Lámh Dhearg 0-14-2-13 St. Johns
By Kevin Herron
St. John’s made it back to back victories at the start of the second phase of the league with a 2-13 to 0-14 win over Lámh Dhearg at Hannahstown this afternoon.
Already missing midfielders Pearse Fitzsimons [holiday] and Domhnall Nugent [county] for Wednesdays defeat away to Aghagallon the Hannahstown men were still without Nugent who was injured in Antrim’s U-21 defeat to Derry and were also missing Conor Murray [injury], Michael Herron [suspension] and Paddy Cunningham [holiday].
St. Johns made a blistering start to the game and within the first six minutes had hit 1-02 without reply. Midfielder Jack Hannigan pointed for the Whiterock men and on four minutes Conor Johnston burst through the Lámh Dhearg defence and found the corner of the net.
Luke Pedan would further increase the Johnnies lead before Ryan Murray and Terry McCrudden replied for the Lámhs through converted frees to make it 1-02-0-02.
With ten minutes on the clock Lámh Dhearg found themselves with a mountain to climb as Ross Hannigan was left in acres of space behind the defence and the wing-half back blasted low to the net to make it 2-02-0-02.
Antrim county star Paddy McBride was next to split the posts and a further point arrived through the boot of Ross Hannigan; who soon departed through injury.
Ryan Murray was carrying much of Lámh Dhearg’s threat throughout, the corner-forward ended a run of three successive St. John’s scores with a point, however Conal McGlade replied instantly at the other end with a point of his own.
Lámh Dhearg began to up the ante and closed the gap to five points by the 22nd minute; Ryan Murray hit two excellent point in between a converted Terry McCrudden free to make it 0-06-2-05.
St. John’s would stretch their lead to eight points at the break however with three late scores of their own, Paddy McBride converted a 28th minute free and the St. John’s number ten added a further scores before the half-time whistle to leave his side 2-08-0-06 to the good at the interval.
In contrast to the opening half it was Lámh Dhearg who had the bit between their teeth at after the restart.
Terry McCrudden converted a free two minutes in and an excellent score from a tight angle by Ben Rice reduced the deficit to six-points.
St. John’s hit back however and a fisted point from substitute Jude McCurdy and a McBride point restored their eight-point lead (2-10-0-08).
Lámh Dhearg talisman Murray replied with a superb point from play and a converted free to bring the margin down to six once again, though substitute Darragh McCallin and full-back Michael Bradley made it an eight-point game again with ten minutes to play.
Lámh Dhearg needed a goal in order to seriously worry St. John’s however the Whiterock side were tight as a rock at the back and the Hannahstown men had to settle for points, another two came from the boot of Murray in quick succession and two converted frees from Kevin Quinn and Murray made it four points on the trot and halved the deficit with five minutes remaining (0-14-2-12).
St. John’s retained possession for much of the remaining minutes and successfully played the clock down, the Whiterock men landed the final score of the game in injury-time as Darragh McCallin sent the ball between the large posts to wrap up an impressive and well earned 2-13-0-14 win as the Johnnies continue to gather momentum ahead of their championship clash with Aldergrove in four weeks time.
Lámh Dhearg: M McIlvenny, C Nolan, A McAufield, M McGarry, D Lynch, B McComb, K Quinn(0-01f), S Tully, E McKeown, G Slane, B Rice (0-01), Murray (0-09, 0-3f), T McCrudden (0-03f), P Gormley. Subs: R Diamond for P Gormley (30 mins), G Walls for B Rice (38 mins), K Conroy for T McCrudden (47 mins), M Lynch for S Tully (57 mins).
St Johns: P Nugent, C McCurdy, M Bradley (0-01), M Dudley, R Hannigan (1-01), S Tierney, R McNulty, R McCafferty, J Hannigan (0-01), P McBride (0-05,0-01f), C Johnston (1-00), J Garland, P Donnelly, C McGlade (0-01), L Pedan (0-01). Subs: D McCallin (0-02) for C McCurdy, J McCurdy (0-01) for R Hannigan.
Referee: John Moran (Aldergrove)