Familiar adversaries meet in Ladies Senior final

St Pauls v Moneyglass preview

By Kevin Herron

Antrim senior ladies captain Emma Kelly feels that Sunday’s championship final against Moneyglass will be “extra special” – given that the Shaws Road side are bidding for their seventh championship crown on the spin.

St Pauls have led the way in ladies senior Football but opponents Moneyglass have always hung to their coats tails and the adversaries will battle it out for the third successive season at Musgrave Park to tomorrow afternoon (3 o’clock throw-in).

Last year Kirsty McGuinness inspired her side to victory at Corrigan Park despite trailing at the break – while St Pauls produced late drama the year before and Kelly hopes that St Pauls great mix of experience will see her side clinch a seventh championship in a row.

“We’re looking forward to the game” revealed Kelly.

“Everyone wants to be in a county final and to be going for our 7th title in a row is something extra special. We have an amazing squad with a great mix of experience and youth”.

“We know Moneyglass will put it up to us and it will be a tough close game similar to the last two years – but alot of our girls dont know how to lose so hopefully that will stand to us on Sunday”.

This afternoon St Pauls junior side will take on Creggan in the Junior decider and Kelly hopes that there will be double cause for celebration at the Shaws Road on Sunday evening.

“Also a massive good luck to our juniors on Saturday. A lot of u16s and some older heads in the squad create a good balance. Let’s hope it’s a St Pauls double by Sunday evening”.

WHAT OF MONEYGLASS?

However – Moneyglass will be hoping to spoil any celebrations and finally come out on top in the showpiece occasion.

Manager Dee McConville is relatively new to the ladies game – starting out coaching his daughter Kerry’s St Pauls side before moving onto Antrim ladies U-16, Minor and Moneyglass this year.

McConville is relishing Sundays decider and insists his side are ready to get the better of St Pauls despite preparation taking a hit in the build-up due to injuries.

“I’m looking forward to it – the girls are really up for it” believes McConville.

“In the last six to eight weeks the level of intensity has increased and I think we’re ready for them. There is a bit of history between Moneyglass and St Pauls and it’s just a case of – we’ve got to get them over the line”.

“We have been riddled with injuries over the last couple of weeks so our preparation hasn’t been as great as we would have liked it to be – but we’ve coped and kept the heads down and got on with it and I think the girls are ready”.

McConville was a spectator at last year’s final and believes that the slickness of St Pauls saw them over and the line in a close encounter – the Moneyglass boss is expecting a third gripping instalment and feels his side have the tenacity, desire and passion to prevail at Musgrave Park.

“Moneyglass were six up at half-time – they were playing into a big breeze which didn’t help matters but because St Pauls were a very slick side, they got the better of them in the second-half”.

“I’m fully expecting a tight clash – St Pauls are a very experienced and well versed team but whenever you come up against a team that has tenacity, desire and passion – it is a lot of compete against and I give our girls every chance”.

Senior final could be a cracker as old adversaries cross sword

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Kennedy Centre Ladies Senior football final

Sunday 3pm (Musgrave Park)

Referee: Fionnuala Murphy (St Galls)

St Paul’s v Moneyglass

Sunday’s Kennedy Centre Ladies Senior football final has all the ingredients to make it a cracker as the county’s giants, St. Paul’s and Moneyglass cross swords for the third year in succession. The Shaw’s Road girls are going for an unprecedented  7 in a row and the last two finals of the previous six has been against the Marrion Hill girls.

Both those victories over the St. Ergnat’s girls have been extremely tight affairs with St. Paul’s emerging victorious by the narrowest of margins and Sunday’s final is again likely to be tight as Moneyglass aim to win back a title they last held seven years ago.

Both teams had fairly comfortable passages to the final with St. Paul’s beating St. Gall’s in the semi-final while St. Ergnat’s overcame the challenge of last year’s Intermediate champions, St. James’ Aldergrove.

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Moneyglass have a new management team this year with Lamh Dhearg’s Dee McConville and his assistant Kevin McDonald the men in charge and hoping to get their side over the line.

Brian Coyle is the man who remains at the helm of the Belfast side and why change a winning formula but he has been assisted by a couple of the club’s senior men to help with the team’s fitness – Don Burns and Dee Duffy.

Both teams are likely to feature a mix of youth and experience. Most notably for St Paul’s up and coming minor players Ciara Brown and Lara Dahunsi with u16 Caitlin McGuinness also showing impressive form this season.

Moneyglass will look to Eleanor Mallon to lead their forwards with Anna McCann and Cathy Carey adding vital experience. The side maintains an experienced spine to the side with youngster Orlaith Prenter up front the player who could open up the St. Paul’s defence.

This one is likely to be tight again and could go either way and should draw a bumper crowd to St. Brigid’s Musgrave Park ground.

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Naomh Padraig Claim a Place in the Final

Junior Football Championship (semi-final)

St Patrick’s Lisburn 0-13 St Agnes 1-05

Naomh Padraig Lisburn are through to the final of the Junior Football Championship and remain on course for the double when the division three pace setters finished strongly to see off the challenge of the Aggies under the lights at Woodlands on Friday evening.

Lisburn have impressed thus far in the 2018 season both in league and championship and although they were not given an easy passage in this semi-final assignment by the physical challenge offered by a well-organised St Agnes side they proved well up to the test crossing the line five points to the good.

The opening quarter proved quite defensive as Denvir Taggart opened account to see the Lisburn lads away in front and Mark Caldwell replied in kind at the 6th minute.

The Aggies were structured in a defensive formation although St Patrick’s did find a way through in the 10th minute as a lofted Eoin Fay delivery was fetched by Josh McMullan to transfer between the posts.

St Agnes were standing tall in the defensive to ensure a way to their posts was proving a tough course to navigate but after being thwarted in their efforts to make inroads on several occasions a foul on the incoming Ben McMullan saw Francis McMeel send the resultant free between the posts.

The Aggies were working overtime in their defensive efforts but finding problems on the counter but the Lisburn efforts was better organized in the main as Aaron McDonald and Jack McMullan led the way on the counter attack. Points apiece from Denvir Taggart and Declan Burns followed to ensure a 0-05 to 0-01 lead at the 25th minute.

The Lisburn side looked in control as the opening period neared conclusion but St Agnes were just about to hit back and when a well-directed David Quigley cross field delivery fell kindly for Ronan Carroll to dispatch to the back of the net, Kieran Mc Coy’s charges were back in the contest and just a point in arrears.

St Patrick’s made strong response after the ‘major’ blow and late points delivered in turn by Ben Mc Mullan, Francis Mc Meel and the hard grafting Eoin Fay saw them earn an 0-08 to 1-01 interval advantage.

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St Agnes did alter formation in the second half and the introduction of Dan Crummie in the forward department was proving a positive development.

The new man was looking lively in a more attack focused Aggies but the Lisburn defensive unit were coping and continuing to hit on the counter.

Aaron Mc Donald, Mark Chennek, and the pace laden Eoin Fay led the way and points from the ever accurate Francis Mc Meel and Ben Mc Mullan saw them at 0-10 to 1-01 at the end of the third quarter.

The Lisburn lads looked in complete charge as the last quarter progressed but the Aggies were not about to lose focus and back to back points from the impressive, strong running Ronan Carroll saw them just a score in arrears.

Carroll was stationed as a corner forward, wearing thirteen but was occupying a free running role to effect and the St Agnes men were closing the gap as St Patrick’s were now reduced to a 0-10 to 1-04 lead and questions were being asked as their opponents seemed rejuvenated.

The next period was to prove end to end stuff as openings were created but spurned in turn as defenses reigned until a well-organised counter attack involving Jack Mc Mullan, Mark Chennek and Tiernan O’ Malley ended with Josh McMullan firing over.

McMullan had shaken off the close attentions of Diarmuid Kelly to fire between the posts and when Francis McMeel stepped forward to dispatch a 60th minute free kick over the bar the die seemed cast.

The Lisburn men had gone 0-12 to 1-04 ahead and looked in the calm waters of safety.

The Aggies returned fire as ‘injury time’ progressed but a close range free from Declan Crummie whizzed just over the crossbar when the replacement had goal in mind and the score was negated within a minute as the ever accurate Francis Mc Meel replied for St Patrick’s to send them through to the Junior Final where they will meet the winners of Glenravel and O’Donnell’s.

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St Patrick’s Lisburn: Peter O’ Neill, Aaron Mc Donald, Thomas Burns, Jack Mc Mullan, Mark Chenneck, Tiernan O’ Malley, Eoin Fay (0-01), Mark Torbitt, Tomas Fay, Ben Mc Mullan (0-02), Declan Burns (0-01), Denvir Taggart (0-01), Conor Dixon (0-01), Josh Mc Mullan (0-02), Francis Mc Meel (0-05)

Subs

Patrick Saunders for C Dixon

Paul Law for T Fay

Martin Kennedy for D Burns

Peter Casey for P Saunders (black card)

Daniel Gartland for D Burns

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St Agnes: Colm Carroll, Matthew Carland, Diarmuid Kelly, Cormac Flannery, Neil Gillespie, Michael Mc Killop, Fiontan Mc Bride, Conal Turley, Conor Mc Clean, David Quigley, Mark Caldwell (0-01), Conor Gilligan (0-01), Ronan Carroll (1-02), Cormac Mc Bride, James Halloran

Subs

Declan Crummie for J O’Halloran

Emmett O’ Hagen for M Caldwell (black card)

Patrick Caldwell for D Quigley

Referee Jarlath O’ Donnell (Con Magee’s)

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Creggan cruise through to semi-final

Northern Switchgear Senior Football Championship – Quarter final

Creggan Kickhams 4-13 St Mary’s Ahoghill 0-8

Report and pics by John McIlwaine

Creggan secured their passage to the semi-final of the Northern Switchgear Antrim Senior Football Championship when they beat South West Antrim opponents Ahoghill at Quinn Park, Ballymena on Friday night. On top from the off Creggan were never really threatened by a strangely under par St Mary’s side who never came close to reproducing the form that saw they past St Brigid’s in the opening round. The Creggan men went on to lead by five at the break and when midfielder Kevin Small grabbed the first of his team’s four second half goals four minutes after the restart there was no doubting who would advance to the semi-finals.

Conor McCann, who had a fine game at midfield for Creggan, opened his team account on four minutes after picking up a pass from Odhran McLarnon and two minutes later McLarnon grabbed his team’s second. Centre forward Kevin Small set up overlapping half back Ruairi McCann for his team’s third in the eleventh minute and when the Creggan men won the kick-out Oistin McAteer raced up from corner back to add the fourth. It was 0-5 to 0-0 in the 13th minute when Odhran McLarnon sent Kevin Small through for a well taken score and though the scoring dried up for the winners it was a further eight minutes before Ahoghill registered their first score of the game with a pointed free from PJ O’Connell. After waiting 21 minutes for their team’s first score the Ahoghill fans only had to wait another 21 seconds for their second as full forward Donal Graham took advantage of a poor kick out to send the ball back between the posts, but Creggan hit back inside a minute when Odhran McLarnon finished a good move with a point at the other end. There was one brief glimmer of hope for Ahoghill three minutes before the break when good movement in the forwards saw midfielder Patrick Graham win possession on the edge of the Creggan square, but even though Graham hit his shot well, Creggan goalkeeper Oisin Kerr was equal to it and the danger was cleared.

Creggan took advantage of the let-off when Liam Quinn cut in along the end line and fisted over a point and when Keven Small added another his team were 0-8 to 0-2 clear. Ahoghill came back with two quick points in injury time to cut the gap to four but Small struck again with the last kick of the first half to give Creggan an 0-9 to 0-4 lead at the break.

19Five points down as the second half began Ahoghill certainly were not out of it, despite the vast difference in possession, but they needed a good start to that second period if they were to have any chance of a comeback. As it turned out it was Creggan who produced the goods and two Kevin Small points and a brilliant goal from midfielder Kevin Rice all but ended the contest. Donal Graham managed an Ahoghill point on 36 minutes but Creggan’s second goal came a minute later when Kevin Small found his brother Conor unmarked to the right of the Ahoghill goal and the full forward finished expertly with his left foot.

Ahoghill battled away against the odds and PJ O’Connell and Eoin Graham pulled a couple of points back but further goals from centre back Conor beag McCann and substitute Matthew Rodgers left a massive 17 points in it at the end.

CREGGAN

Oisin Kerr, Aidan Maguire, Richard Johnston, Oistin McAteer, Sam Maguire, Conor beag McCann, Ruairi McCann, Conor McCann, Kevin Rice, Odhran McLarnon, Kevin Small, Fintan Burke, Paddy Coey, Conor Small, Liam Quinn

Subs – Matthew Rodgers for McLarnon; Tiernan McAteer for Fintan Burke, Marty Johnston for Conor beag McCann.

AHOGHILL

Francis Neeson, James Magee, Stephen O’Connell, Bernard Graham, Eamon Brady, Thomas Hamill, Eoin Graham, Patrick J Graham, Martin Graham, Sean McMahon, Owen Neeson, Daniel O’Neill, PJ O’Connell, Donal Graham, James O’Connell.

Subs – Ronan Graham for Dan O’Neill; Daniel Graham for Bernard Graham

Referee – Brendan Toland

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Ladies Junior and Intermediate finals tomorrow and Senior and junior B on Sunday

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The Kennedy Centre Antrim ladies Junior and Intermediate finals are down for decision tomorrow (Saturday) in Ballymena. The junior final will be contested by St Paul’s seconds and  Creggan with Referee Anthony Carleton St Brigid’s the man in the middle. This game is scheduled for 2-00.

St Paul’s overcame Rossa in the quarter-final  and then All Saints Ballymena  in the semi-final and will probably start tomorrows decider as favourites. Creggan though are likely to push them all the way having defeated St. Gall’s and Gort na Mona on their way to the decider.

In the Intermediate final St. Brigid’s take on St. Joseph’s Glenavy with Brendan Toland of Lamh Dhearg the man in charge. St. Brigid’s defeated Moneyglass seconds in their semi-final while St. Joseph’s came out tops against Con Magee’s and again this one could be tight. Throw in time for the Intermediate final is 4-00.

On Sunday its ladies senior final day where old adversaries, St. Ergnat’s Moneyglass take on St. Paul’s at Musgrave Park and this one is sure to attract a bumper crowd to the St. Brigid’s ground. This is the third year in succession these sides have met and St. Ergnat’s will be keen to overturn the outcome of the two previous meetings when the Shaw’s Road girls came out on top. Starting time for this game is 3-00

The action at Musgrave Park gets under way at 1-00 when Oisins take on Con Magee’s seconds in the Junior B final. Oisins were beaten in the final of this one by St. Teresa’s last year at Cliftonville and will be keen to get their hands on the trophy this time.