Posts by thesaffrongael

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

Great Scott leads Ruairis home

Senior Reserve Cup Hurling – Group 1

Cushendall 2-16 Rossa 1-8

Cushendall made it two wins out of two in Group 1 of the Senior Reserve Hurling Cup when they beat Rossa on Monday night at Paric Mhuire. Boosted by a good start he Ruairis were four to the good at the break (1-8 to 1-4) against a Rossa side who were making them work for anything they got. The third quarter was closely contested and the gap was still four at the water-break, but Cushendall finished strongly with a goal and three points to win well in the end.

Cushendall’s Eunanan McAteer makes a great catch as he and Rossa’s Niall Quinn battle for a high ball during Monday evening’s Reserve Cup Hurling round-robin game in Cushendall.

With midfielder Scott Walsh running the show Cushendall hit the first four scores of the game, three from Walsh and one from full-forward Paddy Doherty but once they got going Rossa started to show a bit of belief and a great point from Jim Reynolds settled them down. Corner forward Conan Brown added another and when a long delivery from Dylan Magee ended up in the back of the net the Belfast men were in front. A massive strike from his own 45 metre line by centre-back Oisin McVicker put Rossa two clear in the 23rd minute but the home team finished the half strongly and boosted by a brilliant individual goal by man of the match Scott Walsh they hit back to lead by 1-8 to 1-4 at the interval.

Rossa’s Manus Smith clears the ball from defence during Monday evening’s Reserve Cup Hurling round-robin game in Cushendall.

Conor Carson pointed from a penalty soon after the restart and Scott Walsh added on from a free, but to their credit Rossa battled away and three points from centre forward Matt Devlin and one from Conor O’Neill closed the gap to four again by the half-time water break. As is so often the case this season the water break again proved a momentum changer and when the sides got going again there was only one team in it. Ronan McAteer and Comac McClafferty added point to stretch the led to six, and though Matt Devlin pulled one back for Rossa it was to be his sides last score and three more points, plus a brilliant goal from substitute Ruairi Sharpe, saw his team home with 11 to spare.

REFEREEEEEEEE! Rossa’s Owen May and Cushendall’s Conor Carson tussle for possession during Monday evening’s Reserve Cup Hurling round-robin game in Cushendall.


Eoin Gillan, Stephen Walsh, Terry McAlister, Joe McCurry, Ruairi McCollum, Paddy Sharpe, Ryan Delargy, Scott Walsh, Conor Carson, Eunan McKillop, Paul Monaghan, Ronan McAteer, Paddy Doherty, Conan Brown.

Subs – Cormac McClafferty, Ruairi Sharpe


Donal Armstrong, Eoin May, Gavin Bell, James Quinn, Manus Smith, Oisin McVicker, Niall Devlin, Gavin McGrath, Jim Reynolds, Michael Close, Matt Devlin, Dylan Magee, Conor O’Neill, Conor Rocks, Patrick McGreevey.

Subs – Mickey Kettle, Adam Aicken, Daire Matthews

Cuchullains repel Shamrocks late rally

Senior Reserve Hurling Cup – Group 2

Loughgiel 2-15 Dunloy 1-21

Monday August 3

Brendan McTaggart reports from Fr Healy Park, Loughgiel

With the clock ticking into the last minute of the hour at Fr Healy Park, Dunloy held a six point lead thanks to Chrissy McMahon’s third point of the match.  A scoring burst of five points in four minutes brought the Shamrocks to the brink of salvaging something from this match that didn’t look possible for long periods but the Cuchullains recorded the final two points of the evening from Anton McGrath and Eamon Smyth to take the honours.

Dunloy made a blistering start to the match with five points unanswered in the opening seven minutes.  Anton McGrath tormentor in chief with three of those scores, Chrissy Brogan and McMahon with the other scores.

Loughgiel finally opened their account with the next attack, midfielder Ryan ‘Betty’ McKee with his first of four for the match as the Shamrocks looked to get going.  Dunloy had blitzed them in the opening exchanges and had the home side on the back foot but they looked lethargic in comparison to the Cuchullains. 

The first goal of the evening came in the 14th minute with the Cuchullains holding a four point lead.  Ryan Hill’s speculative effort for a point dropped short but Dunloy ‘keeper Paul Doherty failed to deal with the danger.  Odhran McGrath was on hand to pull first time to the back of the Dunloy net just before the first half water break.

Instead of acting like a catalyst for the Shamrocks however, Dunloy regrouped and dominated after the restart.  Callum Scullion, Miceal Murphy (two), McMahon, McKeague, Smyth (’65) and McGrath all raised white flags with just points from Joey Scullion and Paul Boyle (free) the response from Loughgiel before the half time whistle.

The Cuchullains held a seven point lead at the interval with a score line of 0-14 to 1-7 and while the Shamrocks looked to play with more vigour and intensity after the restart, Dunloy always maintained a gap.  By the water break in the second half, the Cuchullains lead was five points with Ryan McFarlane excelling in midfield.

Dunloy had stretched the lead to six when Kevin McQuillan scored their major in the 51st minute.  Collecting a high ball from Kevin McKeague, the Dunloy full forward closed in on Chris Magill’s goal and finished from an acute angle.

Loughgiel’s response was emphatic.  A gargantuan free from Odhran Laverty was swiftly followed by the Shamrock’s second goal.  Conor Henry’s dropping shot caused mayhem in the Dunloy full back line before Ryan Hill squeezed the sliotar over the line.

Chrissy McMahon recorded his third point of the match with his first free but Loughgiel turned the screw in the closing stages with Ryan McKee and Paul Boyle exceptional.  They turned every ball in that five minute purple patch with Boyle scoring three points, McKee and Hill also raising white flags to leave the minimum between the sides in the third minute of injury time.

Any Cuchullain nerves were eased with the imperious Anton McGrath split the uprights for his fifth of the match and Smyth’s second ’65 ensured Dunloy made it two wins from two.

The Cuchullains travel to the Milltown Row for the next match in the round robin next Monday while the Shamrocks have a week break before welcoming the same opposition to Fr Healy Park.


Loughgiel: Chris Magill; Ciaran McKay, Declan Gillan, Ryan Cassley; Cathal McMullan, Odhran Laverty, Daniel McPeake; Ryan McKee, Paul Boyle; Shaun McFadden, Shane O’Boyle, Nicholas McNaughton; Ryan Hill, Joey Scullion, Odhran McGrath

Scorers: Paul Boyle 0-5 (2f); Ryan Hill 1-2; Ryan McKee 0-4; Odhran Laverty 0-3 (3f); Odhran McGrath 1-00; Joey Scullion 0-1

Dunloy: Paul Doherty; Conor Kinsella, Karl O’Kane, Oran Quinn; Callum Scullion, Eamonn Smyth, Kevin McKeague; Ciaran Elliott, Ryan McFarlane; Chrissy Brogan, Anton McGrath, Gabriel McTaggart; Chrissy McMahon, Kevin McQuillan, Miceal Murphy

Scorers: Anton McGrath 0-5; Kevin McQuillan 1-1; Chrissy McMahon 0-3 (1f); Miceal Murphy 0-3 (2f); Eamon Smyth 0-3 (2 ’65 1f); Ryan McFarlane 0-2; Kevin McKeague 0-1; Chrissy Brogan 0-1; Gabriel McTaggart 0-1; Callum Scullion 0-1

Referee: Paul McSparran (Cushendun)

Aggies record first championship win


Group 1

StAgnes 0-17 Lachra Loch Lae1-8

In near perfect conditions at Pairc Naomh Una the home side started brightly with two fine points from Cormac McBride and Kevin Grieve. .Laochra Loch Lao replied with a long distance point from Sean MacCorraidh.The Aggies we’re stamping their authority on the game at this stage and forged into an 0-8 to 0-4 lead but Laochra got a fortuitous goal when a speculative shot came back if the bar and was finished to the net by Aaron Strain. Declan McLarnon completed a fine penetrating move with a nice point to leave the half time score

StAgnes 0-9 Laochra Loch Lao 1-4.The third quarter started with the Andytown  men rattling of six points to Laochra’s two.The home side ran the bench making five substitutions with both sides scoring 0-2 each in the closing stages.

StAgnes ran out comfortable winners on a final score line of 0-17 to 1-8. The home team know that harder and more challenging tasks lie ahead but good to get the win in this novel championship.

Scorers: C.McBride 0-6 (0-1free) C.Turley 0-3, B.Crossan 0-2, R.Carroll 0-2, K.Grieve 0-1,J .Campbell 0-1, D.McLarnon 0-1, C.Gilligan 0-1 (free)

For Laochra Loch Lao scorers: Aaron Strain 1-3,Sean MacCorraidh 0-2, D.MacPilib 0-2, N.ohAodha 0-1(45)

Favourites Ardoyne remain unbeaten


Group 2

Ciceam Ard Eoin 2-16 Naomh Comhghall 2-5

Ciceam Artd Eoin went into this game as firm favourites to retain their unbeaten run in the GYMCO Junior Football Championship and on this performance remain the team that others will have to beat if they are to take the title.

Naomh comhghall started this match as underdogs and played like it for most of the first half, displaying a lack of belief and inviting the opposition onto them. It started well enough for the Antrim men with Miles Devine converting a third minute free minutes but that was as good as it got. Ardoyne, with Aidan McNeill prominent took control and the scores came thick and fast.

By half time they had matters more or less sorted as they struck some excellent points from play and from the placed ball and a somewhat fortune goal saw them lead by 1-10 to 0-1 at the short whistle.

Ardoyne got the first score of the second half and this seemed to finally waken Naomh Comhghall from their slumber and for the next 20 minutes it was the Antrim side who dominated with Miles Devine adding to their solitary first half point with two well taken goals. Joe Webb 0-2, Tom Patchett, C McCabe K Walker and C Griffen all got their name on the scoresheet for the Antrim town side as they outscored their hosts scoring 2.07 to 1.03 in the second half

The damage had all been done however in the opening half and while Ardoyne were good value for the win Naomh Comhghall will be thinking what it would have been like if they had played the opening 40 minutes like they did the last 20.

Kicking 14 wides in a match won’t win them games.but hopefully Naomh Comhghall will have learned a lot from this game and will still be hoping to qualify in second place in their group.

Scorers M.Devine 2.02 Joe Webb 0.02 Tom Patchett 0.01, C.McCabe 0.01, K.Walker 0.01, C.Griffen 0.01

GYMCO JFC Round-up

Following their win over Naomh Comghall, Ardoyne are top of Group 2 on 6 points with O’Donnell’s, Eire Og and Naomh Comghall sitting behind them on two points each from two games and all three will be hoping to gain second spot in the group. The meeting of Naomh Comhgall and Eire Og at Dunsilly on Wednesday the 12th August could decide second place with O’Donnell’s facing Ardoyne on the same night. Eire Og certainly improved their score difference yesterday with 7-27 to 0-1 win over Mitchell’s

Results Group 2

Ardoyne 2-16 Naomh Comghall 2-5

Eire Og 7-27 Mitchell’s 0-1.

St. Agnes got their first win in Group one when the defeated Laochra Loch Lao while Pearses had a good win over St. Malachy’s and top the group with 4 points from 2 starts. Naomh Una, St. Malachy’s, Ballycastle and Laochra Loch Lao have 2 points each from two start so its all to play for yet in this group

Group 1 Results

Naomh Una 0-16 Laochra Loch Lao 1-6

St. Malachy’s 3-6 Pearses 0-21

Na Piarsaigh make their point

GYMCO JFC – Group 1

St. Malachy’s 3-6 Na Piarsaigh 0-21

A fine exhibition of point taking saw Na Piarsaigh outscore St. Malachy’s to go top of the GYMCO Group 1 yesterday and on this form they look likely to qualify for the play-offs.

The North Belfast men made the short trip across the city today for a Belfast derby against St Malachys at Cherryvale. Coach Conor Henry made 2 changes to his starting line up from last week with Stephen Fitzsimons and Luca Gianetto both doing enough when they came on against Ballycastle to earn a starting place this week.

Pearses started quickly running at speed at the Malachy’s defence which gave them no option but to foul leading to Liam Deegan raising the first white flag of the day with a great strike from the floor. The open start presented St Malachy’s with opportunities and they pointed a good long range score soon after to level up. Pearses kept their composure though and continued to work the ball through the hands to find openings with full forward Daniel Magee putting them back in front. Penalty hero from last time Fionn Grew was having a lot of joy in the top left corner and soon looked like he was certain to score a goal after great work from Dan Magee but instead of punching into an empty net he tried to meet it with and acrobatic volley that looked better than the result with the keeper making an easy save. Two minutes later he looked certain to make amends as he bore down on goal only to be crowded out by the keeper and 2 defenders. This was to be his last involvement as a late challenge from one of the defenders left a lasting mark that led to him being substituted for his older brother Oisín.

This led to Pearses taking their eye of the ball for a moment and a long hopeful ball into the box by St Malachy’s led to confusion between Eamon McKenna & James Smith and Malachy’s were able to tap into an open net. Pearses struck back with another Deegan free and 2 points from Oisín Grew putting them back in front before lightning struck for a second time with another hopeful ball into the square causing panic again and another poor goal given away. Both teams struck 2 more points before the break with Deegan scoring 1 free and 1 from play for Pearses. The away side had been the better side in the first half but despite scoring 7 times they had kicked 6 wides and were 2 behind.

HT St Malachy’s 2-03 Na Piarsaigh 0-07

Henry made one change at half time bringing on Frankie Davison for his first game of the season trying to bring a more calming influence to his defence.

The second half started well for the North Belfast men with Dan Magee and Sean Moreland scoring quick points to level the game up. Momentum was in their favour but this quickly disappeared when a penalty was conceded and converted giving St Malachy’s a 3pt lead.

Pearses captain Piaras Donaghy started to exert more influence in the middle of the park as he started to run the hand passing game as Pearses tried to keep possession and work their openings Deegan scored another from play and a free to cut the deficit to 1 before Malachy’s raised 2,white flags themselves. Pearses did not panic though and stuck to their game. Oisín Grew and Sean Morland scored great points before Luca Gianetto finished a great team play with the corner back scoring a fine point from 40 yards for the score of the day to level the game again.

With 15 minutes left Pearses stuck to their guns and moved the b all around with St Malachy’s chasing shadows at times. Oisín Grew pointed again to give Pearses the lead before Phil Davison was brought on for Stephen Fitzsimons. Davison nearly scored with his first touch kicking narrowly wide but made up for it straight away to give his side the lead. This was a lead Pearses were not again to lose as they scored 9 of the last 10 points with the last 6 points coming 3 a piece from Deegan and Davison.

This was an excellent win for the North Belfast men and at half way in the group stage puts them 2 points clear at the top. The coaching team will be pleased to see only 1 wide kicked in the 2nd half but the soft goals will have to be stopped if they are to contend at the business end of the season. Next up is the visit of St Agnes to the Cricky on the 12th August

1) E McKenna 2) L Gianetto (0-01) 3) J Smyth 4) A McCavana 5) D O’Neill 6) A Bannon 7) P Nolan 8) C O’Neill 9) T McFarlane 10) S Moreland (0-02) 11) P Donaghy 12) L Deegan (0-09 7f) 13) F Grew 14) D Magee (0-02) 15) S Fitzsimons

Subs O Grew (0-04) for F Grew. F Davison for J Smith. P Davison (0-03) for S Fitzsimons