RGU Win Opening League Game Against St John’s

RGU win opening points in first league match of season

Down GAA ACFL Division 2,

Venue: St John’s, Drumnaquoile: Wednesday 3rd April 2024,

Final Score: St John’s 0-4 0-10 RGU Downpatrick.

Spectators gathered to see their teams battle it out on their first Division 2 league match of the year and it was the RGU that came away with the points.

Early pressure from the whistle saw the RGU move strongly into the St John’s half for a solid spell and before long Con Rafferty opened the scoring from a point in play.

Jarleth Branagan was fired up as usual and is by and large a good spot kicker but he went wide on his first crack at the St John’s posts from a free.

But after Rafferty took another point from a 45, Branagan on 9 minutes scored his first point of the season to give the RGU a comfortable cushion of an early 3 points.

Ryan Morgan in action for St John’s Drumnaquoile.
(Photos: Jim Masson / Down News ©).

Eventually St John’s found space to break and won a kick on the 45 line but Andrew Gilmore hit it wide. But just then after another free as St John’s stepped up their game, Ryan Morgan scored their first point of the season.

But the RGU responded by breaking up the pitch and Gerry Collins kicked wide. Then on a quick run Andrew Gilmore was almost through for a kick for a goal but the RGU defenders had other ideas and he was floored.

St John’s then made a quick break again. They pushed the ball across the pitch and eventually Gilmore nailed it over the RGU crossbar for a welcome point.


But minutes later Branagan had undone the work that St John’s had made in trying to recover when he kicked over another point from 40 yards.

The RGU seemed strongly motivated and Dan McKay made a good run up the right with the ball and was fouled. The resulting free by Con Rafferty went flying over the St John’s posts to stabise their 3 goal lead.

Overall, the RGU showed better use of the pitch and were passing more freely, making life difficult for the home side.

The RGU’s Tom Smyth makes a charge through the St John’s defence supported by Gerry Collins.

Then just before the whistle Ryan Morgan won a mark for St John’s and chose to kick it. Ruairi McMullan took the shot within kicking distance of the RGU goal but was wide.

As the second half unfolded, Branagan kicked an early point then Caolan Burns crashed his way through the defence and was withing a goal scoring opportunity but took his point safely.

St John’s took a deep breath and steadied themselves and then managed to build an attack and Ruairi McMullan passed to Conor Flanaghan whose kick was well blocked.

Branagan was again up front and kicking for a point but went wide.

St John’s gathered up momentum and battled forward and secured a valuable point.

Then in an attack, Tiernan McCullough hit wide, and this was followed by a long pass through to Branagan running into the St John’s goal-mouth but the ball was a fraction to far for him to reach it and score a goal but the idea was spot on.


St John’s stepped up again and won a free and a Morgan kick saw them pull back a point. But before long the RGU were pressing again relentlessly and Branagan took a kick from the left but it went wide.

St John’s gave a free away close to the their goal and Rafferty sent it over the St John’s sticks to put the RGU in a superior position.

Rafferty again took a free and it went wide, but the RGU had dome enough to secure their first scalp of the season.

A high tackle on St John’s defender Anthony McMullan led to a conflagration in the closing minutes, but the RGU were the worthy winners.

Both teams showed there were cobwebs there to dust down to improve their performances as the league unfolds. Both teams had scoring opportunities and as fitness and skill levels improve, both sides will sharpen up their games into the warmer months and enjoy the season ahead.

St John’s GAC: 1 Sean Walsh (GK) 2 Ryan Flanaghan 3 Anthony McMullan 4 Adrian Morgan 5 Joe Savage 6 Dan McKay 7 Ruairi McMullan 8 Oisin Hastings 9 Conor Flanaghan 10 Ryan Gibney 11 Conor Brannif 12 Tiernan McCullough 13 Caolan Burns 14 Ryan Morgan 15 Andrew Gilmore.

RGU Downpatrick: 1 James Deeny 2 Ronan Murphy 3 Andrew Doherty 4 Colin Farrell 5 Gerry Collins 6 Damien Turley 7 Morgan Fitzpatick 8 Matthew Hardy 9 John Bell 10 Con Rafferty 11 Tom Smyth 12 Sean Bell 13 Tom McNeill 14 Jarleth Branagan 15 John Shields.