Shiels saves Dunloy blushes with late free

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St Gall’s 3-12 Dunloy 3-12

St Gall’s came within minutes of causing the biggest hurling upset of the century when they came from behind to lead Dunloy in injury time of Sunday evening’s SHC quarter-final at Casement Park.

When substitute Sean O’Hara fired in his team’s third goal two minutes from the end of normal time to give St Gall’s a one point lead the impossible dream suddenly looked likely, but they were denied in the end when Dunloy’s top manPaul Shiels sent over an equalising free in injury time to earn the Cuchullains a second bite of the cherry.

This game was supposed to be a non contest as Dunloy, top of Division One, took on a side lying third in Division 2, and when they dominated the early exchanges all appeared to be going to plan. Dunloy opened up a six point gap, aided by goals from Kevin Molloy (a soft effort from long range) and Paul Shiels, but spurred on by their brilliant midfielder Karl Stewart St Gall’s fought back and goals from Aidso Gallagher and Anton McCaffrey saw them take a 2-7 to 2-6 half-time lead.

Kiearn Gallagher stretched the St Gall’s lead to three with a point from a narrow angle just after the restart, but Dunloy fought back and a second goal from their saviour Paul Shiels saw them take a two point lead.

Shield (2) and Kevin Molly added points and it appeared Dunloy were back on track but Karl Stewart was dominant at midfield and he slowly but surely brought his team back in contention as four pointed frees cut the gap to the minimum.

Shiels stretched Dunloy’s advantage to two again when he sent over his fifth free of the evening but the Dunloy defence remained uncertain and when substitute O’Hara shook off his marker to fire in his team’s third goal the shock of the century looked to be on.

However just as the copy writers were preparing their headlines for the morning papers Paul Shiels again came to his team’s rescue and his sixth pointed free of the evening earned his team replay and left St Gall’s reflecting on the twelve wides they shot during the hour.

Scores

St Galls Karl Stewart 0-9 (0-6 frees), Anton McCaffrey 1-0, Aidso Gallagher 1-0, Sean O’Hara 1-0, Kieran Gallagher

0-2, CJ McGourty 0-1 free.

Dunloy Paul Shiels 2-5 (0-5 frees), Kevin Molloy 1-2, Liam Richmond 0-3, Kevin McQuillan 0-1, Sean Dowds 0-1.

Dunloy C Brogan, M McClements, C McKinley, K McKeague, J McKeague, K Martin, C Cunning, K Molloy, P Shivers, L Richmond, P Doherty, S Dowds, P Richmond, P Shiels, subs K McQuillan for P Doherty, G O’Kane for P Shivers, G McAllister for K McKeague, C Cunning for Colm Cunning.

Referee Owen Elliott (All Saints)