St Enda's hurlers make it an historic win in Division One against rusty St John's
Antrim ACHL Division One: Naomh Enna, Glengormley 4-15 St John’s 3-10
THE hurlers of Naomh Enna Glengormley embraced history last night as they won their first-ever Division One game by a convincing eight-point margin at their Hightown Road home.
For pure tenacity alone, new management team of Jamie Curran and Dee Ross couldn’t have faulted any of their players and had brothers Killian and Cormac Jennings to thank for causing a significant dent on the scoreboard.
Corner-forward Killian Jennings will remember this balmy night on home soil with fondness after registering a sublime three goals while Cormac bagged a half-dozen points (0-5 frees) as they slowly drew the sting out of St John’s.
Naomh Enna played last night’s Division One tie like it was Championship and St John’s approached it like a League game – and the home side’s greater desire won through.
Killian Jennings bagged his first major in the early stages which seemed to settle the Division One rookies before Domhnall Nugent flicked to Naomh Enna's net a few minutes before the break that put the visitors 1-8 to 1-7 in front.
And on the stroke of half-time it felt the Johnnies had the measure of their lively hosts when Conall Bohill rammed home the rebound after a fine save from Martin Curran.
With Mickey Johnston's men carrying a two-point lead (2-8 to 1-9) at the break, the pre-match script seemed to be going according to plan: Naomh Enna putting up spirited resistance before running out of gas.
But all credit to Naomh Enna who showed tremendous battling qualities and no shortage of skill to win the second period in comprehensive fashion.
After a couple of ropey moments under the high ball in the first half, the Naomh Enna defence steadied themselves and didn't allow the visiting attacking room to operate - and they also managed to hit the Johnnies for three more goals.
In the 33rd minute, Killian Jennings rifled the ball into the bottom corner of the net to put Naomh Enna two up and moments later Darrach Cooper pounced to ripple the St John’s net for a third time.
Arguably the best finish of the night was Killian Jennings’ final three-pointer burying the ball into the roof of the net, which was an immediate reply to Nugent's penalty finish at the other end of the field seconds earlier.
Cormac Ross had a brilliant game at centre half-back for Naomh Enna and Eoin Conlan’s influence increased as the game wore on with the midfielder bagging four points, but it was hard to pick a home player who didn't earn his salt last night.
Nugent was always a danger for St John’s but the supply into the big full-forward was poor. Shea Shannon also had a fine game for the visitors while Donal McKernan kept them in touch from placed balls.
But Naomh Enna fought like terriers throughout the hour with Joe Maskey playing a central role in attack. Last night's game for the home club was 64 years in the making. Division One was a long time coming.
There will be tougher tests ahead for the Division One new boys and the Johnnies will undoubtedly improve as the season progresses, but it was a night to remember up on the Hightown Road for Jamie Curran and Dee Ross's brave charges as members tuned into the club's Facebook page for a 'live' stream to witness another slice of history.
St Enda’s, Glengormley: M Curran; M Mullan, M O’Hare, R Diamond; M Donaghy, C Ross (0-1), E O’Connor; E Conlon (0-4), R Donaghy (0-1); J Higgins, J Maskey, C Jennings (0-6, 0-5 frees); K Jennings (3-2), D Cooper (1-1), D Lowery
St John’s, Belfast: S Doherty; L Heenan, C Carson; A McMahon, S McCrory, G Cunningham; S Shannon (0-2), C Johnston; D McCallin, D Nugent (2-0, 1-0 pen), O Donnelly (0-1); D McKernan (0-8 frees), C Bohill (1-0), D McKeogh (0-1) Subs: M Dudley for C McKenna (h/t), J Bohill for C Bohill (46)
Referee: M O’Neill