St. John’s withstand late rally to claim the points

Bathshack SHC Group 2 round 1

St. John’s 0-25 Loughgiel 1-20

St. John’s and Loughgiel served up a great championship opener at Corrigan Park yesterday with the home side threatening to run away with it at one stage but forced to withstand a late Loughgiel comeback at the end.

In a sometimes bruising contest the Corrigan Park side lost two players late in the game, one to a straight Red and the other to a second yellow but did enough over the hour to justify their two point win.

St. John’s made a blistering start to this one and shot into a 0-4 to 0-0 lead by the 8th minute with Ruairi Galbraith 0-3 (1 ‘65’) and Ciaran Johnston on target while the visitors hit a number of wides with the posts proving an elusive target for the Shamrocks.

Rian McMullan finally got them on their way as he pointed a free in the 9th minute but it brought another response from the ‘Johnnies’ with Ruairi Galbraith, Andy McGowan, Conor Johnston and Aaron Bradley all on target as a hungrier St. John’s moved 0-8 to 0-1 ahead by the 12th minute and at this stage they were threatening to run away with it.

Conal Bohill for St. John’s and Donal McKinley for Loughgiel exchanged further points and Peter McCallin added a fine long range score before Ciaran McKay got forward for the visitors third score in the 20th minute.

It was St. John’s who continued to hold the upper hand as the Loughgiel wide tally increased and Paddy Nugent and Oisin McManus extended the home side’s lead with Rian McMullan replying with two converted frees for the Shamrocks.

The visitors were battling hard to get themselves into contention and enjoyed some success in the period leading up to half time with Declan McCloskey 0-2 and Rian McMullan finding the target and Aaron Bradley and Michael Dudley replying for the Whiterock men to leave them 0-14 to 0-8 ahead at the short whistle.

Loughgiel needed a good start to the second half but in the event it was St. John’s who opened the second as they had the first with the impressive Ruairi Galbraith adding three quick-fire points to extend his side’s lead to 9 with only five minutes of the second half gone

The hits were going in hard and fast as referee Colum Cunning issued a number of yellow cards and Loughgiel came back with points from Eddie McCloskey and Paul Boyle as they tried to get themselves back into contention.

The home side were determined not to let that happen as the excellent Ruairi Galbraith replied from a couple of well struck frees before Loughgiel responded again through a Rian McMullan free and a fine long range point from Declan McCloskey.

Things were certainly livening up as the intensity of the game stepped up another notch with Aaron Bradley on target for St. John’s before the Shamrock’s came storming back with three on the trot through the impressive Rian McMullan to leave just three in it with five minutes of normal time remaining.

Peter McCallin and Michael Dudley edged the home side five in front again and when Dudley and McManus added two more with time almost up St. John’s looked home and hosed but Loughgiel were far from finished.

Rian McMullan, Rory McCloskey from a ‘65’ and Daniel McCloskey were all on target before Oisin McManus eased the pressure with a ‘Johnnies’ point at the other end but the momentum was now very much with the visitors as they battled to salvage something from the game.

They were handed a lifeline when a long range shot from around mid-field ended in the ‘Johnnies’ net as the game moved into added time with the home side reduced to 13 men as things threatened to boil over but the final score of the game fell to Conor Johnston to see his side home by two points.

A typical championship game between two strong and determined sides but in the end it was St. John’s who did enough to claim both points though Loughgiel will rue the number of wides they shot over the hour and it is an area they will want to improve on when they meet Ruairi Og at Dunsilly in round 2 on the 19th of August.

St. John’s travel to St. Enda’s on the same day and a win there would put them in a strong position for a quarter-final spot.

St. Johns: 3 Ryan McNulty, 4 Odhran Carleton 5 Peter McCallin, 6 Padraig Nugent, 7 Conal Bohill, 8 Michael Bradley, 9 Michal Dudley, 10 Andy McGowan, 11 Domhnall Nugent, 12 Conor Johnston, 13 Ciaran Johnston, 14 Aaran Bradley, 15 Ruairi Galbraith, 16 Declan Cregan 17 Oisin McManus, 22 Ciaran McKenna

Loughgiel: 1 Chris O’Connell, 2 Caolan Blair, 3 Christy McGarry, 4 Ciaran McKay, 5 Daniel McCloskey, 8 Declan McCloskey, 9 Donal McKinley, 10 Eddie McCloskey, 11 Enda Og McGarry, 18 Paul Boyle, 19 Rian McMullan, 20 Ronan mcCloskey, 21 Rory McCloskey, 22 Ruairi McCormick  

Referee: Colum Cunning (Dunloy)

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