Ballygalget lift title thanks to Johnson
Ballygalget 1-18 Portaferry 1-11: Ballygalget reclaimed the Down senior hurling title which they last held in 2010 when they overcame reigning champions Portaferry in yesterday's final at Ballycran.
It was Gareth 'Magic' Johnson who proved an inspirational figure in their success, his creativity and finishing skills combining to make him almost unstoppable.
Portaferry, who were forced to field without the suspended Conor Woods, were in contention for spells but ultimately had no answer to the wiles of Johnson.
They were also much too reliant on centrethreequarter Kevin McGarary for scores from frees.
Johnston engineered Ballygalget's goal for Declan McManus after 22 minutes and also hit six points from frees and play and surely impressed watching Down manager Gerard Monan as he focuses on the forthcoming Ulster final against Antrim.
The Clarkes, Eoin and Gabriel, imposed themselves at midfield for the winners while Ciaran Coulter strove to lead Portaferry's defensive resistance.
Ballygalget led by 1-8 to 1-5 at half-time with Kevin McGarry having snapped up all of Portaferry's scores, but it was in the third quarter that the winners pulled clear with Declan McManus, Danny Toner and John McManus sharing in a scoring bonanza.
Even though both teams deployed a sweeper system, Ballygalget found it much easier to make headway and when Johnson struck a sublime point to open up a five-point gap, it signalled their victory surge.
Ballygalget: G Clarke; P McManus, B Toner, J McManus (0-2); S Johnson, J McGrath, G Clarke; E Clarke (0-2); C Bailie, A Smyth (0-1), G Johnson (0-6), D McManus (1-3), S Clarke, S Bailie, D Toner (0-4, 0-3 frees). Subs: B Byers for Smyth, G Dynes for S Bailie, L Clarke for P McManus.
Portaferry: K Keating; J Merron, M Conlan, C Taggart; S Murray, C O'Neill, C Coulter; A Savage, A O'Prey; J Convery (0-1), K McGarry (1-8, 0-6 frees), S Mageean; C Mageean, F Rodgers, E Sands (0-2). Sub: B Coleman for S Mageean.
Referee: J Owens (Wexford).