Posts by thesaffrongael

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

St Galls make it back-to-back wins with comeback victory at Milltown

Andersonstown SC Intermediate Hurling Championship Group 1 

St Galls 2-17-2-13 Creggan Kickhams

Kevin Herron reports from Milltown

St Galls fought back from two-points behind at the break to see off Creggan with a 2-17-2-13 victory at Milltown on Sunday evening. 

The visitors dominated for large spells of the opening half with Kevin Rice’s early strike helping them into a 1-08-0-05 lead. 

But Anton McCaffrey netted before the break and St Galls quickly got back on terms afterwards and hit the front with substitute Sean McAreavey making an impact from the bench and Mark Napier pulling in some vital scores. 

A Morgan Nelson goal helped Creggan eventually restore parity, but they were undone late-on by a Napier goal in injury-time that helped the hosts to victory and a second win in the Group. 

Sean Duffin got Creggan off the mark early-on and things got better when Kevin Rice made an angle for himself and shot low past Kurtis McGreevey and to the net. 

The visitors extended their lead through a point from Oran McCann before Jackson McGreevy initiated a reply for St Galls. 

Duffin floated over his second point of the half and the Staffordstown outfit almost had a second goal when Aidan Maguire picked out Morgan Nelson, the wing-half forward looked to be heading towards the target but opted for a point.

It was largely one-way traffic and Creggan moved 1-05-0-01 ahead after Kevin Rice adjusted his run and steered the ball between the posts.

St Galls were in need of some inspiration and Niall O’Neill produced an excellent effort from range that sailed between the posts. 

The sides traded the next four scores equally, Creggan twice re-established their seven-point lead with points from Sean Duffin and Morgan Nelson. 

On both occasions the hosts produced points of their own at the other end, Fergus Donnelly picked out Jackson McGreevy to swing over his second point and Mark Napier then produced a stunning score from a difficult angle. 

Napier quickly doubled his tally for the evening, but Kevin Rice guided a shot between the sticks to ensure Creggan were in control with a 1-08-0-05 lead. 

Although that lead would be halved before the interval, on 26 minutes a fantastic long ball into the forward-line from Jackson McGreevy was seized by Anton McCaffrey- who turned and sent a low shot to the net past Brendan Prenter. 

Fergus Donnelly would clip over a point in the aftermath and at the break, only two-points separated the sides, and it was all to play for. 

St Galls began the second period on the front-foot with Ryan Irvine converting a free and Jackson McGreevy producing a fine point from range to tie things up at 1-08 apiece. 

McGreevy would nudge the Miltown side ahead for the very first time and Mark Napier fizzed a shot over the crossbar to double their advantage. 

Their lead was halved when Oran McCann converted a free to get Creggan up and running again. 

Napier would bring his tally to four for the evening with a straight-forward placed-ball and substitute Sean McAreavey wasted no time in making an impact from the bench with a point that give his side a 1-12-1-09 lead.

The Galls extended their lead through a further Napier free- though with 12 minutes remaining Creggan salvaged a lifeline. 

Morgan Nelson fires home his sides second goal

Declan McCann hoisted a high ball forward, a flick-on fell invitingly to Morgan Nelson and his low shot flew past Kurtis McGreevy to bring the deficit back to the bare minimum. 

Substitute McAreavey would double his tally, but at the other end Oran McCann picked out namesake Ruairi to float over a reply and bring it back to a one-point game. 

Ruairi McCann then got to the resulting puck-out and laid the ball off to Sean Duffin- who swung over the equaliser to tie the game up a 1-14-2-11. 

Points were again traded in the aftermath with Patrick Friel edging St Galls ahead and Oran McCann restoring parity through a close range free. 

Friel doubled his tally from out wide and gave the hosts an advantage that they wouldn’t let slip in injury-time. 

The crucial score arrived two minutes in after Sean McAreavey chased a lost cause and recycled the ball to Mark Napier to fire to the net and give their side a 2-16-2-12 lead. 

Oran McCann converted a free in the aftermath to ensure that his side would at least have the chance of an equaliser if time allowed it, but they wouldn’t get that chance as Sean McAreavey floated over his third point from his introduction to ensure that St Galls made it two-wins from two at the start of their Championship campaign. 

St Galls: K McGreevy,L O’Ciarain, J McDaniel, D Wilson, N O’Neill (0-01), R Irvine (0-01), C McCarthy, J Hopkins, F Donnelly (0-01), T O’Ciarain, R Wilson, J McGreevy (0-04), P Friel (0-02), A McCaffery (1-00), M Napier (1-05, 0-02f). 

Subs: S McAreavy (0-03) for F Donnelly (43), G McGreevy for R Wilson (43), C McCaffery for R Irvine (57), C Sheehan for A McCaffery (59). 

Creggan Kickhams: B Prenter, A Maguire, A McKeown, J McAteer, D McCann, L McCann, T McLarnon, K McCann, R McCann (0-01), M Nelson (1-02), O McCann (0-04, 0-03f), S Duffin (0-04), D Mulholland, K Rice (1-02), D Carey. 

Subs: B Maguire for D McCann (50). 

Referee: Eamon Hamill (St Teresa’s)

Tir na nOg on top in Whitehill goal fest

 Andersonstown SC IHC Group 2

Tir na nOg 5-24 Gort na Mona 6-12 

Photographs: Bert Trowlen  

Tir na nOg made it 2 wins from 2 starts in the Andersonstown SC IHC Group 2 when they overcame the challenge of a spirited Gort na Mona in a high scoring goal fest at Whitehill today. The Randalstown side led 2-12 to 2-8 at half time with their goals coming from Colm Duffin and Darragh Fagan while Dessie McClean was in superb form for the visitors, getting both Gort na Mona goals before going on to add two more in the second half.

It was McClean who opened the scoring for the visitors with a point in the first minute but Tir na nOg replied with two from Sean Duffin to go ahead with 7 minutes gone. Neil Henry and Patrick Cournane edged the visitors in front once more before Sean Duffin and Eamon Og McAllister replied for the Whitehill side to restore their lead by the11th minute.

It was inspiring end to end hurling with the only sweeper on duty cleaning up the Tir na nOg dressing rooms and the excellent Dessie McLean levelled matters again before getting the final touch to a dropping ball and flicking it to the net as the men from the Mona bypass hit the front once more.

Sean Duffin for Tir na nOg and McClean for the ‘Gorts’ exchanged further points as the thrill a minute action continued and Colm Duffin got in for the home sides opening goal to draw matters all square again by the 19th minute as an appreciative crowd roared their approval.

The game continued at a blistering pace as Sean Duffin and Aaron McNeilly edged the Whitehill side two in front but back came the visitors once again with the superb Dessie McClean hitting three on the bounce.

It was Tir na nOg who finished the half stronger however with full-back Christy Sheerin striking a great individual point and Sean Duffin, Darragh Fagan 0-3, Aaron McNeilly and Michael Higgins splitting the post before Fagan fired to the net to leave his side four ahead at the break.

Within two minutes of the second half Gort na Mona were back on level terms as man of the match McClean fielded a high ball before turning and rifling it to the net and the same player followed with a point to serve notice that the Enright Park side were not there just to make up the numbers.

Sean Duffin replied with a point but McClean was proving almost unmarkable as he repeated his earlier individual fete with his and his side’s 4th goal and when Darren Boyd followed with a point the visitors looked to be gaining the upper hand.

The champions of two years ago are made of sterner stuff however and a superb goal from Eamon Og McAllister got them on their way again when he fired an unstoppable shot to the top corner of the net in the 6th minute to swing the game back in his side’s favour.

Patrick McCaffrey replied with a Gort na Mona point but Sean Duffin responded with three on the bounce and Josh Higgins followed with another before Colm Duffin got in for a goal in the 16th minute.

At this stage the home side looked on their way to victory as Ciaran O’Neill got his name on the score sheet with a point but Gort na Mona were still giving it everything with Dessie McClean leading the way and he fired over three points (1 ‘65’) by the 22nd minute and when Patrick McCaffrey followed with a goal it was back in the melting pot.

As before the home side made quick reply as Darragh Fagan, Colm Duffin, a superb long range effort from Caoimhin Duffin and another from Sean Duffin gave them some breathing space but it wasn’t over yet.

Gort na Mona came back with a scrambled goal in the 29th minute but this time there would be no comeback as Duffin and Higgins replied with points before their best player on view, Sean Duffin made matters secure when he punished a mistake by the visitors defence to fire to the net.

The final point of the game fell to Gort na Mona’s Neill Henry but it was merely a consolation score and it is Tir na nOg who top Group 2 with 4 points from two games closely followed by Cloney Gaels and Cushendun and the two quarter-final places looks like being between these three with Tir na nOg’s visit to Ahoghill on the 21st August looking like one not to be missed.                                                                                                                                                    

Tir na nOg: 1 Kevin Sheerin, 2 Neil Shannon, 3 Christy Sheerin, 4 Connor McCamphill, 5 Ethan Higgins, 6 Caoimhin Duffin, 7 Manus Smith, 8 Ciaran O’Neill, 9 Aaron McNeilly, 10 Eamon Og McAllister, 11 Ciaran Logan, 12 Sean Duffin, 13 Niall Devlin, 14 Colm Duffin, 15 Darragh Fagan,

Gort na Mona: I Niall Healy, 2 Liam Dixon, 3 Gavin McKenna, 4 James Connolly, 5 Neil Henry, 6 Padraig McHugh, 7 Mark Rea, 8 Declan Hughes, 9 Patrick McCaffrey, 10 Patrick Cournane, 11 Darren Boyd, 12 Conor McCann, 13 David Dixon, 14 Gary Doyle, 15 Dessie McClean

Referee: Sean Elliott (Lamh Dhearg)

Dynamic Dervla sees the Saffrons home

Antrim 5-5
Armagh 0-14 

Four goals from Dervla Cosgrove including three in 84 first-half seconds, and three saves from Áine Graham were among the more notable events as Antrim came out on top of an action-packed Glen Dimplex All-Ireland Premier Junior Camogie Final. 

This was a remarkable end to an inaugural campaign for the county’s second string, finishing in glory at Croke Park less than a year after their flagship side secured senior status by winning the intermediate title. 

This victory suggests that the Saffrons’ production line is in fine working order but Armagh will rue the failure to convert even one of their goal chances, while a catalogue of defensive calamities left Cosgrove in for some of the easiest green flags she will ever register. 

Former Cork star, Jenny Curry was a real threat for Armagh but they could not provide her with sufficient quality supply and in the second half, Antrim made sure the eight-time All-Star was at least doubly attended. 

Player of the match Dervla Cosgrove 13, her sister Sinead and Cushendall club mate Claire Kearney with the cup after their side’s win over Armagh in Croke Park. Pic by John McIlwaine

Cosgrove earned the player-of-the-match plaudits and there could be no arguments about that with her three-goal salvo in under a minute and a half ultimately deciding the match, her fourth major cementing the verdict. 

It was last year’s minor captain, Fionnuala Kelly that made the early impact though, after Armagh had begun confidently with points from Ellie McKee and a brilliant Ciara Donnelly strike. 

Joint team captains Maria McLarnon and Emma Laverty lift the Junior Championship Cup

The teenager, whose sister Maeve was player of the match for the intermediates last year, split the posts to get the team managed by Brian Kearney and Mark McFadden off the mark and then goaled in the eighth minute following a move started by Anna McNeill. When Cosgrove’s cross generated only the minutest of heavy touches from Ciarrai Devlin, Kelly was in like a flash to bat to the net. 

Curry, following a fantastic Donnelly delivery, and Rachael Merry settled Armagh with points but Cosgrove’s treble from the 21st to the 23rd minutes blew the game apart and left Jim McKernan’s crew playing catch-up. 

Megan McGarry with her granny Ita after the game

His defence had been marked absent too often in that period and the Antrim native, who was joint manager of last year’s successful Antrim intermediate team, made two substitutions that helped shore things up for Armagh. 

You sensed that the damage had been done and though Sinéád Quinn, Michelle McArdle and Donnelly (two) pointed, the Orchard women trailed by 4-3 to 0-9 at the interval. 

It could have been very different but goalkeeping is clearly in the Graham genes as Áine, sister of senior netminder Caitrin, was extremely alert between the posts. Donnelly, after being set up by Curry, also rattled a shot off the butt of the upright. 

Armagh gradually reassumed control in terms of play at least in the second half, and when Curry pointed in the 47th minute after a trademark flick, easy pick-up, side-step and finish, the margin was down to three. 

Nuala Devlin solos in towards goal in the move which led to Antrim’s fifth goal

Cosgrove’s close range finish after Devlin’s stupendous save from Nuala Devlin a minute later, followed by another Graham save from McArdle helped Antrim close it out. 

ANTRIM: A Graham, M McLarnon, E Kearns, E McShane, C Crawford, M McGarry, S Cosgrove, C Kearney, A McNeill, O Laverty, C McNaughton, Bríd Magill, E Laverty, D Cosgrove, F Kelly. Subs: N Devlin for O Laverty (39); Brónach Magill for S Cosgrove (47); E Leech for McNaughton (51); T O’Neill for Kelly 

ARMAGH: C Devlin, M Lenehan, N Woods, E O’Kane, G McCann, E Hayes, T Maguire, M McArdle, L Donnelly, C Doyle, C Donnelly, E McKee, R Merry, J Curry, S Quinn. Subs: E Lavery for Lenehan, C O’Kane for Woods (both 26); B Murray for McKee (34); K Comiskey for Merry (40); E Smyth for Doyle (55) 

SCORERS FOR ANTRIM: D Cosgrove 4-2(); F Kelly 1-2; E Leech 0-1 

SCORERS FOR ARMAGH: C Donnelly 0-5(3fs); J Curry 0-2; M McArdle, L Donnelly, E McKee, R Merry, S Quinn, E Smyth, K Comiskey 0-1 each 

REFEREE: Mike Ryan (Tipperary) 

St. John’s withstand late rally to claim the points

Bathshack SHC Group 2 round 1

St. John’s 0-25 Loughgiel 1-20

St. John’s and Loughgiel served up a great championship opener at Corrigan Park yesterday with the home side threatening to run away with it at one stage but forced to withstand a late Loughgiel comeback at the end.

In a sometimes bruising contest the Corrigan Park side lost two players late in the game, one to a straight Red and the other to a second yellow but did enough over the hour to justify their two point win.

St. John’s made a blistering start to this one and shot into a 0-4 to 0-0 lead by the 8th minute with Ruairi Galbraith 0-3 (1 ‘65’) and Ciaran Johnston on target while the visitors hit a number of wides with the posts proving an elusive target for the Shamrocks.

Rian McMullan finally got them on their way as he pointed a free in the 9th minute but it brought another response from the ‘Johnnies’ with Ruairi Galbraith, Andy McGowan, Conor Johnston and Aaron Bradley all on target as a hungrier St. John’s moved 0-8 to 0-1 ahead by the 12th minute and at this stage they were threatening to run away with it.

Conal Bohill for St. John’s and Donal McKinley for Loughgiel exchanged further points and Peter McCallin added a fine long range score before Ciaran McKay got forward for the visitors third score in the 20th minute.

It was St. John’s who continued to hold the upper hand as the Loughgiel wide tally increased and Paddy Nugent and Oisin McManus extended the home side’s lead with Rian McMullan replying with two converted frees for the Shamrocks.

The visitors were battling hard to get themselves into contention and enjoyed some success in the period leading up to half time with Declan McCloskey 0-2 and Rian McMullan finding the target and Aaron Bradley and Michael Dudley replying for the Whiterock men to leave them 0-14 to 0-8 ahead at the short whistle.

Loughgiel needed a good start to the second half but in the event it was St. John’s who opened the second as they had the first with the impressive Ruairi Galbraith adding three quick-fire points to extend his side’s lead to 9 with only five minutes of the second half gone

The hits were going in hard and fast as referee Colum Cunning issued a number of yellow cards and Loughgiel came back with points from Eddie McCloskey and Paul Boyle as they tried to get themselves back into contention.

The home side were determined not to let that happen as the excellent Ruairi Galbraith replied from a couple of well struck frees before Loughgiel responded again through a Rian McMullan free and a fine long range point from Declan McCloskey.

Things were certainly livening up as the intensity of the game stepped up another notch with Aaron Bradley on target for St. John’s before the Shamrock’s came storming back with three on the trot through the impressive Rian McMullan to leave just three in it with five minutes of normal time remaining.

Peter McCallin and Michael Dudley edged the home side five in front again and when Dudley and McManus added two more with time almost up St. John’s looked home and hosed but Loughgiel were far from finished.

Rian McMullan, Rory McCloskey from a ‘65’ and Daniel McCloskey were all on target before Oisin McManus eased the pressure with a ‘Johnnies’ point at the other end but the momentum was now very much with the visitors as they battled to salvage something from the game.

They were handed a lifeline when a long range shot from around mid-field ended in the ‘Johnnies’ net as the game moved into added time with the home side reduced to 13 men as things threatened to boil over but the final score of the game fell to Conor Johnston to see his side home by two points.

A typical championship game between two strong and determined sides but in the end it was St. John’s who did enough to claim both points though Loughgiel will rue the number of wides they shot over the hour and it is an area they will want to improve on when they meet Ruairi Og at Dunsilly in round 2 on the 19th of August.

St. John’s travel to St. Enda’s on the same day and a win there would put them in a strong position for a quarter-final spot.

St. Johns: 3 Ryan McNulty, 4 Odhran Carleton 5 Peter McCallin, 6 Padraig Nugent, 7 Conal Bohill, 8 Michael Bradley, 9 Michal Dudley, 10 Andy McGowan, 11 Domhnall Nugent, 12 Conor Johnston, 13 Ciaran Johnston, 14 Aaran Bradley, 15 Ruairi Galbraith, 16 Declan Cregan 17 Oisin McManus, 22 Ciaran McKenna

Loughgiel: 1 Chris O’Connell, 2 Caolan Blair, 3 Christy McGarry, 4 Ciaran McKay, 5 Daniel McCloskey, 8 Declan McCloskey, 9 Donal McKinley, 10 Eddie McCloskey, 11 Enda Og McGarry, 18 Paul Boyle, 19 Rian McMullan, 20 Ronan mcCloskey, 21 Rory McCloskey, 22 Ruairi McCormick  

Referee: Colum Cunning (Dunloy)

Lámhs feel good factor continues with draw in Championship opener

Casement SC Junior Hurling Championship 

Lámh Dhearg 1-14-0-17 Shane O’Neills 

Kevin Herron reports from Hannahstown

Lámh Dhearg hurlers ensured that the feel-good factor around Hannahstown this weekend was maintained after they held on for a share of the spoils in Championship opener with Shane O’Neills on Saturday evening. 

The Division 3 champions made the trip to Hannahstown hoping to spoil the party atmosphere that had the club had experienced prior to throw-in and get their own Championship campaign off to a winning start. 

Dylan McLaughlin steered over an early point to edge Glenarm ahead, but Odrán Waldron restored parity from a free and Declan Lynch swung over a point from play after Sean-Paul Gibson and Fionn Mervyn linked-up to great effect. 

McLaughlin restored parity and doubled his account with a terrific effort from range and Shane O’Neills were ahead again through a converted free from danger-man Darren Hamill. 

The lead changed hands again, Declan Lynch’s free dropped short and Gerard Smyth gathered and fired over on the turn before Aidan McGuigan dropped a high shot between the posts to give his side a 0-04-0-03 lead. 

Aidan Scullion showed great determination to force an error from Declan Lynch and capitalise with a point, though Lynch atoned – swinging over a fantastic effort that went over at the near post. 

The theme of the half continued as the sides continued to cancel each-other out, Niall McGarrel angled over an equaliser, only for Lynch to fire over his third point of the half. 

McGarrel replied again to tie things up for the sixth time, at the other end Declan Lynch flighted in a 65’ that dropped short, Gerard Smyth gathered and helped it into the path of Daniel Murray- who popped the ball over.

Niall McGarrel pulled his side level with a third point on the spin and Shane O’Neill’s took the lead for the third time with a Daniel Black shot from distance dropping over the bar. 

As the half drew to a close Lámh Dhearg hit the front again courtesy of back-to-back frees from Declan Lynch, though Ciaran Magill would reply from the same scenario as the sides went in at the break with score evenly poised at 0-09 apiece. 

Magill would edge his side back Infront upon the resumption, but the lead lasted less than 60-seconds as Declan Lynch got to Rhys Camlin’s puck-out and guided a high effort between the posts to level. 

Back-to-back free’s from Darren Hamill opened up a two-point cushion- Michael Abram ensured his side stayed in front when a quickly taken Declan Lynch free fell to Odrán Waldron and the Kilkenny native’s goal bound attempt was helped over by the Shane O’Neills shot-stopper. 

The visitors could have found the net themselves at the other end, Darren Hamill slipped the ball through to Kevin O’Boyle- who advanced, and his shot rose over the bar. 

At the other end Declan Lynch harried and hassled a mistake close to the by-line and possession was switched to the path of Odrán Waldron to produce a sensational score to reduce arrears to the bare minimum (0-13-0-12). 

Darren Hamill restored Glenarm’s two-point lead from a converted free and Daniel Black then extended the lead further with ten minutes remaining. 

The visitors suffered a blow when goal-keeper Abram was forced off with an injury and one of understudy- Christopher Magill’s first tasks was to lift the ball from the back of his net as the Lámhs drew level. 

Sean-Paul Gibson takes aim for the goal that would draw his side level

Daniel Murray did enough to guide the ball into the path of Sean-Paul Gibson who showed neat footwork and took off towards goal before unleashing a fiercely driven shot into the top corner of the net to make it 1-12-0-15. 

For the first time in the half the hosts hit the front thanks to a Fionn Mervyn effort from distance that dropped over the bar. 

Ciaran Magill floated over an equaliser and Shane O’Neill’s went ahead for the last time on the 59th minute through a converted Darren Hamill free. 

Shane O’Neill’ tried to see the game out, but two minutes into added time Lámh Dhearg salvaged a share of the spoils when Aidan McGuigan sent a high angled shot over the bar. 

They pushed for the win in the aftermath but in the process lost Declan Lynch to a red card. The visitors were unable to make the use of their numerical advantage though as he sounded the final whistle shortly after the free was taken and in the end both sides were forced to settle for a point apiece. 

Lámh Dhearg: R Camlin, C Nolan, J Brady, M McGuigan, SP Gibson (1-00), P Mervyn, B Rice, A McGuigan (0-02), C Boyd, F Mervyn (0-01), D Lynch (0-07,0-02f),D Murray (0-01), O Waldron (0-02, 0-01f), G Smyth (0-01), T McKenna. Subs: C McGuigan for M McGuigan (HT). 

Shane O’Neill’s: M Abram, Kieran O’Boyle, B Hamill, L Og McLaughlin, P McDermott, D McDermott, A Scullion (0-01), D Black (0-02), Kieran O’Boyle , S O’Boyle, D Hamill (0-05f), D McLaughlin (0-02), Kevin O’Boyle (0-01), C Magill (0-03, 0-01f), N McGarel (0-03).  Subs: C Magill for M Abram (52), B O’Boyle for S O’Boyle (58). 

Referee: Darren McKeown (St Galls)