Johnnies into semi-final

Northern Switchgear Senior Football Championship – Quarter final

St John’s 3-14 St Teresa’s 0-9

Report and pics by John McIlwaine

Last season’s beaten finalists St John’s secured a place in this year’s semi-final when they beat St Teresa’s in Sunday afternoon’s quarter final at the Bear Bit. Underdogs St Teresa’s were holding their own during the opening half, and trailed by just a single point after twenty minutes play until a goal and three points in a dominant five minute spell by the Johnnies saw them take control. They led by 1-7 to 0-4 at the break and when Bam Neeson grabbed his team’s second goal within five minutes of the restart the only thing in question was the size of the winning margin.

With a brisk breeze at their backs St John’s were quick out the traps and Matt Fitzpatrick popped over two points inside the first three minutes. The Corrigan Park side dominated possession and could have been much further ahead but St Teresa’s began to gain a bit of possession and two points from frees from right half back John Mallon brought them level by the ninth minute. Points from Peter McCallin and Matt Fitzpatrick put the Johnnies two clear again but they missed a couple of good goal chances and a Paul McGoldrick point from a narrow angle for St Teresa’s left just a point between the sides. St John’s certainly did not have the advantage their play deserved but suddenly the breakthroughs began to come and after Conor Johnston and Jack Hannigan added points Peter McCallin finished a good flowing move with a goal from a narrow angle on the left. Bam Neeson added a point to put St John’s eight clear with half time fast approaching but John Mallon pulled a point back for St Teresa’s in first half injury time to leave seven between the sides at the break.

19Bam Neeson rises to flick the ball to the St Teresa’s net for the Johnnies second goal. Pic by John McIlwaine

If St Teresa’s were to get back into the game then they needed a good start to the second half, but it was St John’s who got it, and after Bam Neeson had added a point from a free the full forward got on the end of a Jack Hannigan cross from the right to flick the ball past Anthony Varndell in the St Teresa’s goal. Patrick McBride pointed to increase the Johnnies lead to eleven and though Connor and John Mallon pulled points back for St Teresa’s there was to be no way back for the Glen Road men as a quickfire 1-4 in a five minute spell ended any glimmering hope they may have held. The goal was finished expertly by centre forward Conor Johnston while the points came from Bam Neeson (2) Simon McDonagh and Michael Bradley. To their credit St Teresa’s kept battling away and as St John’s gave all six subs a run out their play began to get a bit disjointed. St Teresa’s hit four points without reply through Sean Maguire, Eoin Gault, Liam Gault and John Mallon but the gap was way too big to close and the Johnnies hit the final score of the game to end up winners by 14 points.

ST JOHN’S: ER Lambert; C Garland, M Dudley, L laverty; J Hannigan (0-1), Ciaran Johnston, C McEvoy; S McDonagh (0-1), M Fitzpatrick (0-4); A McGowan, Conor Johnston (1-1), P McBride (0-1 free); S Tierney, B Neeson (1-3, 0-2 frees), P McCallin (1-1). Subs: M Bradley (0-1) for L Laverty (42), A Douglas for Ciaran Johnston (43), R McNulty (0-1) for J Hannigan (47), L Peden for P McCallin (47), R McCafferty for C McEvoy (50), C McGlade for Conor Johnston (58).

ST TERESA’S: A Varndell; R Mallon, D McCann, C mallon (0-2); E Connolly, E Gault, J Mallon (0-4 frees); P McCaffrey, C McGoldrick; L Gault, P McGoldrick, S Maguire (0-1); P Maguire, N McCann, C O’Rawe (0-1). Subs: M Mallon (0-1 free) for P Maguire (HT), P Johnston for C McGoldrick (42),  D Adams for A Maguire (58).

REFEREE: Fionntan McCotter (Sarsfield’s)


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