In what was bitterly close game throughout with just a few points separating the sides at any stage, St Joseph’s emerged victorious in Kellyville on Wednesday night and, by doing so, dodged the relegation spot and ensured Division 1 football next season.
St Joseph’s signaled their intent for the match directly from the throw-in, as with just twenty seconds on the clock Matty Campion charged through the Heath’s defence before calmly slotting the ball over the crossbar for the game’s first point. Directly from the resulting kick-out, Liam Kealy wandered forward from centre-back to extend the Josephs’ lead to two points with a mere minute on the clock.
The Heath seemed unfazed by St Josephs’ early dominance, and with two counter-attacking moves they quickly evened the scorecard. Full-forward, Chris Bergin, was on hand to open the Heath account after four minutes, before he again stepped up to the plate to convert a short-range free just a minute later.
Brian Brennan followed the example set by his opposing full forward, Chris Bergin, and slotted a quick-fire brace to restore a two point advantage for St Joseph’s with seven minutes elapsed. Tony Connolly began to pull the strings for the Heath, and despite playing a withdrawn role from his centre-forward position, he contributed with an excellent point from thirty yards to leave the margin at a point.
St Joseph’s began to dictate the play and racked up four unanswered points through Liam Kealy (2), and a point apiece from brothers Adam and Matty Campion gave Josephs’ a five point cushion with five minutes remaining in the half.
In an exciting close to the half The Heath outscored the home side by four points to two leaving the margin at just three points at the break.
The second half proved to be a much scrappier affair as of the six points each that the teams scored, seven of those came from frees. In an early exchange of points Cathal Whelan and Chris Bergin both landed braces for the Heath, while Matty Campion replied with a point for Josephs’ before Dan Dunne spectacularly landed two forty-five yard frees to keep three points between the sides.
Matty Campion brought his personal tally to six points with two quick-fire points with five minutes remaining, while Colin Nestor found the target to keep the Heath in touch. Injury time points from the Heath’s Ciaran Hyland and St Joseph’s substitute Colin Campion somewhat cancelled each other to leave the final margin at three points in favour of St Joseph’s.
Scorers - ST JOSEPH’S: Matty Campion 0-6, 0-4f; Liam Kealy (2f) and Dan Dunne (3f) 0-3 each; Brian Brennan 0-2; Adam Campion and Colin Campion 0-1 each. THE HEATH: Chris Bergin 0-6, 0-4f; Cathal Whelan 0-3f; Ciaran Hyland 0-2, 0-1f; Tony Connolly and Colin Nestor 0-1 each.
ST JOSEPH’S: Dermot Kelly; PJ Rowan, Tony Campion, Ian Donnelly; Murtagh Condron, Liam Kealy, Kevin Campion; Matty Campion, Noel Garvan; Michael Keogh, Dan Dunne, Adam Campion; Joe Higgins, Brian Brennan, David Brennan. SUBS: Jason Campion for Adam Campion; Martin Reilly for Tony Campion; Colin Campion for Joe Higgins.
THE HEATH: Alan Bell; Alan Whelan, Denis Booth, Mick Lenihan; Mark Dowling, Aidan Bergin, Eoin Delaney; Colin Nestor, Ciaran Booth; Jimmy Nerney, Tony Connolly, Barry Whelan; Ciaran Hyland, Chris Bergin, Cathal Whelan. SUBS: Seamus Mulhare for Colin Nestor; Colin Nestor for Mick Lenihan; Shane Carroll for Ciaran Hyland; Donal Bigley for Colin Nestor.
Subscribe or register today to discover more from DonegalLive.ie
Buy the e-paper of the Donegal Democrat, Donegal People's Press, Donegal Post and Inish Times here for instant access to Donegal's premier news titles.
Keep up with the latest news from Donegal with our daily newsletter featuring the most important stories of the day delivered to your inbox every evening at 5pm.