Creggan keep league title hopes alive but result is unlikely to have any bearing on next week’s championship decider

Kickham’s Creggan 4-9 Erin’s Own Cargin 0-3

In a game that neither side really wanted next Sunday’s championship opponents, Kickham’s Creggan and Erin’s Own Cargin met today in the All County league in Creggan. The game was certainly more important to the Creggan men and they kept their hopes of a league and championship double alive but today’s result is unlikely to have any bearing on next week’s Championship decider.

Both sides fielded weakened sides with the visitors featuring only a handful of players who are likely to come into contention for a starting place next Sunday and while Creggan looked stronger on paper they too are likely to show quite a number of changes to next Sunday’s starting line out.

As was expected this was more like a reserve match. In a low scoring first half where both team’s defences came out on top, Oran McAuley got Cargin off the mark with a point from a 3rd minute free. Tiernan McAteer replied for the Kickham’s in the 6th minute and for the rest of the half it became the Paddy Coey show as he scored 2 points and a well taken goal.

The second half was the complete opposite of the first with Kickham’s getting 2 goals inside the first 5 minutes through Tiarnan McAteer and Mathew Rogers with Rogers adding a point. Jamie McCann, who was having a very strong game at centre half then came up the field to get on the score-sheet as the home side started to take control. Creggan’s greater senior experience began to tell as Kevin Small entered the contest and scored 1-02 in a 5 minute spell to move his side into a commanding position.

Cargin replied with points from Michael Clark and David Johnston as Marty Kane drove his team on and his performance would suggest he could be in contention for a place next week. The league leaders responded again and Tiernan McAteer kicked his side’s last 2 points as both teams emptied their benches.

An enjoyable game of football as both teams now set their sights on a much bigger target. Best for Cargin were Martin Kane, Michael Clark, John Carron, Oran McAuley and Peader McKeever with Jake McAteer, Eunan McAteer, Paddy McAuley, Kevin Rice & Paddy Coey best for Kickham’s.

The sides meet again next Sunday and Creggan are likely to face a much stiffer challenge from an Erin’s Own side seeking their third championship title in four years while Creggan will be happy to have got this one out of the way as they prepare for the most eagerly awaited final for some time.

 

Ahoghill on top in battle of St. Mary’s

ACFL Division 1B

St. Mary’s Ahoghill 1-12 St. Mary’s 2-6

St. Mary’s Ahoghill finished their division 1 football league campaign with a win over their namesakes, St. Mary’s Aghagallon at Clooney last night. The Clooney men had three points to spare over the visitors in an end of season game that had little more than pride at stake.

It was the visitors who got off to the better start and moved into a two point lead after five minutes through Ruairi Loughran and Ciaran Brady but Ahoghill were back on level terms by the 6th minute through two quick fire points from James O’Connell and Dan O‘Neill.

St. Mary’s Aghagallon moved ahead once more with a point from Loughran in the 9th minute but the Clooney side were beginning to get their game together and hit three point on the trot through Donal Graham 0-2 and Diarmuid Graham to lead 0-5 to 0-3 after 13 minutes.

Once again the visitors were able to respond and a good move finished with Ruairi McCann firing to the net to restore their lead as things began to warm up and play swung from end to end.

This goal brought an immediate response from the home side, obviously intent on continuing their recent good run of league results and they replied with points from James O’Connell, Donal Graham and Patrick Graham and again appeared to be taking control.

Once again they were opened up however by another slick Aghagallon counter which resulted in the visitor’s second goal from mid-fielder Eunan Walsh as they hit the front  once more and the brave souls who had turned up to support their sides on the night were being entertained to some fine passages of football.

Just when it seemed that Aghagallon would carry their lead into the half time break St. Mary’s Ahoghill put another good move together which ended with Patrick Graham firing to the visitors net and it was they who held a slender two point lead at the short whistle.

The second half didn’t quite live up to the excitement of the first with both defences well on top and scores at a premium  but it was Ahoghill who made the early running and points from Donal Graham and Owen Neeson saw them move four ahead with only a couple of minutes of the new half gone.

Seven minutes into the half the visitors closed the gap to three with a point from Ciaran Brady but two pointed frees from Donal Graham had the Clooney men in the driving seat with 12 minutes remaining as they moved five clear and seemingly in a place of safety.

Aghagallon made a late push but could only manage a couple of points from Eunan Walsh and his mid-field partner, Jack Lenehan for their efforts as the Ahoghill defence stood strong and this win leaves last night’s opponents on equal points at the top of division 1B with both side having already been assured of division 1 football next season.

Ahoghill win secures division 1 status and seals Glenavy’s fate

ACFL Division One (section B)

St Mary’s Ahoghill 3-19 St Joseph’s Glenavy 0-10

St Mary’s Ahoghill continued their late season dash on the positive as they secured their division 1 status for another year when they proved too strong for Glenavy under the floodlights at Clooney on Thursday evening.

The St Mary’s side, having looked in trouble at the start of the second phase of the league have underlined character within, not for the first time and this latest win ensures division 1 fare again in 2019.

In contrast the result means that after their return to the top table was well earned last year the St Joseph’s men will return to the second tier again in 2019.

Glenavy arrived at Ahoghill certain in the knowledge that if they were to have any chance of remaining in division 1 next year then it was vital that they win this one and a good start was needed.

In the event the St Joseph’s side was slow to get it together as the Clooney men powered out of the start blocks, and had raised five white flags in the opening ten minutes.

Patrick Graham opened account with a 3rd minute point and after the O’Connell brothers raised back to back white flags a brace from the ever accurate Donal Graham made it 0-05 to 0-00.

The Chapel Hill residents needed an opening score to gain composure but it was more than obvious that a well drilled Ahoghill rear guard in which Stephen O’ Connell, James Magee and Bernard Graham stood tall throughout had started as they meant to continue.

The Glenavy men had been thwarted in their early efforts to open account before Conor Hamill did plant the ball between the posts with a good 16th minute strike.

The home side was quick to return fire however and when a slick approach and a precision based PJ O’Connell delivery opened the way to the posts the advancing wing half back Eamon Brady finished to the net and Ahoghill had nipped into a 1-07 to 0-01 lead and were well in control.

Glenavy looked low in confidence as they struggled to get it together but the home side were not about to ease off the throttle as they continued to pile on the pressure.

Ahoghill continued to provide stern resistance to any Glenavy advances in search of much needed scores and a Stephen O’ Connell interception and clearance to his roving sibling PJ sent Danny O’ Neill in for another goal.

Ciaran Looney did add a second point to the Glenavy total when he split the posts in the 25th minute but the resultant kick out from net minder Francis Neeson set the wheels in motion for another well laid offensive.

James Connell and Donal Graham combined to send PJ O’Connell through to plant the leather in the back of the net and even at this early juncture it looked as good as over.

The St Mary’s men had dominated the opening period and were in complete control when the man in charge signalled the break, holding a 3-11 to 0-03 lead and the road to recovery seemed an impossible route for the visitors.

Glenavy showed some improvement in the second half with Conor Hamill and Patrick Gallagher working hard to set the St Joseph’s wheels in motion. The home side were now coming under pressure for the first time and net minder Frank Neeson was called on to make a smashing save to deny Patrick Gallagher.

Ryan Philips and Michael McCourt had combined in slick approach to send the mid fielder in on the target only to be denied by the keeper who went full length to his right to make an excellent save.

As the home side visibly eased off the accelerator but continued to hold sway Glenavy were finding the way to the posts a trifle easier but any time they did make a mark the home side were quick to reply in kind.

There was never going to be a way back for the St Joseph’s men despite honest endeavour and with the home side management taking opportunity to give game time to a full complement of replacements they had plenty in hand to cross the line with the precious points on board at 3-19 to 0-10.

Ahoghill: Francis Neeson, James Magee, Stephen O’ Connell, Bernard Graham, Eamon Brady (1-00), Patrick Graham, Martin Graham, Neil O’ Connell (0-04), Sean Mc Mahon, PJ O’ Connell (1-05), Danny O’ Neill (1-01), James O’ Connell (0-06), Donal Graham (0-03), Eoin Neeson

Subs:

Aodhan Graham (0-01) for Donal Graham

Diarmuid Graham for E Brady

Ronan Graham for E Neeson

Joey Hamill for S Mc Mahon

Noel Crossey for PJ O’ Connell

 

Glenavy: Fergal Graham, Martin Nelson, Sean Mc Girr, Ruairi Forrester, Matthew Hamill, Conor Hamill (0-02), Ryan Philips, Patrick Gallagher (0-01), Neil Scullion, Michael Mc Court (0-02), Peter Trainor (0-01), Alex Gallagher (0-01), Dominic Gallagher, Niall Mc Cann (0-01)

Subs

Fergas Mc Cann (0-02) for N Scullion

Ben McCambridge for P Trainor

Referee C Mc Dermott (Tir na Nog)

 

Creggan in pole position after victory over St. Gall’s but nothing decided yet

 

Blackstone_logo_BWO’Neill’s ACFL Division 1

Creggan 4-10   St. Gall’s  0-12

Creggan put themselves in pole position in the race for the O’Neill’s ACFL Division 1 title when they entertained nearest rivals St. Gall’s in a rearranged game at their Staffordstown Road ground and recorded a 10 point win over the visitors

In a highly entertaining game with both teams preparing for championship it was end to end from start to finish. A Conor Small double and goals from Ruairi McCann and Oistin McAteer were the deciding scores in the end however as Creggan gained revenge for a defeat to St. Gall’s earlier in the season

Kickham’s started the game sprightly with points from Kevin Small and David McGuckin but St. Galls replied through Jackson McGreevey. Creggan struck with the first goal of the game and a great flowing move finished with Conor Small who slotted the ball low into the corner of the net for the game’s  first goal in the 7th minute with his brother Kevin scoring his second point a minute later. St. Galls responded with points from Michael Pollock and CJ  McGourtey to keep in touch as play flowed from end to end. Sam Maguire marked his return to the side following a serious injury against Lamh Dhearg with a good point to keep the home side ahead and fellow defender, Ricki Johnston added another as the Staffordstown Road side continued to edge the first half exchanges.

It was still anybody’s game as half time approached with CJ McGourty and Micky Pollock for the visitors and Kevin Small for the home side exchanging late scores to leave  the Kickham’s 1.06 to 0.05 ahead at the break.

Creggan were well ahead at this stage in the corresponding fixture at Milltown but saw a healthy half time lead overturned in the second half and were determined that this wouldn’t happen again as they made a determined and fruitful start to the second half. Ruairi McCann was rewarded for all his hard work with an early point and followed with a goal in the opening five minutes and the home side looked to be taking control.

St Galls had other ideas however as they responded with five unanswered points through Eoin McCabe (2) Kevin Niblock, CJ and Ciaran McGourty and it looked like we had a real battle on our hands.

The home side were able to find a response however as Conor Small fired over an excellent point and followed with his second goal as he calmly slotted home in the 20th minute  with Tiarnan McAteer adding another point.

St. Galls continued to press for goals in the closing stages but the Creggan defence stood firm and the Milltown Row side had to settle for a couple of points from Kevin Niblock and Anto Healey. Kickham’s hit back again to secure an excellent victory and the industrious Fintan Burke calmly fisted over before the live wire Liam Quinn set up Oistin McAteer to fist to the back of the net and ensure there would be no way back for St. Gall’s.

With two games remaining Creggan move two points ahead of St. Gall’s and have parish rivals Cargin and Casement’s Portglenone as visitors for those two remaining fixtures while St. Gall’s have St. John’s and Lamh Dhearg as visitors so nothing is decided yet but a first league title for quite a number of year’s is within the grasp of the Kickham’s.

 

Relegation looms for Glenavy after defeat to St. Enda’s

O’Neill’s ACF League Division One

St Joseph’s Glenavy 1.09 v 2.13 St.Enda’s Glengormley

This game was a must win for the home side to give themselves any realistic chance of staving off the spectre of relegation. However the Glenavy men theoretically still have an outside chance of staying up as their last two games are against St Teresa and Ahoghill, teams who are still in danger of the drop themselves. However they will need other teams to do them a big favour as well as running up massive scores themselves

on wednesday night he visitors arrived determined not to be brought into the dog fight of the drop. Peter Healey scored an early goal to give the Glengormley side a lead which they never lost.  The game was played in a sporting manner with referee Eamon McAuley allowing the game to flow. Eamon also deserves great credit in getting the game finished in almost complete darkness.

The home side was first on the score-sheet with an excellent point from centre back Conor Hamill to give his side the lead for the first and only time. With the game flowing from end to end scores were hard to come by. St Enda’s struck with a vital score however as the ball was played into full-forward Peter Healey who planted it in the corner of the Glenavy net. The visitors continued to turn the screw on their hosts with points from Odhrán Eastwood and Conor McAuley before Niall McCann stemmed the flow with two excellent points for the Chapel Hill side.

The visitors then went seven points in front with scores from Eoin Nagle, Odhrán Eastwood (2) Ruairi Scott  and a score direct from a ‘45’ but Matthew Hamill and Michael McCourt closed the gap with a points for the St. Joseph’s side. The momentum was with the lively visitors however as Odhrán Eastwood extended his side’s lead with a point.

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Glenavy were handed a lifeline when a speculative shot into the square was fumbled by the St. Enda’s keeper and trundled over the line to leave the halftime score St.Enda’s 1.08 v 1.05 Glenavy and leave the home side with something to build on for the second half.

The large home support was hoping for a fight-back from the team following that goal just before the break but  St.Enda’s had other ideas with Peter Healey scoring  a point from the throw in. Thomas Gallagher pulled a point back and Niall McCann pointed a free to leave two between the sides and the momentum seemed to be changing in favour of St. Joseph’s.

However Ruairi Scott replied for the visitors, quickly followed by a Peter Healey free to put their side four to the good. Niall McCann replied from a pointed a free but  Cillian Jennings put the game beyond the reach of the Glenavy side with a late goal. Alex Gallagher had the final point for the home side almost on full-time but it was merely a consolation score.

This defeat ends any hope of escape from relegation for the Glenavy side while St Enda’s, who were promoted with them from division 2 last year are safe for another season after a series of impressive results throughout the year.

St.Joseph’s:  F. Green. M. Nelson (Black Card R. Forester), P Gallagher, S McGirr (N. Scullion). M. Hamill, C. Hamill, Malachi Doherty (P. Traynor), M Johnston; C. Loney, R Phillips (Charles Gallagher), N McCann, M. McCourt (Eoin Henry), F Cunningham, D Gallagher (A. Gallagher), T. Gallagher.

St.Enda’s: C .Eastwood, Mi. McNamee, C. Jennings, C. Little, C. McAuley, C. McAuley, P. Curran,  E. Gibson, C. Jennings, . R. Scott, O. Eastwood, D. Walsh, P.Healey, E. Nagle.

Referee: Eamon McCann (Erin’s Own)

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