Glenariffe Oisins held their annual awards dinner in the Larragh Lodge Restaurant on Saturday night with Gaelfast Director Dr Paul Donnelly the guest of honour. A series of internal awards were handed out to the hurlers and Ladies Footballers with Alex O’Boyle sweeping the boards in the hurling awards and Gemma Black cleaning up in the Ladies Football awards. Saffron Gael was there to capture the action.
NFL Division 4
Antrim v Wexford
Antrim begin another NFL division 4 campaign this Sunday when they take on Wexford in Glenavy and a win over the Leinster side would set up the Saffrons for what looks on paper like a difficult season. Manager Lenny Harbision has stated that success for his side this season would be promotion to division 3 and anything less will be regarded as failure in some quarters.
The Antrim manager’s cause hasn’t been helped by the defection to soccer of Matthew Fitzpatrick, Stephen Beatty and Padraig Nugent while Patrick McCormick is unavailable due to a placement at University College Galway.
Top forward, Ryan Murray is another who is unavailable owing to work commitments in the Middle East while it is unclear whether the recalled Tomas McCann and Paddy Cunningham will be available for Sunday’s opener in Glenavy.
McCann underwent minor surgery recently while Cunningham sustained a hamstring injury and neither took any part in Antrim’s McKenna Cup campaign this year. Despite these setbacks Antrim enjoyed a promising McKenna Cup campaign, beating Fermanagh in Ahoghill in their opening game but losing to Down in Newry.
The Antrim management have made a number of call-ups with Oisin Kerr of Creggan vying with Rasharkin’s Eamon Hasson for the goalkeeping spot and Ronan Delargy of Portglenone, Ben Rice and Marc Jordan of Lamh Dhearg, Eamon Fyfe of Glenravel, Ciaran Garland and Ryan McNulty, St. Johns, Adam Loughran, Aghagallon and Eoin Nagle and Ruairi Scott of St. Enda’s hoping to make their National League debut.
The return of Conor Murray after a long injury, Peter Healy, Odhran Eastwood and Conor Small adds a wee bit of experience to the panel and manager Harbison and his backroom team will have taken encouragement from the performance of their side in the McKenna Cup.
Marc Jordan had a good game at mid-field against Fermanagh, Paddy McBride scored two spectacular goals to turn that game on its head and Ruairi McCann was outstanding at full-forward in both games, the Aghagallon man finally turning the promise he has shown at club level into his county performances.
Visitors Wexford have had their share of problems since the appointment of Paul Galvin as manager and his decision to drop Michael Furlong, Daithi Waters and Matt Doyle from the panel has not gone down well with Kevin O’Grady and Tiernan Rossiter leaving the panel in protest.
They lost all three of their O’Byrne Cup games against Westmeath, Offaly and Laois but these were always going to be difficult opponents and Galvin and his side will be hoping to reverse their losing trait when they make the long journey North on Sunday.
Just who will start for Antrim is not known at the time of writing with Ricky Johnston of Creggan limping out of the Down game early. Captain Declan Lynch, James McAuley, Colum Duffin, Ruairi McCann and Paddy McBride started both McKenna Cup games while Patrick Gallagher, Niall Delargy and Odhran Eastwood are likely to get the nod.
Conor Murray will surely play feature at some stage as he continues his rehabilitation and Lenny Harbison will be hoping that Paddy Cunningham and Tomas McCann will be able to play some part in Sunday’s game but whoever the Antrim management call upon are capable of getting this year’s National League campaign off to a winning start.
We at the Saffron Gael appeal to Antrim supporters to come along and get behind their side at Glenavy on Sunday as they aim to get off to a winning start.
The UPCOMING Foundation course for new referees will be held on Friday March 27th at 7pm – Dunsilly Hotel
Saturday March 28th at 10.30am – Dunsilly Hotel
Saturday April 4th at 10am – CROKE PARK!
ALL 3 SESSIONS MUST BE ATTENDED IN ORDER TO QUALIFY AS A REFEREE.
The final session will be in Croke Park on Saturday April 4th where certificates will be presented and referees gear given out to all successful participants.
NO BETTER REASON TO START AS A REFEREE NOW!
EMAIL BRENDAN TOLAND : email@example.com to apply
Why Become a GAA Referee?
•Stay involved with the game as an alternative to playing
•Fitness – It’s a great way to keep fit
•Ambition – could you referee a County Final or even an All-Ireland?
•Learn more about the game
•Give Something Back – offers players, at the end of their playing days, the opportunity to continue in the sport
•Personal Development – helps to develop personal skills that are of value in all walks of life
What qualities are required to become a GAA Referee?
•Good knowledge of the playing rules
•Be physically and mentally fit
•Have the ability to remain calm
•Have the moral courage to take decisions which are correct
RECAP: How do I become a Referee?
Note: If your club has no referee this year you will lose your home fixtures in the 2020 season.
Leo Murphy Cup Group 2
Antrim 1-10 Louth 1-12
Antrim management and supporters were left scratching their heads in despair after their side had lost by two points to a good Louth side at Dunsilly today in the Leo Murphy U20 Football Development league.
The visitors were on top for most of the opening half with their defence dominating and they led by 1-5 to 0-2 at the half way stage thanks to an excellent goal from Tom Johnston. The Saffrons struggled to break down a well organised Louth defence but might have had a goal of their own but Cormac McGettigan was denied by visiting keeper Ciaran McMahon after finding himself clear on goal.
After the break it was the home side who slowly got on top with Eoin McMenamim taking control at mid-field and a Peter Henvey goal with ten minutes remaining saw them hit the front for the first time and they looked to be on their way to a second victory in two weeks.
A couple of minutes later McMenamim was shown a straight Red following an off the ball incident and with Antrim leading by two, Henvey received Black following a pull down and all of a sudden the Saffrons were down to 13.
Louth went on to hit the final four points of the game to claim the points and look in good shape going into the championship but Antrim will surely reflect on the number of chances they missed over the hour, including two decent goal opportunities in the second half.
It was the team in red who looked the more assured and organised in the opening thirty minutes with Tom Johnston’s daisy cutter to the corner of Gary Murray’s net in the 17th minute putting them in a commanding position.
The Leinster side were first off the mark when Sean Healy pointed them ahead and Conal McCaul increased that lead to two before Ciaran O’Neill pulled one back for Hugh McGettigan’s side. Antrim should have gone ahead after ten minutes but Cormac McGettigan was denied by Ciaran McMahon after a strong run through the middle.
Luke Matthews extended the Louth lead to two from a close range free before an Eoghan McMenamim point left just two in it at the end of the opening quarter. Johnston fired to the net after 17 minutes to give Louth a decided edge and by half time they had moved 1-5 to 0-2 ahead with Conal McCaul and Carl Gillispie their scorers.
It was a different story after the break and whatever Hugh McGettigan and his backroom team said to their side at the break obviously worked. Eoghan McMenamim opened their account with an early point and after Conal McCaul replied for the visitors the Saffrons began to gain control.
Adam Loughran from a free, Aaron McNeilly, Conor Stewart, Ciaran O’Neill and substitute James McDonnell added points and when Peter Henvey got on the end of a good build up to finish to the net the home side had hit the front for the first time and the momentum was very much in their favour.
Rory Brolly converted a close range free after the ball had been moved forward for encroachment and it looked like being Antrim’s day. Brolly then looked in for a goal when he was put clear by Loughran but he opted to palm the ball instead of catching it and only managed to direct it into the grateful arms of McMahon.
Ronan Gribbin then had a guilt edged opportunity when Seaan Elliott’s cross fell into his path but his first time effort screwed wide and things then took another turn for the worse as indiscipline crept into the Saffrons play.
Eoghan McMenamim, who had been outstanding at mid-field was shown Red and shortly after Peter Henvey followed him to the sideline following a black card and Louth took full advantage as they hit the last four points of the game to claim the spoils.
Carl Gillispie began the comeback and Conal McCaul, Gillispie again and Ciaran Keenan were all on target as the visitors edged home winners by two points.
Antrim must now get themselves ready for a championship opener against the winners of Derry and Fermanagh but despite this defeat they are in reasonable shape going into that tie. If they can put some of the mistakes they have been making over their three Leo Murphy Cup games behind them and harness the positives from those games then they won’t be too far away.
Antrim: Gary Murray, Eunan McAteer, Jamie Lamont, John Morgan, Marc McAffee, Cormac McGettigan, Ronan Gribbin, Eoghan McMenamim, Ciaran O’Neill, Aaron McNeilly, Peter Henvey, Adam Loughran, Dominic McAteer, Ryan Stewart, Rory Brolly. Subs: Seaan Elliott, Eoin Hynds, Conal McDonall, Daniel Foster, Conall Murray, James McDonnell, Oisin Doherty, Miceal Ferris, Conall Finnegan,
Louth: Ciaran McMahon, Donal Kenny, Peter Lynch, Kieran Murtagh, Ciaran Murphy, Tom Jackson, Glen Stewart, Sean Healy, Daragh Malone, Ciaran Keenan, Conal McCaul, Ben Collier, Luke Matthews, Carl Gillispie, Cillian Rice, Conor Garland.
Referee: Dan Mullan (Derry).
Danske Bank MacLarnon Cup
Round 1 Eliminators
St Patrick’s Downpatrick 1-11 St Louis Ballymena 0-7
St Louis Ballymena bowed out of the McLarnon Cup at the Dub on Wednesday when they lost out to holders St Patrick’s Downpatrick. Playing with the strong breeze in the first half they opened up a 0-4 to 0-1 lead midway through the half but they failed to add to that tally as the Down side began to gain control and the Kentullagh boys were let to rue two goal chances, one from play and the other from an injury time penalty.
St Louis started brightly with two points from Aidan Scullion but as the first half progressed it became clear that defending champions St Patrick’s Downpatrick were the more accomplished team.
Although the Ballymena boys still led at the break by 0-4 to 0-2, the writing was on the wall with the pace of the Downpatrick wing-forwards and wing-backs plus the presence of Aodhan Harney, Tom Smyth and Ruairí Connor down the centre always a problem for them.
St Louis looked good in those opening few minutes with Scullion lively and Ruairí Hagan and Ryan McQuillan pushing forward, but that penetration was arrested before the end of the first quarter and the scores dried up.
Their hopes of remaining in the tie against the strong breeze in the second half rested on a penalty in first half injury-time when Ronan McKillop fed Ryan McQuillan and the Glenravel man was taken down.
But Aidan Scullion pulled his shot wide from the spot kick and that two points’ lead did not look good enough.
Tom Smyth, Tom Savage, Chris McIlroy and Dermot Donaldson all pointed in the opening six minutes of the new half and the result was not in doubt from then on.
Some of these were well taken scores, but the cream of the crop was a seven player move down the left wing which finished with Conor Murray slinging over the second of his four second half scores in the 42nd minute.
Six minutes later the Red High slammed the door shut on Ballymena. Ryan McQuillan’s attempt at a point from a free dropped short into Peter Kearney’s arms. Kearney fed Odhrán Barlow who carried it 30 metres before firing the ball long over the St Louis defence into the arms of Ruairí Connor. The big centre-forward kept his cool to slot the ball home from close range.
St Louis hit back with points from two Ryan McQuillan frees and a fine effort from Daniel McNicholl but Murray (2), Smyth and, at the death, a free from Connor rubber-stamped the holders’ ticket to a second round tie with Carndonagh Community School.
St Louis : Rory McCloskey, Conall Killough, Daragh Donaghy, Sean Higgins, Shaun O’Callaghan, Oisin Connolly, Ryan McCartney, Ruairí Hagan, Daniel McNicholl (0-1), Ryan McQuillan (0-3 frees), Ronan McKillop, Patrick Dougan, Aidan Scullion (0-2, 0-1 free), Callum Higgins (0-1), Patrick Ferris.
Sub : Conor Crossey for S Higgins (52)
St Patrick’s : Peter Kearney, Oran Gormley, Lorcan Guiness, Caolan Murray, Odhran Barlow (0-1), Aodan Harney, Tom Savage (0-3, 0-1 free), Oran Cunningham, Conor Murray (0-4, 0-1 free), Tom Savage (0-1), Ronan Connor (1-0, 0-1 free), Dermot Donaldson, Chris McIlroy (0-1), Tom McNeill, Odhran Sherry.
Subs : Jack Fitzsimons for D Donaldson (52).
Referee : Paul Hughes (Antrim)
St Mary’s no match for Donegal boys
Abbey VS Donegal 8-12 St Mary’s CBGS Belfast 2-6
Meanwhile another Donegal school, Abbey Vocational, were really impressive in their 8-12 to 2-6 win over St Mary’s CBGS in Garvaghey, a victory that sees them line up St Paul’s Bessbrook in the next round.
Shay Travers was top scorer in the first half with two goals and four points for Abbey who led at the break by 4-8 to 1-2 with Barra McCaffrey scoring the goal for St Mary’s.
Abbey continued to dominate the second half and Cian Rooney banged home four goals as Abbey set up a second round tie with the Armagh school.
St Mary’s : Barra McCaffrey (1-2), Daire Murphy (1-1), Caolan McKernan (0-1), Darragh Gorman (0-1), Niall Fallon (0-1)
Abbey : Cian Rooney (4-1), Shay Travers (2-7), Alex McCalmot (1-1), Conor Campbell (1-0), Frank Cornyn (0-2), Thomas White (0-1).
St Mary’s : Barra McCaffrey (1-2), Daire Murphy (1-1), Caolan McKernan (0-1), Darragh Gorman (0-1), Niall Fallon (0-1