O’Prey’s late free snatches victory for Portaferry

Antrim Hurling League Division 1

Portaferry 1-18 St Johns 0-20

Conor O’Prey’s goal direct from a free in the sixth minute of stoppage time helped Portaferry snatch victory from the jaws of defeat against St Johns writes Paul McIntyre.

For long periods it was looking like the Johnnies would take the points back to Corrigan Park. Conall Morgan was outstanding from half back while Oisin Donnelly and Aaron Bradley made great use of a strong first half breeze to help shoot the West Belfast outfit to a deserving eight-point lead at the break, 0-14 to 0-6.

This pattern continued into the second half and when Dannaan McKeogh pointed in the 40th minute, there looked to be now way back for the Ards men as they trailed by nine points, 0-18 to 0-9.

But an injection of youth raised the energy levels of the Portaferry attack as both Tom McGrattan and Ryan O’Neill made their presence felt. Their direct running helping to draw frees and as the game ticked into injury time just two points separated the sides.

Then came O’Prey’s blockbusting 20 metre free in the dying embers of stoppage time which crashed into the roof of Simon Doherty’s net to cap off what seemed 15 minutes earlier the unlikeliest of victories.

Teams & Scorers:

Portaferry: Peter Mason, Emmett O’Neill, Darragh Mallon, Ronan Smyth, Callum Smyth, Conor O’Neill, Connor O’Prey (1-2 1-1f), Conor Fay, Shane Conlon, Niall Fitzsimmons (0-2), Niall Milligan, Conor Mageean, Ryan Convery (0-1), Ronan Blair (0-7 5f 2’65’), Eoin Magee (0-1).

Subs: Tom McGrattan (0-4f) for N. Milligan 35 mins, Ryan O’Neill (0-1) for C. Fay 39 mins, Fergal Rogers for C. O’Neill & Sean Milligan for E. Magee, both 45 mins.

St Johns: Simon Doherty, Jack Bohill, Ryan McNulty, Lorcan Heenan, Sean Wilson (0-1), Conall Morgan (0-1), Conor Carson, Andrew McGowan, Shane Dunne, Adam McMahon (0-1), Oisin Donnelly (0-3), Aaron Bradley (0-8 4f, 1’65’), Dannan McKeogh (0-1), Donall Carson (0-2), Domhnall Moran (0-1).

Sub: Caoimhin Hanna (0-1) for A. McGowan 14 mins (injured).

Referee: Mr Colin Murray (Carryduff).

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