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Aghagallon into Ulster semi final

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12 November 2012

Termon (Donegal) 0-6 St. Mary's Aghagallon (Antrim) 1-7
Pairc Mac Cumhaill, Ballybofey was the setting for the quarter-final of the Ulster Intermediate Club Championship between Antrim champions St. Mary’s Aghagallon and Donegal champions Termon. On a heavy pitch both teams struggled to find any sort of rhythm, however over the course of the hour it was the Aghagallon boys’ better organisation in defence and speed of attack which was to prove the difference between the two teams.

Ronan Magee opened the scoring for the Antrim Champions with a free in the 6th minute. Termon were to draw level 2 minutes later through Paddy McDaid. For the following 13 minutes neither team could break each other’s defence and although it looked like Termon had gone ahead on 18 minutes the umpires and the referee ruled a wide. On 21 minutes Ronan Magee put St. Mary’s ahead with his 2nd free. 3 minutes later David McAlernon raced through the centre of the Termon defence striking a brilliant goal off the base of the Termon post from 15 yards to make it 1-2 to 0-1.

This goal served to spur Termon into action and with points from Martin Sweeney (25th), Paddy McDaid (26th) and Jamie Gallagher in the 27th minute Termon reduced the deficit to the minimum. For the remaining 5 minutes of the half there were no further scores to leave the Antrim champions, St. Mary’s leading the Donegal champions 1-2 to 0-4.

The 2nd half began with St. Mary’s increasing their lead with a first minute Ciaran Lavery point but 2 points from Martin Sweeney in the 8th and 10th minute brought Termon onto level terms at 1-3 to 0-6. 3 minutes later Ronan Magee again from a free put St. Mary’s back in front and the Antrim champion’s lead was further extended with a long range point from Dessie Marshall in the 16th minute. A Gareth Magee point on 24 minutes put St. Mary’s three in front and a minute later a 4th free by his brother Ronan gave St. Mary’s that all important four point lead.

For the remaining 7 minutes of the half, Termon were to lay siege to the Aghagallon goal but the Antrim men’s defence remained resolute and disciplined preventing any Termon fightback in a tense scoreless finale. Final score St. Mary’s Aghagallon 1-7 Termon 0-6.

For the Antrim champions St. Mary's battled as a team and it was their greater discipline in defence and ability to break with pace which saw them through. Ronan Magee's work rate and four frees were the foundation of St. Mary’s win. He was well supported in the St. Mary’s forward line by Ciaran Lavery, Sean Brannigan and Francis Bustard.

David and Darryl McAlernon and Oisin Lenehan were industrious around the middle of the park being the first line of St. Mary’s defence and the focal point for their attacks. In defence Mark McKenna, Gareth Magee , Niall Lavery and Chris Loughran all gave solid, disciplined performances.

St. Mary’s now meet the Down Champions Warrenpoint in the semi-final next Sunday at the Athletic Grounds, Armagh.

St. Mary’s Aghagallon: Gavin O’Neill, Ronan Magee, Chris Loughran, Ciaran Lavery, Mark McKenna, Damien O’Hagan, Oisin Lenehan, Darryl McAlernon, Dessie Marshall, Niall Lavery, Gareth Magee, David McAlernon, Francis Bustard, Sean Brannigan, Michael McStravick. Subs: Ruairi Loughran (for Sean Brannigan), Liam McCrory, Daniel McCrory, Neil McStravick, Christopher McGrath, Ryan O'Neill, Niall Rodgers, Kevin Douglas, Ivan Lavery, Marty Hamill, Peter Tallon, Joe McAlinden, Patrick Tallon, Adam Magill.

Referee: Sean Hurson (Tyrone)