The Saints end all square

The final scoreboard was probably a fitting result, but this game could have gone either way and it had plenty of talking points, even if the quality was mediocre at best.

The final scoreboard was probably a fitting result, but this game could have gone either way and it had plenty of talking points, even if the quality was mediocre at best.

Naomh Columba 0-9

Naomh Colmcille 0-9

The visitors would have been very annoyed if they had lost as they were denied a perfectly good point in the opening half, waved wide by an umpire when it was at least two foot inside the upright.

Then in the second half Oisin McGinley was clean through on goal, but blazed over to put Naomh Columba two clear with 14 minutes left. A goal would surely have decided this game, that was level six times.

In the end there was a scoring blitz in the laste ten minutes when five of the points were scored, with both sides holding the lead.

With three minutes of added time played it looked as if Jamie McNern had won it for Naomh Columba but Naomh Colmcille came straight back up from the kick-out for Ryan McErlean to hit the decisive final levelling point.

There was even time for a brief altercation between a large number of players before the final kick-out and Naomh Colmcille’s substitute John Hegarty saw red.

Naomh Columba had a very young side on duty as they lined out without Noel McGinley and Michael Maguire and there was no substitute appearance by Noel Hegarty, who saved them against the same opposition at the semi-final stage last year.

Poor first half

The frantic finish was a long way removed from a pedestrian opening half, which started more than 15 minutes later due to referee Shane Toolan arriving late, probably getting caught in the holiday traffic.

The opening half should have ended level, but it was the home side had a narrow lead, 0-4 to 0-3 thanks to points from Declan McGuire (7th minute), Liam Boyle, Oisin McGinley (free) and Dermot McGuire with the point of the game on 32 minutes when he won the ball deep in his own half and drove the length of the field to fire over.

Naomh Colmcille relied on three Joe Donaghy frees to keep in touch but they were denied a perfectly executed point from Ryan McErlean in added time.

The Newtown men started the second half in fine style with two Donaghy frees inside three minutes to take the lead for the first time in the game.

Naomh Columba hit back with Gavin McGinley pointing when he had a half goal chance and Declan McGuire hit another inspirational point after another driving run.

Naomh Colmcille had a sneaking chance of a goal on 43 minutes but Willie Gillespie’s effort was weak and there should have been a green flag at the other end when Kevin Beag Cunningham sent in high and the ball broke for Oisin McGinley with a free run on goal. He took it forward but blazed it over the bar and put his hands to his head as he knew the goal was there for the taking.

The miss game Naomh Colmcille renewed hope and they hit the next three points from McErlean, Joe Donaghey (winning and pointing free) and Willie Gillespie to edge ahead again, 0-8 to 0-7 with normal time elapsed.

But there was to be a hectic finish with Oisin McGinley levelling from a free before the final points from McNern and McErlean which left it all square at the finish.

Naomh Colmcille will be happy enough as they had to line out without the injured county panellist, Thomas McKinley. His brother Ryan was one of the leaders for the winners while Eddie Gillespie, Ryan McErlean and Joe Donaghey also played their part.

For Naomh Columba Declan McGuire was outstanding while Kieran McBrearty, Kevin McNern and Dermot McGuire all played their part.

Naomh Columba: Pauric O’Donnell; Kieran McBrearty, Kevin Cunningham, Martin Cunningham; Jamie McNern (0-1), Kevin McNern, Barry Carr; Dermot McGuire (0-1), Declan McGuire (0-2); Andrew Gara, David O’Donnell, Gavin McGinley (0-1); Liam Boyle (0-1), Oisin McGinley (0-3,2f), Kevin Beag Cunningham. Subs., Conor Butler for G McGinley; Francis J McGinley for K Beag Cunningham, both 52.

Naomh Colmcille: Marty Callaghan; Paul Friel, Alex Devenney, Anthony Grant; Gerard Curran, Shane McAteer, Eddie Gillespie; Andrew Clarke, Liam Grant; Ryan McErlean (0-2), Ryan McKinley, Ciaran Devine; Mark Dowds, Joe Donaghy (0-6,6f), Willie Gillespie (0-1). Subs., John Hegarty for Clarke 41; Ciaran Callaghan for Devine 60.

Referee: Shane Toolan (Aodh Ruadh).

Man of the match

The award goes to Declan McGuire who had an outstanding game at midfield for Naomh Columba with Ryan McErlean and Ryan McKinley very good for Naomh Colmcille.

Turning point

There were so many twists and turns in this game which came to life at the end of each half. The goal miss by Oisin McGinley (apart from the point not awarded) were the big talking points.

Ref watch

Shane Toolan had a good game but could have received much better assistance from umpires and linesman.