Posts by thesaffrongael

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

Creggan put on a late late show to deny the Johnnies

O’Neill’s All County Football Leauge Division One

Kickhams Creggan 2-15 St John’s 1-15

Brendan McTaggart reports from Creggan

Creggan kept their hopes of league honours alive with a three point win over St John’s on Saturday afternoon.  It was an incredible turnaround by Kevin Madden’s men who after 15 minutes trailed by eight points but they were a different side after the half time break and timed their comeback to perfection.  Creggan didn’t take the lead until the first minute of injury time at the end of the hour as St John’s wilted under the tidal wave of pressure from the home side in the final quarter.

Kevin Small top scored for the loughshore men, finishing the match with a hugely impressive 1-8 for his hours endeavours but it was the work rate, industry and movement of Liam Quinn that proved to be the constant thorn in the St John’s side.  The diminutive Kickhams forward finished the match with three points from play but as St John’s tried to get to grips with him, especially in the second half, frees followed with Small and Creggan benefiting.

The St John’s first half performance was methodical, machine like with clinical precision.  The Johnnies have a game plan and they followed it through to perfection in the first 15 minutes and were fully deserving of their four point half time lead.  Paddy McBride was having the kind of day that only comes once in a blue moon, everything he touched in the first half either created a score or ended up between the posts.  Four of his seven points over the hour came in the opening 30 minutes while his county team mate Matthew Fitzpatrick scored their goal in the sixth minute.  Fitzy’s goal rounded off a perfect start for the Corrigan Park side, playing with the elements restricted Creggan to living off scraps while methodically picking holes in the home sides defence before landing their scores.  The home side had to wait until the ninth minute of the game before they landed a shot in anger at Eighan Lambert’s goals as they raced into an early seven point lead.  Creggan hit back after a poor opening quarter to the game and in the end were deserving of their three point win after a pulsating hour of entertainment.4Matt Fitzpatrick scores St John’s goal early in the game. Pic by John McIlwaine

St John’s treated the ball as their own and possession was king.  They were camped in the Creggan half for long periods with Conor Johnston and Fitzpatrick picking passes and orchestrating the Johnnies into a half time lead.  The Creggan comeback didn’t really materialise until the death.  Fintan Burke’s first half goal kept them in the game and while Kevin Small’s major in the second half brought to them within touching distance, it was their relentless pressure at the death that eventually won the day.  Quinn’s brilliance before having to be carried off and Small’s accuracy from placed ball while Conor McCann, substitute Kevin Rice and Thomas McCann dominated the breakdown to take Creggan over the line.

McBride and Fitzpatrick opened the scoring with efforts in the opening two minutes.  The Johnnies carved a goal chance soon after when Fiztpatrick played Conor McEvoy through on goal with a defet touch but the St John’s forward’s effort was well saved by Oisin Kerr in the Kickhams goals.  St John’s were well on top as they dominated the opening exchanges and their sixth minute goal was a touch of brilliance and just reward for their opening efforts.  Paddy Cooey with the assist as Fitzpatrick planted his shot first time beyond the reach of Kerr in the Kickham’s goals.

Conor Johnston and McBride landed points to take the Johnnies lead to seven points after 13 minutes before Kevin Small finally opened the home sides account from a free in the 15th minute.  It was a rare foray into the Johnnies half for the home side but they showed signs of coming to life.  Further scores from Andy McGowan and Stephen Tierney stretched the St John’s advantage before Creggan fired their first goal of the match.  Working the ball through the heart of the St John’s defence, Creggan put together the move of the match.  Quick, incisive, clinical and brilliant.  The move was only matched by Fintan Burke’s finish.  Emphatic as his drilled, powerful effort found the bottom corner.

The St John’s response was perfect.  McBride landed another free before scoring a ridiculous point from wide on the right.  No angle to work with and under pressure, the Johnnies Captain managed to split the uprights to reopen a five point lead for St John’s before Johnston’s second point of the match banished the memory of Burke’s major.  Creggan finished the half well though with Quinn and Small (free) raising white flags in the tome that remained to leave the visitors ahead 1-9 to 1-5 at the short whistle.

If there was a possession stat for the opening 30  minutes, the Corrigan Park side would have dominated it.  Creggan weren’t at the races in the opening 15 minutes and struggled in the second quarter.  The home side had the wind at their back in the second half but it was going to take a dramatic shift in momentum for the Kickham’s men to get anything out of the game.

Even after the opening exchanges it didn’t look like the dramatic finale would materialise.  McBride and Small exchanged scores while substitute Tiernan McAteer and Tierney repeated the fete shortly after to leave four points between the sides after 10 minutes of the second half.8Liam Quinn swings over a Creggan point. Pic by John McIlwaine

Good work by Matt Fitzpatrick gifted another score for McBride before Creggan scored their second goal in the 42nd minute.  Another incisive move cut through the St John’s defence with Quinn providing the final pass for Small to fire into an empty net.  Matthew Rodgers split the uprights soon after to leave the minimum between the sides with just over a quarter of the game remaining and Creggan were on the charge.

The Johnnies managed to stay ahead with McBride and McGowan landing scores either side of a point from Quinn but when Jack Hannigan split the uprights it looked like St John’s had weathered the Creggan storm.  That would be St John’s last score of the match though as the home side took control.

Creggan were relentless though and but for the brilliance of Lambert between the sticks, they could have added another major in the 53rd minute.  David McGuckin engineered a move through the St John’s defence before firing to the top corner.  Lambert managed to get finger tips to his shot and deflected the ball onto the angle of crossbar and post.  A superb save but a brace of frees from Small brought the home side to within one point with four minutes of normal time remaining.

Creggan were all over the St John’s kickouts as they sensed an opening.  A point from Ruairi McCann brought parity to the sides for the first time in the game with two minutes remaining before another Small free edged them ahead in the first minute of injury time.

Thomas McCann and Small added scores in the time that remained to round off a superb end to the hour by the home side and proving the old cliché right once again, it’s not how you start but how you finish that counts.

Creggan: Oisin Kerr; Conor McCann, Aidan Maguire, Oistin McAteer; Ruairi McCann, Thomas McCann, Jamie McCann; Conor McCann, Dermott McCann; Matthew Rodgers, Kevin Small, Fintan Burke; Paddy Coey, David McGuckin, Liam Quinn

St John’s: Eighan Lambert; Ciaran Garland, Paul Gribben, Liam Laverty; Jack Hannigan, Michéal Dudley, Paddy McBride; Simon McDonagh, Ryan McNulty; Andy McGowan, Conor Johnston, Luke Peden; Conor McEvoy, Matthew Fitzpatrick, Stephen Tierney.

Scorers for Creggan: Kevin Small 1-8 (7 f’s); Liam Quinn 0-3; Fintan Burke 1-00; Ruairi McCann 0-1 (1 ’45); Thomas McCann 0-1; Matthew Rodgers 0-1; Tiernan McAteer 0-1

Scorers for St John’s: Paddy McBride 0-7 (3 f’s); Matthew Fitzpatrick 1-1; Andy McGowan 0-2; Conor Johnston 0-2; Stephen Tierney 0-2; Jack Hannigan 0-1

Referee: Eamonn McAuley (Cargin)

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Pics by John McIlwaine

Chitty Caulfield is holding a barbeque for Marie Curie Cancer Care

Former Armoy hurler Chitty Caulfield is holding a barbeque this evening at ‘The Hut’ beide his house in Armoy glen to raise funds for Marie Curie Cancer Care. Chitty has been going through a rough time recently, but the old fighting spirit is still strong and at a time when the rest of us would be feeling sorry for ourselves he has decided to think of others and raise money for these great nurses who have given so much to families throughout the country. If you get a chance this evening call down to the cottages beside Armoy Hurling field this evening between 5pm and 10pm and support a very worthy cause. Glenariffe v Armoy Int final 88 - 160 copyChitty Caulfield is 6th from the left on the back row of this Armoy team from 1988

Gorts ease to victory over Rossa

dohertywoodshavings copyDoherty Woodshavings Antrim Junior Camogie Championship – Preliminary round

Gort Na Mona 4-14  Rossa II 1-05

By Kevin Herron at Enright Park

Gort Na Mona progressed to the quarter-final of the Antrim junior camogie semi-finals after a comfortable 4-14-1-05 victory over Rossa II at Enright Park on Friday evening.

Danielle Hughes scored the first of her sides four goals just before the midway point in the first-half and within four minutes Grainne O’Hare conjured a second.

Rossa’s best spells arrived late in both half’s with Megan Maglinchey scrambling home a consolation goal late with the game well beyond doubt – but Gort Na Mona rubbed salt into the wounds with injury-time strikes from Aoibhin Enright and Fiona McCotter to seal a place in the last eight.

Conditions were less than ideal at a windswept Enright Park and scores were at a premium early on – Niamh Enright saw her third free drift wide of the posts but two minutes later the opening score arrived through Anna McCann at the second attempt to get her shot away.

McCann doubled her tally after Niamh Semple had levelled through a converted free for the visitors – though Gort Na Mona were the ascendancy early on and were 0-04-0-01 ahead within the first twelve minutes.

A neat interchange between Eimear and Niamh Enright saw the later add to McCann’s opening two scores and Enright extended her own personal tally to two with a perfectly converted free.

The opening goal arrived two minutes short of the midway point – Eimear Enright dropped a ball short of the target, however Gort full-forward Danielle Hughes kept the move alive and from a tight angle was able to hook the ball low past Rossa keeper Sophia Ernskine and into the net to give Gort Na Mona a 1-04-0-01 lead.

Eimear Enright and goal scorer Hughes then linked up to play in Aoibhin Enright for her first score of the evening and within a minute the Turf Lodge ladies had a second goal to show for the dominant start to proceedings.

Grainne O’Hare seized possession and burst forward before floating the ball over the reach of Ernskine and into the Rossa net to give her side a 2-05-0-01 lead.

A foul on Danielle Hughes lead to Niamh Enright converting her second free of the half to end her sides first-half scoring – Rossa were in need of some inspiration before the break and two scores arrived before referee Fionntán McCotter brought the first-half to a close.

Meabh Macurdy ended a baron spell of almost twenty minutes without a score – with a little help from the large upright and Niamh Semple converted her second free of the half as Rossa retreated to the dressing room with much work to do in order to salvage the game, trailing 2-06-0-03.

Gort Na Mona increased their lead within sixty seconds of the restart through Anna McCann and three successive frees from Niamh Enright brought her tally for the evening to six and had her side  2-10-0-03 ahead ten minutes into the second period.

Eimear Enright then conjured up an excellent score with a fine shot that sailed between the posts – a third goal was almost in the offering for the Gorts as Anna McCann’s floated pass fell into the palm of Danielle Hughes who was thwarted by a brave block from Ernskine in the Rossa goal.

Niamh Enright continued to punish Rossa from the placed ball with a further converted free at the beginning of the final quarter and after Anna McCann closed down a short clearance – Gort’s number eleven had her fourth point of the evening.

Trailing 2-13-0-03 with little under ten minutes remaining, Rossa were now playing merely for pride – they found their first score in 25 minutes through a Meabh McCurdy point but Gort Na Mona responded with their third goal of the game – as Aoibhin Enright lofted the ball over Ernskine to extend Gort’s lead, 3-13-0-04.

Two minutes from time Rossa secured a consolation goal as Niamh Semple dropped a free into the danger zone and after a scramble in the Gort Na Mona area Megan Maglinchey flicked the ball past Coleen McAvoy and into the Gort net.

Meabh McCurdy hit her sides final score of the evening with a fine point – Anna McCann responded with her final point of the evening on the stroke of full-time but Gort Na Mona weren’t quite finished and claimed their fourth goal in injury-time – McCann saw her shot spilled by Sophia Ernskine and with an empty net at her disposal Fiona McCotter poked home in the game’s final action before her namesake Fionntán sounded the final whistle to bring proceedings to an end.

Gort Na Mona progress to a home quarter-final with Ahoghill next Friday evening and will fancy their chances of progression on their evenings showing.

Gort Na Mona: C McAvoy, N Brown, G Cahill, L McNeil, C Scannell, K Cournane, R Maguire, F McCotter (1-00), N Enright (0-07, 0-06f), A Enright (1-01), A McCann (0-05), E Enright (0-01), G O’Hare (1-00), D Hughes (1-00), C Mulvenna. Subs: M Kearny for C Mulvenna (37 mins), R Healy for E Enright (52 mins), KJ Catney for G O’Hare (54 mins).

Rossa: S Ernskine, C Beatty,N O’Neill, C Loughran, N Semple (0-02f), E Savage, O McMenamin, M Maglinchey (1-00), H Savage, M Macurdy (0-03), O Boyle, E O’Neill, A Cawdwell, MT Fleming. Subs: C Maglinchey for E O’Neill (14 mins), E Shannon for O Boyle (14 mins).

Referee: Fionntán McCotter (Sarsfields)

Pics by Ciaràn ò Brolchàin


Falls and McDonald take top spots at All Saints GAC Crebilly 5K

23Gemma McDonald of Ballycastle Runners AC who won the ladies race

Jarlath Falls won Friday evening’s All Saints GAC Crebilly 5K Fun Run in a time of 16 minutes 38 seconds, eleven seconds ahead of Ian Taggart with Brendan Grew in third place. Gemma McDonald of Ballycastle Runners AC won the ladies race, and finished 11th overall after a fantastic run. Pauline Thom was second in the ladies event with Tracey Gillan coming home in third.

Overall 124 compeitiors took part over the punishing Crebilly course as this great event, now in its third year, goes from strength to strength. All Saints Chairman Jim Brady welcomed all the runners before the event and afterwards helped present the prizes in the All Saints clubrooms. The whole event proved a great success with everyone there really enjoying the event which raised funds for the Chest, Heart & Stroke charity. 21Jarlath Falls (centre) who finished first with runner up Ian Taggart (left) and third placed Brendan Grew.

Gorts strong finish earns them both points

O’Neill’s All County Football League Division 2A

Dunloy 1-10 Gort na Mona 2-10

Brendan McTaggart reports from Pearse Park, Dunloy

Gort na Mona kept their feint hopes of promotion alive with a last gasp victory in Pearse Park on Friday evening.  Two goals in the last five minutes from Desi McClean and Padraig McHugh helped the Turf Lodge men to avenge their early season loss to the Cuchullains and record a three point win.

After dominating the first half, the Gort’s were camped in their own half for long periods after the half time interval.  Dunloy were vastly improved from their first half efforts and were making light of playing into a stiff wind.  The Cuchullains challenge was helped when Christopher ‘Rash’ Devlin was sent off for a dangerous tackle on Deáglán Smyth after nine minutes of the second half.  The Cuchullains took advantage and built a three point lead going into the final ten minutes, thanks largely to a Karl Fitzpatrick goal shortly after Rash’s red card.  It was the minimum the home side deserved after passing up on three goal chances before finding the back of the net.

Gort fought back in the closing stages however with McClean’s composed finish and a deft lob from McHugh.  The Cuchullains almost grabbed a share of the points with the last play of the hour, Kevin McQuillan getting on the end of a high ball to the edge of the square but his shot fizzed to the wrong side of the post for the home side as the Turf Lodge men celebrated at the final whistle.

Having elected to play with the wind in the first half, Dunloy opened the scoring with just 25 seconds on the clock.  McQuillan firing over to give the home side the perfect start.  It would be their last score for 15 minutes though as the Gorts took control.  A mix of solid defending and patient football allowed the Turf Lodge men to control the first half while the Cuchullains couldn’t enforce their style of play on the game at all.  Thomas McGoran was outstanding in the opening quarter while Gary Doyle and Daniel McErlean helped to keep Dunloy under pressure by winning the majority of second phase ball.

A run of five unanswered points from the visitors gave them a substantial lead, despite playing into the wind.  The impressive Dermott McHugh (two), Padraig McHugh, McClean and McErlean raising the white flag as they terrorised the Cuchullains defence – McErlean’s effort with the outside of his right boot from distance the pick of the opening scores.

The home side’s forays into the Gort half were few and far between in the opening quarter but they should have found the back of the net during the visitor’s dominance.  Ciaran Kelly producing a point blank save to deny Paudie Conlon.

With ‘Poggy’ McHugh proving to be a handful on the edge of the square and the Gort players feeding off him, the home side were forced into a defensive reshuffle.  A long distance free from Caolan ‘Booter’ Gillan in the 16th minute seemed to act as a catalyst for Dunloy as they found a way back into the match in the time that remained of the first half.

Booter pointed his second free of the match with Deáglán Smyth splitting the posts soon after to leave the minimum between the sides – the Cuchullains with three points in as many minutes to drag themselves back into the contest.

Dermott McHugh pointed a free in the 19th minute to restore the Gort two point advantage but they should have been further ahead with the next attack.  Overturning the ball in midfield, the Gorts countered with space developing in the Dunloy defence.  The ball found its way to Dermott McHugh but the Gort forward blazed his shot high and wide with the goal at his mercy.  A let off for the home side and they took advantage.  Points from Captain Kevin McAllister and Booter’s third free of the half left the sides tied at 0-6 apiece at the short whistle.13

Gort looked favourites to record a comfortable victory at half time, such was their dominance for long periods of the first half.  However the home side were a different animal after the restart but spurned three goal chances in the opening five minutes.  Thomas McGoran first of all getting a vital flick after diving at full stretch to deny McAllister with the goal at his mercy.  Two minutes later it was McAllister again, the diminutive forward leaped highest to palm a pass from Caolan Gillan towards the Gort goal but Ciaran Kelly dived at full stretch to deny Dunloy once again.  The third chance came as Karl Fitzpatrick drove at the Gort defence before passing to Booter in space.  The Dunloy forward got his shot away but Declan Hughes was on hand to thwart the home side.

A frenetic opening to the second half with the Gort defence just about withstanding the Dunloy onslaught.  The opening score of the second half came through a Ciaran Donnelly point in the 37th minute and while the home side could have been deflated having not taken the lead after their start to the second half, they were given a lift when Gort were reduced to 14 men in the 39th minute.  Smyth taking the ball down the Gort left and Rash Devlin’s tackle was deemed to be dangerous and high.  Despite his protestations, the Gorts were now a man less with and the Cuchullains took advantage.  As they carved through the Gort defence once again, Declan McGarry’s pointed effort was blocked and fell to Fitzpatrick on the edge of the square.  The Dunloy man fired to the bottom corner to give the home side the lead in the 40th minute and it was just rewards for the home team’s efforts.

Dunloy continued to dominate but Gort na Mona hung in to stay in touch.  Dermott McHugh (free) and Booter Gillan swapped scores before Diesel Boyd landed a free from distance to reduce the Dunloy lead to the minimum half way through the second half.

A brace of points from Booter, his fifth of the match and a left footed effort from Kevin McQuillan gave the home side a three point lead with just over five minutes remaining but Gort hit back and finished the match in style.  Their first goal came through a long ball to the heart of the Dunloy defence where substitute Brendan Corr flicked the ball towards Desi McClean and the Gort forward found the back of Conor McGilligan’s net with a smart finish to restore parity to the sides once again.

Eoin Gillan restored the Dunloy lead before Diesel’s second point of the match tied the sides once again but disaster struck for the home side from the next kick out.  McGilligan’s restart was intercepted by Poggy McHugh and the Gort man lobbed the Dunloy goalkeeper with a cool finish to all but guarantee the points for the Turf Lodge men.

Dunloy pushed for the equalising goal in the time that remained and went close with McQuillan’s effort with the last kick of the game but it was 14 man Gort na Mona who celebrated a hard earned victory at the final whistle.



Dunloy: Conor McGilligan; Sean Og McErlean, Oran Corrigan, Conor Kinsella; Stephen McGuigan, Jamie McFerran, Deáglán Smyth (0-1); Kevin McQuillan (0-2), Eoin Gillan (0-1); Paudie Conlon, Karl Fitzpatrick (1-00), Anthony Doran; Declan McGarry, Kevin McAllister (0-1), Caolan Gillan (0-5 3f’s)

Gort na Mona: Ciaran Kelly; Conor Connolly, Thomas McGoran, Christopher Devlin; Michael Savage, Gary Doyle, Aidan McGoran; Patrick McCaffrey, David McErlean (0-1); Ciaran Donnolly (0-1); Darren Boyd (0-2 1f); Desi McClean (1-1); Declan Hughes; Dermott McHugh (0-4, 2 f’s); Padraig McHugh (1-1)

Referee: Karol Doherty (Rasharkin)

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