Posts by thesaffrongael

Photographer and GAA writer who has been covering hurling, football and camogie for almost forty years

Dunloy progress to minor hurling final

Under 17A Hurling Championship semi-final

Dunloy 1-15 Glenariffe-Glenravel 0-12

Dunloy Cuchullians advanced to the final of the minor hurling championship for the first time since 2018 with a six point victory over a strong Glenariffe/Glenravel amalgamation. 

Played out in beautiful autumnal sunshine at Pearse Park Dunloy the large crowd in attendance treated to an exciting and close fought game.  The opening quarter was keenly contested, Dunloy opened the scoring with their first attack as Oisin McCallin fired over a point.  McCallin would go on to be a constant threat to the Glensmen throughout the hour.

Glenariffe/Glenravel started with their chief dangermen Orin O’Connor and Peader McDonnell in the full forward line and during the early exchanges this was certainly causing concern for Dunloy with O’Connor landing a monster score from the sideline and 2 further frees to race into a 0-3 to 0-1 lead.

Dunloy then struck for the only goal of the game as Oisin McCamphill found the Glenariffe/Glenravel net after a fantastic team move.  The impressive Ben O’Kane started the move, winning the ball in defence and clearing his lines under considerable pressure.  Paudie Martin picked up the possession and had the vision and accuracy to find Oisin McCallin in space, isolated one on one he turned his man and unselfishly offloaded to the other Oisin to clinically dispatch to the net.

O’Connor was looking lively and forced a smart save from Caolan McFerran in the Dunloy goals, the same player then traded frees with Dunloys Paudie Martin as the pendulum swung from side to side in a frantic opening half.  A sharp Phelim Ward point nudged the Ossians/Con Magees into a lead but Dunloy ensured they would hold the initiative at the short whistle as points from Oisin McCallin and two incredible efforts from midfielder Jack Martin left the half time score Dunloy 1-6 Glenarrife/Glenravel 0:8

The third quarter saw no let up in the pace of the game as both teams defied the heavy underfoot conditions to play some high quality hurling. It was the home side that was threatening to score goals with a combination of resolute defending and some outstanding saves denying Dunloy the major they craved.  Paudie Martin continued to be assassin like from frees with Orin O’Connor equally unerring. 

Defences began to dominate with Callum McIlwaine dropping back to good effect for Glenarrife/Glenravel and the Dunloy centre forward Luke McFerran popping up everywhere to aid the Cuchullains cause.  During this third period both teams found scores hard to come by only for the elusive Jack Martin to pop up with a further 2 points as Dunloy moved into a 4 point lead.  However the boys from the Glens did not throw in the towel and the powerful Niall Hynes roared into the game scoring a great point after a driving run. 

The pacy Peadar McDonnell and Orin O’Connor came further out the field in search of possession and the message seemed to be to run at the Dunloy defence but on each occasion they were met with a Green & Gold wall as Ben O’Kane, Ryan McClements and Charlie Cunning in particular excelled in their defensive responsibilities

Another O’Connor free did close the gap to just that solitary goal with 10 minutes of the game to go, however this was as good as it got for them as Dunloy scored 4 unanswered points.  Paudie Martin would finish the game with 8 points to his credit and McCallin added to his 2 first half points.  While Glenarrife/Glenravel would not score in this period they did throw the kitchen sink at Dunloy to find a stubborn defence led by Sean Og Blaney unwilling to yield.  Dunloy now progress to the County final on the weekend of 14/15 October where they will face Loughgiel

Creggan Kickhams lift Junior B title in thrilling local derby win over Tír na nOg

Antrim LGFA Junior B Final

Creggan Kickhams 3-11 Tir na nÓg 3-5

Report & Pics by Brian McKee

The Ladies Junior B Final had all the ingredients needed for a close encounter at Dunsilly. A local derby between Tír na nOg, a club only 4 years growing and entering their first final, and Creggan Kickhams, a team with a longer history but in the stages of redevelopment. Previous to this final encounter this season had already seen a win for each team in the league.

It was no surprise then to witness a large crowd gather for the showdown, and they were not to be disappointed.

The first half saw these close neighbours engage in end to end football. The opening goal of the contest came for Creggan, following a precision pass from Clodagh Maguire racing in from midfield to Ella McAteer in the full forward line who fired into the Tir na nOg net. As the first half unfolded the pattern of the game was being established as Creggan were exerting most of the pressure with Tir na nOg being most effective in the counter attack.

Ella McAteer was the main danger for the Creggan ladies and she finished the first half with two goals and two points against her name with Caoimhe Hempsey backing her up with a third goal.

Katy Bonnes and Níamh McKinley were the main threats for Randalstown and kept the Creggan ladies well in touch as the first half came to an end.

Half-Time: Creggan Kickhams 3-4 Tír na nOg Randalstown 1-4

The second half saw Tír na nOg first out of the blocks with a goal from Ellen Magee who followed through on a great save from McEldowney in the Creggan nets. Creggan though were determined to keep their grip on this game and responded immediately with a point from Córa Duffin.

Shannon McNeeley was in perpetual motion for the Randalstown ladies but they were unable to capitalise upon her runs and were finding it difficult to reel in the Creggan ladies who had their bit between their teeth in the second half. As the half progressed it was clear that Randalstown would have to find something very special to stop Creggan.

Although Creggan were pushing ahead on the scoreboard, Niamh McKinley stepped up to the plate and produced a wonderful point from distance to keep Randalstown in contention.

Caoimhe Dempsey though was now testing the Randalstown defence on an increasing basis with her incisive runs.

As the game moved into the final quarter it was clear that Creggan had one hand firmly on the cup. They kept their foot on the pedal until the end and it was this determination that saw the green and yellow faces and flags rush on the pitch at the end to celebrate a great victory for the Creggan ladies.

Despite the heartbreak at the end of this thrilling match, the ladies from Tir na nOg will take a lot of encouragement from this display and the fact that they matched the Creggan ladies in the second half augurs well for future encounters between these two close neighbours and rivals.  

Full-Time: Creggan 3-11 Tír na nOg Randalstown 3-5

Kickhams: Aoibh McEldowney, Cara Bradley, Hannah Gately, Bríd Magee, Cara McCann, Caoimhe Hempsey (1-2), Megan Darragh, Alannah Hempsey, Letitia Quinn, Cora Duffin (0-1), Clodagh Maguire (0-5), Tara Hamill, Trea Donnelly, Ella McAteer (2-3), Cerys O’Neill, Maria Gately, Aoibheann O’Connell, Aivenn Woulahan, Aishleigh Larkin, Caitlin Rose Hawthorne

Tír na nOg: Caitriona McCana, Mollie MacAdhaimh, Emma None, Ciara McParland, Aoife McCana, Shauna Robinson, Michaela Fagan, Jessica Simpson, Susan OSeanaín (0-1), Shannon Mac an Fhilidh, Cliodhan Maire McStravick, Ellen Magee (1-0), Katy Bonnes (1-1), Niamh McKinely (1-3), Niamh Burbridge, Ciara McCann, Aimee Gartside, Sorcha OMáirtín, Laura McKillen, Aoife McCloskey, Uisneach McCann.

Rossa host Nipper Quinn finals on Sunday afternoon

By Kevin Herron

Rossa Pairc played host to the South Antrim U-13 Nipper Quinn hurling finals on Sunday afternoon. 

The Plate, Shield and Cup finals were ran off on a fine day weather wise, with a healthy crowed in attendance to cheer on the six competitors in their respective show piece deciders. 

Nipper Quinn Plate Final: 

Two late goals from Michael Campbell held off a Lámh Dhearg fightback as Gort na Mona claimed the Nipper Quinn Plate with a 4-06-1-07 win over the Hannahstown side. 

Playing with the first half breeze, Gort forged ahead through an early Conall Fegan point, but fell behind for the only time after eight minutes when Eoghan Herron dropped his 45’ metre free into the net. 

Gort hit back immediately with Oisin Rea firing low to the net after Lámhs keeper Oliver Kelly had done well to repel the initial effort. 

Michael Campbell opened his afternoon account from a converted free and it was the first of five unanswered scores for his side. 

Campbell claimed all of them, landing four placed balls in and in-between he burst forward and fired low to the net to move Gort na Mona 2-05-1-00 ahead. 

A Ronan Downey point before the break narrowed the deficit slightly for Lámh Dhearg, but the Hannahstown outfit were up against it at the break. 

The Lámhs began the second period on the front foot with Dylan Quinn opening their account from a free. 

Quinn dropped over another two placed balls and a further effort from Odhran Agnew had a goal separating the sides (2-05-1-05). 

Momentum was very much with the red hands and a Quinn point from play had the margin at two with less than ten to play. 

Kalen Irvine and Dylan Quinn (free) traded scores to ensure that a grandstand finish was on the cards. 

Gort na Mona would seal the deal in the dying embers as Michael Campbell added to his first half strike with two goals late on to ensure that Gort would run out 4-06-1-07 winners at the end of a fascinating Nipper Quinn Plate Final. 

Nipper Quinn Shield Final: 

Braces from Anthony McCann and Caolan Cosgrove helped Davitt’s clinch the Nipper Quinn Shield after a 4-03-2-05 win over St Johns in Sundays decider.

McCann rifled into the top corner to give his side a dream start, but Dylan Hand converted a free to get the Johnnies up and running and the Corrigan outfit kicked on in the minutes that followed. 

St Johns nudged ahead when Jack Monaghan’s free squirmed to the net. Oran McCann dropped over a point from play and a second free from Hand was followed by a goal that gave his side a 2-03-1-00 advantage midway through the half. 

Caolan Cosgrove and Hand traded scores from the placed ball and Cosgrove would have the final say of the half- firing low to the net to ensure his side trailed three at the interval (2-04-2-01). 

Davitt’s restored parity within a minute of the restart and the half began at the previous one ended with Caolan Cosgrove finding the net, this time from a 45’ that dropped from the sky and over the St Johns keeper to make it 3-01-2-04. 

Cosgrove added to his tally with a second converted free and their lead was doubled when Anthony Corr slipped the ball through to Odhran McGrattan for a super point. 

The Beechmount outfit strengthened their grip on proceedings when Anthony Corr’s low shot was briefly repelled with Anthony McCann on hand to fire the rebound home and give his side a 4-03-2-04 lead. 

Try as they might, St Johns were unable to breach a solid Davitt’s back line in the closing stages and Harry Connolly’s point was mere consolation with the final puck as Davitt’s lifted the Nipper Quinn Shield at the game’s conclusion. 

Nipper Quinn Cup Final: 

St Pauls sealed a league and championship double, defeating their nearest league challengers Rossa 3-12-0-11 in the final of the Nipper Quinn Cup on Sunday afternoon. 

The visitors started brightly with points from Jude Burns and Tomas McCaughey in the early stages, though Cillian Carabine converted a free in response. 

Aidan Johnston converted back-to-back frees for St Pauls, with Gerard Delaney landing a splendid point between times and subsequent Codhran O’Rourke free ensured that just a point separated the sides with almost ten minutes gone. 

The opening goal arrived on the 10th minute Aidan Holbrook did well to deny Tomas McCaughey in the first instance before Jude Burns applied the finish from the rebound to give St Pauls a 1-04-0-03 lead. 

O’Roukre replied with a point from play for Rossa, but St Pauls sent over three unanswered points before the interval. 

Jude Gamble swung over successive points with free-taker Johnston adding another to his personal tally to give their side a 1-07-0-04 lead at the break. 

An early Jude Gamble goal within 60-seconds of the restart gave his side some breathing space. 

Free-takers O’Rourke and Johnston traded placed balls in the aftermath and despite Gabriel Stitt narrowing the margins ever so slightly, a converted Matthew O’Neill point was then followed by a point from play as St Pauls were 2-11-0-06 to the good. 

Rossa rallied briefly and hit three unanswered points, all of which came of Cillan Carabine. The midfielder dropped over two placed ball and pointed from play in between times. 

Talisman Aidan Johnston completed his afternoon’s exploits with a further two frees bringing his personal tally to 0-06. 

St Paul’s made things safe with a third goal five minutes from time, Daire Gault finding time and space to shoot low to the net and make it 3-12-0-09. 

Jacob Bell and Gerard Delaney were only able to steer over late points in response as St Pauls ran out winners of the Nipper Quinn Cup and in the process completed a league and championship double. 

St Pat’s Maghera and Loreto Coleraine take the Colleges Camogie Sevens titles

On Monday the FMC Appliances Ulster Sevens took place in Geraldine’s Camogie Club, Portglenone with St Patrick’s Maghera continuing their dominance of schools’ camogie by retaining the Cup.

Maghera topped the group after the round-robin group stages that included the three north Antrim schools, St Louis Ballymena, St Killian’s Garron Tower and Cross and Passion Ballycastle.

St Killian’s had lost the group game to Maghera 1-2 to 1-0 and victory in their final match over St Louis saw them take on the holders in the decider.

Brendan Cochrane from event sponsors FMC Appliances presents the Ulster Schools Camogie Sevens Cup to Orlaith Johnston from Cargin, captain of St Pat’s Maghera after their win over St Killian’s College Garron Tower in Monday tournament in Portglenone.

It was a game that ebbed and flowed with a first half goal from Emma Quinn the difference at the break.

St Killian’s had chances of scores during the second half, but only Eva McNeill could take a goal from one that came her way while at the other end a goal from Aoife McWilliams kept Maghera at a safe distance.

At the same venue, four more schools took part in the PMC Appliances Shield competition. Although there was little between any of the schools through the group stages, single points wins for Our Lady & St Patrick’s Knock over Loreto Coleraine and St Mary’s Magherafelt left them needing just a draw against St Conor’s to make the decider.

They managed to get a 2-4 to 1-1 victory and that meant that the winner from St Mary’s v Loreto would provide the second finalists.

Brendan Cochrane of event sponsors FMC Appliances Dunloy with Loreto College Coleraine who were winners of Monday’s Ulster Schools Camogie Sevens Shield competition in Portglenone. Included is team Coach Aileen McManus.

That game was very cagey with a goal from Dunloy’s Kerrie-Rose Draine putting Loreto ahead. St Mary’s hit back with a point from a free but could not add to it and the Coleraine side went through to meet Knock.

The final also proved very cagey with Knock ahead by 0-2 to 0-1 at the break with scores from Caoimhe Dorrian and Sarah Monan. Loreto hit two quick points from Kerrie-Rose Draineand Tess Mullan on the re-start. However Knock came back with a late point from captain Katie Quinn to force extra time.

Cara Mooney grabbed the game by the scruff of the neck in extra time with two quick goals and followed those up with a point on the break near the end to take Loreto one better than 12 months ago when they lost the decider narrowly to St Killian’s Garron Tower.

At the close Brendan Cochrane, representing sponsors FMC Appliances Dunloy presented the Cup to Maghera captain Orla Johnstone and the Shield to Loreto captain Isabella O’Kane.

Both schools now go through to represent Ulster in the All-Ireland series in Dunganey, Co Meath on Wednesday 18th October.

Beaten A finalists St Killian’s

FMC Appliances Cup final teams:

St Patrick’s: Orlaith Johnston capt., Ellie Griffin, Brannagh Brolly,Lucy McKaigue, Mary Therese McCullagh (0-1), Aoife McWilliams (1-0), Emma Quinn (1-1), Aoibh Mulholland, Orla McCartney, Eimhear Conway, Anna McFaul, Catherine McKenna 

St Killian’s: Amy McAlister, Maeve McAlister, Emer McCann, Leona Gillan, Rhianna McAuley, Anna O’Kane, Eva McNeill (1-1), Eimear Ward, Kiera McLaughlin, Sorcha Carey, Laoise McCollum, Erin McNaughton 

FMC Appliances Shield final teams:

Loreto: Kerrie-Rose Draine 0-1, Briana Ferguson, Kyra Stockman, Jenny McNeill, Tess Mullan 0-1, Treasa Passmore, Cliodhna Boylan, Emer Munro, Isabella O’Kane, Dubhla Mullan, Molly Mullan, Cara Mooney 2-2

OL&SP Knock: Aodhain Birt, Eabha Marie Watson, Lily Collins, Meghan McDermott, Mollie Lennon, Sarah Monan 0-1, Katie Quinn capt 0-1, Eabha Murray, Eimear Kelly, Caoimhe Dorrian 0-1, Caitlin Fay, Olivia Bell

Loughgiel’s drive for five still on course as they beat the ‘Dall in a classic semi-final

Minor Hurling Championship semi-final

Loughgiel 4-23 Cushendall 3-23 AET

Loughgiel’s drive for five continues in the Minor Hurling Championship after an extra time win over Cushendall in Sunday’s semi-final at Fr Healy Park. In an incredible game of hurling Loughgiel’s bid for their fifth title in succession appeared to be coming to an end when they trailed by four points (3-17 to 2-16) with just minutes to play at the end of normal time. However Roan McGarry sent over a point from a free to leave just a goal between them before Ronan Fitzgerald brought the game to extra time with a late goal.

An early point from and a goal from Oran McCambridge gave Cushendall an early lead in the first half, and when McCambridge got his second goal the Ruairis were well on top, but goals from Logan McConville and Danny O’Mullan brought the Shamrocks back into the game, and they finished the half strongly with two points apiece from Liam Glackin and Ronan Fitzgerald to lead by 2-8 to 2-6 at half time.

Early points in the second half from Dillon McNaughton and Thomas McLaughlin brought Cushendall level and for a good part of the second half it was score for score. With the sides level on 2-14 apiece Loughgiel appeared to making a break when points from Liam Glackin and Roan McGarry put them two clear, but Cushendall hit back with three points in a row, two from Oran McCambridge and one from Thomas McLaughlin to edge a point in front. When McCambridge struck for his third goal of the game to put his team four clear, it looked like they had secured a place in the final, but Roan McGarry cut it back to a goal with a pointed free before ‘Rosie’ Fitzgerald fired home the goal that brought the game to extra time.

Loughgiel got the first two points in extra time through Danny O’Mullan and Roan McGarry, but Cushendall levelled matters up once again as Cahir and Oran McCambridge hit back with points apiece. Loughgiel were a point clear at half time in extra time and when Roan McGarry grabbed a goal and a point after the change of ends the Shamrocks were in control. Cushendall never gave up the fight and two more pointed frees from Thomas McLaughlin kept their hopes alive. When Ronan Fitzgerald stretched the home team’s lead to four again they looked secure, and so it proved. Cushendall’s Callagh Mooney brought his team back to within a goal, but that was as close as they would get and the Shamrocks held on to secure a final meeting with Dunloy in two weeks’ time, their ‘drive for five’ dreams still very much alive.

Overall this was a tremendous contest and for these young teams to put up a score of 7 goals and 46 points in such underfoot condition, is a testament to the skill levels on both sides.