Johnnies pay the penalty as ‘the Town’ fight back

By Staff Reporter
Ballycastle, 3-12 d -- St John's 1-9

A missed penalty, and two red cards, contributed to St Johns’ downfall as they threw away a five-point lead against Ballycastle at Fr Healy Park, Loughgiel on Saturday evening.

‘The Town’ will now face county champions Loughgiel Shamrocks in the Antrim Senior Hurling Championship semi-finals.

St John’s started much the brighter with points from St John’s veteran Brian McFall and took firm control of the first half 16 minutes in when McFall found the net for the first goal of the game.

Then, three minutes later, the Whiterock lads had a chance to extend their lead to eight when they were awarded a penalty, but Ballycastle goalkeeper Ciaran Smyth produced a fine save to deny McFall.

Ballycastle took advantage of the let-off and between the penalty miss and half-time the game turned decidedly in the their favour with three points from the excellent Malachy Dallas, one from centre-back Neill McAuley, followed by a goal from the veteran Kieran Kelly to give McQuillan’s a 1-7 to 1-5 lead at the interval.

St John’s started the second-half well and the evergreen McFall had them level inside three minutes with a point from play followed by one from a free.

Dallas edged Ballycastle back in front before substitute  Stephen McAfee broke clear to fire in a goal with his first touch of the ball.

Dallas added another point and after St John’s had left-half back Gerard Cunningham sent off he added another from the resultant free to open a six point gap.

McFall pulled one back from play for the Belfast side but Ballycastle hit back with a point from a ‘65’ from Cormac Donnelly and one from play by Chrissy Boyle to go seven clear.

When Boyle’s sideline cut went all the way to the Johnnies net soon afterwards it was clear it was not going to be the their night.

The problems were compounded late on when substitute  Micky O’Neill was booked twice and sent off.

 

BALLYCASTLE: Ciaran Smyth, Fergus Donnelly, Cormac Donnelly, Dermot Donnelly, Paul McLernon, Neal McAuley, Mathew Donnelly, Kevin Barry McShane, Mickey Dallat, Christopher Boyle, Kieran Kelly, James McLister, Mallachy Dallas, Steven McGarry, Shane Staunton.

SUBS:  Stephen McAfee for McLister; James McShane for McGarry, Fergal McConnon for Kelly

ST JOHN’S: Ciaran Cunningham, Liam Knocker, Adrian Downey, Conor Gannon, Gerard Cunningham, Simon McCrory, Gerard Carbery, Barry McFall, Andy McGowan, Conal Morgan, Colm McFall, Ciaran Johnston, Ferghal Morgan, Paddy Nugent, Brian McFall.

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