Mary’s blitz Pat’s for first win

By Fergus Balfe

ST MARY'S.........3-14

ST PATRICK'S....3-8

A SECOND-HALF blitz from St Mary’s saw them secure their first win of the AFL Division Two league season, overturning a five-point deficit against visitors St Patrick’s at a sodden Páirc Mhuire in Saggart on Sunday.

Both sides were seeking to get off the mark after defeats in the first round of fixtures, and an even encounter ensued with the lead regularly changing hands, particularly throughout a lively second period.

St Marys V St Pats 05

St Mary's James Fenton puts in a challenge on Cian McGrane of St Patrick's during their AFL Division Two clash last Sunday.

Mary’s began brightly, with free-taking corner forward Carl Finn on-song to notch four early scores, along with one from influential half-forward Ciarán Howard, as the hosts raced into an initial lead.

Howard was also brilliantly denied on the line by half-back James Delaney for Pat’s, who then began to find their form, drawing level at 0-5 apiece with the pick of the scores coming from wing back Des Rushe and corner forward Mark O’Leary, following great work from impressive half-back Peter Keaney.

The end-to-end nature of the game was epitom-ised by the arrival of two quickfire goals before half time; firstly St Pat’s half-forward Graham Kelly’s free dropped short only to be forced home by corner forward James Dunphy.

Mary’s then hit back as Howard was hauled down with only the ‘keeper to beat, and Finn tucked away the resulting penalty.

Both sides were handling the difficult conditions relatively well, and picked up where they had left off after the interval, as Howard and Finn split the posts for the Saggart side, while full-back Cian Walshe added a well-struck effort for Pat’s.

Midway through the half, the Palmerstown outfit surged in front once again when a wonderful passing move involving Delaney and Cian McGrane created an overlap, allowing substitute Evan Walshe to slip the ball under goalkeeper Daniel Rooney for an excellent goal.

Moments later, some great work by replacement PJ Graham and Rushe down the right presented full-forward Brian Gregory with an opportunity, and he squeezed his shot into the net at the near post to bring the score to 3-8 to 1-9 in favour of St Pat’s.

However, the advantage disappeared as quickly as it had been built, with Mary’s netting an instant reply as Finn’s ball forward found half-forward Alex Darcy to drive home a low effort.

Points from substitute Blaine Kelly, either side of full-forward Rhys Butler’s score, completed the job, leaving the vocal travelling Pat’s support shell-shocked at the rapid evaporation of their side’s lead.

Indeed the visitors’ fears it was not their day were then confirmed as a weak James Timmins shot was spilled into the net by Pat’s goalkeeper Matt O’Connell, putting a gloss on the scoreline for Mary’s.

ST MARY’S: D. Rooney, S. Walsh, C. Finn, J. Maguire, J. Fenlon, C. Dunne, P. Doyle, A. Brady, S. O’Toole, G. Murray, A. Darcy, C. Howard, A. McCabe, R. Butler, C. Finn. SUBS: K. Butler, J. Timmins, B. Kelly, K. Scannell.

ST PATRICK’S: M. O’Connell, C. Dunne, P. Keaney, C. Walshe, D. Rushe, B. O’Hanlon, J. Delaney, D. O’Hanlon, J. McDermott, C. McGrane, G. Kelly, J. Kelly, M. O’Leary, B. Gregory, J. Dunphy. SUBS: PJ Graham, E. Walshe.

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