Posts by thesaffrongael

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

Travel Ireland Coaches sponsor Saffron Gael

We are delighted to announce that Travel Ireland Coaches have agreed to sponsor the Saffron Gael. The Belfast based company have strong GAA connection and are also sponsors of Davitt’s GAC




The Travel Ireland management team of L-R, Paul Cunningham (Managing Director), Mark McGeehan (Commercial Sales Manager),
Jim Maguire  (Business Development Manager) and Gerard Slane  (Transport Manager) present a cheque for £500 to the Saffron Gael

Travel Ireland Managing Director Paul Cunningham

Travel Ireland Coaches has fast become Northern Irelands most recognisable brand in passenger transport and works with some of the largest UK and Ireland tour wholesalers transporting thousands of tourists from a range of nationalities around Ireland, UK and Europe.  We boast an impressive client list which includes Schools, Universities, Professional sports teams and many corporate giants within Ireland.  We have put together the best fleet in Northern Ireland and have recently continued our rapid expansion with the launch of our Travel Ireland Golf brand. 

We are huge supporters of grass roots development in the GAA and we are proud to provide financial support as often as we can and are happy to be official sponsor of Davitts Club, in Belfast.  The business has some very strong links within the GAA across Antrim, Ulster and Ireland.

Within our staff we have some very active members of the association, including:

Gerard Slane

Gerard Slane, our transport manager is a playing member of Lamh Dhearg GAA in County Antrim and was a member of their senior championship winning team in 2017 as well as a member of their successful minor team in 2010 who completed the Antrim and Ulster Double.

Paul Baker, a member of management within the Belfast city sightseeing division of our business Was a member of the fantastic St Endas GAA club in Belfast that won the 2018 Antrim and Ulster Intermediate club championships, loosing out in the final to Kerry team Kilcummin.

Mark MacGeehan

Mark McGeehan, our Commercial Manager hails from the proud Ballinderry Shamrocks Club in County Derry, winning a litany of underage of titles including All Ireland Feile and Ulster Minor championship, but most notably, 5 Derry Senior Championships, 2 Ulster Club Championships and an All Ireland Club in 2002.  Mark is a current Derry and Ulster referee as well an underage coach and executive member the Ballinderry Shamrocks club.  Mark is a brother of Stephen McGeehan, the Ulster Councils Project Sponsor for the redevelopment of Casement Park.

Business Development Manager Jim Maguire

Lynch stands in for the Mayor to deny the Saints

All County Football League Division One

St Teresa’s 1-08-2-08 Lamh Dhearg

By Kevin Herron from McDonnell/ Doherty Park

St Teresa’s will be left scratching their head and wondering just how they spurned two late chances to salvage a point, after going down 2-08-1-08 to Lamh Dhearg at McDonnell/ Doherty Park this evening.

Robert Gallagher rifled the hosts in front early on but Lamh Dhearg would battle back to lead at the break thanks to Pearse Fitzsimons strike.

Terry McCrudden powered home his sides second shortly after the restart and the visitors were in command heading down the home straight – however a brace of converted John Mallon frees left a goal separating the sides before the late drama unfolded.

Referee Paul Hughes signalled for a late penalty after a foul by Ryan Diamond – Gallagher seized responsibility but was thwarted by John Finuchane who was forced to bring Gallagher down at the expense of a further penalty and his marching orders due to a black-card.

It was Roy of the Rovers stuff in the dying seconds as Gallagher had the chance to atone for his original miss – but was denied a second time by stand-in goalkeeper Declan Lynch as the Lamhs held out after a grandstand finish on the Glen Road.

Both sides went into this evenings rearranged encounter depleted and short on numbers – but the game certainly wasn’t short on incident and talking points.

The first arriving inside of two minutes as Robert Gallagher saw his shot bravely blocked down by Ben Rice – the corner-forward showed determination and his low drive fizzed past John Finucane and into the net to give St Teresa’s the early advantage.

Paddy Mervyn drove forward and split the posts in response with Mark Finnegan closing the gap further with his first converted free of the evening; in the absence of Paddy Cunningham.

Finnegan conjured up his second score of the evening and drew the sides level with little over ten minutes gone – though the hosts regained the lead through a converted John Mallon free and a Robert Gallagher point.

St Teresa’s may even have had a second goal inside of the first quarter of an hour – but for a combination of John Finucane and Ryan Diamond – the later scrambling John Mallon’s low shot off the goal line.

Mark Finnegan watched his 45’ drop short but Michael Herron’s high shot dropped over the crossbar –  John Mallon converted his second free of the half in response to preserve his sides two-point advantage (1-03-0-04)

Pearse Fitzsimons evening looked to have came to a premature end after going down in agony with an apparent knee injury – however the midfielder ran of his knock and gave his side the lead for the first time in the game.

Gerard Slane ran at the heart of the St Teresa’s defence but was met by a wall of yellow and blue jerseys and opted for a pop off to Pearse Fitzsimons who showed composure and shot to the net to give Lamh Dhearg a 1-04-1-03 lead.

Slane would coolly register his first of the evening in the aftermath and Ben Rice capped a fine attacking move to edge the Hannahstown men three ahead.

But late in the first half, St Teresa’s substitute Anthony Varndell hit back to keep the hosts on the Lamhs coat-tails at the break with the score 1-06-1-04.

The first-half rain gave way to a shade of blue sky and faint sunshine and it was Lamh Dhearg who made the brighter start after the break.

The energetic Owen McKeown shaped for a shot that crashed off the top of the crossbar and into the hands of Gerard Slane – Slane picked out Terry McCrudden unmarked and McCrudden rifled high off the crossbar and gave Aaron Thompson no chance to make it 2-06-1-04.

McCrudden’s goal should have been a platform from which his side could have built upon – though the full-forward hit ones of three wides which followed his goal.

Mark Finnegan would eventually extend the lead thanks to a converted free and Ryan Straney found range to open up a seven-point advantage heading into the final quarter of an hour (2-08-1-04).

St Teresa’s were still without a second-half score until the 47th minute when Robert Gallagher conjured a fine score.

Gallagher would claim his second of the half sandwiched between John Mallon’s third converted free of the game as the hosts were firmly on the comeback trail and in the ascendancy.

Mallon made it a three point game with little under five minutes remaining and a grandstand finish was on the cards.

The Lamhs were struggling and on the back-foot late on when disaster struck – St Teresa’s exploited the gaping gaps and looked to be through on goal, only for Ryan Diamond to take down Conor McCann.

Diamond was shown a black-card by referee Paul Hughes who signalled for a penalty that would potentially give the hosts a share of the spoils.

After clearing the area Hughes allowed Robert Gallagher to have his chance at glory – but Gallagher could only watch as John Finucane flung himself to the left and turned his spot-kick onto the bar.

Gallagher reacted quickest and was about to turn the ball home at the second time of asking, only to be dragged to ground by Finucane at the expense of a further penalty and black-card for the Lamhs skipper.

With no-sub goalkeeper amongst the one remaining Lamh Dhearg substitute that had already departed ten minutes previous – it was Declan Lynch that volunteered to stand between the posts for take two.

Gallagher bravely stepped forward once more for a second battle of wits and was again denied – this time Lynch stopped with his feet and the stand-in keeper was fouled in the follow-up to take the sting out of the situation and buy his side some time to regroup.

The visitors saw out the remaining sixty seconds and claimed the spoils after a dramatic finish to proceedings.

St Teresa’s: A Thompson, P O’Rawe, E Connolly, M Mallon, P McGoldrick, C O’Rawe, C Mallon, J Rainey, N McCann, L Gault, J Mallon (0-04f), P Maguire, R Gallagher (1-03), A Taylor, C McCann. Subs: A Varndell (0-01) for C O’Rawe (23 mins).

Lamh Dhearg: J Fincuane, R Fegan, C Nolan, R Diamond, P Mervyn (0-01), M Herron (0-01), B Rice (0-01), P Fitzsimons (1-00), D Lynch, O McKeown, G Slane (0-01), D Bellew, M Finnegan (0-03, 0-02f), T McCrudden (1-00), R Straney (0-01). Subs: C Flynn for M Finnegan (52 mins), E O’Neill for R Diamond (black card substitute – 61 mins), M Finnegan for J Fincuane (black card substitute – 63 mins).

Referee: Paul Hughes (O’Donnells)

Cushendall beat Oisins on historic evening

All County Minor Hurling League Division 1

Oisins 3-9 Cushendall 3-17

Cushendall had eight points to spare over neighbours Glenariffe in Friday evening’s All County Minor Hurling League Division 1 in Waterfoot. It was an historic evening for the Oisins as it was the first time the changing rooms in the new Glenariffe Community & Recreation Centre was used but desite the fact the Michael O’Boyle scored 3-5 for the home team Cushendall still came out on top.

The Ruairis were on top for most of the game and lead by three at half time. They threatened to run away with the game on a few occasions but were pegged back by some great scores from the Oisin’s Michael O’Boyle. However in the end they had too much firepower for their neighbours.

O’Boyle got the opening point of the game but after and slow start Cushendall came back with two points from Fiontann McQuillan and a goal from corner forward Shane McKenna. Two further points followed from Padraig McKillop and Aidan Ritson to go six clear by the end of the opening quarter but Michael O’Boyle pulled the Oisins back into contention with a goal from play on 17 minutes. A Padraig McKillop point put four between the sides but the home side closed to within two again with points from Seanie McIntosh and Mark McSparran. Two quick fire points from McQuillan stretched the Ruairis lead to six but three Michael O’Boyle points from placed balls closed the gap to three at half time. (Oisins 0-7 Ruairi Og 1-7)

John McAlister breaks his hurl as he and Daniel Kearny pull on the ball.

A goal from corner forward Conor McCollam three minutes into the second half put Cushendall back in control as the Oisins were left chasing the game but they got themselves back into contention with a Seanie McIntosh point and a second goal from O’Boyle. A Conleith McKinley point put Cushendall three ahead again but that man O’Boyle struck again to complete his hat-trick of goals and bring his team level. A goal and two points by Fiontann McQuillan got Cushendall back on top again and though O’Boyle came back with a point the Ruairis struck for home with five points without reply between the 51st and 59th minutes. Michael O’Boyle gave the home side renewed hope with his fourth goal of the game from a free in injury time to cut the gap to six, but that was as close as they got as two more McQuillan points had them eight clear by the time match referee Ryan O’Reilly sounded the full time whistle.

Junior Hurling Feis quarter-finals this Tuesday

Junior Hurling championship ¼ finals

The quarter-finals of the Feis Junior Hurling Championship are fixed for Tuesday 18th June.

The Draws are:

                St Brigids              v              St Marys Rasharkin/ Ruairi ogs

                Shamrocks          v              Shane O’Neills

                Con Magees Glenravel  v              Carey