St. Paul’s stand strong for another win

ACFL Division 2 Reserve

All Saints 0-13 St. Paul’s 2-8

St. Paul’s retained their unbeaten record and top spot in the division 2 reserve football league when they withstood a late rally from All Saints Ballymena at Quinn Park tonight. The league leaders arrived in Ballymena with only 15 players aiming to maintain their place at the top.

They came up against an All Saints side determined to claim a major scalp and they certainly made it difficult for the visitors but goals from Eugene Reid in the first half and another from Caoimhin Duffy in the second proved decisive scores in the end.

Rory McVeigh and Diarmuid McNally gave All Saints a 0-2 to 0-0 lead after 6 minutes before the experienced Patrick Doyle got the visitors off the mark from a free in the 9th minute. Diarmuid McNally moved the Quinn Park side two in front once more but Patrick Doyle closed the gap to one once more before Oisin Connolly was forced to limp out of the contest to be replaced by Enda Kennedy with only 15 minutes on the clock.

The visitors were starting to look dangerous and wasted a number of chances before Eugene Reid followed up on a Daniel McCoy save from Patrick Doyle’s shot to return the ball to the net from close range in the 17th minute and put his side ahead for the first time.

Charlie Metrustry replied with a good point for All Saints with Patrick Doyle converting another free to keep the gap at two and the visitors might have gone further ahead but Michael Mervyn shot wide from close range after the ball broke favourably off an upright in the 24th minute.

It was end to end stuff for most of the opening half with the twin threat of Caoimhin Duffy and Conal Duffy causing problems for the home side but a Diarmuid McNally point in the 31st minute closed the gap to the minimum with all still to play for in the second half.

Patrick Doyle got St. Paul’s off to a good start when he split the posts in the opening minute of the second half but Diarmuid McNally pointed two frees in quick succession to bring matters all square by the 5th minute and the home side seemed to be growing into the contest.

The visitors are not top of the league by chance however and they replied in devastating fashion as Conor Hughes fired over before Caoimhin Duffy finished to an empty net when the All Saints defence was split wide open.

Four behind for the first time, All Saints looked in trouble but they failed to panic and replacement keeper, Connor Brennan came forward to send a ‘65’ between the upright in the 10th minute before Conal Duffy replied with a point at the other end to restore the status quo.

The Quinn Park side were beginning to gain some traction however as indiscipline began to creep into the St. Paul’s defence and Diarmuid McNally struck his sixth point of the game from an acute angle and Connor Brennan followed with another from a 55 meter free to leave just two in it with 10 minutes remaining.

Eugene Reid struck a half volley between the uprights to ease the visitors three in front again and the impressive McNally punished two further fouls by the opposition defence to close the gap to one with three minutes remaining.

Patrick Doyle eased St. Paul’s two in front and his side were forced to fight a rear guard action as All Saints went looking for the goal that would give them victory. They could find no way through a resolute St. Paul’s defence however and had to settle for a Mark Murchan point in injury time as the visitors held out for another victory to maintain their place at the top of the table.

All Saints: 1 Daniel McCoy, 2 Conal O’Neill, 3 Dara Walsh, 4 Kevin Brady, 5 Conall Killough, 6 Michael Read, 7 Darra Mussen, 8 Joe Rocks, 9 Niall Walsh, 10 Ciaran Campbell, 11 Oisin Connolly, 12 Mark Murchan, 13 Diarmuid McNally, 14 Rory McVeigh, 15 Charlie Metrustry. Subs: Enda Kennedy, Vinny Esler, Eoin Walsh, Jude Casey

St. Paul’s: 1 Jack McAufield, 2 Miceal Duffy, 3 Laurence Higgins, 4 Tiaran Auld, 5 Eoghan Brennan, 6 Sean Og Fay, 7 Niall Martin, 8 Liam Og Magee, 9 Conor Hughes, 10 Paul O’Hanlon, 11 Patrick Doyle, 12 Michael Mervyn, 13 Caomhin Duffy, 14 Eugene Reid, 15 Conal Duffy,

Referee: Gerard Dougan (Creggan)

Reserve Football Leagues (24th June) Fixtures and Previews

The next round of the reserve football leagues are set to continue as scheduled on Friday in both Divison One and Two. Geordie McGuckian takes a look at tonight’s games and makes his predictions

Friday 24th June

Reserve League Division One (7.45)

Tir na Nog v St Gall’s

Randalstown based Tir na Nog have struggled against adversity for a time with a long list of injuries impacting on their progress and the Whitehill Blues may need improvement in this one as 4th Place based St Gall’s visit.

St Enda’s v Erin’s Own Cargin

St Enda’s gained a draw in Toome in the corresponding fixture but Cargin have not dropped a point since and will take the road up to Hightown as favourites to record another win over the Glengormley men.

Casement’s Portglenone v St Brigid’s

Portglenone have enjoyed a good campaign to date and although second placed St Brigid’s will travel looking to maintain their winning habit ground advantage may well tip the balance in favour of the Kelly Park side.

O’Donovan Rossa v St Mary’s Aghagallon

Little seperates these two in the ratings with Rossa just a place ahead of the Aghagallon men but with the St Mary’s men struggling to gain traction lately the prospect of a home win does seem likely in the present climate.

Lamh Dhearg v Kickham’s Creggan

Lamh Dhearg’s second string have struggled thus far in the competition and they will require better in this one as the Creggan men visit with a possibility of an away win looking likely.

Division Two (all games at 7.45pm)

All Saint’s Ballymena v St Paul’s

St Paul’s remain unbeaten in this competition without the loss of a single point and although their hosts, All Saint’s will not go down without a fight an away win looks likely.

Patrick Sarsfield’s v Con Magees Glenravel

Sarsfield’s second string have enjoyed a fruitful season to date and sit in third placed and will hope to continue with another couple of points in this one as the Con Magee’s men visit the Bear Pit.

St Ergnat’s Moneyglass v St Joseph’s Glenavy

Although the Moneyglass first string have already claimed the division one league title, their reserve squad have failed to follow such lead and improvement will need to be forthcoming if they are to get the better of the visiting Glenavy men who reside in a secure mid table berth at present.

St James Aldergrove v St Mary’s Ahoghill

The home side, St Mary’s Aldergrove sit in second place at present and will start this one as firm favourites as their counterparts from Ahoghill pay a visit with a home win firmly on the cards.

Latharna Og continue to impress

Ladies Development Camogie League

Final score Davitts 1-1 to Latharna Og 0-20

 On a hot June evening, Latharna Og were hosted by Falls Road natives Davitts GAC in the last League game before the split. The contest started slowly with a flurry of play as Latharna Og pushed forward but struggled to convert from any chances created.

 Eventually the stalemate was broken by a well worked passage of play originating from a quick-thinking Niamh McKendry , to Sarah McConkey linking up with Colleen who dutifully cleared the backline culminating in Bronagh Shields teasing out the debut score.

Soon after Ash Mulvenna pucked a long-range clearance from which Beth McAuley chalked up her first score, by another from a free as a result of a foul on the tenacious Niamh McKendry. Megan McKillop was no stranger to the scoreboard and converted Erin Petticrew’s eagle eyed handpass.

The favour was returned shortly after with Erin benefitting from some nice movement on the forward line taking the score to 0-7 to 0-0 in favour of the visitors. Ash and Francesca continued to display a blanket defence, returning the sliothar upfield away from danger time and time again.

Eventually however, Davitts spotted a gap and worked their way through the once impenetrable backline, rattling the “onion bag” with a short range rifling shot – little could be done to stop it, the only major of the day as it would turn out. Davitts kept the pressure and despite a heroic block down from Sarah McConkey as they homed in on goal once more, Latharna Og’s discipline slipped gifting a close quarter free which Davitts gratefully converted.

 Beth McAuley added another point from play taking the score to 1-1 Davitts to 0-8 Latharna Og as he half time whistle sounded. That was as close as the two teams would get, with the Brustin Brae girls showing their skill and stamina in the blistering heat. Megan McKillop got the second half off with a lovely point from play, another one for Bronagh Shields and McKillop followed with another.

The Latharna Og defence was outstanding and kept a clean sheet throughout the second half against the wind with Kate O’Brien, Leigh Murphy and Francesca Black shepherding the resolute Davitts forwards away from scoring positions.

Francesca Black would eventually put her body on the line leading to the introduction of Emma McConkey into the game. Bronagh Shields continued to mesmorise the Davitt’s defence, allowing Megan and Beth to add 2 points each to their tally.

Nuala Petticrew selflessly handed off a golden opportunity to Beth McAuley who converted as Alicia Gribben was introduced with 15 minutes left to play and made a strong contribution. Davitts would only threaten the Larne defence in earnest twice in the second half, but were foiled by a textbook block by Ash Mulvenna which resulted in a broken hurl.

Latharna Og continued their recent good form in a game that was a forward’s dream, perfect conditions and some well taken scores but the player of the Match was Bronagh Shields who worked tirelessly between half back and half forward, almost raising the green flag from an unfortunately deflected ground stroke.

Latharna Og Scorers: Beth McAuley 0-12 (4f) Megan McKillop 0-5 Bronagh Shields 0-2 Erin Petticrew 0-1

Latharna Og: Sarah Murray, Leigh Murphy,  Kate O’Brien,  Sarah McConkey,  Colleen Duffy,  Ash Mulvenna,  Francesca Black,  Natasha Dempster,  Niamh McKendry,  Erin Petticrew,  Nicola Black,  Bronagh Shields,  Beth McAuley,  Megan McKillop,  Nuala Petticrew,  Emma McConkey,  

Subs: Emma McCloskey,  Alicia Gribben , Alex Fergie

All Saints keep their foot on the accelerator

ACHL Division 4

All Saints 3-16 St. Brigid’s 1-9

All Saints kept their foot on the accelerator in the race for the division 4 title with a second comprehensive win in three days when they overcame a spirited challenge from St. Brigid’s in Ballymena on Wednesday night.

Once again the deadly duo of Damian Gillan and Ciaran Neeson led the way in the scoring stakes but it was a solid defensive display from the home side that provided the platform from which this 9th win of the season was achieved.

The hard working Gary Miskella and Vinny Esler worked tirelessly in mid-field, helping out in defence when required and supplying plentiful ball to their attack.

All Saints led 1-5 to 0-2 at half time with both St. Brigid’s points coming from frees and at this stage the Musgrave Park side must have felt they were in with a shout but the league leaders really opened up in the second half.

Damian Gillan who was in fine form in All Saints win over St. Brigid’s on Wednesday night

Conrad Duffin was the All Saints first half goal scorer while Damian Gillan 0-2, Cormac Lemon, Ciaran Neeson and Luke O’Rawe were all on target for the home side during the opening half.

Gillan added 0-5 to his first half total, all but one coming from play while Neeson, who had been well marshalled during the opening 30 minutes cut loose in the second with 2-3 to put his side in complete control.

The game marked the return to action of Liam Cassley from the substitute’s bench and he got his name on the scorecard and if the former Intermediate Championship winner with Cloughmills commits to the cause then he would prove a useful addition to an All Saints side who have gone from strength to strength this year.

All Saints: Ciaran Cassley, Daniel Gray, Colum Neeson, Kevin Brady, Padraig Magill, Luke O’Rawe 0-2, Cathair Cunning, Gary Miskella, Vinny Esler, Ciaran Neeson 2-4, Damian Gillan 0-7, Cormac Lemon 0-1, James O’Boyle 0-1, Conrad Duffin 1-0, Terence Diamond. Subs: Eoin Magee, PJ O’Kane, Liam Cassley, Sean O’Rawe, Daniel McCoy, Daire Hasson,  

Dominant display as Loch Mor beat spirited St’Paul’s II’s 

ACHL Division 4

St’Paul’s II  1-04 Loch Mór Dal gCais 1-14

With this being Loch Mór’s last game before the split it was inevitable there we’re going to be some nerves on a hot, dry night on the Shaw’s Road away to St’Paul’s. There wasn’t a breath in the air and St’Paul’s were certainly left breathless as the ball broke to Darragh Turley straight from the throw in and he confidently and comfortably slotted over for the first score of the game with barely 30 seconds on the clock. As an impressive a start to a game all season by Loch Mor and they maintained that intensity as they continually pressed St’Paul’s in possession and moved the ball quickly and with intent. That pressure was sustained and Loch Mór made the most of it with Mathew Jones, Cormac Dwyer and Darragh Turley pointing from play. It was midway through the first half when a great ball was played into the 21 and gathered neatly by Declan Phillips. Skilfully striking on the turn the sliotar flew past the keeper and rippled the back of the net to put Loch Mór comfortably in the driving seat. 

Whether it was complacency or a few of those nerves creeping in on Loch Mór’s part but St’Pauls, who weren’t without their danger men, slowly clawed their way back into the game. Some unforced errors and intercepted passes resulted in St’Paul’s racking up a few points from play and a goal form a free on the 20 gave them a major boost. Loch Mór responded and the lads went in at the break with 5 points to spare.

This has been a tough season so far and Loch Mór are not without their war wounds. It’s testament to how far this team and this club has progressed that they were able to call on their squad of dedicated players ready and willing to fill in for injured teammates. Reece McDonnell got his first start of the season and put in a solid performance in the full forward line. 

The lads regrouped at half time and started the second half at a blistering pace. Cormac Dwyer, who was in talismanic form, on Wednesday night was simply unstoppable. Turning the ball over on our 21 and bursting forward at breakneck speed, playing a lovely one-two in the middle of the field and casually splitting the posts was most definitely the score of the match. Loch Mór weren’t content with that though and several points were to follow. Three more from Darragh Turley, two from Cormac Dwyer and one from Mathew Jones, who was on top form again, rounded off a convincing win that all but nails Loch Mór to the top half of the table. A great game of hurling and an inspiring performance that wraps up this this half of the league. 

Loch Mor Scorers

Darragh Turley 0-8

Cormac Dwyer 0-4

Declan Phillips 1-0

Mathew Jones 0-2