South West Juvenile Fixtures Fri 23rd/Sun25th August

Thomas Devlin Car Sales u-12/14 Leagues

Friday 23rd August

Under-12 League

Play Off (Round One) at 7.00pm

St James Aldergrove v All Saint’s Ballymena

Under-12 Shield

Play Off (Round One) at 7.00pm

St Comgall’s Antrim v St Mary’s Rasharkin

Sunday 25th August

Under-14 League

Play Off (Round One) at 12 noon

St James Aldergrove v Con Magees Glenravel

Under-14 Shield

Play Off (Round One) at 12 noon

Casement’s Portglenone v St Comgall’s Antrim

Laverty Cup (semi finals) at 7.00pm

Sunday 25th August

Con Magees Glenravel v Tir na Nog Randalstown

Erin’s Own Cargin v St James Aldergrove

Big day at Kickham’s Creggan

On Saturday 24th August 2019, with a 5.00pm throw-in time, the Antrim select v Derry select teams will play against each other at Kickhams GAC Creggan.

The game will last 15 to 20 minutes with full GAA rules and an official referee.

As you will know already, the event is a “non-competitive” Gaelic Football match between players from Antrim and Derry. The players have learning disabilities or down syndrome and can be male, female, young and old and the focus of the entire day and event is to give these players their chance to shine and enjoy playing our games and GAA in front of a large crowd of supporters and family, which doesn’t happen often and possibly ever unfortunately. We want to make as big a deal of the event as we can as a result of this.

It’s one of the best events that we have ever been part of in previous years and it’s a really good sports news story that can be quite rare especially recently.

If you know someone that would like to take part can you forward their names onto us by email to francesandtony@yahoo.co.uk or by phone to 07752700309.
Thanks and good luck to both teams!

Aldergrove spoil the Tir na nÓg party

Antrim Minor Football League – Division 1

Tír na nÓg 2.11 (17) Aldergrove 3.13 (22)

Aldergrove ended Tír na nÓg’s unbeaten run in Division 1 of the All County Minor Football League when they travelled to Whitehill on Tuesday evening  and recorded a win which prevented the home side from securing the League title. Despite leading at half time Tír na nÓg couldn’t hold on to secure the win they needed as Aldergrove came out in the second half very organised and prevented the blues key men running at them, while at the other end they kept the score board ticking with Kian Jones in fine form and substitute Daniel Shields making an instant impact.

Eamon Óg McAllister opened the scoring from a free for the home side after they kicked three wide balls, Conor Morris equalised 5 minutes later after an extremely slow and patient build up. Tír na nÓg were then put on the back foot when Shane Hinfey was forced to get back and cover Adam Reid and make a goal line save from Aaron O’Connors effort after he was left alone and unmarked in the full forward line. O’Connor followed up and pointed before Oisin Graham turned over the kick out to put his side 2 points up. Kian Jones got his first score of the game before Conor Crossey pulled one back for the blues after fine work out of defence from Rory Mullan. Sean Grant and Eamon Óg McAllister got the next two scores to draw the game once again after 15 minutes of play.

Colla McDonald put the Whitehill side one ahead from a free kick before Oliver McAtamney played a cross field ball to the previous scorer who found Ciaran O’Neill who in turn placed Ethan Higgins through for a well taken point. Ethan Higgins was having a huge influence on the game and in the next phase of play he set up Colla McDonald for the first goal of the game. Tír na nÓg pushed on with further points from McAllister and Sean Grant and looked comfortable, before Kian Jones made his mark on the game when he easily turned the full back and slotted the ball to the back of the net to bring the Grove back into contention. Sean Grant got the last point of the half to leave the home side with a five point advantage.

The rain settled for the beginning of the second half and Eoin Hamill set up Jones for another point before Aldergrove were forced to clear two balls off the line when Emmet Irvine eventually kicked the ball out for a 45. Aldergrove substitute Daniel Shields made an immediate impact when he entered the field and scored a point, this was followed up with a point from Conor Morris after an excellent through ball from Fionn McDonagh. Jones brought the difference to the minimum with another free kick before Shields kicked a rebounded save from Adam Reid over the bar to level the game half way through the second half.

In the last quarter Aldergrove dominated and set themselves up very well whilst still attacking and creating scores. Conor Fogarty worked the ball out of defence and set Kian Jones up for his second goal to take the lead by three. O’Connor and Morris spilt the posts before McAllister pulled one back for the home side. Man of the match Kian Jones got his fourth point of the game and Shields put the game to bed with Aldergrove’s third goal.

The game was to finish on a knife edge when Ciaran O’Neill found the top corner of the net after a quick free from Murray. Conor Morris and Colla McDonnell traded scores before the final whistle which saw Aldergrove run out 5 point winners after a 10 point turn around.

Tír na nÓg
1. A. Reid 2. S. Hinfey 3. C. Devlin 4. R. Mullan 5. R. Crilly 6. O. McAtamney 7. E. Higgins 8. J. Higgins 9. C. O’Neill 10. C. Crossey 11. E. Murray 12. E. Óg McAllister 13. C. McDonald 14. P. Dougan 15. S. Grant 17. R.R. McDonnell 18. C. Hastings 19. B. Fitzgerald 20. D. O’Neill

Scorers: E. Óg McAllister (0.4- 1 free), C. Crossey (0.1), S. Grant (0.3), C. McDonald (1.2- 2 frees), E. Higgins (0.1), C. O’Neill (1.0)

Aldergrove scorers: C. Morris (0.4), A. O’Connor (0.2), O. Graham (0.1), K. Jones (2.4- 1 free), D. Shields (1.2)

100 Years in The Making Tír na nÓg GAC 1919 to 2019

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.

Members of the Tir na nÓg club visited the grave of club founder Maurice Bogue in Drogheda earlier in the year

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 football counties.

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.

One of the club’s founding members Arthur Martin

In Irish 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 emerged.

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 football.

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:-

Imbolg:- 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

The Centenary committee with guest of honur Oliver Galligan at the Gala dinner in Tullyglass Hotel

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.

Football Championship continues this weekend-Get behind your team

Following a fine opening preliminary round game in the SFC on Saturday evening the football championships continue at pace this coming Friday and continues over the weekend. As always the Saffron Gael will endeavour to cover all these games and we again make an appeal for financial assistance.

First of all we thank both Rossa and St. Gall’s for generous donations at the weekend and we appeal to all clubs to make a donation and help us to cover as many games as possible.

Secondly we are again appealing for advertisers from the areas of clubs taking part in the various championships to take an advert wishing your club success in the their coming campaign. The cost of that advert is £60-00 and will be carried forward at no further cost to the final should your team enjoy success. We have had a descent response in the past and again have received a number to date and have included some examples.

If you would like to carry an advert wishing your club success contact john.mcilwaine@yahoo.co.uk or Tel: 07885226348 or ptrckmclwn@yahoo.co.uk or Tel: 07511111378. Your support would be greatly appreciated by both ourselves and your club.

With the opening game of the football championship completed on Saturday evening and a preliminary round success for St Mary’s Aghagallon, the first round in all grades, Senior, Intermediate, and Junior are scheduled for the week-end ahead.

The Devenish Junior Football Championship

Friday 23rd August

Eire Og V Kickham’s Ardoyne (7.30pm) at St. Paul’s

Having struggled to make impact in the league Eire Og finished well in arrears of their championship opponents and need improvement aplenty as they line out against promotion candidates Ardoyne.

Ardoyne will start as contenders for honours in this grade and they should not be troubled to pass this opening round test.

St Malachy’s v Mc Quillan’s Ballycastle (7.30pm) at Ballymena

St Malachy’s had reasonable league campaign finishing in a mid-table position and the men from the Markets will be hoping for a run in the championship.

Ballycastle have endured a poor league campaign this term and they may well struggle to pass this opening round test with a win for St. Malachy’s seeming more than likely.

St Patrick’s Lisburn v Laochra Loch Lao (7.30pm) at Glenavy

St Patrick’s Lisburn struggled to make impact in the second division this term but they were far from disgraced in a campaign which yielded just a single win and performed well in most of their games.

They finished beaten finalists in last year’s junior championship and will have ambitions of going one better this term.

Laochra Loch Lao have enjoyed a mixed first season in the Antrim league but this may prove a step too far with the Lisburn men expected to make progress.

Larkin Cassidy Solicitors Intermediate Football Championship

Sat 24th August

St Mary’s Rasharkin v Tir na nOg (5.30pm) at Portglenone

An all country affair as Rasharkin and Tir na nOg cross swords and this looks likely to be a close affair.

Rasharkin have struggled in the league this year but the Dreen side usually come good in the championship. Tir na nOg having started the season with an Ulster League title under their belts, had strong expectations for the league campaign but have concluded out of the promotion race.

Although a close encounter is anticipated the Whitehill men will start as firm favourites and may well progress.

St Ergnat’s Moneyglass v Cuchullian’s Dunloy (7.00pm) at Portglenone

Another meeting of South West sides as Moneyglass face Dunloy in a game which should attract a big attendance and both side will have aspirations of going all the way this year.

Moneyglass had a good league campaign this term and under the watchful eyes of Hugh Carey and Donal Laverty they remain in contention for promotion with a play-off with  Ahoghill on the horizon.

The Marian Hill side lost to the dual club in the league a few weeks ago but that result will have little bearing on Saturday’s encounter.

This one could well be a close affair but if Moneyglass can produce their best form then they may just shade it.

Sunday 25th August

Michael Davitt’s v Patrick Sarsfield’s (2.30pm) at Lamh Dhearg

Sarsfield’s have had a descent league campaign and will start as favourites as they meet up with Michael Davitt’s in round one.

Davitt’s have secured their place in division 2 for next season and are a team who have shown steady improvement in their 2019 campaign.

The Paddies will start this one as favourites however and they may well gain the verdict.

Northern Switchgear Senior Football Championship

Sat 24th August

Lamh Dhearg v St Mary’s Ahoghill (5.30pm) at Corrigan Park

Lamh Dhearg were championship winners as recently as 2017 and will have firm ambitions of another success this season and will start as favourites against St. Mary’s Ahoghill.

They have had a fair league campaign this term, finishing in fifth position and on their day are formidable opponents.

Ahoghill remain in a battle for division 1 survival and may have a stronger focus on the forthcoming play-off against Moneyglass but Dualtagh Johnston’s men can never be under estimated.

Lamh Dhearg will enter this one as favourites and although they may well prevail nothing can be taken for granted with the Cloney men fully expected to provide stiff opposition.

St Mary’s Aghagallon v St Teresa’s (7.00pm) at Corrigan Park

Aghagallon opened championship account with last week’s preliminary round 2-11 to 1-08 victory over the 2018 Intermediate champions St Enda’s last Saturday evening and will go into this one as favourites against a St. Teresa’s side who were relegated from division 1 this year.

St Teresa’s have battled bravely to retain league status all season and the championship could provide them with an opportunity of putting the disappointment of relegation behind them.

Aghagallon will enter the fray as firm favourites and although St Teresa’s will not lack ambition or effort the St Mary’s men are given the nod.

Sunday 25th August

Casement’s Portglenone v St Brigid’s (3.30pm) T.B.C.

Casement’s have enjoyed a good league campaign this term and the Bannsider’s will be seeking to make a mark in the championship.

The O’Cahan Park residents face a  St Brigid’s side who will be buoyed by their win over St. Teresa’s on Monday night which guarantees  Division 1 survival but the Bannsider’s will start as favourites.

St Brigid’s have momentum going into this one following that win on the Glen Road and the 2018 U21 championship and are capable of causing an upset.

Casement’s will enter the fray as favourites and the current climate would suggest the Bannsider’s will gain passage to the next round but this one could be very close.

Gort na Mona v O’ Donovan Rossa (4.00pm) at Lamh Dhearg

Rossa, having claimed the division two title will be hoping for a good run in the championship. Under the management of former player, Sean Fleming they have impressed this year but face a stiff test against a Gort na Mona side who had a good season back in division 1 after gaining promotion last year.

Sean McKenna’s  Gort na Mona having maintained their first division status will be hoping to bring that form into the championship.

Little may separate these two and despite playing in division 2 Rossa look quite capable of edging what should be a close contest.