Under 16s Narrowly Defeated in County Final

All-County U-16 B Football Championship Final

St Paul’s Belfast 1-10-1-07 St.Joseph’s Glenavy

22/09/19 @ Musgrave Park

St. Paul’s claimed the U-16 B Football Championship after coming from behind at the interval to beat Glenavy 1-10-1-07 at Musgrave Park. St. Paul’s weathered a fast start from Glenavy and twice led by two-points in the opening half as Conall Duffy helped himself to four-points, but a late Caolan McClenaghan goal had Glenavy 1-06 to 0-07 ahead at the interval.

A 38th minute goal from Paul Donnelly gave his side the lead once again and Glenavy failed to recover from the set-back, only scoring a solitary point in the second period as Duffy landed three further points to ensure his side claimed all-county honours. The final saw South West league winners Glenavy come up against South Antrim league runners up St. Paul’s with very little separating two quality sides pre-match.

Glenavy hit the front inside the first sixty seconds as Darragh Armstrong popped the ball off to Shay O’Neill who found Fiontan O’Boyle and the wing-half forward sent the ball between the posts. Although Conall Duffy levelled proceedings with a fine point on the 4th minute, it was Glenavy who forged ahead again through a fine Darragh Armstrong point with Eoin Dixon doubling his sides lead a few minutes later.

St Paul’s pulled level as Declan Quinn shifted the ball over the bar and Conall Duffy converted a free to level at 0-03-0-03 on the 10th minute. The Shaws Road side led for the first time through Duffy – who opted for a point when a goal chance was a possibility, Caoimhin Duffy then released Conall again and he squeezed the ball over the near post to give his side a 0-05-0-03 lead. At the midway point in the half it was level pegging as Darragh Armstrong converted a free and midfielder Dara Doherty confidently burst forward and pointed.

St. Paul’s restored their two-point advantage as Tiarnan Auld cut inside and produced a point under pressure and a converted free from Michael Walsh had his side 0-07-0-05 to the good. The first goal opportunity fell for St Paul’s as Fionn Ireland slipped in Caoimhin Duffy whose low shot was parried and eventually gathered by Lorcan Murphy in the Glenavy goal. It was an opportunity they would eventually rue, Darragh Armstrong closed the deficit with a converted free and on the stroke of half-time Caolan McClenaghan profited from a poor kick-out by Conor Heckett and rifled to the corner of the net to give his side a 1-06-0-07 lead at the break.

It took eight minutes of the second-half for the first score to arrive and it was St Paul’s who found the net. Three minutes beforehand Conall Duffy steered his low shot wide of the target and it looked as though there would be more frustration on 38 minutes as Caoimhin Killyleagh’s shot came off the large post – the follow-up from Liam Walsh hit the opposite post and at the third time of asking Paul Donnelly rifled past Lorcan Murphy to edge his side 1-07-1-06 ahead.

Duffy doubled his sides advantage with a close range free and just after the midway point in the half gave his side a three-point cushion, after claiming Tiarnan Auld’s quick pass and slotting over the bar.

Glenavy were without a score since McClenaghan’s goal before the break and on 51 minutes St Paul’s insurance score arrived courtesy of Duffy after a great switch from Fionn Ireland.

A 58th minute Darragh Armstrong point insured that Glenavy still had a fighting chance and a minute into injury-time the opportunity to level the game arrived. Fiontan O’Boyle lofted his free in on top of Eoin Dixon whose first stop shot from point-blank-range was parried behind by Conor Heckett.

There would be no grandstand finish though as St Paul’s held out for victory to claim the all-county B Championship.

St. Pauls: C Heckett, B Burns, A Carey, D Maginn, Caoimhin Duffy, M Walsh (0-01f), T Auld (0-01), C Killyleagh, D Quinn (0-01), Conall Duffy (0-07, 0-02f), F Ireland, L Walsh, S Munce, L Philips, P Donnelly (1-00). Subs: C Murray for Caoimhin Duffy (29- black card); M Howell for C Murray (56); T Duff for B Burns (58).

Glenavy: L Murphy, M McDermott, T Honeyford, C Loney, M Fox, M Lawlor, E McCloy, F Malley, D Doherty (0-01), F O’Boyle (0-01), E Dixon (0-01), S O’Neill, R Hill, C McClenaghan (1-00), D Armstrong (0-04, 0-02f). Subs: R Nelson for E McCloy (HT); M Morgan for R Hill (36); E Clenaghan for F Malley (49- black card); R Hill for D Doherty (53); D Hamill for C Loney (56).

Referee: Colin Mallon (Aghagallon)