Doherty Wood Shavings ACHL Division 1
Naomh Eanna 4-15 St Johns 3-12
Paul McIntyre reports from Hightown
History was made at Hightown on Wednesday evening when Naomh Eanna played their first ever game in Antrim’s top flight of hurling, and they capped off the big occasion with a deserved six-point win by taking the scalp of St Johns.
The Glengormley outfit who are the reigning Ulster Intermediate champions went into this game as underdogs and many people’s favourites to finish at the wrong end of the table in their debut season in Division 1, but they will take great encouragement from this display which was full of grit and determination.
It didn’t take long for Naomh Eanna to make their mark in the game. As little as four minutes had elapsed when Killian Jennings pounced for the first of his three goals, but with Domhnall Nugent and Conall Bohill linking up well, the Johnnies fought back to level the game after fifteen minutes at 1-03 to 0-06. Two frees from Jennings kept St Enda’s noses in front but the Johnnies took control of the scoreboard in the dying moments of the half with Nugent and Bohill both finding the net, and at the break St Johns held a slender two-point lead. 2-8 to 1-09.
The game was turned on its head in the opening minutes of the second half. After claiming his second major of the evening, Jennings then turned provider for full forward Darrach Cooper to dispatch the ball into the St Johns net. St Johns came roaring back and Nugent drove a penalty to the net after Edward O’Connor was penalised for a careless swing. The goal fest continued and minutes later Jennings wrapped up his hat-trick with an emphatic finish to the roof of the net.
St Johns never recovered from this St Enda’s scoring burst and the home side were able to see the game out for a deserved opening night victory.
St Endas: Martin Curran, Manus Mullan, Matthew O’Hare, Ruairi Diamond, Mark Donaghy (0-02 1f), Cormac Ross (0-01), Edward O’Connor, Eoin Conlon (0-04), Ruairi Donaghy, Jason Higgins, Joe Maskey, Cormac Jennings (0-06 5f), Killian Jennings (3-01), Darrach Cooper (1-00), Daniel Lowry.
St Johns: Declan Cregan, Lorcan Heenan, Conor Carson (0-01), Aidan McMahon, Simon McCrory, Padraig Nugent, Gerard Cunningham, Shea Shannon (0-01), Ciaran Johnston, Ciaran McKenna, Domhnall Nugent (2-02 1-00 Pen), Oisin Donnelly, Donal McKernan (0-06 f), Conall Bohill (1-02), Dannan McKeogh.
Subs: Michael Dudley for Ciaran McKenna HT & Jack Bohill for Aidan McMahon 45 minutes.
Referre: Mr Mark O’Neill.