All County Football League Division One
St John’s 0-10 Cargin 1-07
The coming together of St John’s and Cargin at Corrigan was billed as ‘game of the day’ by most observers and an in the event although it certainly wasn’t a classic the fare produced did keep the onlookers fully engaged right to the long blast which saw honours shared.
Both the home side and the visitors will possibly feel this was a point dropped as each in turn did have opportunity to claim a winning score in the frantic exchanges in the concluding minutes, but in truth the 0-10 to 1-07 scoreline was perhaps a fair reflection.
A downpour as threatening dark clouds moved in from the overlooking Black Mountain greeted St John’s and second placed Cargin as they trooped out onto the pristine Corrigan arena on Sunday.
The Johnnies remained the only side in the top division without a blemish thus far but most observers felt they would be severely tested as the reigning champions came to the West of Belfast.
The opening phase did see the sides struggle to retain composure on the arena with the immaculate sod slippery in the extreme following the heavy rain and despite chances created at either end it turn the scoreboard attendant was not to be troubled for a time.
The opening quarter proceeded without a raised flag until a foul on Jack Hannigan opened the way for Brian ‘Bam’ Neeson to fire the resultant award directly over the bar.
Neeson was to prove accurate in the extreme throughout added another brace of points in the next few minutes before the Cargin men would make a mark.
The Toome men took time to gain composure but they were off and running in the 21st minute as a Tony Scullion delivery and a foul on Michael Magill saw Tomas Mc Cann split the posts from the award.
Patrick Mc Bride did add the next score as he nipped up the right hand side to defy an acute angle to deliver between the posts and the Johnnies had marched to a 0-04 to 0-01 lead as the short whistle approached.
The visitors were visibly struggling to get into stride as despite deliveries made to the front men the slippery conditions and the wet leather seemed to defy as all too often the leather proved difficult to hold.
Tony Scullion was prominent in most deliveries to the front men and indeed although some would regard the former Antrim defender in the ‘veteran’ category such was difficult to detect in what was another power packed performance.
It was Scullion who initiated a late Cargin charge as firstly Tomas Mc Cann delivered over the bar and when Michael Mc Cann added another to see the home side at 0-04 to 0-03 at the short whistle.
BACK ON TERMS
Cargin were back on terms again within a couple of minutes into the second period via a super long range Kevin Mc Shane score but the Johnnies were quick in response as another Bam Neeson point had them back in front.
It was end to end stuff as Cargin returned to the offensive and although Michael Mc Cann was just off target from a 60 metre free in the 36th minute he was to make fine amends a minute later when he drilled to the net.
John Carron had fetched the resultant kick out following the missed free, and when he found Tony Scullion coming off the shoulder at pacy the defender opened the door for Michael Mc Cann with a precision based pass and when the latter eluded a couple of defenders to despatch firmly to the corner of the net Cargin had gained a first time lead at 1-04 to 0-05.
A David Johnston 39th minute point extended the Cargin advantage but not for long as the home side returned fire.
An excellent approach on the right hand side and a good off load from the ever busy Bam Neeson provided opening for mid-fielder Ronan Mc Caffery to split the posts and when Patrick Mc Bride and inevitably Bam Neeson added another the scores were tied again at 0-08 to 1-05.
Michael Mc Cann’s 50th minute point saw Cargin sneak advantage again with the score initiated by corner back Gerard Mc Corley who had a super game for the visitors.
The Johnnies soon regained composure however and they did look in charge when Bam Neeson added another point from a free after the visitors had fluffed their lines again on the offensive.
The unbeaten Johnnies did look for more and they seemed set for a podium place when they took the lead again as an ‘off the ground’ offence in the Cargin rear guard was fully punished when Patrick Mc Bride sent the resultant free kick over the bar.
The clock ticked onwards to conclusion and when his brother Paul was hauled to ground on approach to the St John’s posts Tomas Mc Cann held his nerve and indeed his aim as he steered the resultant award right between the posts in the 60th minute.
Both sides did have opportunity to sneak the verdict in the last added minutes but such were to prove in vain as the long blast signalled honours even at 0-10 to 1-07.
Referee B Toland (Lam Dhearg)
Pearce Donnelly, Michael Dudley, Aaron Douglas, Ciaran Garland, Russ Hannigan, Adrian Oliver, J J Garland, Ronan Mc Cafferty (0-01), Kevin Mc Glinchey, Patrick Mc Bride (0-03), Stephen Tierney, Jack Hannigan, Brian ‘Bam’ Neeson (0-06), Fra Mc Crudden.
Conor Mc Avoy for F Mc Crudden
John Mc Nabb, Gerard Mc Corley, Donnach Mc Keever, Tony Scullion, David Johnston (0-01), Martin Kane, Ronan Devlin, Gerard Mc Cann, John Carron, Paul Mc Cann, Michael Mc Cann (1-02), Kevin Mc Shane (0-01), Ciaran Bradley, Tomas Mc Cann (0-03), Michael Magill.
Michael Clarke for M Magill
Enda Mc Grogan for K Mc Shane (black card)
Kevin O’ Boyle for D Johnston
Brendan Laverty for M Clarke