Four goals in the opening 15 minutes of Tuesday evening’s Senior Camogie Championship round-robin killed off the challenge of Portglenone as champions Loughgiel powered their way to a 4-14 to 0-2 half time lead. Two of the goals came from corner forward Ciara Laverty, while Roisin McCormick and Laverty’s sister Christine also hit the net.
The Shamrocks had it all wrapped up from early on as the home side struggled to get out of their own half, and with half forwards Caitrin Dobbin and Emma McMullan, plus midfielder Amy Boyle in dominant form the chances kept on coming for a very potent full-forward line.
After the break the champions eased their foot off the throttle a litte as a gallant Portglenone side pulled back a few scores but as the game entered the final ten minutes the Shamrocks took off again and hit a series of excellent points.
Their fifth goal didn’t come until the last few minutes when Emma McMullan hand-passed to the Portglenone net to complete the rout and seal their semi-final place.
After last week’s win over Dunloy Ballycastle were expected to stroll to victory over Rossa at Shaw’s Road but the former All Ireland champions made the ‘Town’ girls work hard for the win.
Indeed Rossa put it up to the visitors during the opening half and actually led by 0-5 to 0-4 after 24 minutes with two points from Orlagh McCaul and three from Bronagh Orchin.
However late points from Áine Donnelly and Caoimhe Wright (her third of the half) left Ballycastle a point ahead at the break.
Rossa lost Orlagh McCaul to injury at the break and their challenge suffered from that with three points from Wright and two long frees from Niamh Donnelly in the opening ten minutes of the second half putting the game beyond them.
Maeve Kelly dominated midfield with the Ballycastle half-back line shutting out Rossa’s attack.
In the last round of group matches next week, Loughgiel are at home to
Cushendall with both already assured of semi-final spots, while the
fourth semi-finalist will come from the winner of Dunloy v Rossa.
Tir na nÓg are half way through their Centenary celebrations. John Shannon gives a brief outline of the club’s history and how the year has gone so far.
From humble beginnings, having playing its first competitive match in August 1919 on reclaimed marshy ground, the Tír na nÓg Gaelic Athletic Club has remained true to its core values and grown from strength to strength.
The history of
Gaelic games in Co Antrim and Randalstown’s Tír na nÓg club, in particular,
have their origins in the Gaelic Revival which swept Ireland between the death
of Parnell, and the Irish Revolution from 1916 onwards. The growth of the GAA in Ulster owed much to
an infusion of key personnel from the South of Ireland, mainly of Post Office
officials, inspectors and agricultural workers, often from strong hurling and
So too, in Randalstown when a young forestry worker,
Maurice Bogue, arrived in 1912 to take charge of the forest in Shane’s Castle
Estate for Lord O’Neill. Having obtained a few
sticks and a sliotar he introduced the skills to several locals.
Early in 1919 a meeting was called to
consider the formation of a hurling club. With the great revival of
national spirit it was unanimously agreed to establish a club and to enter the
County Championship. The club assumed the name Tír na nÓg and registered the
familiar royal blue colours. Among that first committee elected was: Arthur
Martin, Tommy Martin and Paddy McCann whose children, grandchildren and
great-grandchildren are still involved in the club today.
mythology Tír na nÓg (Land of the Young) is one
of the names for the Celtic
Otherworld. It is best known from the tale of Oisín and Niamh. Tír na nÓg is
depicted as an island paradise and supernatural realm of everlasting youth, beauty,
health, abundance and joy. Its
inhabitants are described as the gods of pre-Christian Ireland, who engage in
poetry, music and entertainment. The
young from the lands around the Whitehill pitch have benefited from the vibrant
spirit within the club.
Gaelic football and camogie were soon introduced in the club and within
a few short years drama, Irish dancing and céilí evenings were the norm. Underage hurling was not omitted and it was
as a direct result of the activities of the Tír na nÓg club that the first
South-West Antrim Schools Hurling League was formed in 1924. The six
teams that contested the league were Creggan, Farinflough, Magheralane,
Randalstown, Moneynick and Carlane. In
the 1920s and early 30s an annual picnic was held in the hurley field, jam
sandwiches and tea being the order of the day.
The social contribution of Tír na nÓg
during the 20s and 30s must not be underestimated.
Often we look upon the first half of the twentieth
century as black, white or grey years before moving into the era of colour and
technicolour as the new millennium approached.
Yet on reflecting back on the 20’s, 30’s, 40’s and 50’s that perception
of drabness cannot be applied to the mindset, outlook and general personality
of the people involved in Tír na nÓg at that time. Their passion, humour, enthusiasm, ambition
and almost zealot-like approach ensured that from humble beginnings by a Cork
man in a marshy field off the Craigstown Road a strong and vibrant club had
Success in competition has been achieved over the
centenary with hurling, football, camogie and Scor honours having been obtained
at Antrim and Ulster Level with All Ireland achievement emanating from the Scor
na nÓg competition. The spirit within
the club has ensured a constant programme of growth and development both in the
facilities and the inclusivity of the local community.
Thus with an energy that has prevailed for one
hundred years Tír na nÓg GAC has emerged as one of the eminent clubs in the
country. Today, at its home on the
Barnish Road, there are two excellent pitches, a training pitch, an indoor 4G
pitch, gymnasium, hurling wall, a suite of changing facilities, meeting rooms
and a function room. The facilities,
some of which have received grant assistance from Sport NI, DARD, Antrim
Borough Council and the Gaelic Athletic Association are for all the community
with schools and other sporting organisations availing of them. There have been a number of shared events
with hockey and rugby clubs and in 2003 Tír na nÓg hosted the Special Olympians
from Connecticut USA for a display of gaelic games and other local sports.
The club fields teams from Primary 1 through to
adult level in camogie, hurling and gaelic football for both male and
female. There is an emphasis of personal
health and Tír na nÓg has associated itself with with
CRY (Cardiac Risk in the Young) – the club organised for a heart screening
clinic to be set up and two hundred young people were screened in 2017 and a
further 200 in 2018. Since its inception
one hundred years ago Tír na nÓg has produced many fine sportswomen and
sportsmen, many of whom have represented proudly the club but have also played
for Antrim, Ulster and Ireland in all codes of hurling camogie and gaelic
The club has a thriving cultural aspect
participating in Scor and drama while offering Irish language, dance and music
classess. The social events continue to
appeal and while the picnics and jam sandwiches may have gone they have been
replaced an every expanding eclectic mix including Cúl Camp; Children’s Summer
Scheme; Hunt for the Hunk; Balloon Race; Hypnotist; The Biggest Loser; Dancing
with the Stars; Primary School Discos; Barbeques; Concerts; and Guest Teas to
name but a few.
The club has thrived because of its people and
their commitment to fundraise, train teams, referee matches, transport juvenile
teams, build facilities and organise events.
This commitment gelled the Tír na nÓg family into what it is today and
aspires to become in the years to come.
To celebrate their one hundredth year
anniversary the Tír na nÓg club have arranged a number of events which loosely
follow four ancient Irish Festival times.
The themed festivals are:-
This was held in February and was the opening week of the centenary. It was based around St Brigids Day and had
traditional crafts(basket making, rush cross making, turf cutting; eel fishing;
hurling stick making; etc) and Irish language lessons
Bealtaine:-A Gala Dinner was held in June attended by over five hundred and fifty guests.
Lúnasa:- To be held in August this will be a weekend of music,
outdoor nights, children fun day and other events.
Samhain:- Halloween shall bring the year of celebration to a close with a night for
members to relax and reflect on the year that has been.
Interspersed throughout the year will be a focus
on the teams, the games, bespoke club products and ground improvements.
The club has a museum installation for the year,
displaying club and GAA memorabilia alongside members memories and highlights
of their Tír na nÓg .
One of the highlights of the forthcoming Feile weekend will be the burial of a time capsule. set to be opened again in 25 years, the capsule has been filled with pictures, children’s art and other artefacts of interest.
mark 100 years of the formation of Tír na nÒg GAC in Randalstown, the club are
hosting a Centenary Féile running from the 21st-25th of
August in a purpose built marquee at their grounds on the Barnish Road in
Randalstown. The Féile celebrations are open to one and all and we look forward
to welcoming friends, neighbours and those from far flung places to celebrate
with us and enjoy this milestone event in our history.
festival kicks off on Wednesday 21st August with a night of Family Bingo,
sure to be full of laughs, this is one for everyone! Kicks off 7:30pm tea and
refreshments available. This is a non-ticketed event, just buy a book at the
door! Book – £10, Half book – £5 Square – £1.
Thursday 22nd Tír na nÓG honours
the champions of tomorrow with the Juvenile Gala. Ticket includes dinner, drink/slushie, entertainment and a
very special gift box which will contain a commemorative gift only available at
this event! It is smart dress so everyone is encouraged to wear their best
party outfit! Children primary 1-4 celebrate from 5pm-7pm and Primary 5 upwards
take to the floor between 7:30 and 9:30pm.
Friday 23rd August is a
night of Comedy and Cocktails starring TV comedian Nuala McKeever and her
‘Letting Go or Losing it’ tour. Starting at 8pm, whilst the theme of the night
is a celebration of Tír na nÒg women everyone is welcome! A handpicked selection
of cocktails will be available for one night only, including a ‘Tír na nÓg Blue
Lagoon’! Music ‘till late.
24th August is our ‘Craic N’ Country’ night. Starting off the night
is up and coming local artist Tiernán Heffron who has just recently launched a
new album. ‘Jive NI’ will be presenting a showcase of jiving skills, which are
sure to have everyone wanting to give it a go! The headline act is the fabulous
Joe Davitt Country Band, joining us all the way from Co.Wexford. Hot on the
heels of his successful UK tour, the
current five-piece country dance group, is comprised of second and third
generation family members of the famous Davitt Showband that were a major
attraction in the dance halls around Ireland from the1950s to the 1980s. Its
bound to be a lively evening, packed full of fantastic music and great
out the evening there will be a Rodeo Bull Competition, with a cash prize for
the rider with the best staying power. Starting at 8:30pm and the Criac’s on
‘till late! BBQ and refreshments available.
1pm-4pm on Sunday 25th August the Annual Family Funday will take
place at Whitehill football pitch. Costume characters, face-painting, bouncy
castles, an open air concert and a spectacular colour run are just of the
events running in this jam packed afternoon!
cap off the weekend of celebrations, The Whistlin’ Donkeys 32 County tour comes
to Tír na nÓg commencing at 8pm ‘till late the headline act will be supported
by The Katie McParland Folk Group. BBQ
and refreshments available.
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This Junior camogie quarter-final turned into a one-way
procession as St. Mary’s Ahoghill proved much too strong for visitors
Ballycastle at Cloney tonight. The home side led from start to finish and three
goals in the opening seven minutes set the tone for what was to follow.
Catriona Graham got the first after 30 seconds and Noreen
Graham added two more as the home side laid siege on the visitors goal.
Catriona Graham, Maura Downey and Noreen Graham added a flurry of points as the
gallant Ballycastle third string battled bravely to contain the incessant surge
towards their goal.
Noreen Graham completed her hat trick by the end of the
opening quarter as the Cloney girls continued to carve open an over stretched
visitors defence with the strong running Maura Downey striking some excellent
points and Louise McNeill in the Ballycastle goals coming to her side’s rescue
on a number of occasions.
The Ballycastle captain was left with no chance as the
onslaught continued however as Noreen Graham fired home her fourth and her
sides fifth goal and by half time the home side had this one well and truly wrapped
up when they led 5-18 to 0-1, the Ballycastle score coming from the hard
working Beck Ellis who pointed a 23d minute free.
Ahoghill continued to press on the restart with Fiona Blaney
and Caitriona Graham driving them forward from mid-field and a strong defence
denying Ballycastle any opportunity to add to their first half total.
The superb Maura Downey hammered home goal number six in the
second minute of the second half and another from the equally impressive Noreen
Graham after five minutes saw Ahoghill move out of sight of their opponents.
Further goals from Aine Graham in the 9th and 10th
minutes brought the home side’s tally to nine and the goals dried up after that
with the home side content to finish with a flurry of points
Ahoghill go forward to meet Loughgiel in the semi-final and
they are likely to face a much stiffer test in that one but it is a challenge
Dermot Graham’s side will welcome and on tonight’s showing they shouldn’t fear
Their defence didn’t have a lot to do over the hour but they
dealt competently with anything that came their way while Catriona Graham and
Fiona Blaney controlled matters from mid-field. In a very lively attack Maura
Downey, Noreen Graham and Aine Graham were the players who provided the greatest
threat and the majority of the scores.
Before throw in I overheard the Ballycastle management
asking for a big effort throughout and despite the scoreline he got it in
bagful’s. Louise McNeill in goals couldn’t be faulted for any of the Ahoghill
goals and saved her side from an even bigger hammering while Justine Kelly,
Caoimhe Hunter and Laura Neill were best in a defence who worked their socks
St. Mary’s Ahoghill: Angela Townsend, Nicola Doherty,
Mairead McCloskey, Sinead McKenna, Emma McGlone, Eadaoin McGarry, Tracy Hardy,
Catriona Graham, Fiona Blaney, Paula Gribbin, Aine Graham, Maura Downey, Anne
Marie O’Neill, Noreen Graham, Ciara McGuigan. Subs: Caitlin McLaughlin, Dearbhaile
Graffin, Fionnuala McKeever, Caitlin O’Hagan, Brona McGuigan