St Joseph’s end 23 years of hurt with convincing victory over Cuchullian’s

The St Joseph's side begin the celebrations after their final victory.
The St Joseph's side begin the celebrations after their final victory.

St Joseph’s, Glenavy, picked up their first Antrim title for 23 years after they saw off Cuchullian’s by 10 points in the Intermediate final.

Cuchullian’s were coming off the back of 16 straight wins in their league and cup run, while Glenavy had a poor league run but came good in the cup with wins against Aghagallon, Moneyglass and Rasharkin.

The game was played at the excellent Creggan Kickham’s pitch on a beautiful autumn afternoon.

Both clubs had pulled out all the stops to get their supporters out in such large numbers.

Cuchullian’s gained possession from the throwin and with a swift attack the ball found its way to corner forward Kevin McAlister and he split he posts for the first score.

Glenavy showed their intent with four excellent points to pull clear.

The captain was leading by example when he burst through the opposition at speed until he was unceremoniously hauled down. Michael McCourt levelled the scores from the resultant free.

Fergus Cunningham was fouled and up stepped Fergal Green to put his side in front - a lead his side never lost.

The Chapel Hill side’s inside forwards of Malachy McCourt, Fergus Cunningham and Niall Cunningham were creating havoc each time the ball was played in.

Fergus Cunningham and Niall McCann extended the lead to three, Dunloy were finding it difficult to get the ball to their forwards because of the tenacious tackling of half-backs Ciaran Loney, Martin Cleneghan and Fra McMullan.

Declan McGarry was fouled and the resultant free was put over the bar by Nigel Elliott to pull one back.

Niall McCann, Charles Gallagher and a beauty from Malachy McCourt extended the lead to five before the side in green pierced the defence for a pointed free from Declan McGarry and a point from Conor McKinley left the half-time score 0-7 to 0-4 in Glenavy’s favour.

Micahel McCourt and Fergus Cunningham pointed to put their side further ahead before Nigel Elliott pointed a free which was to be his side’s only score in the second half.

Owen Gallagher and his brother Patrick added points to extend the lead.

Michael McCourt, Charles Gallagher and Owen Gallagher in the half forward line ran their opposite numbers ragged. When Niall McCann pointed three frees his side’s supporters knew the 23 year wait was a thing of the past. The Glenavy management brought on five subs towards the end of the game.

When referee Brendan Toland blew the full-time whistle there were a sense of relief and jubilation for the Orangemen after so many disappointments.

On the day, Glenavy looked the stronger team throughout the pitch and put in a great team effort for the win.

When the dust has settled Cuchullian’s will look back on very a good season with their side gaining promotion to Division Two and reaching the Intermediate final.

ST JOSEPH’S: Fergal Green; Martin Nelson (Daniel McAllister 53 mins.); Oisin Hamill; Niall McLaughlin; Ciaran Loney; Martin Clenaghan; Francis McMullan; Patrick Gallagher Captain: Michael Johnston ( Gavin Phillips 57 mins.); Michael McCourt ( Jonathan Phillips (46 mins.}; Charles Gallagher: Owen Gallagher; Malachy McCourt { Conor Hamill 40 mins,}; Fergus Cunningham (Ryan Phillips 50 mins.}; Niall McCann.

CUCHULLIAN’S: Sean Doherty; Kieran Hughes; Karl O’Kane; Oran Corrigan; Jamie McFerran; Paudie Shivers; Paudie Conlon; Gabriel McTaggart; Kevin McQuillan; Karl Fitzpatrick; Declan McGarry; Conal Dooey; Kevin McAlister; Conor McKinley; Nigel Elliott.