St Paul’s are in the mood

St Paul’s are in the mood

8 May 2019

ST Paul’s maintained their impressive start to the season with a comprehensive victory over St Michaels at MacNamee Park in Holywood on Friday night.  

A fine, sunny, but breezy and chilly evening provided decent conditions for football as referee Adrian Sharvin threw the ball in with a sizable crowd looking on.  

St Paul’s took up the mantle early as they gathered possession and ran at the heart of the St Michael’s defence, testing their resolve early. Niall Johnson used his speed to torture the St Michael’s defence as he left his marker in his wake and bore down on goal in the first minute only to see his shot saved by Gavin Marsden.  

St Michael’s were lively in the opening minutes and they opened the scoring in the fifth minute with a 30m free from the dangerous Joe McIlduff, who was deadly from the frees throughout the game and St Paul’s had to limit the fouls they conceded due to his accuracy.  

St Paul’s opened their account with a left-footed free from man of the match Fintan Eastwood from 20m and St Michael’s hit back with a handy free from Conor O’Neill.

Seán Tucker then tagged on a trio of points to help the Holywood men pull away from their west Down opponents. 

St Michael’s, though, struck back with their first score from Brian Morgan. Fintan Eastwood added his second score of the game after great work from Dáire Rooney in midfield. 

St Michael’s came back at Holywood and some great work left Morgan free to slot the ball over the bar, but a terrific block by St Paul’s defender Jonny Parsons prevented the score.

 St Paul’s gathered possession and transitioned the ball up to Niall Johnson, who again left his marker for dead and bore down on the St Michael’s goal before passing to Seán Tucker.

However, he was fouled to stop him scoring a goal, but Eastwood tapped over the resulting free from 14m. Eastwood added his fourth point of a fantastic game for him after great work by Conleth Rooney to set him up. 

Tucker added a 30m free before the first goal of the game. Dáire Rooney won the resulting kick out and ran 50m at speed into heart of the St Michael’s defence before passing the ball to Tucker. 

He danced past two defenders before slotting the ball past Gavin Marsden in the St Michael’s net.  Further points from Eastwood, Niall Johnson and a Tucker free left the score at half-time a lopsided 1-11 to 0-3.

St Michael’s again came out strongly in the second half and dominated play for the first five minutes with John Kearney scoring from play and McIlduff adding another free.  

St Paul’s finally came out for the second half when Dáire Rooney ran at the St Michael’s defence before slotting over a terrific point from 30m. Not to be outdone, the industrious Ben Gray took himself on a similar run and had the same result as he slotted over a point. 

St Paul’s were forced into an early substitution in the second half with Daniel Eastwood, returning from Australia, replacing Rooney, who pulled up with a hamstring injury. 

Daniel’s brother, Fintan, added to his score collection with another point before Rooney scored the best point of the game. The Lisburn Distillery soccer star won the ball in midfield before taking off on a 60m lung-bursting sprint with the ball before a neat one-two with Daniel Eastwood provided him the space to slot the ball over from 30m, much to the delight of the St Paul’s supporters. 

Daniel Eastwood then took centre stage proving what a great asset he is going to be for St Paul’s going forward as he scored the next three points all from play.  

Last season’s player of the year Dáire McGrattan came off the bench for Dáire Rooney showing the depth St Paul’s now have in the panel and he quickly made his mark.  

After a St Michael’s player was rightly yellow carded for a rash sliding tackle, St Paul’s took the free kick quickly and a marauding McGrattan took the ball at high speed and fought off the challenges before smashing it into the top corner of the St Michael’s net.   

McIlduff continued to punish St Paul’s indiscretions by scoring five frees in the second half, but St Paul’s were too strong and Fintan Eastwood added to his man of the match performance with his seventh point of the game.

Seán Tucker rounded off the scoring with the last score of the game.  A convincing win for the Holywood men, but in truth there were multiple chances for goals that were not taken and in the stronger tests to come, the St Paul’s lads are going to have to be much more clinical in taking those goal chances.

St Paul’s: Craig McKenna, Owen Loughran, Conor McPeake, Johnny Parsons, Ruairi Collins, Paddy Falls, Ben Gray (0-1), Dáire Rooney (0-2), Gerard Walls, Fintan Eastwood (0-7), Seán Tucker (1-6), Martin Cox, Oliver Monaghan, Conleth Rooney, Niall Johnston (0-1). Subs: Dáire McGrattan (1-0), Daniel Eastwood (0-3), Barry Kilkey, Rory Davidson, Ryan Hughes, Michael Collins.

St Michael’s: Gavin Marsden, Niall Marsden, Gareth McCabe, Stephen Moore, Brendan Marsden (0-1), Kevin Hamill, Oisín McCabe, Nick Higgins, Joseph McIlduff (0-6),  Daniel Conlan, Conor O’Neill (0-1), Martin Downey, John Kearney (0-1), Brian Cunningham, Brian Morgan (0-1). Subs: Joseph Lavery, William Drake, Connor Hamill.

St Paul’s 2-20

St Michael’s 0-10