O’Neills Sportswear Antrim Football League Division One
St John’s 2-10 O’Donovan Rossa 2-10
Two goals and a point in injury time by Rossa’s Stephen Beatty turned Wednesday evening’s Belfast derby game on its head, and though the Shaw’s Road men thought they had won the game, (the scoreboard was showing 2-11 to 2-09), St John’s salvaged a share of the points when substitute Conal McGlade sent over a late equaliser after referee Colm McDonald had pointed out the error on the scoreboard.
Conall Quinn celebrates after scoring St John’s second goal
The Johnnies will wonder just how they ended up in this position after dominating the first twenty five minutes of the second to put themselves in an apparently unassailable position. They were six in front on 53 minutes when they were awarded a penalty when Conal Gough was pulled down in the large square. This surely was the icing on the cake for the Johnnies, but though Paddy Nugent his the penalty really well, Rossa goalkeeper Michael McEnhill got down to his right to brilliantly turn the ball around the post.
That all seemed irrelevant when the Corrigan Park side went into injury time still six to the good but Rossa grabbed a lifeline when a high ball into the St John’s ‘square’ was won by Richard Gowdy, who fisted across the goalmouth to Beatty, who in turn fisted the leather to the net. Less than a minute later Gowdy did well to win another high dropping ball in the ‘danger area’ before giving Beatty yet another chance, but this time the big full forward’s punch went over the bar to cut the gap to two.
Rossa goalkeeper Michael McEnhill makes a brilliant save to deny St John’s penalty taker Patrick Nugent.
You felt all St John’s had to do was keep possession for the next couple of minutes and the win was theirs, but they could not to hold onto the ball and when yet another ball came in across the square Beatty completed an incredible display by punching the ball past Bam Neeson in the St John’s goal.
Everyone in the ground thought that the goal had put Rossa two clear and assured the victory, but when St John’s won a free at the other end referee McDonald pointed out the error on the scoreboard to the players on the field and McGlade sent the ball high between the posts to earn his team a share of the points.
Rossa had started the game very strongly and were 0-4 to 0-1 to the good in the early stages as Beatty dictated a lot of the play, he scored two excellent points. St John’s fought their way back and with Conchur Adams showing great accuracy to help the home team go in at the break with a 0-6 to 0-5 advantage.
Conal McGlade fires his equalising point high between the Rossa posts.
Just as in the first half Rossa were quick out of the traps and two points by Thomas Morgan put them back in front. However they were guilty of overplaying the ball time and time again and giving St John’s chances to create turn overs. Goalkeeper McEnhill was guilty of a couple of really bad kick outs directly to a St John’s player and the errors were punished as Laughlin McCurdy and the second from Conall Quinn gratefully accepted the gifts.
When the home team were awarded a penalty on 53 minutes the only thing in question appeared to be the size of the Johnnies winning margin, but McEnhill made up for his earlier errors by saving Paddy Nugent’s well struck shot. What followed in the final ten minutes had to be seen to be believed as Beatty turned the game on its head to end up with a personal tally of 2-5.
ST JOHN’S: B Neeson; C Garland (0-1), J Bohill, C Dyson; S Wilson, A Oliver, A McGowan; R McCafferty, S McDonagh; C Hand (0-1), C Gough, P Nugent; L McCurdy (1-1), C Adams (0-5, all frees), Ciaran Johnston.
Subs: C McGlade (0-2, both frees) for L McCurdy (43), C Quinn (1-0) for C Adams (43), P Donnelly for A McGowan (47), L Peden for S Wilson (52), D McGuinness for R McCafferty (52)
ROSSA: M McEnhill; C Orchin, P Moyes, J Morris; R Gowdy, C McGuinness, R Grant; P Shortt, E McMenamin (0-2); N Crossan, T Morgan (0-2, 1 free), D Grego (0-1); M Mallon, S Beatty (2-5, 0-2 frees), C McDonald.
Subs: D Rogan for P Moyes (15), D Rocks for P Shortt (32), L Carr for M Mallon (38), J McGurk for D Grego (48)
REFEREE: Colm McDonald (St Gall’s)