St John’s minors made up for the disappointment of last week’s Ulster Minor Football Championship defeat at the hands of Glen by claiming the hurling equivalent at Ballinascreen with a 1-14 to 0-11 win over rivals Slaughtneil.
The match was a repeat of last year’s final which the Antrim side won by a point, and in retaining their crown the Johnnies became the first team in the history of the tournament to claim back to back titles.
A Jude McCurdy goal just before the break had St John’s in the driving seat.
What turned out to be the only major of the game opened up a six-point lead for the west Belfast boys and despite the efforts of Slaughtneil, and Conor Doherty in particular, the Oak Leaf side were unable to eat into the lead after the restart.
In a tight first half St John’s just had the edge with Donal Carson putting his side ahead with a brace after Doherty had opened the scoring with a free.
It was a lead St John’s would not lose and three superb long range efforts from midfielder Micheal Dudley helped the Johnnies into a 0-9 to 0-6 advantage with the short whistle approaching.
McCurdy’s goal helped St John’s to a 1-9 to 0-6 lead at half-time, with the free-takers playing a major role in keeping the scoreboard ticking over.
Doherty finished with 0-8, seven from the dead ball, while the impressive Padraig Nugent scored 0-6, four from frees.
Conor Johnston earned the man of the match award although he was hard pushed by team mates Nugent, full back Ryan McNulty and full forward Domhnall Nugent.
Derry champions Glen — conquerors of St John’s in last week’s Ulster Club Football Championship — continued their impressive form by beating Warrenpoint 4-11 to 0-11 in yesterday’s quarter-final at St Paul’s, Belfast.
Enda Gormley’s side led 1-7 to 0-6 at the break with Paul Gunning getting the goal and Stevie O’Hara adding three great points.
Ciaran McFaul bagged a penalty and Danny Tallon also netted.
McFaul added a goal from play to see his side into the semi-final against Ardboe on Boxing Day.