ACHL Division 1
St. John’s 3-13 Ballycastle 1-19
St. John’s and Ballycastrle served up an entertaining draw at Corrigan Park last night with the teams level on a number of occasions over the hour and a draw was probably a fair result though visitors Ballycastle will rue a missed penalty.
A feature of the game was the free taking from both sides with Oisin McManus landing a number of fine efforts for the ‘Johnnies’ and James Bakewell equally impressive for the visitors in conditions that were far from ideal.
McManus struck a couple of early frees for the Corrigan Park side but a point from Ronan McCarry and a well worked goal from Fergal McKiernan saw the ‘Castle’ hit the front after six minutes. James Bakewell and Ciaran McKeague stretched the visitors lead to four and at this stage the momentum was with the visitors.
Another long range effort from McManus got the home side going again and Ruairi Galbraith and McManus with a free from his own half closed the gap to one as two well matched sides fought tooth and nail for every ball.
Bakewell from a ‘65’ for the visitors and Ciaran Kerr exchanged further points but further points from Seamus McAuley and Ronan McCarry had ‘McQuillan’s’ three ahead after 20 minutes and they looked to be getting on top.
Michael Dudley swung the game back in favour of St. John’s with two points in the period leading up to the break however and he put his side ahead with a goal in the 30th minute, getting on the end of a good build up to leave the home side 1-9 to 1-7 ahead at the break.
Ballycastle were first to register as the second half got under way with James Bakewell striking an impressive long range point and following with another from a free from just inside his own half and the sides were level again with only three minutes of the new half gone.
Play swung to the other end of the field however and Ruairi Galbraith was on hand to return the sliotar to the net after Benny Connor in the visitors goal had brought off an excellent save but the Ballycastle net minder was helpless to deny Galbraith’s follow up.
It got even better for the Whiterock side when the Impressive Oisin McManus got in for a third goal after getting on the end of a long delivery in the 5th minute to put his side six in front and the momentum had swung in the ‘Johnnies’ favour.
Ballycastle refused to panic however and Seamus McAuley, Bakewell 0-2 and Diarmaid McShane fired over points in response to a fine long range effort from Padraig Nugent for the home side and the momentum was very much back with the North Antrim men as they picked off their points going down the home straight.
Seamus McAuley, substitutes Ronan Laverty and Lorcan Donnelly and the superb Conor Boyd were all on target for a strong finishing Ballycastle with Padraig Nugent replying from a long range free for St. John’s to leave the sides tied at the end of a pulsating contest that was a credit to both sides given the difficult conditions on the night.
St. John’s: 1 Simon Donnelly, 2 Louis Boyd, 3 Jack Bohill, 4 Phillip Martin, 5 Aidan McMahon, 6 Padraig Nugent, 7 Ciaran McKenna, 8 Andy McGowan, 9 Conor Hand, 10 Ruairi Galbraith, 11 Ciaran Kerr, 12 Oisin McManus, 13 Michael Dudley, 14 Niall McCallin, 15 Declan Creggan, 18 Luke Loughlin, 19 David Robinson, 20 Colm McFall, 21 Fearghal McManus, 22 Matthew Mallon
Ballycastle: 1 Benny Connor, 2 Oran Kearney, 3 Niall McAuley, 4 Mark McClean, 5 Jack McGowan, 6 Conor Boyd, 7 Ciaran McKeague, 8 Ronan McCarry, 9 James Bakewell, 10 Joe McToal, 11 Seamus McAuley, 12 Eoin McAlonan, 13 Tiernan Smyth, 14 Diarmid McShane, 15 Fergal McKiernan, 17 Lorcan Donnelly, 22 Ronan Laverty