Johnnies finish strong to end Creggan’s league hopes

All County Football League – Division 1

0- 4

St John’s Ryan McNulty (left) celebrates after scoring his team’s opening goal in Wednesday evening’s win over Creggan at Corrigan Park

St John’s 2-9 Creggan 0-12

by John McIlwaine

Creggan’s chance of a league title were ended at Corrigan Park on Wednesday evening when they were beaten by St John’s in an entertaining game which contained a series of top class scores from both teams. After trailing at half time Creggan fought back during the third quarter hitting six points to St John’s one to take a two point lead, and with the Johnnies reduced to fourteen men the win they needed looked a distinct possibility. However the Corrigan Park side hit back with a series of excellent points, plus a superbly taken goal from Conor Johnston to swing the game back in their favour to clinch the win.

Creggan started the game well and were 0-3 to 0-1 up after ten minutes, the points coming from Conor Small, Tommy McCann and Liam Quinn, while Matthew Fitzpatrick got the Johnnies point with a sweet strike. The home side hit the front on eleven minutes when the dangerous Fitzpatrick broke through on goal, and though his shot was well saved by Oisin Kerr in the Creggan goal, the ball ran along the line and midfielder Ryan McNulty followed through and stabbed it over the line. Conor Small pulled one back for Creggan, but a well taken point by centre back Adrian Oliver on sixteen minutes and another from McNulty from out on the right wing put St John’s a goal clear. The home side were reduced to fourteen men five minutes before the break and Creggan took advantage within minutes when Ruairi McCann pointed a 45, but just before the break Patrick McBride restored the Johnnies three point cushion to send his team in leading by 1-5 to 0-5 at the short whistle.

Creggan were dominant in the early stages of the second half and were back on terms as Oran McCann swung over two points, and Conor Small one, inside five minutes. Ryan McNulty restored St John’s advantage with a pointed free on thirty eight minutes, but Creggan were making full use of the extra man, and after Tommy McCann swung over a free from distance the ever dangerous Kevin Small and Odhran McCann tagged on points to put them three clear by the forty-second minute. The introduction of Bam Neeson appeared to lift the home team and suddenly they were back on the attack again with real purpose. Ryan McNulty started the comeback with a pointed free before right half back Michael Bradley hit two superb scores from the right corner, one with his left foot and the other with the outside of the his right, to edge his team ahead. The game clinching score came on fifty three minutes when Conor Johnston broke through on the left wing and fired a great left footed shot across Creggan goalkeeper Kerr to the corner of the net to put his team four clear. Ruairi McCann did manage a late point for the visitors to keep their hopes alive but in the minute which remained, and the three added minutes of injury time, St John’s retained possession to run down the clock and seal the win.

St John’s

Padraig Nugent, Ciaran Garland, Aaron Douglas, Ciaran McCurdy, Michael Bradley, Adrian Oliver, Pearse Donnelly, Jack Hannigan, Ryan McNulty, Patrick McBride, Stephen Tierney, Conal McGlade, Conor Johnston, Matthew Fitzpatrick, Luke Peden

Creggan

Oisin Kerr, Conor McCann, Aidan Maguire, Oisin McAteer, Sam Maguire, Thomas McCann, Ruairi McCann, Conor McCann, Kevin Rice, Odhran McLarnon, Tiernan McAteer, Aidan McKeown, Kevin Small, Conor Small, Liam Quinn.

Referee – Fintan McCotter (Lamh Dhearg)

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