Antrim Football League Division 2
Con Magees 0-11 Tir na nÓg 0-17
By Glenravel PRO Aodh O’Loan
Tir na nÓg sealed promotion to Division 1 of the Antrim Football League when they travelled to Fr Maginn Park, Glenravel on Friday night and came away winners by 0-17 to 0-11 after a confident display.
Leading from the second minute of the game the Randalstown men always held the upper hand, and had they had their shooting boots on in the final quarter then the winning margin would have been much more. The home team’s cause was not helped by having a man sent off after 15 minutes, but to their credit they kept battling against the odds. However the goal they needed to revive their challenge never really looked like coming against a confident Tir na nÓg defence and in the end they did well to keep the margin to just six.
Three minutes into the game Randalstown’s lively Aaron McNeilly opened with a point for the away team. That was followed up with four further points in the next six minutes to sail into a five point lead. Daragh Fagan pointed from a free with other points from play by Niall Cassidy, Kevin Sheehan and Barry McCormick. Tir na nOg would eventually win by a margin of six points so the game from here on was fairly even on the scoreboard. It wasn’t until the eleventh minute that the home team got their first score with a free from Aiden O’Donnell. Callum Higgins followed up with a point within a minute and O’Donnell again from a free two minutes later reduced the gap to two points. Things were begging to look more promising for the home side but the loss of their full forward to a red card a minute later left them with a mountain to climb
After the water break Darren McCormick and Sean Duffin stretched the lead to four points. Aiden O’Donnell cancelled those two scores with a couple of well taken frees but the Whitehill men finished the half stronger with two more points from their midfield pairing Christy Sheehan and Darren McCormick to bring us to the break with Tir na nOg leading on a score line 0-09 to 0-05.
Daragh Fagan stretched the lead from a placed ball on the restart. Rian Lennon pointed from a mark but then again Tir na nOg put over three in as many minutes, Barry McCormick, Kevin and Christy Sheeran the providers. At this stage, Randalstown were leading 0-13 to 0-07 and looking strong. Glenravel introduced Eoin Hynds in the early stages of the second half and he had an immediate effect with a couple of frees with Aaron McNeilly pointing for the visitors. Kevin Sheeran and Aaron McNeilly extended the Tir na nOg lead before Rian Lennon popped one over for the home team. With time nearly up McNeilly put over Randalstown’s final score and Glenravel substitute, Sean McKay got the final score of the game two minutes into added time to leave Tir na nOg winners on a 0-17 to 0-09 score line.
No goals but plenty of skill on display in this Divison 2 game. Eight of Randalstown’s starting fifteen players scored with their half forward line of McNeilly, Duffin and Fagan contributing seven scores between them. This was a solid, clinical display from Tir na nOg who are undefeated with only one game left to play. You wouldn’t bet against them finishing the league with eleven consecutive victories. Congratulations to them being crowned Division 2 champions. Next year they will be a the top table in Antrim Football – good luck to them in that venture.