Minors Narrowly Beaten in Laverty Cup

South West Laverty Cup

All Saints 3-14  St. Joseph’s Glenavy 1-14

Goals from Conal Killough and Jake White, midway through the opening half turned this Laverty Cup game at Slemish Park tonight and swung it in favour of All Saints Ballymena who took a time to settle against visitors St.Joseph’s.

Glenavy arrived in Ballymena with only 14 players and the home side sportingly agreed to play the game 14-a-side but there must have been times during the opening quarter when the All Saints management reflected on making that gesture.

St. Joseph’s made the early running with Fergal Henry causing the home defence a bagful of problems with his pace and accuracy. Two points from Henry and another from Rory Nelson saw the Chapel Hill side move 0-3 to 0-1 ahead by the 10th minute, the All Saints point coming from Sean O’Callaghan.

The Ballymena side looked badly off the pace up to this point and were allowing the opposition too much time and space but gradually they got up to speed and Killough’s goal in the 16th minute turned the game dramatically.

Before Glenavy could gather their thoughts Jake White raced clear to hammer home his side’s second goal but the visitors regrouped and Fergal Henry replied with his third and his side’s fourth point to leave just a goal between the sides.

Adrian Scullion and Ronan McKillop responded for the Slemish Park side to edge them five in front by the 21st minute but an excellent point from a 40 meter free by Fergal Henry kept the visitors in touch.

The home side were starting to edge the exchanges however as Adrian Scullion, Conal Killough and Oisin Connolly split the posts to increase their side’s lead to seven by the 29th minute but the excellent Henry, who looked virtually unmarkable replied again for Glenavy.

The final point of the half fell to Jake White however and at half time All Saints looked to be in pole position when they led by 2-8 to 0-7.

Callum Crighton closed the Gap to six with a point for St.Joseph’s on the restart but All Saints replied with a point from an Adrian Scullion free in the 5th minute. The excellent Fergal Henry responded again for Glenavy as the superb number 14 continued to give a display of excellent scoring with the home side struggling to get to grips with him.

The Ballymena side introduced Matthew Corr and Angus Steele for Patrick Ferris and Oisin Connolly as Finn Malley added another point for Glenavy to close the gap to five and the Chapel Hill side were still playing some excellent football as they moved the ball around with confidence.

They always looked vulnerable on the counter attack however as John Brady hit back with a point for the home side and All Saints should have been in for a goal but Kieran O’Boyle somehow managed to miss kick  a cross that ran tantalisingly along the goal line.

Play continued to flow from end to end as Conor O’Rawe and Finn Malley exchanged points and another from Ciaran O’Boyle kept the Ballymena side seven in front but when Ronan McKillop struck with an excellent goal in the 17th minute it looked as good as over.

Glenavy quite simply refused to throw in the towel however and man of the match, Fergal Henry replied almost immediately with a goal at the other end to keep their hopes very much alive but his side were starting to tire while the home side had the luxury of a full bench which they began to empty.

John Brady got forward for another point for the Ballymena lads but they were nearly caught on the hop again by the elusive Fergal Henry who was denied a second goal by an excellent save by Conor Brennan.

Henry and Scullion exchanged further points as the clock ticked down but fittingly the final point of the game fell to Fergal Henry who was simply superb throughout but it was the home side who had done enough in the end to win comfortably by six points.