Win for St. John’s despite late Cloney comeback

Bathshack SHC Group 1

St. John’s 2-21 Clooney Gaels 3-17

Playing into the wind in the opening half, St. John’s looked on their way to a comfortable win in this Bathshack SHC Group 1 meeting with Clooney Gaels in Loughgiel on Saturday night when they led by 2-13 to 1-9.

They had dominated for long periods and might well have been further ahead had it not been for two splendid saves from Ahoghill keeper Francis Neeson who denied Conor Hand twice in the opening exchanges.

The Clooney side were faced with a mountain to climb in the second half, having lost Dan O’Neill to injury just before the break but they showed unbelievable fighting spirit to leave St. John’s hanging on for a narrow victory.

Conor Johnston and Conal Bohill gave St. John’s an early lead before Ronan Graham got the South West side off the mark with a point in the 6th minute. Either side of Graham’s point Francis Neeson made two spectacular stops as St. John’s threatened to over run their opponents.

Conor Johnston and Oisin McManus 0-2 had the Whiterock side four ahead by the 10th minute but Clooney Gaels replied through James and PJ O’Connell to leave two in it with 13 minutes gone.

The Ahoghill men were giving as good as they got at this stage and Conor Hand and PJ O’Connell exchanged points but O’Connell might well have had a goal as his fiercely struck effort sailed over the bar.

Gradually though St. John’s started to take control with Conor Hand, Conal Bohill, Ruairi Galbraith and Conor Johnston hitting four unanswered points by the 20th minute.

Dan O’Neill halted the Johnnies run with a great point for the Ahoghill men but Conor Johnston and Daragh McGuinness responded with points and Oisin McManus fired home the game’s opening goal after Ronan Graham had pulled one back for last year’s Intermediate champions.

Patrick Graham and PJ O’Connell added points in reply to an Oisin McManus pointed free for the Belfast side as half time approached but the final minutes of the half would prove to be spectacular.

Ruairi Galbraith looked to have put his side in a strong position when he got on the end of a pass across the square to tap home but Ahoghill ended the half with a goal of their own with Patrick Graham finishing from close range in a goalmouth scramble.

In between Owen Neeson added a point for the Clooney side and St. John’s lost a man to a straight Red but with the elements to face in the second half it looked a long way back for the ‘Gaels’.

HT 2-13 TO 1-9

Ahoghill started the second half minus the services of Dan O’Neill, who had taken a bad knock but they started the half brightly with PJ and James O’Connell pointing and Oisin Donnelly and Daragh McGuinness replying for the Corrigan men.

James O’Connell fired home a penalty in the 6th minute and after McManus replied with a pointed free the Ahoghill side began to get on top with three pointed frees from James O’Connell and another from play from Donal Graham to leave just a point in it after 13 minutes.

St. John’s looked rattled but slowly they regained their composure with Conall Morgan, Conor Johnston, Daragh McGuinness and Conal Bohill striking four without reply by the 20th minute and they appeared to have survived the Clooney storm.

The division 2 side quite simply refused to give up however and PJ O’Connell drove a free through a crowded goalmouth to launch another comeback with five minutes remaining.

Oisin McManus, who had been prominent for the Whiterock Road men with his free taking, added his side’s final point a minute later and it would prove to be an important one.

Ahoghill finished the game on the offensive with James O’Connell converting a free and Eoin Graham added another to close the gap to one as the St. John’s supporters called for the full-time whistle.

This first win in Group 1 keeps St. John’s hopes of qualification alive but they look to have a mountain to climb when they travel to Dunloy for their final Group game on the 2nd September.

Clooney Gaels travel to Rossa on the same day but despite the Shaw’s Road side’s heavy defeat to the Cuchullain’s yesterday, the Jerimiah’s look favourites to join them in the quarter finals.

St. John’s: 1 Simon Doherty, 2 Lorcan Heenan, 3 Ryan McNulty, 4 Aidan McMahon, 5 Conall Morgan, 6 Ciaran Johnston, 7 Jack Bohill, 8 Sean Wilson, 9 Daragh McGuinness, 10 Conor Hand, 11 Conol Bohill, 12 Conor Johnston, 13 Oisin |McManus, 14 Oisin Donnelly, 15 Ruairi Galbraith

Clooney Gaels: 1 Francis Neeson, 2 Harry O’Donnell, 3 James Magee, 4 Diarmaid Graham, 5 Fionnbar O’Neill, 6 Bernard Graham, 7 Dan O’Neill, 8 Eamonn Brady, 29 Owen Neeson, 10 Ronan Graham, 11 Donal Graham, 12 Patrick Graham, 13 PJ O’Connell, 14 Eoin Graham, 28 James O’Connell. Sub: Gerard Graham for Dan O’Neill

Referee: Ciaran McCloskey (Loughgiel)  

Cloney Gaels – Ahoghill St Mary’s chairman Gerald McGarry presents a cheque for £750 to Bert Trowlen of the Saffron Gael before Saturday’s SHC game in Loughgiel. Many thanks to the Ahoghill club for their continued support

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.