Naomh Abán grind it out in PIFC relegation playoff against St Vincent’s |

Naomh Abán 0-8 St Vincent’s 0-7 

NAOMH Abán maintained their Bon Secours PIFC status with a nail-biting win over St Vincent’s at Cloughduv on Saturday.

Similar to all relegation finals the contrasting mood in both camps at the final whistle was evident with Naomh Abán enjoying their survival and the Saints players and management team looking traumatised.

How times have changed for the northside club having lost their senior status in 2014 and for next season it will be competing in the second tier of intermediate football.

In a poor opening half, one could see sense the tension of both sides as they went long periods without registering a score.

Blake Murphy did edge the Saints ahead in the second minute but the Ballyvourney only took two minutes to bring the sides on parity courtesy of a Niall Kelly white flag.

Both sides were conscious of keeping possession and despite Vincent’s getting their share of possession their forwards lacked any ideas about how to break Naomh Abán’s stringent defending.

The one player that stood out for Naomh Abán was Aodhan Lucey who kicked three consecutive points that gave his side a 0-5 to 0-3 lead with seven minutes remaining to the interval.

Blake Murphy did manage to reduce the deficit in the 27th minute with Naomh Abán leading by the minimum at the break.

On the restart, the trend of the game didn’t change with Naomh Abán registering the opening two points in the fourth minute.

Indeed Vincent’s can thank the agility of Paddy O’Shea who made two point-blank saves a minute later that kept his team in the game.

Blake Murphy continued to be the Saints’ go-to man and after opening his account in the 36th minute he was denied a goal by a superb Finley Walker save.

The Ballyvourney side looked in pole position despite not scoring for the closing 22 minutes but with the final kick, Blake Murphy had a chance to level proceedings with a 40-metre free straight in front of the posts.

Sadly for Murphy, he dragged his free inches wide of the left post but on the other side of the coin, your season is not about winning one game as Vincent’s poor form throughout the campaign came back to haunt them.

Scorers for Naomh Abán: A Lucey 0-4 (0-1 f), D Kelly 0-2, N Kelly, M Lyons 0-1 each.

St Vincent’s: B Murphy 0-5 (0-4 f), B Long, P O’Sullivan 0-1 each.

NAOMH ABÁN: F Walker; T Keane, T Hallissey, R Hyde; D Lynch; E Creedon, C Roche; K O’Donoghue, M Lyons; S O’Riordan, A Lucey, N Kelly; P Lyons, D O’Leary, D Kelly.

Subs: D Kelly for D O’Leary (inj 10), W McCarthy for J O’Riordan (55), C Lucey for M Lyons (60).

St VINCENT’S: P O’Shea; A Gould, A O’Callaghan, C Murphy; C Sorensen, G McCarthy, S Duggan; P O’Sullivan, W Long; M O’Leary, G Kelleher, B Hornibrook; B Lynch, D O’Regan, B Murphy.

Subs: K O’Connor for G Kelleher (50), J Price for A Gould (52), E Fleming for B Long (54).

Referee: A O’Connor (Ballygarvan).

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