Roger Casement’s GAC 0-12 Naomh Eoin 1-09
Portglenone and St John's will have to do it all again after a 67th minute Conall Delargy point rescued a draw for the South West side in this Northern Switchgear Antrim SFC Quarter-Final.
In truth, this will feel like a defeat for Casement's, who found themselves in a comfortable 0-10 to 0-05 lead with just twenty minutes left, but a dogged 13-man Naomh Eoin held in there before taking the lead with a Brian Neeson goal in the 6th of 8 added on minutes.
Goalkeeper Ryan O'Neill spilled a high ball in from Matt Fitzpatrick and Neeson capitalised to send the Johnnies into the lead, but Delargy's late intervention spared O'Neill's blushes.
The game was tempestuous from the off with the history between both sides threatening to boil over and the early scoring followed suit, the teams level at 0-03 apiece after 18 minutes.
Ronan Kelly's 21st minute point sparked a six-minute surge as Casement added minors from Kelly once again and the rampaging Conall Delargy's right boot.
Paddy McBride's free-taking saw Naomh Eoin hit back but a late score from centre-back Dermot McAleese ensured they took a four-point lead into the break.
Brian Neeson's early free got the Whiterock men off to a good start in the second period and the Johnnies looked more composed, Portglenone keeper Ryan O'Neill having to be at his best to deny Conor Johnston a goal in the 36th minute.
Casement's responded with a brace of points from the lively Ronan Kelly and Paddy McBride hit back with a free for Naomh Eoin before his side found themselves reduced to 14 men, Paul McGribbin receiving a straight red for an off-the-ball incident.
Off-the-ball incidents threatened to de-rail the flow of the game, with referee Brendan Toland handing out fourteen yellow cards and two red over the course of the game, but when the dust settled Paddy McBride made it a three-point game with yet another free.
Conall Delargy hit the third of his 0-04 tally to open the gap once again but a further McBride free and Ronan McCafferty finish left just two points between the sides as the board went up to announce eight minutes of stoppage time.
St John's then looked to have won the game as Fitzpatrick's high ball was spilled by Ryan O'Neill to Brian Neeson, who finished to the net to apparently seal an unlikely Johnnies victory.
The last word however went to Conall Delargy, who surged through the massed ranks of blue and white to level the tie in the 68th minute.
Even in the 69th minute there was full-blown action, as St John's Conor McEvoy saw red for a kick on the far sideline.
The two will go at it again on Wednesday 11th September back in Ahoghill at 8pm for the replay.
Roger Casement’s GAC Portglenone: Ryan O’Neill, Johnny Convery, Shane Delargy, Ryan Convery, Ronan Delargy, Dermot McAleese (0-01), Caolan Tierney (0-01), Niall McKeever, Fergal O’Kane, Conall Delargy (0-04), Niall Delargy, Kieron McKenna, Ronan Kelly (0-03, 0-02f), Michael Donnelly, Paddy Kelly (0-01).
Subs: Ryan McGuigan for Johnny Convery 54’, Michael Kelly for Paddy Kelly 56’.
Naomh Eoin: Pádraig Nugent, Micheál Dudley, Ryan McNulty, Jack Bohill, Ciaran Garland, Sean Wilson, Ronan McCafferty (0-01), Simon McDonagh (0-01), Patrick McBride (0-01, 0-05f), Conal Kelly, Peter McCallin, Conor McEvoy, Matthew Fitzpatrick, Conor Johnston.
Subs: Paul McGribbin for Jack Bohill 8’, Pearse Donnelly for Ryan McNulty – BC 21’, Adrian Oliver for Ciaran Garland 24’, Brian Neeson for Conal Bohill 30’, Domhnall Nugent for Simon McDonagh 40’.
Referee: Brendan Toland (Lámh Dhearg)
Man of the Match: Conall Delargy (Casement’s Portglenone)