Posts by thesaffrongael

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

Brídíní Óga turn the tables in league final

U16 Div 1B league Final

Brídíní Óga Glenravel 5-5 Creggan 2-8

By Seamus McAleenan

THE under 16 season for Creggan and Brídíní Óga finished at two wins each and one piece of silverware each after the Glenravel girls bounced back from defeat in the championship final to pick up the league title at Ahoghill on Saturday.

Evanne Martin’s name was on everyone’s lips after the championship decider when the midfielder orchestrated a late fight back for Creggan to grab the title. This time the Brídíní Óga captain Sarah Fyfe was the key player in a game that could well have gone either way until she burst through the centre at the start of injury time and fired to the Creggan net for the fourth time.

Fyfe was the danger player throughout, but Glenravel could afford to persevere with her on the edge of the square because of the power of the Law twins at midfield, and the dominance of Jessica McIlhatton, Aisling Donnelly and Aisling Mulholland in defence in front of another star performer Caitlin McKeown who pulled off at least four brilliant stops during the second half.

Creggan struggled to cope with the intensity of the Glenravel challenge although they were never too far off them on the score-board thanks mainly to the probing of Cerys O’Neill who was one of three Creggan players to have won the Junior championship last Saturday.

O’Neill got Creggan off to the perfect start with a goal in the first minute. Although Emily Sharpe (with a point from a free) and Sarah Fyfe with a goal edged Brídíní Óga ahead, a good move from Creggan saw Mary Murray test Caitlin McKeown and the sliotar fell nicely for Cara McCann to tap home.

Fyfe and Ella McAteer swopped points before Fyfe took on the Creggan defence and forced home a goal. That put Brídíní Óga ahead and they maintained that advantage through to half time when they held a slender 2-4 to 2-3 lead.

Shortly after the re-start Sarah Fyfe completed her hat-trick, but from then until the water break it was all Creggan with McKeown called on several times to keep her team in the game.

Two Cerys O’Neill points closed the gap, but the Glenravel girls were still ahead, 3-4 to 2-6, by the second water break.

Emer Butler fired in a fourth goal for Glenravel on the restart, but Creggan had their chances to close in. However McKeown again pulled off a couple of point blank saves and as Brídíní Oga lifted the siege Emily Sharpe delivered a point after a strong run from Sarah Fyfe and Fyfe then iced the cake with her fourth goal.

It proved to be a good day for Glenravel at Ahoghill as earlier on their under 16 hurlers picked up the championship title with a flurry of goals. In the afternoon Sarah Fyfe hit the net often enough for the camógs to also take home silverware.

Brídíní Óga Glenravel : Caitlin McKeown, Roisin Mulholland, Jessica McIlhatton, Toni Kerr, Aisling Mulholland, Aisling Donnelly, Erin Coulter, Megan Law, Caitlin Law, Emily Sharpe (0-4, 3 frees), Eibhlin Gould, Eimear Butler (1-0), Niamh Small, Amy McIlhatton, Sarah Fyfe (4-1), Aoibhin McKenna

Subs : Annie Higgins for Toni Kerr, Clodagh McPeake for A McIlhatton, Caoimhe Higgins for A McKenna, Dearbhail Kerr for A Mulholland

Creggan: Trea Donnelly, Helen McElwee, Rose Carey-Small, Hannah Gately, Tara Hamill, Maria Gately, Neva Chauhan, Aine Colgan, Evanne Martin (0-2 frees), Ella McAteer (0-1), Roseanne Mulholland, Megan Darragh, Cara McCann (1-0), Mary Murray, Cerys ONeill (1-3).

Subs : Ashley Larkin for E Martin, Niamh McBride for H McElwee, Cora Duffin for T Hamill.

Referee : Ciaran McCloskey (Loughgiel)

Tir na nOg claim the title in 7 goal thriller

Antrim Intermediate Camogie Championship final replay

Tír na nÓg 4-11 O’Donovan Rossa 3-6

Pics by Bert Trowlen

Last week these sides couldn’t be separated in a dull encounter at Hightown which finished 0-8 each but on Saturday in Ballymena Tir na nOg and Rossa shook off the defensive shackles to produce an enthralling final which produced 7 goal and 17 points over the hour.

In perfect conditions at Slemish Park, both sides served up a thriller with goals from Emily Falloon (2-0), Aine Devlin and Niamh Martin swinging it the way of the Whitehill girls with Devlin, who scored all 8 of Tir na nOg’s points last week adding another six today.

Rossa looked to be gaining the upper hand during the early exchanges but suffered a blow when Múirín Quinn was forced off with an injury midway through the opening half, a severe blow to the Rossa defence who were then hit with a rather fortuitous goal from Emily Falloon that spurred the Randalstown outfit on.

The sides were level early in the second half, but Tír na nÓg again struck with vital goals that saw the contest swing very much in their favour and they pushed on to take the title.

Emily Falloon was a constant threat for the Randalstown side playing in a deep role and behind most of the positive play that Tir na nOg produced while Aine Devlin was again excellent from placed balls.

Despite getting off to a great start with two early goals, Rossa just couldn’t keep up their early momentum as the Tír na nÓg defence got on top and kept a tight rein on their opponents for the rest of the game.

Aine Devlin was Tir na nOg’s only scorer a week ago and she opened their account today from an early free.

However, Rossa quickly settled and after a couple of missed opportunities, they struck for the game’s first goal on five minutes when Orlaith McCall’s long free troubled the Tir na nOg defence and after a mix-up Riona Matthews was on hand to finish to the net.

They were in for a second goal five minutes later when a fine move saw Sarah Armstrong place Matthews who set up Eimear Byrne and the wing-forward fired to the net.

Michaela Press made a good save at the other end from Carla O’Neill but Rossa added to their tally with Natalie McGuinness converting a free to move them 2-1 to 0-1 ahead at the water break.

Múirín Quinn was forced off injured and this seemed to unsettle the Rossa defence as Tír na nÓg stepped up a gear and began to take charge.

Devlin got them on their way from a free and another from play and they struck with their first goal on 25 minutes as Falloon’s long effort dropped to the net.

The scores began to flow for the Randalstown side with Devlin (free), Falloon, Caitlin McGaughey and Michaela Hegarty finding the target but Rossa had the final say of the half from a McGuinness free to leave them just two in arrears at the break and all still to play for in the second half.

The Belfast side made a good start to the second half and two pointed McGuinness frees levelled the contest and she hit another from play before Devlin squared matters once more.

However, Tír na nÓg again took charge with Devlin putting them back into the lead from a free and on 43 minutes they struck decisively and Caitlin McGaughey’s delivery was claimed by Carla O’Neill who found Falloon and she made no mistake as she fired to the net.

The Tir na nOg girls looked to be in for another but Bronagh Orchin cleared off the line from Hegarty who did hit a point moments later as Tír na nÓg led 2-10 to 2-5 at the water break.

They were now in the driving seat and when Niamh Martin robbed Rossa keeper Press with ten minutes remaining before finishing to the net it looked as good as over.

A Hegarty point followed as Tír na nÓg looked to have put the game to bed, but credit to Rossa who refused to give up and after Orlaith McCall landed a long free, they grabbed a lifeline when McGuinness found the net from a close range free to leave just five in it with five minutes remaining.

However, they just couldn’t create the opportunity for another major that really would have set up a grandstand finish as the Tír na nÓg’s closed shop.

Aine Devlin put the icing on another fine individual performance with her long range free dipping to the net to secure a deserved victory to add the Intermediate Camogie title to the Intermediate Hurling one the club won last weekend.

TÍR NA nÓG: A McAtamney; B Devlin, A Mooney, C Martin; EL McAreavey, O O’Neill, Cameron McGaughey; S O’Neill, Caitlin McGaughey (0-1); A Devlin (1-6, 1-4 frees, 0-1 45), C O’Neill, M Hegarty (0-3); N Martin (1-0), E Falloon (2-1), H Crilly. Subs: G Dobbin for H Crilly (HT), D O’Neill for C O’Neill (60+5).

ROSSA: M Press; N Semple, C Quinn, C McMenamin; B Orchin, M Quinn, O McCall (0-1 free); C McNeice, N Killen; R Matthews (1-0), N McGuinness (1-5, 1-4 frees), E Byrne (1-0); S Armstrong, C Shannon, M McGourty. Subs: E Matthews for M Quinn, G Shannon for R Matthews (44).

REFEREE: Owen Elliott (Ballymena)

Naomh Comhghall advance to meet Ardoyne in the final

Antrim Junior Football Championship, semi-final

St Comgall’s 1-12 Pearse’s 0-8

St. Comgall’s Antrim advanced to the final of the Antrim Junior Football championship when they defeated Pearses in the semi-final in Ballymena today. Both sides had been halted in their progress following a protest by O’Donnell’s but today matters were settled on the playing field with the Antrim town side running out seven point winners.

St. Comhghall’s hit 1-2 late in the opening half after Na Piarsaigh had Tom McFarlane Black carded and those scores were to prove decisive despite their opponents fight to the final whistle.

The New Lodge Road side gave it everything but just couldn’t find the goal that might have given them a lifeline as the Antrim Town side ran out winners to set up a meeting with Ardoyne next week.

Pearses will reflect on a number of missed opportunities that would have brought them closer and whilst St Comgall’s were just that bit more clinical in front of the posts, they too spurned a number of chances that could have made victory more decisive.

St. Comgall’s took an early lead when Miles Devine converted his first of the day from a free, with Pearses growing into the game thanks to excellent work around the middle third from McFarlane, but they just couldn’t make possession count as they missed several opportunities.

Devine doubled the St.Comgall’s lead on 10 minutes from another free and they got their first from play straight after as Tom Patchett fired over after Devine broke down Ryan McAuley’s long delivery into his path.

Pearse’s couldn’t find the target in the opening quarter despite Daniel Magee looking dangerous, but they were finally off the mark when Sean Moreland kicked a free on 16 minutes.

St Comgall’s hit back with a quick exchange of passes setting Patrick O’Connor in on the left to score, but Pearse’s were beginning to gain a foothold and Magee kicked a good score, but should have found the net on 25 minutes when through, but rolled his shot wide.

Moreland did convert a free to reduce the gap to one approaching the half way stage when Pearse’s were dealt a major blow as McFarlane was issued with a black card and 10 minutes in the sin-bin for trailing down James McCabe.

St Comgall’s took control with O’Connor immediately kicking a point and three minutes into stoppage time, substitute Peter McAuley took advantage of a slip as he got on the end of a long deliverer to finish low into the net.

There was still time for Ruairi Griffin to add another score and suddenly the ‘Town’ had moved six ahead, a lead that somewhat flattered the eventual winners.

Pearse’s needed a strong start to the second half and they opened strongly on the offensive and were rewarded with a free that Moreland converted and he followed with another straight after to leave four between the teams, but this was as close as the North Belfast men would get.

St Comgall’s hit back with Joe Webb splitting the posts off his left and this was followed by a brace from Miles Devine, (one a free) as they led 1-9 to 0-5 at the water break.

Goals were needed to get Pearse’s back into contention but they had to be settle for a couple of pointed frees from Liam Deegan and Aaron Callaghan to get to within five, but St Comgall’s were always able to find an answer to maintain a healthy gap as Dylan Murdock kicked a free in response.

Pearses pushed hard and were nearly in for a goal late on but play was brought back for a free that Callaghan tapped over and St Comgall’s had the final say with Webb and another Murdock free sending them through to a meeting with Ardoyne in next week’s final.

ST COMGALL’S: B Johnston; C McAuley, C McKeown, K Walker; P Cooke, R McAuley, D Murdock (0-2, both frees); A McGaw, L Higgins; P O’Connor (0-2), J Webb (0-2), R Griffin (0-1); J McCabe (0-1), M Devine (0-4, 3 frees), T Patchett (0-1). Subs: P McAuley (1-0) for A McGaw (15), P Quinn for C McKeown (HT), O Crilly for R McAuley (49), D O’Hara for K Walker (60+5).

PEARSE’S: E McKenna; T O’Neill, A Bannon, A McCavana; P Murray, P Nolan, D O’Neill; T McFarlane, C O’Neill; L Deegan (0-1 free), P Donaghy, F Grew; S Moreland (0-4, all frees), D Magee (0-1), L Giannetto. Subs: N Largey for F Grew (HT), A Callaghan (0-2, both frees) for S Moreland (49), C Magee for D O’Neill (49).

REFEREE: Kevin Parke (Naomh Éanna)

Creggan romp to reserve Cup victory

Senior Reserve Cup Final

St Galls 1-06-2-16 Creggan

Kevin Herron reports from Hightown

Goals in each-half from Fintan Burke and Lee Johnston ensured that Creggan made a terrific start to a weekend that they hope will see a football Championship double return to Staffordstown Road after defeating St Galls 2-16-1-06 at Hightown this evening.

Conal Murray drew first blood for St Galls but the Miltown side lost Caolan Chada to a straight red-card and Creggan made use of their numerical advantage with Burke netting to give his side a 1-08-1-05 lead at the interval.

St Galls only managed a solitary point in the second period as Creggan dominated with Lee Johnston bundling home a second from Leon Boones free.

Unfortunately tempers frayed as the game drew to a conclusion and both sides finished with 13-men apiece.

Declan and Dermot McCann departed for Creggan with Che Ferguson seeing the line for St Galls.

It had little impact on the final outcome though with Creggan already home and dry and worthy winners on the day.

Creggan were first off the mark on a sun-soaked afternoon in Glengormley as Killian Burke carried the ball forward and slipped it off to Dominic McAteer who guided it between the posts.

Conal Murray restored parity at the other end but McAteer doubled his tally in reply after some impressive work in defence by captain Jake McAteer.

St Galls hit the front after seven minutes as Conal Murray was played through on the angle and the midfielder confidently finished past Leon Boones to give his side a 1-01-0-02 advantage.

Fintan Burke hit back through a converted free and Creggan were back on terms after Diarmuid Mulholland shot over on the turn.

The turning point in the opening-half arrived just before the water-break as Caolan Chada hit out off the ball and after consultation with his officials  referee Paul Burns dismissed the St Galls number nine.

An angled point from Liam McCann ensured Creggan held the lead for the third time but St Galls pulled level through Conn Doherty’s effort that squeezed inside the near post.

The sides traded further scores through Jake McAteer and Doherty before Creggan seized the initiative.

Back to back points from Diarmuid Mulholland and Kealan McCann was then followed up by a goal from Fintan Burke after a terrific and slick move to give them a 1-08-1-03 lead.

St Galls rallied before the break through Niall Burns- converting a free and then popping over after Ruairi Wilson’s placed ball dropped short to ensure that three-points separated the sides at the midway point.

Both sides converted early second-half frees through Fintan Burke and Niall Burns before Creggan took a firm grip on the game and kept St Galls scoreless at the other end.

Diarmuid Mulholland swung over his third point of the contest and Burke converted two further frees.

Midway through the second-half goalkeeper Leon Boones volunteered to take a free from midway which was right on the money with Lee Johnston appearing to get the decisive touch to open up a 2-12-1-06 lead.

Fintan Burke chalked up two further points- his first point from play was followed by a fourth converted free.

Liam McCann would float over a further point- his second of the contest before things soured over due to an off the ball incident.

Referee Paul Burns sought advice from his team of officials and dismissed substitutes Declan McCann and Che Ferguson and after further consultation gave Dermot McCann his marching orders as both sides were reduced to 13-men.

Fintan Burke would have the final say of the evening with an intelligent score from Liam McCann’s pass to wrap up a 2-16-1-06 victory which ensured the Reserve Cup would be heading to the Staffordstown Road this evening.

St Galls: L McComrick, E McCurdy, R Gilligan, J Hopkins, R Wilson, C Ryan, O Crawford, C Murray (1-01), C Chada, M Kane, N Burns (0-03, 0-02f), C Stinton, O Delaney, C Derby, C Doherty (0-02). Subs: M McKenna for O Delaney (21), L McIlroy for M Kane (32), C Ferguson for R Wilson (50), M Hopkins for C Derby (56).

Creggan: L Boones, J McAuley, B McAteer, J McAteer (0-01), K Burke, D McCann, E Carey-Small, O McCann, P McAuley, L McCann (0-02), D McAteer (0-02), S McAuley, K McCann (0-01), F Burke (1-07, 0-05f), D Mulholland (0-03). Subs: L Johnston (1-00) for D McAteer (11), J McAteer for S McAuley (46), D McCann for L Johnston (48), B McAteer for D Mulholland (49), S Donnelly for L McCann (58).

Referee: Paul Burns (St Comgalls)

Cargin hold out to put minor titles back to back

Creagh Concrete Minor Football Championship (final)

Erin’s Own Cargin 0-09 St Brigid’s 1-05

Cargin retained their minor title when they withstood a late rally to overcome the challenge of St. Brigid’s in a good minor football final at Dunsilly on Saturday. In a repeat of last year’s final the Toome side looked to be heading for a comfortable victor but a 45th minute goal by the excellent Marcus Lynch reduced the deficit to a couple of points and ensured a pulsating last quarter.

The Cargin defence found themselves on the defensive and when centre forward Lynch added a point less than a minute into the last quarter they came under ever increasing pressure as the Musgrave Park side pressed hard for an equaliser.

The South West side stood firm however with Craig Thornton outstanding making a couple of vital interceptions in the closing minutes as Cargin breasted the winning line on a 0-09 to 1-05 scoreline to retain the title.

In a repeat of the 2019 final, Cargin and St Brigid’s lined out at Dunsilly this afternoon to contest the 2020 version with both having impressed on their way to the final and a close game was very much anticipated.

The South West side had the wind at their backs in the opening half and it was the defending champions who were first out of the starting blocks and less than a minute into the game, Conhuir Johnston raised white, punishing a foul on Paudie McLaughlin.

Eunan Quinn and Odhran Molloy had combined to win the throw in and when the leather was fed into Paudie McLaughlin and when he was impeded Conhuir Johnston was not troubled to despatch the resultant free between the posts.

A good start by the Toome side and Johnston doubled his tally when he sent a 35 metre free between the posts before Tom Shivers followed with another to move the reigning champions 0-3 to 0-0 ahead after 8 minutes.

St Brigid’s got off the mark in the 11th minute when Marcus Lynch split the posts from a 30 metre free but the South Belfast lads could well have fallen further in arrears a minute earlier as their keeper Declan Heery made a good save to deny Benen Kelly. Odhran Molloy’s lob had sent the centre forward in on goal only to be denied by the advancing net minder who made a timely intervention.

Cargin having dominated the opening quarter were only a couple of points ahead at the first water break at 0-03 to 0-01 but they stepped up the pace in the second quarter.

Eunan Quinn and Tom Shivers set up Paudie McLaughlin who was fouled as he advanced on goal and Benen Kelly despatched the resultant free between the posts from all of 50 metres.

St. Brigid’s tried to respond but could get no change out of a strong Cargin defence despite the best efforts of Marcus Lynch and Ronan Boyle who were battling hard to get their side going.

A foul on Tom shivers opened the way for Conhuir Johnston to raise another white flag in the 23rd minute with Marcus Lynch replying from a similar award at the other end to leave Cargin 0-06 to 0-02 ahead at the half way stage and good value for that lead.

The South Antrim side had the wind at their back for the second half and after Benen Kelly’s 50 metre free was just wide of the target in the opening minutes a well laid counter saw Ronan Boyle nip through the middle to grab a 36th minute point.

A good score from the centre forward but the Toome side were quick to reply as a Eunan Quinn flick opened the way for Paudie Mc Laughlin to raise white and Tom Shivers added another to extend the Cargin lead to five and at this stage they were well in control.

A 42nd minute point from Marcus Lynch when he converted a 30 metre free brought a quick response from the Erin’s Own as Sean Og O’ Neill and Tom Shivers combined to place Conhuir Johnston to make reply.

Approaching the second water break St. Brigid’s upped the ante and Oisin O’ Donnell and Conan Mc Nicholl combined to send Marcus Lynch away on the left and he fired the ball to the back of the net to reduce the deficit to two points going into the final quarter.

St Brigid’s now had the bit between their teeth and Marcus Lynch fired over another point in the 46th minute to reduce the deficit to the minimum and with the wind at their back the momentum seemed to be swinging their way.

It was backs to the wall for the Erin’s Own in the closing minutes but their defence stood tall with Cahir Donnelly, Conan Johnston and rugged corner man Craig Thornton repelling all that came their way.

A good game of football with just a kick of the ball between the sides in the end but it was Cargin who claimed their second title in two years and they will be hoping their senior side can do likewise tomorrow in Portglenone to complete a wonderful double-double.

Cargin: Shea Laverty, Conan Johnston, Cahir Donnelly, Craig Tornton, Malachi Johnston, Sean og O’ Neill, Conan Kennedy, Odhran Molloy, Eunan Quinn, PJ Quinn, Benen Kelly (0-01), Charlie Mc Cann, Tom Shivers (0-02), Conhuir Johnston (0-04), Paudie Mc Laughlin (0-02)


Shane Gribbon for PJ Quinn

Ben Mc Larnon for T Shivers

St Brigid’s: Declan Heery, Donal Harrison, Joe Mc Carney, Cathal Maguire, Matthew Smith, Rueben Carelton, Liam Finnegan, Ronan Boyle (0-01), Jack Logue, Fionntan Mc Garvey, Marcus Lynch (1-04), Conal Mc Nicholl,  Donal Bradley, Toirleach Brolly, Oisin O’ Donnell

Referee C Mc Dermott (Tir na nÓg)