U-15 ACFL Division 2
St Johns 5-10 – 3-11 Glenavy
Kevin Herron reports from Corrigan Park
St John’s came out on top in an eight-goal thriller at Corrigan Park on Thursday evening. Defeating Glenavy 5-10-3-11.
Both sides had plenty of early possession on a bright evening on the Whiterock Road, but it took a few minutes for the opening score to arrive.
Padhraic McKevitt fed the ball inside to Leon Lavery who steered over and put Glenavy ahead.
The visitors then found the opening goal through Matthew Nelson after he intercepted a kick out and sent the ball towards the empty net with great success.
St Johns got off the mark through a converted Ronan Donnelly free and they restored parity on 12 minutes. Tomas O’Halloran slipped the ball into the path of Daire King- who continued his run and scuffed the ball low to the corner of the net to level at 1-01 apiece.
A minute later Corey Darragh netted the Johnnies second goal of the evening from a difficult angle.
Scores were traded in the aftermath between Matthew Nelson and Padraig Graham though Glenavy kicked three scores in succession to draw level.
James Higham released Leon Lavery who burst from his defensive third into the attacking zone and claimed his second point of the evening. Luca Goran was then upended, and James Monaghan converted the resulting free. Monaghan converted back-to-back frees after Eoin Byrne was taken out and he knocked the ball over to make it 2-02-1-05.
St Johns regained the lead through a smart Ronan Donnelly point and followed it up with their third goal of the half.
Daire King was played through on goal, his initial shot was clawed away by Darragh Brown, but undeterred King got to the loose ball and his persistence paid off at the second time of asking.
Donnelly added two further points before the break with a curling effort and another from range to bring his tally to 0-04 and give St Johns a 3-05-1-05 lead at the break.
James Monaghan converted his third free of the evening within 60-seconds of the restart, however St John’s hit back with their fourth goal- a close range finish from Padraig Graham.
Graham was on the mark again on 39 minutes after a quick free was aimed into the path of Odhran McAuley, McAuley was unable to fashion a shot and instead offloaded to Graham who finished to the net and made it 5-05-1-06.
Odhran Hitchen and Leon Lavery would trade points in the aftermath with Glenavy beginning to find life again through a converted James Monaghan free and a goal from substitute Arlo Lavery break the water break as the deficit was down to seven (5-06-2-08).
The visitors secured a third goal at the beginning of the final quarter thanks to Matthew Nelson- who’s 45’ sailed over the St Johns keeper Brendan Downey and into the net.
It was a three-point game at Corrigan with James Higham getting his angles right to ensure it was 2-02 without reply and the momentum was with the South-West outfit.
Odhran Quinn and James Monaghan both converted frees and St Johns were reduced to 14-men after Corey Darragh was dismissed.
But the hosts stretched their lead, Rory Gannon converted a free and scores from Odhran Quinn and Odhran Hitchen followed.
James Monaghan kicked his sixth free of the evening before the conclusion, but it was St Johns who claimed the points at Corrigan.
St Johns: B Downey, RJ Loughlin, O Quinn (0-02, 0-01f), F McKinney, R Crawford, E McGurk, R Gannon (0-01f), B Braniff, C Darragh (1-00), T O’Halloran, R Donnelly (0-04, 0-01f), O McAuley, D King (2-00), P Graham (2-01), O Hitchen (0-02). Subs: M O’Neill for T O’Halloran (HT).
Glenavy: D Brown, M Campbell, J Gilbride, C Campbell, L Reynolds, P McKevitt, J Higham (0-01), D Philliphs, M Nelson (2-01), J Monaghan (0-06f), C McKernan, S O’Hare, L Lavery (0-03), E Byrne, L Goran. Subs: A Lavery (1-00) for E Byrne (HT), E Nelson for L Goran (HT), O Duncan for C Campbell (35).
Referee: Joe McCavana