A tough day at the office for Wolfe Tones as they fell to a second consecutive defeat at the Valley against Naomh Gall C.
With several key players missing, including Declan Moloney, McKee brothers Eoin and Stephen as well as Tyrone exile Kevin McCallion, and manager Gavin Cumiskey isolating, sideline duties were assumed by Enda McAtamney and Kevin Kennedy.
This reshuffled Wolfe Tones squad saw 7 debuts from men who had either transferred to the club or come up through its social football scheme.
The Naomh Gall team featured a number of veterans and the addition of a third squad to the All County leagues gives the club the opportunity to blood some players who are making the transition from a top quality minor outfit to adult football.
Despite a quick start from the Greencastle outfit, they failed to capitalise on an early breakaway from the throw-in and Naomh Gall punished them accordingly. A point from Odhrán Hassan and two from Aodhán Moloney was not enough to cancel the two first-half goals and a flurry of points which saw the Milltown men going in 2-4 to 0-3 leaders at the break.
On a changeable day, the rain moved on but a strong wind made kicking difficult for both sides as the high wide count testifies.
Wolfe Tones failed to take advantage of the wind at their backs as Naomh Gall doggedly kept the ball inside their opponent’s 45 for long periods of the second half, although a moment of brilliance was seen from Wolfe Tones’ Aodhán Moloney as he confidently struck the ball over the bar from just inside the 45 out on the left-wing.
The game saw competitive debuts for more than a few men in green and white hoops in challenging circumstances, but the North Belfast men will hope for a better performance next time out on home ground against St Agnes’ next week. Fergal McQuillan acquitted himself well and will likely use the opportunity to fight for a place in the starting lineup over the coming weeks.
Wolfe Tones made the step up from South Antrim to all-county league action this year and although the scorelines in both matches might suggest otherwise, they have been competitive games. Wolfe Tones management will no doubt have been impressed with a number of debutants and a couple of tweaks here and there will no doubt have the Greencastle men finding the form of last summer again.
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