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Gaffney ensures hibs start on right note

Hibernians.......................... 2


Hibs, who enjoyed a good league campaign last season got off to an excellent start by defeating Johnville in Michell Kennedy Park in what was overall a very poor game.

The two Hibs goals came from set pieces, but nevertheless they fully deserved their victory against a Johnville team who tried hard but never really looked like getting anything from the game.

Lee Douglas the Hibs manager has plenty of talent to work with, but his opposite number Mark Brown will have to get back to the drawing board with his team.

There was little in terms of goalscoring opportunities during the opening quarter as both sides tried to find their feet with a teasing Joey Phelan cross on 18 minutes that was cut out by Johnville defender John Kennedy the closest that either side came to finding the breakthrough.

It was a needless challenge from Johnville central defender Paul Cleary on Hibernians' David O'Mahoney less than five minutes later that helped yield the first goal as Dayne Ormonde played the perfect ball to the near post and David McGrath fired past keeper Tomas Wall from close range.

Johnville should have levelled the contest on 28 minutes when Kevin Barry slipped the ball through for Pat Browne, however he was denied by a brilliant save from Hibernians netminder Darragh Power before Gavin McLawrence somehow blazed the rebound over the bar when it looked easier to score.

Ian Ryan, who replaced the injured Johnville defender Cleary, went close to an equaliser on 34 minutes but his angled effort flashed over the bar before the post came to the rescue of the home side less than two minutes later when Kevin Barry cracked an effort off the post, while Browne couldn't direct his rebound header on target.

The home side doubled their advantage five minutes before the half time break thanks to some kamikaze defending from Johnville as Tadhg Kirby whipped in a left-wing free kick after a foul on Joey Phelan and when the ball fell at the feet of Michael Gaffney, he had all the time in the world to fire home from six yards.

It was a terrible goal for the St Martin's Park outfit to concede and this left them with a proverbial mountain to climb in the second period and although they kept fighting in the second period, they never looked like finding a way past a resolute Hibernians defence.

Chances were limited in a sun drenched second period with Johnville netminder Tomas Wall producing a top class save on 57 minutes when he palmed a long range left-footed Dayne Ormonde free kick around the posts, while shortly afterwards, Joey Phelan flashed a free header over the bar following a Thomas Moore delivery.

It was Johnville that had the final chance on 71 minutes when Ian Gosling swung in a right-wing cross that found the head of the unchallenged Gavin McLawrence, however he couldn't direct his header on target as the ball sailed over the crossbar.

Hibernians: Darragh Power, David O'Mahony, Thomas Moore (David Murphy `63), Brian O'Connell, Michael Dunne, Michael Gaffney, Dayne Ormonde, David Baxter, Tadhg Kirby, David McGrath, Joey Phelan

Johnville: Tomas Wall, John O'Leary, James Casey, John Kennedy, Paul Cleary (Ian Ryan `25), Kevin Barry (Valdo Bulvais `63), Ian Gosling, Gary Kelly, Pat Brown (Jamie Flynn `63), Gavin McLawrence, James Fatomoso

Referee: Anthony Walsh

Kamikaze defending gives Johnville boss Mark Brown plenty to ponder on as his troops fail 'set-piece' exams