St. Michael’s Get season off to Perfect Start
St Michael’s . 1-14
St. Michael’s got their new era under Gary O’Neill underway on Sunday last as welcomed north west neighbours Milford to the Bridge in the Division 1 season opener and after a nip and tuck battle, the home side ran out winners on a three point margin.
The game was on a knife edge until two minutes from when Martin McElhinney set up Andrew Kelly for the clinching goal that sealed the victory.
St Michael’s lined out without Michael Langan, Christy Toye, Oisin Langan and Stephen Doak and had Colm McFadden among the reserves.
They had Stephen Black back after a number of years out of football.
Milford lined out without Gary Merritt, Joey Cullen and Kyle Black while Caolan Bolton was preferred in goals ahead of Caolan McGettigan who was on the bench.
St Michaels played again the stiff breeze in the first half and went in on level terms 0-5 each.
The sides were level twice in the opening half with the lead changing sides three times.
Daniel McLaughlin kicked the game’s opening score on two minutes. But Luke Barrett from a placed ball and his bother Kane, from play, edged Milford ahead.
Kane, though named at corner-forward, played most of the half out around the middle of the field.
Martin McElhinney, who was similarly named at full-forward played in the middle of the park also and had a big influence in the half as St Michael’s enjoyed the better in the possession stakes.
Andrew Kelly and Edward O’Reilly landed points for a 0-3 to 0-2 lead after nine minutes.
Caolan McGettigan from a close in free skimmed Mark Anthony McGinley’s crossbar to tie up the contest for a second time.
And with O’Reilly, who impressed in the right corner of the attack, traded points with Luke Barrett and so did Mark Anthony McGinley and the Milford man to leave the sides all square at the interval.
St Michael’s hit the first three points of the half with Andrew Kelly, Odhran McFadden and Ciaran Gallagher finding the range.
But the game took another twist as a well worked Milford goal when Christopher Barrett palmed a Ronan Docherty cross to net seconds after Christopher Barrett had opened Milford’s second half account.
The goal on 39 minutes edged the visitors back in front and it was nip and tuck from then to the finish though Milford had a big penalty call turned down.
Padraig Curley seemed to be fouled well inside the large rectangle by Jamie Hunter. But referee Mark Dorrian, who had a fine game, waved play on much to Milford’s surprise.
ST MIHCAEL’S: Mark A McGinley (0-1,f); Jamie Hunter, Stephen Black, Liam Kelly; Michael Cannon, Ryan Langan, Christopher McElhinney (0-1); Ciaran Gallagher (0-1), Liam Paul Ferry; Odhran McFadden (0-2), Colin McFadden, Edward O’Reilly (0-2); Daniel McLaughlin (0-3,2f), Martin McElhinney (0-2), Andrew Kelly (1-2). Subs: Peter Sweeney for S Black, Colm McFadden for O McFadden, both 51
MILFORD; Caolan Bolton; Anthony Fisher, Sean Black, T J Evesson; Ronan Docherty, Paddy Peoples, James Doyle; Luke Barrett (1-5,4f), Rory O’Donnell; Conor McHugh, Christopher Barrett (0-1), Ryan McMahon; Kane Barrett (0-2), Cathal McGettigan (0-2,1f),Darragh Black (0-1). Subs: Padraig Curley for C McHugh, Conor Coll for A Fisher, both 41;
REFEREE: Mark Dorrian (Fanad Geals)