Posts by thesaffrongael

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

Glenavy Hold on to Claim South West Shield


Tomas Devlin car Sales

South West Under-12 League (Shield Final)

St Joseph’s Glenavy 2-03 Cuchullian’s Dunloy 1-05

The second game of this double header at Ahoghill on Monday evening was the contest for the under-12 shield and it proved to be a most enjoyable affair and the proverbial ‘game of two halves’. The quick starting Glenavy looked like running away with it early on but had to dig deep to hold on to repel the strong finishing Dunloy and secure the silverware.

The St Joseph’s side with the impressive Michael Morgan leading the attack raced away to claim a couple of early goals and ensure a 2-02 to 0-02 interval lead but as the Cuchullain’s gained momentum in the second half with Oisin McCamphill leading the charge the Glenavy boys were forced to dig deep.

Dunloy looked to employ the scoreboard attendants first in the opening phase of the under-12 shield decider but they were to rue missed opportunities to include a  penalty in the opening five minutes.

The Cuchullian’s had spurned a couple of chances in the opening two minutes before a 3rd minute Michael Morgan strike yielded a point for Glenavy to see the St Joseph’s open their account  but when Dunloy’s Eoin Richmond was fouled inside the square to earn a 5th minute penalty the full forward assumed the spot kicking duty himself.

The Glenavy keeper Matthew Nelson, who was to play a starring role was equal to the task however as he went to his right to make a splendid save to deny the striker.

As Dunloy continued to spurn opportunities it was Glenavy who were proving more accomplished in attack and they went further ahead in the 10th minute as a pin point pass from Odhran Arthurs sent Michael Morgan in for a goal.

Glenavy had grabbed control and went further ahead in the 12th minute when a well laid counter attack initiated by net minder Matthew Nelson and carried forward by an Eoin Philips delivery opened the way for Michael Morgan to add a second goal.

The St Joseph’s boys had 2-01 on the board and the wasteful Cuchullian’s were still to open their account.

Dunloy finally got off the mark in the 15th minute as Oisin Mc Camphill sped through the middle to raise white, but Glenavy answered in kind shortly after as a precision movement involving net minder Matthew Nelson, James Monaghan, and Eoin Philips in turn sent the ever accurate Michael Morgan in to add a 19th minute point.

The Dunloy wide tally, having increased was halted in the latter stages of the opening period in stylish fashion as Cathaoir Gormley added a Dunloy point but at the short blast Glenavy held a six point lead, 2-02 to 0-02.

At the start of the second half Glenavy continued where they had left off and they looked in charge when Eoin Philips increased the advantage with an early strike which yielded a 22nd minute point.

St Joseph’s having moved 2-03 to 0-02 ahead looked on their way but in the event this was to prove their last score as the young Cuchullain’s rose to the challenge.

Dunloy looked to bridge the gap in the early minutes but despite impressive  approach play they were still finding it difficult to locate the target.

Such was about to change however as the impressive Oisin Mc Camphill led the way and a foul on the mid fielder opened the door for Francis Mc Mullan to send the resultant free over the bar and when Eoin Richmond delivered the former grabbed a 34th minute goal.

Only  one score separated the sides as the tide had obviously turned and although Glenavy still led, 2-03 to 1-03 the Cuchullian’s had taken control and seemed on the march.

Oisin Mc Camphill added another point in the 36th minute as the Cuchullian’s laid siege and the Glenavy boys were now defending with everything they had to contain their opponents

The end was in sight as the Cuchullian’s continued to press and both Francis Mc Mullan and Pearce Mc Lean were just off target with respective chances.

The clock ticked onwards towards the 40 minute mark with just two points separating the sides when Francis McMullan held his nerve to despatch a 30 metre free over the bar.

Injury time progressed with the boys from Chapel Hill battling to hold on and although  Cuchullain’s continued to press they were not to make another mark and the referee’s long blast brought relief to Glenavy as they concluded with a 2-03 to 1-05 margin to secure the Shield.

Glenavy: Matthew Nelson, Oisin McArdle, Peter Mulholland, Sean Mulholland, Dara McAllister, James Monaghan, Eoin Byrne, Odhran Arthurs, Eoin Philips (0-01), Matthew Kane, Niall Burke, Michael Morgan (2-02), Ethan Hotchkiss.

Subs: Oisin Brown for E Hotchkiss

Dunloy: Aaron McFerran, Jay McAuley, Ben O’ Kane, Ryan Scott, Stephen McCamphill, Francis McMullan (0-01), Pearce Maguire, Oisin McCamphill (1-02), Cathaoir Gormley (0-01), Reece Cunning, Callum Dixon, Connor Mort, Pearce McLean.

Subs: Paudie Martin for P McLean

Referee: Peter Higgins (Tir na nOg)


Glenravel bridge 21 year gap to take Junior Football crown

10AGKennedy Centre Antrim Ladies Junior ‘A’ Championship


Con Magees Glenravel celebrate after winning the Kennedy Centre Antrim Ladies Junior ‘A’ Championship with a win over Gort na Móna at Cliftonville

Gort Na Mona 3-07-3-11 Con Magee’s Glenravel

By Kevin Herron

Con Magee’s Glenravel turned in a superb second-half showing as they clinched the Kennedy Centre Antrim Ladies Junior ‘A’ Championship with a 3-11-3-07 win over Gort Na Mona in Monday evenings final, under lights at Cliftonville. After falling six points behind early in the game the Glenravel girls had a mountain to climb but they battled back to gain parity by half time. They had to withstand a barrage from Gort na Móna early in the second half when they fell two points behind, but their swift combination play up front eventually paid off and the fought back with two brilliant goals to clinch their first title since 1996.

Anna McCann gave Gort Na Mona the lead within two minutes, conjuring up a superb point off the left foot, though Caoimhe McAleenan responded at the other end to level for Con Magee’s with five minutes on the clock.

The young Gort’s played some fantastic football in the opening stages and with six minutes on the clock they found the opening goal of the final, Aoibhin Enright was left with too much time and space and the Gort Na Mona midfielder blasted high into the net past Joey O’Hagan to make it 1-01-0-01.

Five minutes later the Turf Lodge ladies doubled their lead, Aisling Stone was on hand to scramble the ball past O’Hagan and give her side a 2-01-0-01 lead. A further point followed courtesy of Jordan McCullough before Con Magee’s launched into action as Laoise McKenna split the posts for her side’s first score in almost fifteen minutes. Kirsten Edgar converted a free shortly afterwards and was followed by a Dervla Donaghy point as Con Magee’s were establishing a firm foothold in the game.

With five minutes of the half remaining Con Magee’s were gifted a massive opportunity as referee Mark McDonald spotted in infringement in the small square and signalled for a penalty. Laoise McKenna took responsibility and drove her effort hard and low past Ciara Thompson to put just the minimum between the sides, 2-02-1-04. Aoibhin Enright ended Con Magee’s purple patch of 1-03 without reply with a magnificent point, however Caoimhe McAleenan replied at the other end. Gort Na Mona looked to be heading in at the interval with a two-point advantage after Anna McCann converted a free two minutes into injury-time, but Kirsty Laverty and Laoise McKenna dug deep to hit vital points which ensured that Con Magee’s were back on terms at the break, 2-04-1-07.

Both sides were guilty of lacking composure in front of goal in the first ten minutes of the second-half as scores were at a premium.

Anna McCann; who opened the scoring in the first-half would repeat her feat and open the second-half scoring with a confident shot that sailed over the bar to restore her sides lead.

Kirsty Laverty tied the game up for Con Magee’s after Gort Na Mona were caught napping from a quickly taken Laoise McKenna free, but  McCann conjured up her fourth score of the evening and third from play to make it 2-06-1-08.

Gort Na Mona looked to be back in the ascendancy as Aoibhin Enirght landed her third point of the evening to double her side’s advantage; however that was to be her sides last score for almost twenty minutes as Con Magee’s took control of the final.

Kirsten Edgar turned the ball over the bar to put the minimum between the side’s midway through the half and within a minute Con Magee’s hit the front for the time in the contest.

Laoise McKenna turned over Ciara Thompson’s kick-out and the Glenravel girls moved in on the Gort Na Mona goal, the ball was worked into a dangerous position and Victoria Edgar made no mistake as she drilled the ball high into the roof of the net, giving Thompson no chance to make it 2-09-2-07.

Gort Na Mona missed the chance to cut the deficit as Anna McCann’s rushed free veered to the left and wide and with ten minutes remaining the Turf Lodge side fell further behind.

Con Magee’s broke at pace and worked a goal chance, Ellen Hynds watched on in agony as Ciara Thompson parried her shot and Kirstin Edgar appeared to bundle the loose ball home with the aid of the post to put five between the sides, 3-09-2-07.

Gort Na Mona needed inspiration but Con Magee’s experience was beginning to tell, Victoria Edgar added a point to her earlier goal and Ellen Hynds landed a further point within thirty seconds to move the Glenravel ladies seven-points ahead.

The Gort’s would suffer a further blow as the clock ticked towards sixty minutes as Anna McCann was forced off with cramp, McCann’s side tried desperately to find a way back into the game but they were off target on three occasions, the closest through Molly White’s low drive.

Six-minutes into added time Gort Na Mona found their third goal of the game to set up a grandstand finish as Molly White got her angles right and drilled the ball high into the corner of the net past Joey O’Hagan to put four-points between the teams (3-11-3-07) but it was too late to effect the outcome as Glenravel bridged a 21 year gap.

Gort Na Mona: C Thompson, M Donnelly, N Brown, C Kennan, C Scannell, C Fryes, F McCotter, A McCann (0-04,0-01f), A Enright (1-02), J McCullough (0-01), M White (1-00), C Mulvenna, C Fox, A Stone (1-00).

Con Magee’s: J O’Hagan, C McAuley, E Dillon, C McKeown, E McAleenan, C McNeill, B McKay, E Higgins, L McKenna (1-02, 1-00f), D Donaghy (0-01), K Edgar (1-02,0-01f), C McAleenan (0-02), E Hynds (0-01), V Edgar (1-01), K Laverty (0-02).

Referee: Mark McDonald (St Galls)

Pics by Dylan McIlwaine




Tir na nOg Claim U12 Football Plate


South West under-12 League (Plate Final)

Tir na Nog 1-09 St Comgall’s 0-06

Tir na Nog Randalstown secured the under-12 plate when they proved just too strong for a gallant St Comgall’s side in the opening game in the double header affair under the bright Clooney floodlights at the Ahoghill venue on Monday evening.

Originally scheduled for the previous Friday evening and postponed due to a sodden pitch, a fine week-end and brighter skies had ensured a good sod awaited this time, and saw the young participants serve up most enjoyable fare to entertain the crowd.

The opening game saw near neighbours Tir na Nog cross swords with Antrim based St Comgall’s and although the Randalstown boys were to fall in arrears in the early stages an 8th minute goal despatched by Paul Mc Closkey saw them stride into the lead which they were to maintain throughout the contest.

St Comgall’s were away in front as impressive mid-fielder Diarmuid Hanna strode through the middle after claiming the start throw in to fire firmly between the posts.

Paul Mc Closkey delivered for Caolan Hughes to reply in kind at the other end and see the Tir na Nog side make an opening mark to draw abreast but the Antrim side went ahead again through Diarmuid Hanna.

The number 8 turned his attentions to place kicking after Niall Kearney was impeded with success to ensure St Comgall’s were 0-02 to 0-01 by the 7th minute.

Little had separated the sides in the opening phase but that was about to change and the next few minutes would see the Randalstown boys open a four point gap as Paul Mc Closkey despatched to the back of the net and Joe Mc Cormick followed with a couple of points.

Tir na Nog were at 1-03 to 0-02 and looking good.

St Comgall’s, led by the ever impressive Diarmuid Hanna replied as he split the posts following another stylish ‘solo’ approach in the 12th minute, and stepped forward to convert a 30 metre free following an indiscretion on Niall Kearney a couple of minutes later.

St. Comgall’s continued to push forwards but with the impressive Caolan Hughes standing tallest in a staunch rear guard the Randalstown boys were defiant in resistance.

A well directed clearance from the former opened the way for Joe Mc Cormick to nip away and split the posts at the other end in the 18th minute and the mid-fielder came close to adding a goal a minute later only to be denied by last man standing Connor Dennison.

The St Comgall’s net-minder made a superb intervention to deny him as he pushed the leather up and over the bar at the expense of a point when a goal looked certain to ensure the Tir na Nog had a 1-05 to 0-04 interval advantage.


Tir na Nog resumed in the second half with confidence high and a couple of points provided by the excellent Joe Mc Cormick saw them open up a six point lead.

St Comgall’s replied from the ever dangerous Diarmuid Hanna and indeed the Antrim side continued in their quest to make further addition on the scoreboard.

The Tir na Nog defensive unit proved resilient in their continued strong rear guard action with Caolan Hughes leading in defiance, and when back to back counter attacks realised further points from Paul Mc Closkey and Sascha Young the die was cast.

The Whitehill boys had moved into a seven point advantage and indeed they came mighty close to adding a late goal as Joe Mc Cormick left several defenders trailing in his wake before delivering just wide of the target.

St. Comgall’s continued to look for the posts in the latter stages and they were to have the last say in the scoring stakes with a late Diarmuid Hanna point but the long blast which followed saw Tir na Nog cross the winning line and onto the podium with the under-12 Plate secured with a 1-09 to 0-06 winning margin.

Tir na Nog: Caleb Smith, Patrick McCloskey, Ronan O’ Neill, Dylan McLarnon, Caolan Hughes (0-01), Sascha Young (0-01), Paul McCloskey (1-01), Joe McCormick (0-06), Patrick McRoberts, Ben Collins, Rhys McCartney, Ollie Collins. Subs: Tiarnan Bonnes for R McCartney, Aodhan McGuckien for B Collins, Joel Robb for P McCloskey, Thomas McGlade for S Young

St Comgall’s: Connor Dennison, Shea McConville, Aidan Mawhinney, Aodhan O’ Neill, Shea McAuley, Daniel McLornan, Kaelin McGarrell, Diarmuid Hanna (0-06), Ryan Clarke, Niall Kearney, Leo McAleer, Sophie Shiels, Reilly O’ Loan

Referee: Colin Marron (Aghagallon)



Remarkable Double/Double Beckons for Sarsfield’s

Junior Football Championship Final Preview

Padraig Sarsfield’s v Naomh Padraig Lisburn

Patrick Sarsfield’s will be hoping to complete a memorable championship double when they take on Naomh Padraig Lisburn in this Saturday’s Junior Football Championship final in Hannastown. Sarsfield’s defeated Carey Faughs last Sunday in the Intermediate Hurling final in Armoy and a win over St. Patrick’s on Saturday would put the icing on what has been a remarkable season for the men from the Bear Pit.

The Stewartstown Road club have been practically unbeatable on both fronts this year, having won Division 3 of the football league with only one defeat in that campaign and they recorded big wins over Naomh Padraig, home and away on their way to the title.

They scored 2-17 in both games against the Lisburn side but Naomh Padraig will take some solace from the fact that they scored 0-13 in their home game, an improvement of seven points from the encounter at the Bear Pit earlier in the season.

Despite those two defeats Naomh Padraig have had a good season finishing fourth in the league and finished their campaign with a four game winning run which included a victory over third place Con Magee’s, Glenravel.

They have continued that good form into this year’s Junior Championship defeating St. Malachy’s and St. Agnes on their way to Saturday’s final. They looked quite impressive when I saw them beat St. Agnes in their semi-final meeting at Pairc Una, the ‘Aggies’ getting home advantage when they had to toss for venues with no other ground available at the time.


Strong at the back where keeper Peter O’Neill was safe and defenders Thomas Burns, Sean Casey, Eoin Fay and Tiarnan O’Mally all defending well and were ready to attack at every opportunity. At mid-field Tomas Fay and Mark Torbitt held sway and pushed forward when the opportunity arose and in attack they had a real match winner in Josh McMullan.

They won’t have to be told however that Saturday’s meeting with Sarsfield’s represents a step up in class from their previous wins and they will have to be at the top of their game for the full 60 plus minutes if they are to have any chance. After a good first half against St. Agnes they sat back to defend their half time lead and that simply won’t work against the ‘Paddies’.

Sarsfield’s have simply strolled to this weekend’s final. O’Donnell’s, who finished runners up in the league were put to the sword on their own ground in their opening game and division 2 side Ardoyne fell to the Stewartstown Park side in the quarter-final. In the semi-final they came up against Pearses who had inflicted their only league defeat and they handed out revenge beating their rivals by 25 points.

They are a side with no apparent weaknesses. Their side is likely to include most of the players who featured in the Intermediate hurling success over Carey on Sunday with Kevin McKernan, Daniel McKernan, Gary Lennon, Jim McMenamin, Thomas Doherty, Frank McCallan, Niall McDonald and Niall McKenna (if fit) likely to carry too much fire power and physicality for the boys from Lisburn.

A win here would complete a memorable double/double for Sarsfield’s. They have already won the Division ¾ hurling league and Intermediate hurling championship. They are winners of the Division 3 football league and if they come out tops on Saturday they will have completed the sweep.





Dunloy camogs into Ulster semi-final

21868170_10155940603274928_12043083_oBridie McMenamin Junior Shield Camogie

Dunloy 4-12 Ballinagh (Co. Cavan) 0-10

By Paul McLean

A pair of goals in each half was the difference in this quarter final of the Shield played in Co. Cavan. A hat trick of placed ball goals from Orlagh O’Neill and one for Erin Traynor kept Dunloy well in control in what was a tough physical encounter.

This was Dunloy’s first venture into Ulster in 9 years and were up against a Ballinagh team who had won the Cavan Junior championship for the first time in 7 years so to both sides this was a brand-new experience.

Ballinagh settled much quicker than Dunloy to register the game’s first score through an Aishling Smith point. Erin Traynor then tied the scores up with a well taken point from 45m out but a free by Rebecca Dunne restored the home team’s advantage as they started to look the better side in the opening ten minutes of the match.

Dunloy began to ‘find their feet’ as Caoimhe Quinn and then corner forward Lisa McGuckian fired over points to give Dunloy the lead, and one that they would not lose again. With the game so frantic and tight it would take piece of luck to give Dunloy their first score. Dearbhail Magill was fouled out the field after good work in the defence by Noelle Martin. Orlagh O’Neill stepped up to hit the resultant free and though it first appeared to be going over the bar the dipped at the last second and dropped under the crossbar and into Aoife McDermott’s net to give her team a major boost. It was a boost that this young Dunloy team needed as they had struggled in the opening 10 mins of the game to settle.

The home side hit back and two quick points from Rebecca Dunne and Josephine McGuire cut the gap to 1-03 to 0-04, but Erin Traynor fired over her second point to restore the 3-point cushion for the Antrim champions. The lead would soon be doubled as Orlagh O’Neill got her second goal of the game, yet again from a free. Her free dropped short and somehow ended up going past Aiofe McDermott to give Dunloy a valuable 6-point advantage.

Rebecca Dunne again was accurate from the placed ball to make it 2-04 to 0-05 but Orlagh O’Neill fired over a free to wipe to stretch the gap to six again and afterwards Lisa McGuckian and Ballinagh’s Eadaoin McDermott exchanged points to leave the half time score Dunloy 2-06 Ballinagh 0-06.

Ballinagh changed their keeper and moved the full back Emma Gumley into nets as they set about trying to get back into this game. Dearbhail Elliott and Rebecca Dunne traded points in the opening five mins of the half before Orlagh O’Neill knocked over another free to stretch the lead to seven.

Dunloy’s defence was playing much better in the second period as captain Jessica Rush, Fiona Hills and Noelle Martin were going through a mountain of work shutting down the Ballinagh attacks. As the game wore on they were sending long balls into the box more in hope than anything else as they struggled to make inroads into the score line.

Keeper Aoife McDermott, now operating in the half forward line, fired over a nice free from around the halfway line to keep Ballinagh with hope of trying to claw back the Dunloy lead, but that hope was soon to be extinguished as corner forward Orlagh O’Neill completed her hat trick of goals, once again from a free.

Erin Traynor’s pace and direct running was causing all sorts of bother in the Ballinagh back line so much so that she was harshly taken down on the 21-yard line. Orlagh O’Neill stepped up to hammer the ball low and hard to the net to make it 3-08 to 0-08. This effectively killed the Cavan girls challenge off. Dunloy were able to ring the changes with Aislinn Elliott, Luanne Smyth & Amy Johnston entering the play.

Orlagh O’Neill fired over her third point for the day after Dearbhaill Magill was fouled. Caoimhe Quinn followed this up with a point from close range and though Ballinagh got two final scores from Aoife McDermott and Josephine Maguire to end their scoring for the day as their challenge faded out.

Dearbhaill Magill got the score that her work rate for the hour deserved after a great pass from Clare McGuckian put her into space to raise the white flag. The final score of the day went to Aislinn Elliott who beat two defenders to fire it from wide on the right and over the bar. A great score to finish up a good day for Dunloy.

Ballinagh to their credit never gave up for the hour and when you consider they only got camogie going a number of years ago in the parish they are making great strides with the current crop of players. They suffered though with their lack of scores from play as they only registered 4 points from play for the hour and didn’t get a single shot on the Dunloy goal which cost them.

For Dunloy it was a much better second half after a lethargic first half hour where the three hour bus journey down didn’t help their preparations. Goals win games and it was the reason why Dunloy were in total control from the moment the first one went in.


In nets Liza McAllister was solid and controlled her entire back line. In front of her Jessica Rush was outstanding and lead like a captain in the back line. Noelle Martin and Fiona Hills had a busy hour but each time they were needed they cleared their lines.

In midfield Eilish Kearns and Clare McGuckian came to the fore in the second half when they got control of their area.

Up front Erin Traynor was yet again in great form with her strong running and willingness to take on the defenders. Dearbhaill Elliott and Dearbhaill Magill took a lot of abuse in the tackle but it was that work rate and earning frees that was the telling difference and along with Aislinn Elliott they all had a good game.

Orlagh O’Neill took full advantage of the home side’s indiscretions and her total of 3-3 from placed balls made the difference in the end.

Dunloy scorers:

Orlagh O’Neill 3-03 (all frees), Erin Traynor 1-02, Lisa McGuckian 0-02, Caoimhe Quinn 0-02, Dearbhaill Elliott 0-01, Dearbhaill Magill 0-01, Aislinn Elliott 0-01

Ballinagh Scorers:

Rebecca Dunne 0-04 (all frees), Aiofe McDermott 0-02 (all frees), Josephine Maguire 0-02, Aishling Smith, Eadaoin Maguire 0-01

Dunloy team:

L McAllister, S O’Mullan, J Rush, L McConville, N Martin, S Conlon, F Hills, C McGuckian, E Kearns, E Traynor, D Elliott, C Quinn, L McGuckian, D Magill, O O’Neill, Subs – A Elliott, A Ingram, L Smyth, M Ingram, A Johnston, K Kelly, K McFerran

Ballinagh team:

A McDermott, M Bradley, E Gumley, T Beard, K McAvoy, A Reilly, R Dourneen, D Duffy, A Smith, R Dunne, E McDermott, R Dourneen, M Duffy, J Maguire, C Reilly

Pics by Shauna Cunning