St Nauls survive late rally to seal Ulster semi-final spot

Another impressive win for Donegal champions

St Nauls

St Nauls, pictured after the Donegal Intermediate final win, are into the last four in Ulster

St Nauls are through to the last four in the Ulster Intermediate Championship after their win in Corrigan Park against Antrim champions St James, Aldergrove.

St Nauls 2-10
St James 1-10

In the end it was comfortable enough, although the Antrim side did have a late spurt which cut a six point lead in half.
But the Parish of Inver boys had the work done with goals either side of half-time doing the trick. Peadar Mogan was their stand-out player on the day with an impressive second quarter in which he hit 1-3.
Mogan was one of a number of players who stood up on the day as St Nauls advanced to the semi-finals for the first time in their history. In their only other Ulster club appearance in 2011, they lost out to Culloville of Armagh in the Athletic Grounds.

There was a nervy opening for the Donegal side although they did get the first point, Stephen Griffin on the scoreboard on two minutes pointing a free after Stuart Johnston was fouled.
Gerard Mallon equalised immediately as St Nauls found that the Antrim champions were getting through the middle very easily.
They had a warning on 10 minutes when corner-back Chris O'Kane got through but fired wide. Three minutes later, however, the Antrim champions had the ball in the Nauls net, although it was a bit fortuitous. Seamus McGarry was going for a point but his shot was half-blocked and somehow found its way to the net off a post with Gavin Mulreaney wrongfooted.
Peadar Mogan and Stephen Griffin pulled St Nauls back within a point but Seamus McGarry lofted another point from distance to leave his side 1-2 to 0-3 ahead. Griffin's point came after good work from Conneely and Michael Coughlan, who was the victim of some tough tackling by the Aldergrove side.
But gradually St Nauls began to get a grip with Barry Griffin and Shane Conneely probing and Peadar Mogan and Stuart Johnston driving forward. Stephen Griffin was leading by example also.
Mogan hit a free and then pointed from play to level matters on 25 minutes and although Ronan Hanna put Naomh Seamus back in front, the momentum was with St Nauls and especially Mogan.
He set up Stuart Johnston to point and then John Rose came forward to combine with Shane Conneely and the corner-back put St Nauls in front again. From the kick-out Peadar Mogan pounced and fired to the corner of the net for a 1-7 to 1-3 half-time lead. To add to Naomh Seamus's woes they had half-forward Kian Jones sent off for two yellows.
While Fearghal Burke had the opening point of the second half for the home side, Daniel Brennan struck for the second St Nauls goal a minute later. The ball was played across the goal on the ground and Brennan and a defender went for it. Somehow, Brennan chipped the ball up perfectly into his hands and he was free to slide the ball to the net for a priceless goal.
However, it was a bittersweet few minutes for Brennan because three minutes later he was on the sideline. It looked as if he was being black carded, but in remonstrating with the referee he did so too well and he was shown red and is likely to miss the semi-final.
St Nauls had lost Ian Campbell to a black card just two minutes into the new half also.
But it didn't affect the game as St Nauls kept their noses in front with points from Barry Griffin and Stephen Griffin (free) to points from Conor Morris and Seamus McGarry for the home side.
Stephen Griffin landed another free on 47 minutes after Lee McBrearty cut through the St James defence and was fouled, to put six between them - 2-9 to 1-6 - but they then had to withstand a late St James rally as McGarry hit four points, but Stephen Griffin eased worries two minutes from the end with a free after brother Barry was fouled.
Stephen McGarry was the outstanding player for the Antrim champions but apart from a fortunate goal, the St Nauls defence stood tall and they were bolstered by Shane Conneely playing a sweeping role after the initial first quarter.
St Nauls now advance to an Ulster semi-final meeting with Tyrone champions, Galbally. That game is set for the weekend of 16/17 November. A double-header with Naomh Conaill v Clontibret would be an attractive offering, possibly in Brewster Park, Enniskillen.

ST NAULS: Gavin Mulreaney; Caolan Gaffney, Brendan McCole, John Rose (0-1); Martin Breslin, Conor McBrearty, Michael Coughlan; Lee McBrearty, Barry Griffin (0-1); Ian Campbell, Stuart Johnston (0-1), Peadar Mogan (1-3,1f); Stephen Griffin (0-4,3f), Daniel Brennan (1-0), Shane Conneely. Subs: Dermot Gallagher for Campbell bcard 32; Daniel Gallagher for Gaffney 39; Kevin Lowther for M Breslin 55; Danny McDyre for L McBrearty 60

NAOMH SEAMUS: Shane O'Neill; Paul Cushley, Ferdia Carson, Chris O'Kane; Declan Gough, Chris McVeigh, Oisin Graham; Ryan Owens, Brian McQuillan; Kian Jones, Fearghal Burke (0-1,f), Ronan Hanna (0-1); Conor Morris (0-1), Gerard Mallon (0-1), Seamus McGarry (1-5,3f). Subs: Corey Fogarty (0-1) for F Carson 36; Ronan Wilkinson for Hanna 50.

REFEREE: Kevin Faloon (Armagh)

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