Posts by thesaffrongael

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

Nichola Mallon announces planning approval for the new Casement Park

Infrastructure Minister Nichola Mallon has today announced the planning approval for Casement Park’s redevelopment has been granted.

Earlier today the Minister signed off on plans for the new stadium on the same site as the old one, which has been lying dorment for eight years now.

Ms Mallon said it was “an historic day for the GAA in Ulster and for Gaels across our island”.

“Last October I announced my intention to grant planning approval and I am delighted that all the statutory processes have now been completed to make that decision official and allow the Ulster Council of the GAA to proceed with their development plans.

“This has been a long and complex process, predating my time as minister, however we must now move forward and see progress on the ground, progress that will bring many sporting, social and economic benefits not just to west Belfast but right across the city and beyond.

“This will be fantastic news for the GAA family across Ulster and Ireland, particularly with the Ulster Final taking place this Sunday.

“Here’s to an exciting Ulster final and many memorable games to come in a new state-of-the-art stadium in Casement, now that the GAA is to finally have the home it deserves in Ulster.”

The news gives some hope for Antrim Gaels who have seen their dreams of a new Casement dashed on many occassions along the way. Knowing the history of the project there will be many who will have serious doubts about the news but hopefully it will at last be a step in the right direction.

Under-20 Football League Previews (Wed 28th July)

Progress has been slow in the under-2O league competition which is to be a fore runner for a championship at this level. Just a handful of games being completed thus far and several sides have in fact withdrawn from the competition with another handful of games fixed for Wednesday evening.

Under-20 Football league (all games at 7.45)

Division One

Section A

Erin’s Own Cargin v St Mary’s Aghagallon

Having taken back to back minor titles in 2019/20 Cargin may well be strong contenders for this competition and credentials may well be tested therein as Aghagallon come a calling to their Shore road abode for this assignment.

Aghagallon have assumed the lead in the ratings with a victory in round one and a drawn affair with the visiting St Gall’s last time out and they will ensure the home side have to work for success.

St Gall’s v Patrick Sarsfield’s

St Gall’s have earned a place at the top of the ratings with an unbeaten record thus far and they will seek to remain in such positivity as Sarsfield’s come a calling.

The Paddies proved too strong for the visiting Dunloy on the Bear Pit in their opening assignment and in such form they will be asking questions aplenty to the Milltown men.

Division 2

Lamh Dhearg v Casement’s Portglenone

Casement’s travel up to Hannahstown in this one to cross swords with Lamh Dhearg which is their respective opening games of the season.

The home side are usually strong and ground advantage may well tip the balance in their favour but it could go either way.

St. Ergnats v Naomh Padraig

Naomh Padraig made a good start to their U20 campaign when they defeated St. Joseph’s Glenavy at Kirkwood Park but they are likely to face a stiffer test when the visit Moneyglass and a home win looks the likely outcome.

Covid 19 Update – Chairman’s address

Tá súil agam go bhfuil sibh tú go maith,

As you are aware Covid 19 is on the rise again and spreading rapidly among our population especially young adults, I would ask all clubs to use their influence within our communities to help stop the spread of Covid 19 by urging all adults within clubs to avail of Covid 19 vaccinations as recommended by public health guidelines.I would also ask all clubs to double down on internal covid procedures within club, i.e. teams working in bubbles, not to use indoor facilities such as halls , changing rooms etc , making sure Foireann return to play system implemented for all players, and other common-sense controls measures to help reduce the spread off Covid infection within our clubs.

Clubs within Antrim have been to the forefront of ensuring a safe return to training and playing our games during a very difficult 16 month period and I am aware we are all war weary when it comes to Covid, but I would ask you to keep the good work up and help reduce covid infection spreading within our community and thus keep our members and local community safe and ensure coming into the championship period of the season we can keep training and playing our games.Bí sábháilte coain a chéile/Stay safe and protect each other.

Ciarán Mc Cavana/ Ciarán Mac an MhanaighCathaoirleach CLG Aontroma

Clarkey picks up Presidents award

Ulster GAA confirms President’s Awards Winners

Ulster GAA has announced the award winners for the 2020 Ulster GAA President’s Awards, in association with O’Neills.

Due to Covid-19 restrictions, the annual awards ceremony was unable to take place at the end of last year however, it was important to highlight the achievements of some of our special and significant contributors to the Association in Ulster during the year.

This year there were a reduced number of awards for Footballer, Hurler and Referee of the Year, as well as a special Lifetime Service to GAA award, sponsored by O’Neill’s. Each of the award winners represents the many more who make such valuable contributions to the GAA across the nine Ulster counties.

Below is a list of all the awards winners:

  • Recipient of the O’Neill’s Ulster GAA Lifetime Service to the GAA Award, Liam Nelis (centre), with Kieran Kennedy, O’Neill’s Sportswear (left), and Oliver Galligan, Ulster GAA President (right).
  • O’Neill’s Ulster GAA Lifetime Service to the GAA Award – Liam Nelis, Tír Eoghain

    Liam Nelis served his home club Urney St Columba’s and also Edendork St Malachy’s for many years, before serving as vice-chair and chair of Tyrone GAA County Board, where he oversaw the development of O’Neill’s Healy Park and the Garvaghy Centre of Excellence. Liam continues to contribute to Ulster GAA, where he continues to assist with event control duties with Championship matches.

    Footballer of the Year – Raymond Galligan, An Cabhán

    It was a memorable season for the Lacken club man Raymond Galligan, captaining Cavan to their first Ulster Senior title since 1997. The Breffni goalkeeper was inspirational throughout the campaign, not only making critical saves and important interventions in his goal, but also scoring vital points at the other end to help his team to victory.

    Hurler of the Year – Ciarán Clarke, Aontroim

    Clarke was a key figure for Antrim as they earned promotion to Division One of the Allianz National Hurling League before going on to win the Joe McDonagh Cup by defeating Kerry in the final at Croke Park. The Ballycastle man was prolific throughout the year with his high scoring displays that helped propel the Saffrons to glory.

    The McGlinchey Cup for Referee of the Year – Paul Faloon, An Dún

    Drumgath club man Faloon established himself as one of the top young referees in the country last year. He stepped up to the Senior Championship referees’ panel before taking charge of his first Championship game, the Ulster SFC Quarter Final between Cavan and Antrim at Kingspan Breffni. Paul capped off his memorable year by officiating the All-Ireland U-20 Football Final between Galway and Dublin at Croke Park.

    McMahon to the ‘four’ as Dunloy beat Cushendall

    Senior Reserve Hurling Cup

    Dunloy 4-19 Cushendall 3-15

    Dunloy full forward Chrissy McMahon steered his team to victory over Cushendall in Monday evening’s Reserve Cup round-robin game at Pearse Park. The Cuchullains full forward was in superb form, hitting 4 goals and 4 points in a man of the match performance in a 4-19 to 3-15 win.

    Chrissy McMahon scores the first of his four goals in Monday evening’s win over Cushendall.

    McMahon’s finishing power was the main difference in the two teams in a game that was well contested up until the final quarter. Dunloy always held the upper hand, but Cushendall kept bringing themselves back into contention, only to be knocked back each time by a McMahon goal.

    McMahon’s two goals came in the opening quarter, the first on 8 minutes and the second on 14 to help his team to a 2-6 to 0-6 lead at the first water break. Cushendall grabbed the first three points after the break through Pierce McKeegan, Scott Walsh and Paddy Sharpe and by half time they were just two in arrears.

    The visitors had closed the gap to a single point early in the second half when McMahon grabbed goal number three and he followed that up with a point 30 seconds later. A goal from Colm McKeegan nearing the second half water break kept Cushendall in contention but after that it was all Dunloy as Liam McCann, Ciaran Elliott and McMahon popped over the points, and when the full forward got his fourth goal seven minutes from time there was no way back for the visitors.

    Scott Walsh sends over a Cushendall point

    To their credit Cushendall kept battling to the very end and they finished on a high as Colm McKeegan grabbed two late goals to complete his hat-trick. However it was a case of too little, too late as the Cuchullains already had the points wrapped up.