Under 21 title completed a great year for the Lamhs in ’92

Lamh Dhearg 1992

Today we take a look at another chapter in the incredible story that is Lamh Dhearg 1992 when the club won Minor Hurling, Minor Football, U21 Football and Senior in the one season, as well as U14 and U16 football, which saw the club receive the Ulster Club of the Year from the GAA Writers Association. N.BThe Senior title was awarded to them because Cargin and St John’s were suspended after trouble in their semi-final.

Jim Herron receives the Ulster Club of the Year award at the Ulster GAA Writers Dinner

The Under 21 football was actually the last of the four. Although it  ended in November at Casement Park, it began back in May on a wet night at Hannahstown, and few who witnessed their lacklustre display against St Malachy’ s that evening would have fancied them to go all the way in the competition.

There were no great signs of improvement when they got the better of St Enda’s over at Hightown in the next round, but they got the job done before the competition was then shelved for the summer months.

By the time the semi-final was played against Cargin in late October things had changed dramatically, and with three titles already in the bag confidence was high as they took the field against the Toome men at St Paul’s. Cargin had much the better of the early exchanges and with big Eddie Quinn in great form at midfield they Lamhs struggled to stay in touch, though Braniff and Carmichael kept them in the game. Two points from full forward Colm McCabe midway through the second half brought the Lamhs back on level terms, but a well worked Cargin goal appeared to have secured the win for the Toome side. However all was not lost and in the final minute a ball sent in high to the Cargin square was punched home by Gavin Brown for the equalising goal, to earn Lamh Dhearg a replay.

That replay was fixed for Rasharkin and in truth most pundits made Cargin favourites once again. In what many looking back described as the best game of the year Cargin again looked the team most likely to succeed. Lamh Dhearg got off to a great start when Dee Braniff picked up a ball 45 meters from goal and soloed through before unleashing a shot from the 13 metre line which flew into the Cargin net. Cargin hit back with points from Quinn and Gallagher but two from the excellent Anto Finnegan give Lamh Dhearg the lead at the break. The pace slackened during the third quarter but after a row broke out midway through the half (which saw two players from each side sent off) the tension rose, and the quality of play rose with it.

With space aplenty around the pitch Cargin were magnificent and with Quinn, McQuillan and Gallagher in control they looked set for the win. However Finnegan and Rice kept Lamh Dhearg in touch and the game was still up for grabs. Cargin appeared to have it won once again when they too the lead with time almost up, but in one desperate move in the final minute the Lamhs snatched it from their grasp. Goalkeeper Gary Agnew started the move when he soloed out the field before finding Anto Finnegan with a great pass. Finnegan then took off and soloed into the Cargin defence before finding Kevin Finnegan who deftly chipped the Cargin goalkeeper for the match winning goal to set up a final meeting with St John’s

The Lamh Dhearg team who beat St John’s in the 1992 Under 21 final

Irish News – November 9th 1992

A Fistful of Title Wins  

Lamh Dhearg 1-10 St John’s 1-8

The Lamh Dhearg club collected their fifth championship title of the season at Casment Park yesterday when they beat a much fancied St John’s side in the Under 21 final. With the Under 14, Under 16, Minor Football and Hurling titles already in the bag they made it a full hand by upsetting the odds against the Johnnies.

This was a close entertaining game with a second half goal turning the course of events. The Corrigan Park side led by a point at half time, after finding themselves two behind 0-5 to 0-3 at the end of the first quarter.

Cormac Carmichael, Lamh Dhearg’s right half forward, undoubtedly the man of the match, proved that point when he found the St John’s net four minutes after the restart. Inspired by that score Lamh Dhaerg went further ahead with a point from Damian Braniff and a couple more from Carmichael to open up a 1-8 to 0-7 gap.

Despite the sidelining of Paddy Nugent, undoubtedly a vital link in the Johnnies defence, they hit back with a 27th minute Jimmy Wilson point. Carmichael pointed to put four in it once again four minutes later, but a scrambled goal, credited to Pat McStravick, with just three minutes remaining brought St John’s back into the game, but Mark Mulligan clinched it for Hannahstown with a point on the final whistle.

Cormac Carmichael, Gavin Brown, Paddy Tumelty and Pierce Rice were always to the forefront for Lamh Dhearg, who had a number for the successful minors on show.

Donal Gallagher, Paddy Nugent, Jimmy Wilson and Donal Kennedy fought hard for the Corrigan Park side.


Gary Agnew, Michael Gorman, Pierce Rice (capt), Darly Fegan, Patrick Tumelty, Stephen McFadden, Brenan Elliot, Gavin Brown, Donal O’Hara, Cormac Carmichael, Colin Mccabe, Anthony Finnegan, Mark Mulligan, David Braniff, Kevin Finnegan.

Subs – Michael Brady, Damian O’Connor, Kevin Hurley, Michael McGuigan, Brendan McCloskey, Paul McCloskey, Paul Maxwell, Colin Gorman, Michael McCloskey, Robbie Murray  

Manager Paul Buchanan                                                                      Selectors – Jim Brady, Pat McCague, Pat McCambridge

Emmet’s are first up to the plate once again

Once again Cushenun Emmet’s were the first club to donate to Saffron Gael this season. Club treasurer Paul McSparran and committee member Liam Mulholland were at my door on January 2nd to present the cheque, but I forgot to take a photos of the hand over, so when Paul was in the area yesterday I got him to call and we did the pic. Thanks once more to the Emmet’s for their continued support and a special thanks to Paul who once again presented us with his referee expenses for the year, a lovely touch I have to say.

Cumann na mBunscol support the Saffron Gael

Our picture shows Henry Duffin presenting a sponsorship cheque on behalf of Cumann na mBunscol Aontroma to Saffron Gael’s John ‘Curly’ McIlwaine

Cumann na mBunscol Aontroma are hugely appreciative of The Saffron Gael for the fantastic coverage of our games. Despite the temporary halt to our regular programme of activities and games due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Cumann na mBunscol have been using this time to work alongside Gaelfast to further enhance the quality and quantity of Gaelic Games provision at primary school level in Antrim. Throughout this work we continue to recognise the importance of maintaining the rising the profile of our games in all primary schools across the county and nobody does this better than Curly, Paddy and the team at Saffron Gael.

Cumann na mBunscol Aontroma

Lamh Dhearg fought back to complete a remarkable double in 1992

After winning the Minor Hurling title in 1992 Lamh Dhearg’s attention then turned to the Minor Football and the chances of completing a unique double. With manager Jim Brady assisted by Pat McKeague and Paul Buchanan they set about doing just that. Looking back at it a few years later Brady (now the principal of St Brigit’s PS in Ballymena) admitted that while the club’s achievement in winning the minor hurling for the first time was undoubtedly the highlight of the year for the club, the one that gave him most pleasure was guiding the footballers to the double.

They had reached the final at Under 16 level two years before that but were beaten by St John’s and going into 1992 they felt they could turn that result around. Jim and Pat McCague were joined by Paul Buchanan in 1991, and though they had done well to get through to what was just the club’s third minor final they were well beaten by Cargin in the decider.

The following year they were determined to make it count but they faced a tough game in the opening round home game against Creggan. Jim Brady felt they were the better team but complacency almost cost them and they did well to squeeze through by two points. A clear the air meeting was held after that game where Brady and his selectors pointed out that if they were to go all the way their attitudes had to change dramatically.

From then on there was a marked change in with full attendances at training and the new spirit was evident when they disposed of their near neighbours St Paul’s by six points in the quarter final.

The semi-final saw them up against Dunloy and though they got off to a bad start, something that was a feature of their play that season, they managed to battle back and despite having a man sent off they came through to win by four in the end to set up a final meeting with St John’s.

The Lamh Dhearg team who played Armagh champions Clan na nGael in the St Paul’s Ulster Minor tournament in 1992.
Back Row L-R – Paul Buchanan, Martin Matthews, Peter Kane, Paul Maxwell, Declan Toland, Robbie Murray, Michael McGuigan, Donal O’Hara, Gary Agnew, Gerard Magill, Daryl Fegan, Damien McLaughlin, Pat McCague, Jim Brady.
Front row L-R,
Michael Phillips, Owen O’Neill, Mark Mc Kenna, Paddy Tumelty (capt), Colin Gorman, Eamon Kane, Kevin Elliott, Cormac Carmichael, Niall O’Hara.


Lamhs come back from nine down to seal victory

Match report from the Ballymena Guardian

Lamh Dhearg 2-12 St John’s 3-6

When St John’s moved into a nine point lead three minutes into the second half of Sunday’s Minor Football Championship final at Casement Park, Lamh Dhearg’s hopes of the double looked remote. However the boys from the Hill staged a remarkable comeback to dominate the second period and achieve a victory which now gives them the football and hurling double, the first time this has been achieved since Rossa did it back in 1949.

Gary Agnew, hero of the hurling final win over Loughgiel the previous week, got them off to a good start with a point in the second minute and they were two points to the good on seven minutes when Gary Cammichael added another. Back came St John’s and Martin Crummey opened their account with a point in the eighth minute and the Corrigan Park side took the lead soon afterwards when Michael McMahon found the Lamh Dhearf net. With Seamus O’Prey and Michael O’Kane dominating midfield the Johnnies went further ahead with Michael Crummey point from a 30 metre free, and the gap was out to three when Pat McStravick added one from play in the 18th minute.

Lamh Dhearg pulled a point back through Michael McGuigan, but St John’s again returned to the offensive and O’Prey fired over in the 21st minute before Pat McStravick lobbed the Lamh Dhearg keeper Damien McLaughlin for a goal that appeared to have them in complete control. A Cormac Carmichael point steadied the ship for Lamh Dhearg, and after the introduction of Eamon Kane and Martin Matthews, Carmichael got the last point of the half to leave the Lamhs trailing by five at the half time whistle

Renewed hope

The Hannahstown boys came out with renewed hope at the start of the second half but when St John’s grabbed their third goal through Stephen McCann, and Martin Crummey tacked on a point two minutes later, the boys from the Whiterock were nine clear.

It appeared the only thing to be decided now was the size of St John’s winning margin, but to their credit Lamh Dhearg never gave up the fight and slowly but surely the began to edge their way back into contention. Cormac Carmichael started the comeback when he pointed a 40 metre free, Cormac Carmichael added another from play before Gary Agnew hammered home a goal to cut the deficit to four.

With Donal O’Hara and Patrick Tumelty now beginning to get on top at midfield the momentum began to swing back in Lamh Dhearg’s favour, and with corner forward Colin Gorman starting to makes his presence in the corner, the tide was turning.

St John’s introduced Gerard Carson and Stephen McCann but Lamh Dhearg continued to call the tune and points from Carmichael and Declan Toland left just two between the sides by the end of the third quarter. Gary Agnew added a point to leave just one between the sides, but when Martin O’Hara grabbed a point for the Johnnies at the other end it looked like they might have halted the slide.

When they still held that two point cushion with just seven minutes left to play the Hannahstown fans were getting anxious once again, but up stepped that man Cormac Carmichael to settle those nerves as he fired a penalty to the St John’s net to put his team in front for the first time since the second minute. The boys from up the Hill were now in control and in the final minutes Peter McGuigan and Colin Gorman fired over the insurance points to seal a memorable double.

A great season for the Lamh Dhearg club who have now won the minor hurling and football titles in successive weeks. They are still in the Under 21 football championship and many of Sunday’s team will be in action again on Sunday when they face Cargin in the semi-final.

How they played

Paul Maxwell had a good game in goal for with winners while in defence Owen O’Neill and Brendan Elliott came well into the game in the second half.  At midfield Donal O’Hara and Patrick Tumelty were outplayed in the opening half, but they got well on top as the game progressed. Up front Colin Gorman, Cormac Carmichael and fifteen-year-old substitute Peter McGuigan were the danger men.

For St John’s Donal Gallagher, Seamus O’Prey, Michael O’Kane Martin Crummey Martin O’Hare and Pat McStravick were best.  

Team captain Paddy Tumelty raises the cup after receiving it from county chairman Oliver Kelly


Damian McLaughlin, Owen O’Neill, Paul Matthews, Martin Matthews, Brendan Elliott, Daryl Fegan, Robert Murray, Patrick Tumelty (capt), Donal O’Hara, Declan Toland, Cormac Carmichael, Michael McGuigan, Kevin Elliott, Gary Agnes, Colin Gorman.

Subs – Tony Stanley, Mark McKenna, Peter Kane, Gerard Magill, Niall O’Hara, Eamon Kane, Michael Philips, Peter McGuigan.


Barry Mulgrew, Kevin Rafferty, Donal Gallagher, Anthony Kelly, John Kennedy, Paul Teague, Sean Reilly, Seamus O’Prey, Michael O’Kane, Martin Crummey, Martin O’Hare, Stephen McCann, Michael O’Connor, Pat McStravick, Michael McMahon.

Subs – Danny McDonald, Gerard Carson, Peter Sloan, Martin Kelly, John McGratten, Stephen Grego.