A late Tommy Gill goal late in extra time deprived Antrim victory in this Tommy Murphy Cup final after Wicklow and Antrim served up a thrilling final in Croke Park on Sunday. The game finished level 2-12 to 1-15 at the end of a pulsating 70-plus minutes to hold up both All-Ireland SFC quarter-finals by 30 minutes, but none of the crowd present minded such was the entertainment on show. Antrim impressed early on but were caught short at the back on 15 minutes when Derek Daly found himself clean through and fired home the first Garden County goal. A run of quick point stunned Antrim and when the impressive Leighton Glynn grabbed goal number two, the Leinster side led by 2-5 to 0-8 at the break.
Further score from Tony Hannon stretched the lead on the restart but Antrim started to slowly work their way back into the game with scores from Conor McGourty and substitute Michael Magill. Then the Saffrons won a penalty which McGourty fired home 12 minutes from time and the sides were level going into the closing stages. Glynn fired over a late point as Mick O’Dwyer’s men led with time nearly up, but Michael McCann pointed to send the game to an extra 20-minutes of play. The sides exchanged points in the first half and were level after the first ten minutes and with the game two minutes into added time at the end of the second half of extra time, Antrim led thanks to a Magill score. But then up pounced Gill for the killer goal after being set up by Stafford and the silverware was headed to Wicklow.
Wicklow – M Travers, B O hAnnaidh, D Power, A Byrne, P Dalton (0-1), D O hAnnaidh, C Hyland, J Stafford, T Walsh (0-1), J McGrath (0-2), D Jackman, L Glynn (1-4), T Gill (1-1), T Hannon (0-4, 3 frees), D Daly (1-0). Sub – E Rossiter for Jackman (71)
Antrim – S McGreevey, P Close, P Doherty, J Loughrey, S Kelly, E O’Neill (0-1), J Crozier, J Quinn, D Martin, A Gallagher (0-1), K Niblock, K Brady, C Close (0-5, 2 frees), M McCann (0-4, 2 frees), C McGourty (1-4). Subs – M Magill (0-2) for Martin (26), S McVeigh for Kelly (28), B Hasson for Niblock (51), M Dougan for Quinn (58), M Rea for Close (63),
The Saffcast is slightly different set up this week as Conor Donnelly joinsPearse Corcoran and Conor Coyle (The GAA Show Podcast, formerly GAA Scores) discuss the latest changes to come out of the 2021 GAA Congress.
New GAA President
Tailteann Cup (ok not new, but we chatted about it)
Dunloy wrote another chapter in their history book when they collected their eighth title in twelve years by beating Cushendall with a bit to spare in Sunday’s Antrim Senior Hurling final at Casement Park.
They trailed briefly in the early stage when a fired up Cushendall looked like they were capable of causing an upset, but once Martin Currie grabbed his team’s first goal in the eighth minute there was no looking back and they went on to complete the 3-in-a-row for the first time in their history.
Cushendall kept in touch for most of the first half but after the change of ends Dunloy lifted their play another gear as they went on to win by ten points in the end, a winning margin that does not flatter the champions. When they lost team captain Gary O’Kane through injury just before half time, there must have been some anxiety in the Dunloy ranks. However they need not have worried as their defensive display in the second half will rate among the best they produced in their eight championship successes.
At the heart of it all was man of the match Malachy Molloy who moved in to pivot the defence early in the game and dominated the area. He plucked ball after ball out of the air and delivered them back with interest and in the end broke Cushendall hearts, hard though they tried.
Around him the three McMullan brothers Paudie, Damian and Frankie, full back Patch Mullan and substitute Micky McClements formed a watertight barrier and on the odd occasion that Cushendall managed to get through Gareth Magee in goals was equal to anything they threw at him.
Cushendall came out with all guns blazing and for the first five minutes they had the champions on the run. They created a succession of chances but all they had to show were points from Aidan Delargy and on from centre back Karl McKeegan who showed his forwards how it should be done.
Gregory O’Kane opened the scoring for Dunloy in the sixth minute and two minutes later Martin Curry grabbed the goal that set them on their way. Cushendall kept in touch for the remainder of the half as Aidan Delargy and Ryan McNaughton struck a couple of excellent points, but Gregory O’Kane and Liam Richmond were on target for Dunloy and they went at the break with a 1-7 to 0-7 lead.
If Cushendall were to get back into the game they needed early scores in the second half but Dunloy were dominant from the restart and two points from Liam Richmond and one from a free from 80 yards by Damian McMullan gave them a cushion that was never to be threatened. The real killer blow came in the 53rd minute when Paddy Richmond grabbed a high ball before soloing through and putting Martic Curry clear, and the corner forward dispatched it to the back of the Cushendall net.
The introduction of teenager Darren Quinn, who had played on the minor team beaten by Loughgiel in the curtain raiser, made an immediate impact when introduced as he scored two fine points. There was no way back now for the Ruairis, who managed just a single point in the second half as dominant Dunloy cruised home to take their eighth title in style.
Subs – Eamon McKee (1-0) for Alastair Elliott; Mickey McClements for Gary O’Kane; Darren Quinn for Nigel Elliott.
Ronan Kearney, Oran Scullion, Charlie McAlister, Ciaran McCambride, Kevin Elliott, Karl McKeegan (0-1), Martin McClafferty, Conor McCambridge (1-0), Michael McCambride, Aidan Delargy (0-3), Ryan McCambridge (0-2), Kevin-Martin McMullan, John Carson (0-1), Sean Delargy.
Subs – Brian McNaughton (0-1) for McMullan; Declan McKillop for Carson; Emmet McNaughton for Sean Delargy.
The draw for this year’s Antrim championships has added an extra element of expectation for the coming season with Cargin’s Damian Cassidy and his backroom team hoping to lead his side to an unprecedented four in a row in the Senior Football Championship. Managers at the other clubs in division 1 will have other ideas however and today we take a look at the men who will take the reigns at the clubs in division 1 and who will undoubtedly be hoping to lead their respective sides to Senior Football championship success.
Although no date has been given for a start to the 2021 season and group training is not permitted optimism is the key word in most clubs as they set the wheels in motion with management structures set up.
The start of competition is not expected until after the Easter period and in these strange times such is hugely anticipated.
The following is management teams for division one (football)
Erin’s Own Cargin
The Toome men will attempt to extend their recent championship success and Damien Cassidy will lead their management again assisted by Ronan Devlin and Kevin Doyle.
Cargin are likely to extend their panel with additions from their successful under-18 side and championship will be the focus as they attempt to win four in a row.
Having been pipped at the post by their near neighbours and closest rivals last term the Kickham’s men will be aiming to go one step further in 2021 and they have retained the services of the same management structure.
Gerard Mc Nulty leads the way again with his brother Thomas and Peter Mc Collum in assistance.
The Lamhs made it to the semi-final stages of the championship last year and the men from Hannastown will be amongst the front runners in 2021.
Lamh Dhearg have retained the services of Mairtin Lynch to lead the management team for another term in 2021 ably assisted by Terry McCrudden and Deaglan
The Johnnies were up there challenging on both fronts last year and although they made early exit from the football scene they made it all the way to the final of the Hurling.
The Corrigan men have Paddy Nugent back in the hot seat in the managerial role in which he will be assisted by former players Charlie McLarnon, Colly Thompson, and Enda McKenna.
O’ Donovan Rossa
The Shaw’s road men got to the quarter-final last year but they are capable of better and will hope to go further this year.
Hugh McGettigan will take charge this term and their popular former player and experienced mentor will be joined in the managerial role by Paul Close.
The Portglenone men have been knocking on the door over the recent past and with a relatively youthful squad the Bannsider’s may well be contenders this term again.
Barry Dillon retains the reins at O’Cahan Park with Eoin Doherty alongside the Derry man.
South Belfast based St Brigid’s possibly disappointed a trifle last term but they are more than capable of better with a strong youth based panel at disposal.
Former player Anthony McGrath has been appointed as manager with a selection team yet to be announced.
Former keeper, Paddy Murray is in charge on the Lower Falls and their former net custodian will be aiming to re-ignite the fortunes of the former All Ireland club champions.
The Milltown men aim to regain those glory days and the new man at the helm has established a strong team of assistants to include, Fay Devlin, Mickey Culbert, Paddy Mc Shane, Kieran Stitt, and Gary Wallace.
St Mary’s Ahoghill may not be established as front runners for honours in the top division but the Clooney men never lack in character and on their day are capable of giving anyone a run for their money.
They have appointed Castledawson native Brian Heaney in the managerial role ably assisted by Michael Shaw and former players Chris Mc Glone and John Paul Neeson.
A match for most on their day the Glengormley men came close to gaining All Ireland honours in the Intermediate grade a couple of seasons past and are capable of putting it up to the best on their day.
Frank Fitzsimmons and Pat Hughes have been in charge up at Hightown for a while but they have moved on to pastures new this term.
Carl McCabe is to take charge this term with his assistants yet to be announced.
St. Mary’s Aghagallon
St Mary’s Aghagallon with a youthful squad available have ascended the rankings lately and they will strive to maintain progress this term.
They have given the nod of approval to the previous management duo as Lamh Dhearg man Kevin Murray the custodian of the reins with John Devlin alongside.
Gort na Mona
Gort na Mona have struggled to make impact in the top grade as yet but they are capable of improvement.
Niall Ward has been retained as manager and the man who led St. Patrick’s Lisburn to Junior success back in 2019 has the know how to bring about improvement at the Turf Lodge club. A selection panel has yet to be revealed.