharp free from 45 yards after a foul on Karl Stewart, before Stewart notched a score of his own, dipping a loose ball and sending it between the uprights to double their lead at 0-04 to 0-02.


The Naomh Gall defence then dragged down Conor McCann, who converted the free himself, before sending over to end a flowing Creggan move that began in their full back line, the sliotar eventually finding Donal Carey, whose ball in was collected by Oran McCann and delivered to Conor who applied the finish to level proceedings again.


The early St Gall's pressure had succeeded in not allowing Creggan to settle with the wind advantage but midway through the second half the Loughshore side had now begun to find their feet, Oran McCann restoring their lead and further brace apiece from Thomas and Conor McCann saw them hit 0-08 without reply.


CJ McGourty then interrupted the Creggan onslaught, slotting a free from 50 yards to leave six between them before St Gall's gained further respite by raising a green flag in a carbon copy of a goal they scored in the opening round against Gort na Móna.


Mark Napier, starved of possession as St Gall's toiled against the wind, collected the ball wide on the left and floated a delicate ball across the Creggan goalmouth. Goalkeeper Emmett Long misjudged the flight of the ball as it swirled in the wind, dropping into the hands of Jackson McGreevy , who couldn't believe his luck as he tapped home into the empty Hannahstown net.


Tomás Ó Ciaráin heading towards the packed Lámh Dhearg car park closely pursued by Kevin Small.

Creggan responded urgently, keenly aware of the need to build a lead before losing their wind advantage, Conor McCann landing a free before finishing the half with a fine effort over his shoulder between the posts.


Kickham's began the second half by upping the tempo once again, Oran McCann firing over an early score as the Milltown Row men appeared over-eager to make the wind count, their shooting going awry as they hit three wides in quick succession before CJ McGourty eventually opened their second half account with a free on the right flank.


Naomh Gall then began to turn the screw and went close through Niall O'Neill, Emmett Long atoning for his earlier error with a superb double save before CJ McGourty eventually steered the sliotar over the bar to leave two points between them.


Conor McCann continued to lead the attack for the Staffordstown Road side, winning and converting a free as he attempted to duck inside two St Gall's defenders. With fifteen minutes remaining, Naomh Gall's own marquee forward, CJ McGourty, repeated the trick, drawing the foul from Kevin Small and slotting it between the posts and restoring the two-point deficit.


Two points quickly became one, St Gall's captain Joe McDaniels showing excellent vision to pick out goalscorer Jackson McGreevy, who strode forward and fired over a long range point to leave the Creggan lead at its most slender.


An Oran McCann free opened things up again as Creggan looked to pull away from the tenacious St Gall's, but a Tomás Ó Ciaráin free immediately cancelled it out, only for Conor Small to again hit back for Kickham's.


A further CJ McGourty free cut the deficit down to the minimum once more, before subtitute and Quarter-Final Man of the Match Sean McAreavey levelled the game, collecting a break and slotting his effort over the bar as the game entered the final three minutes.


A foul on Niall O'Neill allowed McGourty to slot a simple free from a central position and St Gall's found themselves in front for the first time since the eighth minute. Sean McAreavey quickly doubled the Milltown Row side's lead, swinging the sliotar between the uprights over his shoulder despite the close attention of Kevin Small.


A Conor McCann free halved the lead once again, the corner-forward striking the ball well into the wind from 50 yards, before CJ McGourty hit back for St Gall's to restore their two-point advantage.


As the seconds ticked away, there was time for one last bombardment of the St Gall's defence, a long free dropping deep into the defence but tailing wide in the strong Hannahstown wind, before the referee blew the whistle amid joyous scenes from the men in blue and white.


Hill Top Fuels Man of the Match CJ McGourty of St Gall's.

Creggan will look at their thirteen-strong wide count with disappointment and rue the missed chances they spurned when holding the advantage of the wind. St Gall's on the other hand will be pleased with the manner in which they chipped away at the Creggan lead, getting the all-important goal before half time that ultimately proved the difference between the sides.


Naomh Gall: Kurtis McGreevy, Stephen Morrison, Joe McDaniels, Alfie Hannaway, Jackson McGreevy (1-01), Aodhán Gallagher, Ryan Irvine, Jack Hopkins, Anto Healy (Aidan Gribbon), Tomás Ó Ciaráin (0-01f), Kieran McGourty (Sean Burke), CJ McGourty (0-03, 0-07f), Mark Napier (0-01) (Conor Burke), Niall O'Neill, Karl Stewart (0-01) (Sean McAreavey, 0-02).


Kickham's Creggan: Emmett Long, Jake McAteer, Aidan McKeown, Liam McCann, Aidan Maguire (0-01), Donal Carey, Kevin Small, Caolan McCann, Ruairí McCann, Oran McCann (0-05), Sam Maguire (Liam Quinn), Kevin Rice, Conor McCann (0-04, 0-05f), Thomas McCann (0-01), Conor Small (0-01).


Referee: Mark O'Neill (Glen Rovers Armoy)


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