Mary's edge tetchy tie to book play-off berth
ST MARY'S edged an ill-tempered Division 2 play-off decider with St Bride's at Kilkerley last Tuesday night to book a winner-takes-all promotion/relegation clash with Naomh Mairtin on Wednesday night at the same venue.
Both clubs were hoping to make up for a disappointing couple of months, which saw St Bride's lose the IFC final to Geraldines and Mary's pipped for an automatic promotion spot by the same team.
A sererely depleted St Mary's started brightly opening a three point lead, but Bride's battled back well to take a 5-4 lead on 20 minutes.
Mary's edged back in front with two points on the bounce but their opponents dominated the closing stages of the half as two points from Kevin Hearty and one form Aaron Hoey made it 0-8 to 0-6 at half-time.
Hoey extended their lead to three after the resumption, but Mary's took control of the contest at that point with five unanswered points.
Hoey hit back to reduce the gap to the minimum as a number of flashpoints and off-the-ball incidents broke up play.
Mary's kicked on again to lead by three points with five minutes left on the clock, but when a Conaill Devin free-kick from out near the touchline somehow deceived everyone and ended up in the back of the net, the sides were level once more.
Extra-time looked imminent, but with more flare-ups and fisticuffs developing referee Paul Finnegan threatened to abandon the game altogether.
Some stern words from both managers seemed to settle tempers and it was Mary's who kept their heads in the five minutes of stoppage time, adding two further points to settle the issue.
The Ardee men will now face Naomh Mairtin for the right to compete in Division 1 in 2014.
ST MARYS: Duane Crosbie; Barry Faulkner, Brian Keenan, David Rooney; Wayne Matthews 0-1, Eamonn Callaghan, Shane McCoy; Donal Matthews 0-2, Robert Keenan; Dean Matthews 0-5 (0-3f), Robert Leavy 0-1, Fergal Diamond 0-1; Mark Fay 0-1, Paudy Clarke 0-2, Niall Carroll 0-2. Subs: Cian Moran for P Clarke, Brian McCoy for F Diamond.
ST BRIDE'S: Darren Breen; Cillian Kirk, Conor Deane 0-1, Paul Prendergast; Paraic Marry, David Kettle, Niall Mackin; Patrick Reilly, Shane Kerrigan; Kevin Kirk 0-1, Kevin Hearty 0-3, Joe Hanna; Ross Kehoe 0-1, Aaron Hoey 0-4 (0-1f) Conaill Devin 1-0. Subs: David Dunne for J. Hanna, Ray Kelly for N. Mackin, Emmet Kirk for R. Kehoe, Michael Mc Kenna for S. Kerrigan, Stephen Kettle for D. Kettle.
REFEREE: Paul Finnegan.