Junior Football Championship

23 August 2010
Junior Football Championship Saturday 21st August 2010
 
St Agnes V McQuillians Ballycastle
 
St Agnes’ progressed to the semi-finals of the JFC on the back of 2-13 to 0-4 win over Ballycastle at Sarsfields. Although neither team had enjoyed a particularly successful season, both sides entered the contest with the renewed optimism that only Championship football can bring. The Aggies welcomed back Declan Crummey into the starting line-up after his recent knee surgery, as well as Neil ’Fred’ Gillespie at left half forward after his own injury problems. A late rain shower made conditions slippery under foot for both teams on what was otherwise a fine surface for football.
 
It was the Belfast side who got off to the better start with stand-in captain Christopher McKee rifling over an early score followed by a brace from Fionbarr Fitzpatrick and a fourth from half-back Conor Caldwell. Ballycastle got off the mark with a free from corner forward Conor Campbell, but the Aggies hit back with a poacher’s goal, Mark Caldwell pouncing on a rebound from Ballycastle ‘keeper Patrick McAuley. The sides exchanged a pair of points each before the break with Martin Duffy and Declan Crummey on the mark for the men in black and white, and two further frees from Campbell for the north coast side.
 
After the break the Aggies set about putting the game beyond reach with four points from Mc Kee, Fitzpatrick (2) and Mark Caldwell. The rain eased as the game progressed and Ballycastle tired allowing St Agnes’ to turn the screw. Half-time sub Micky McLean produced a devastating ten minutes of football, scoring two points and showing great awareness to slot home a goal when Crummey’s original effort smacked off the cross bar. Ballycastle threatened the Aggies’ goal late on after being awarded a 14 yard free, but Ronan Boyle’s effort cleared the cross-bar for a consolation point. Brendan Grieve put the icing on the Aggies’ cake with a fisted point before the final whistle, the full time score reading, St Agnes 2-13, Ballycastle 0-4. Best for the Belfast side were Chris McKee and Fionbarr Fitzpatrick, while half backs Barry Kelly and Conor McAuley battled valiantly for Ballycastle.
 
In the semi-finals St Agnes’ now go on to face McDermott’s in three weeks’ time, the Falls Road men storming back to beat St Malachy’s having been 1-2 to 0-0 down in the early stages. Elsewhere in the competition, O’Donnell’s laboured to a 1-9 to 0-8 win over Eire Og at Rossa Park, despite having lead 1-8 to 0-3 at the break. O’Donnell’s will face St Comgalls, who continued their impressive run in 2010, overcoming Lisburn by six points to reach their first semi-final in a number of years.