Good opening day win for St. Gall’s but St. John’s will rue missed chances

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O’Neill’s Antrim Senior Football League Division One

 St John’s 0-12 St Gall’s 0-15

ST Gall’s opened their account for 2018 with an impressive three-point win over a wasteful St. John’s in the opening round of this year’s division 1 league at Corrigan park on Wednesday night.

Michael Pollock was the man who did most of the damage and his personal tally of 0-9 on the night was a big contributing factor in a good victory for the Milltown Row side. It was St. John’s however who made the better start and with Simon McDonagh and Ronan McCafferty on top at mid-field they took the game to the visitors.

Significantly the Johnnies squandered five scoring chances during this period with. Matthew Fitzpatrick off target from a ‘45’ before Paddy McBride and Fitzpatrick hit back-to-back wides.

A well-taken Pollock point got St Gall’s on their way after four minutes before Jack Hannigan missed the target at the other end when he had better options inside. Full-forward Conor Johnston then hit the posts and it started to look like it wasn’t going to be the Johnnies day.

Back came the visitors and Kieran McGourty hit a good point in the 10th minute to put his side two ahead before Pollock added his first free of the game. Pollock followed with another following a slip by Ciaran Carlan as St. Gall’s started to get on top.

Mícheál Bradley replied with a point for the Corrigan men to finally get St John’s off the mark on 14 minutes and two Paddy McBride points in quick succession had them back within striking distance.

Pollock replied from a couple of well executed frees to edge the visitors further ahead again before St. Johns John’s were dealt a blow late in the opening half when Ryan McNulty was forced to retire after appearing to go over on his ankle.

A fine point from Niall O’Neill ensured that St Gall’s went in at half-time with a 0-7 to 0-4 lead and at this stage they were full value for their lead though their hosts would surely reflect on the number of chances they had squandered.

Eoghan McCabe extended the St. Gall’s lead on the turnover after good work from Michael Pollock and Kevin Niblock before Johnston replied in kind less than a minute later, but St Gall’s were getting a better return from their possession and Pollock moved them four clear following good work form Mark Kelly.

Pollock then punished a foul on Kevin Niblock to move his side five ahead and it looked to be slipping away from the Corrigan men at this stage but they came back with a fine individual score from Matthew Fitzpatrick to keep them in touch.

This score seemed to lift them but Fitzpatrick and Johnston both kicked wides before McBride dropped a routine free into Chris Kerr’s arms as they fought to turn the game around. McBride made amends with a great individual effort but again St. Gall’s were able to respond.

Pollock (free) and Niall O’Neill (two) kept the scoreboard ticking over before McBride slotted over a free after drawing a foul with 10 minutes remaining. As the game entered the final ten minutes St. John’s looked like they would need a goal if they were to pull this one out of the fire.

As they pressed forward a long delivery from Hannigan dropped into the six-yard box, but Kerr failed to claim the ball and it fell kindly for McCallin. Surrounded by defenders the corner-forward rushed his shot and it sailed over the bar when a goal was needed.

McCallin’s point closed the gap to three and when Paddy McBride added another it was down to two and the comeback still looked very much on. However, St Gall’s emptied their bench bringing on CJ McGourty who held his nerve to convert a long range free on the hour mark to put three between the sides once again.

St. John’s pressed for that all important goal in time added on but the St. Gall’s defence stood firm as a Paddy McBride shot sailed wide of a packed goalmouth to bring proceedings to a halt.

St Gall’s are on the road again on Sunday, April 29 when they face Glenavy while St John’s travel up to Hannahstown to face Lámh Dhearg in a repeat of last year’s SFC final in a game that is sure to attract a lot of interest.

ST JOHN’S: E Lambert; C Carland, P Gribben, C McEvoy; J Hannigan, M Bradley 0-2, S Tierney; S McDonagh, R McCafferty; P McBride 0-6 (0-4fs), A McGowan 0-1, R McNulty; P McCallin 0-1, C Johnston 0-1, M Fitzpatrick 0-1.

Subs: M Dudley for McNulty (29mins), L Peden for Gribben (50mins), J Carland for McGowan (52mins).

ST GALL’S: C Kerr; C Brady, R Irvine, S O’Hagan; M Kelly, S Kelly, J McGreevy; C Burke, A Gallagher; M Pollock 0-9 (0-5fs), K McGourty 0-1, E McCabe 0-1; T O’Neill, K Niblock, N O’Neill 0-3.

Subs: T O’Ciaran for O’Hagan (45mins), CJ McGourty 0-1 (0-1f) for K McGourty (49mins), R Wilson for M Kelly (56mins), J McCaffrey for Gallagher (62mins), C Stinton for Brady (64mins)

 

REFEREE: B Toland (Lámh Dhearg)

 

League holders have too much for Glenavy

O’Neill’s All County Football League – Division 1

Erin’s Own Cargin 2-14 St Joseph’s Glenavy 2-04

By Geordie McGuckin

Having gained promotion in 2017 it was back to division one for the men from Glenavy after an absence of ten years but there was no welcome on the mat in their new assignment at Toome on Wednesday evening as they lost out to the reigning league champions.

The St Joseph’s men did seemingly set up expecting pressure in a formation which was much in the defensive, and depending on swift counter did work for a time as they stayed alongside the Toome men for the opening ten minutes but in the event that was to be as good as it got for the men from Chapel Hill.

Cargin took the patient route with the half back department leading the charge and although stationed with numbers behind the ball in an effort to repel the visitors they were quite naïve in their defending and tackling which resulted in free kicks awarded as consequence proved costly and the home side had nipped into a half time lead at 1-09 to 0-03.

The McCann brothersTomas and Michael had raised white flags apiece in the opening phase to see the home side away but back to back points from Glenavy corner man Fergas Cunningham had the visitors on par at the 10th minute.

Cunningham had done well from quick counters but a further brace of points, the first of which was a superb strike from away on the right touchline despatched by the obviously in-form Tomas Mc Cann, was followed by another from his brother which saw the Toome men three ahead 0-05 o 0-02 at the end of the opening quarter.

 

Glenavy stuck rigidly to the ultra-defensive formation from the outset and combined with quick counter worked the oracle in the 18th minute as Michael Johnston fetched and released James Gallagher to add a point.

Cargin tried to reply with patience the key to approach as the leather transferred through hands a plenty in pace for Tomas Mc Cann receiving on the left side to send Michael Clarke in for a 20th minute goal.

The home side then turned the screw tighter utilising the patient approach to the optimum and Tomas Mc Cann stepping forward to despatch frees, awarded in turn fouls on the advancing Justin Crozier, Tony Scullion, and James Laverty.

The Toome men had moved 1-09 to 0-03 ahead when Enda Mc Grogan nipped away inside to collect from Michael Mc Cann and send between the posts but Glenavy had the last say in the scoring stakes in the opening period and a rare unforced error within the ranks of the green and white was punished when Paddy Gallagher raised white.

 

The home side continued in the second period as they had the first, on the offensive, but the visitors maintained a defensive formation. Cargin kept coming in a controlled approach driving from deep with the defence not at all afraid to take the offensive route with Tony Scullion, Justin Crozier, and Kevin ‘Kobo’ O’ Boyle seen in the opposition territory in regular intervals.

The Glenavy men looked to stand tall in defiance but Kevin O’ Boyle’s 33rd minute surge opened the way for Enda Mc Grogan to raise white, and back to back frees awarded for fouls committed on Ciaran Bradley and the advancing Brendan Laverty were punished by the ever accurate Tomas Mc Cann as he increased the tally on the board by a couple.

 

Glenavy needed scores and indeed they claimed a well delivered 48th point to raise the morale as centre back Oisin Hamill collected from Malachy Doherty to fire to the net. The home side provided quick response when John Carron raced away at the other end to claim a point, but the Chapel Hill side were to claim another major via replacement Thomas Gallagher.

The substitute collected away on the right hand side after Michael Johnston had intervened to thwart a Cargin offensive and the finish was right out of the top drawer

 

Glenavy had reduced to arrears to six points in a matter of minutes but the home side were quick to regain composure and when Tony Scullion and Kevin O’ Boyle combined to send Ciaran Bradley away on the right hand side the corner forward’s delivery fell nicely for Enda Mc Grogan to finish to the net.

The Toome men returned to the positive and a late Tomas Mc Cann point following a foul on his sibling Michael completed the role of the score keeper with the reigning league champions crossing the winning line, first points secured at 3-14 to 2-04.

 

Cargin

Peadar Mc Keever, Donnach Mc Keever, Martin Kane, Kevin O’ Boyle, Tony Scullion, Justin Crozier, David Johnston, John Carron (0-01), Enda Mc Grogan (1-02), Michael Clarke (1-00), Ciaran Bradley, Tomas Mc Cann (0-09), Brendan Laverty

 

Subs

Odhran Mc Guckin for J Laverty

 

Glenavy

Eddie Nelson, Martin Nelson, Chris Scullion, Seamus Mc Girr, Matthew Hamill, Oisin Hamill (1-00), Jonathan Philips, Michael Johnston, Ciaran Loney, Ryan Philips, Patrick Gallagher (0-01), Niall Mc Cann, Michael Mc Court, James Gallagher (0-01), Fergas Cunningham (0-02)

 

Subs

Thomas Gallagher (1-00) for N Mc Cann

Eoin henry for M Hamill

Fergal Green for F Cunningham

 

Referee Karol Doherty (Rasharkin)

 

 

 

 

 

Goals make the difference for the county champions

Lámh Dhearg 2-14-1-14 Portglenone

By Kevin Herron at Hannahstown

A goal in each half was enough to see Lámh Dhearg grind out a win in their first league outing after defeating Portglenone 2-14-1-14 at Hannahstown this evening.

Paddy Cunningham and Eoghan McKeown struck either side of the referee’s whistle for the county champions who looked to be en route to a comfortable victory, but Portglenone fought their way back into contention and a Dermot McAleese penalty gave them a glimmer of hope – though the hosts hung on in the end to claim their first two-points of the campaign.

Lámh Dhearg were first off the mark at a bright but breezy Hannahstown – corner forward Kevin Quinn popped the ball between the posts after a surging burst forward by Marc McGarry.

At the other end Brendan McComb was colossal as he turned Portglenone over twice in the early stages before departing through a head knock.

Terry McCrudden doubled his side’s advantage after Pearse Fitzsimons rose highest in middle of the field to claim John Finucane’s kick out and the ball was patiently recycled into the full-forwards path.

Portglenone hit through an excellent curling effort from corner-forward Patrick Kelly, but Ciaran Flaherty laid the ball off for the energetic Eoghan McKeown whose shot was direct and between the posts to restore his sides two-point lead, 0-03-0-01.

From the resulting kick-out, disaster struck for the visitors as Brian McManus went short – none of his fellow defenders read his intentions but Paddy Cunningham did and his delicate lob floated over the helpless McManus and into the unguarded goal to give Lámh Dhearg a 1-03-0-01 after 11 minutes.

Kelly hit back with a converted free and by the midway point only the goal separated the sides as influential midfielder Niall McKeever shot curled back inside the post as it momentarily looked to heading wide .

Niall Delargy cut the deficit further with the visitor’s third point on the spin but Michael Herron showed composure as he burst forward centre-half back and landed a super point.

Kevin Quinn restored the Lámhs three-point lead with his second point of the evening and Lámh Dhearg equalled Portglenone’s feat of three successive scores as Darren Bellew converted from a 45’ to make it 1-06-0-04.

Ryan Convery cut the margin again with a fine individual effort and Patrick Kelly converted his second free of the half to leave the goal separating the sides.

The sides traded scores through Eoghan McKeown and Kelly [free] but with the final kick of the first-half Ciaran Flaherty sent the ball between the posts to put the Hannahstown men 1-08-0-07 ahead at the interval.

Patrick Kelly should have narrowed the margin from the restart but his free dropped short and within three minutes Lámh Dhearg found their second goal of the game.

Ciaran Flaherty surged up field and drew in the Portglenone defenders before laying the ball into the path of McCrudden, Brian McManus stood tall and McCrudden found the unmarked McKeown who rifled home to give the Lámhs a 2-08-0-07 lead.

Scores from goal provider McCrudden and Kevin Quinn followed as the hosts were in command and nine ahead with twenty minutes remaining, but Portglenone weren’t about to wilt under pressure and fought their way back into the game.

Michael Kelly hit Casement’s first of the second period and just past the midway point – full-forward Conall Delargy narrowed the deficit to seven.

Kevin Quinn responded with his fourth of the evening but back to back quick fire points from Dermot McAleese left two goals the difference, 2-11-0-11.

McAleese claimed his third of the half as the pendulum had firmly swung in the visitors favour, with little under five minutes remaining referee Darren McKeown signalled for a penalty after Marc McGarry felled a Portglenone attacker on the on route to goal.

Half-forward McAleese took responsibility and despite John Finucane guessing correctly, he tucked his penalty low into the bottom right corner to leave just two-points of a difference, 2-11-1-12.

Terry McCrudden looked to have eased his sides nerves with his third point of the evening and the Hannahstown men’s lead was extended through a converted Paddy Cunningham free, however back to back frees from Patrick Kelly and namesake Martin cut the gap to two points once more.

Paddy Cunningham thought he had made the game save with a shot from a narrow angle that was controversially ruled wide before the umpire at the far post despite the nearest one signalling for a point.

Cunningham had the last laugh however as he coolly floated the ball over from a similar angle to give his side a 2-14-1-14 win at the final whistle and ensure that Lámh Dhearg got the better of Portglenone in the opening fixture of the league for the second time in three seasons.

Lámh Dhearg: J Finucane, P Larkin, P Mervyn, M McGarry, D Bellew (0-01f), M Herron (0-01), B McComb, P Fitzsimons, C Murray, E McKeown (1-02), C Flaherty (0-01), G Slane, P Cunningham (1-02, 0-01f), T McCrudden (0-03), K Quinn (0-04). Subs: D Lynch for B McComb (20 mins), C Nolan for M McGarry (57 mins).

Portglenone: B McManus, P McAleese, A McKee, R Delargy, R Convery (0-01), N Delargy (0-01), A Kearney, N McKeever (0-01), S Delargy, M Kelly (0-02, 0-01f), D McAleese (1-03, 1-00f), S Kelly, C Tierney, C Delargy (0-01), P Kelly (0-07, 0-04f).

Referee: Darren McKeown (St Galls)Portglenone 3

Saint Enda’s off to a flyer against shot shy Ahoghill

O’Neill’s All County Football League – Division 1

St Mary’s Ahoghill 0-4 St Enda’s 2-11

Newly promoted St Enda’s got their Division 1 League campaign off to very good start when they travelled to Ahoghill on Wednesday evening and beat St Mary’s by 2-11 to 0-4 in a game that was not one for the purist. If it is ever released on DVD I doubt if the sales around Ahoghill will be too high as they failed to score in the opening half, hit their first score from play in the fifty second minute and only scored twice from play overall. Conditions for scoring were difficult it has to be said, with a strong diagonal wind blowing and a bumpy pitch, but St Enda’s coped much better and worked the ball into good scoring positions, whereas Ahoghill tried shots from impossible positions that were never going to work. The St Mary’s men are a tough resiliant side who time and time again punch above their weight in this division. However tonight things just would not go their way, no matter how hard they tried, and this is one they will want to put behind them.

When the sides last met in January in the O’Cahan Cup Ahoghill won it quite easily as St Enda’s had a few regulars missing. This time the roles were reversed with the home side missing a few, but to be fair to the visitors it may not have affected the result even if they had played.

The Saints took and early lead when Odhran Eastwood pointed a free from the left corner but it was to be a further nine minutes until the next flag was raised, Eastwood again the scorer, and once again from a free. Ahoghill were putting a few good move together but they lacked the finish, and in one such move in the eighth minute right half forward Patrick Graham was put through on goal but appeared to kick with the wrong foot and the ball skewed badly wide.

Odhran Eastwood got his, and his team’s third point, and first from play, on thirteen minutes when he swung over a real beauty with the outside of his right boot and less than a minute later full forward Peter Healy added another fine score to pull the visitors 0-4 to 0-0 clear.  Ahoghill had further chances to break their duck, both from play and from frees but it was one of those night when nothing would work for the Clooney men and when Ruairi Scott added a point followed by a goal from Donal Walsh the visitors were 1-5 to 0-0 to the good at the break.

When Ahoghill opened the second half with a point inside a minute through full forward Donal Graham, their supporters must have felt they might be in with a chance of a comeback, but the score was soon cancelled out when corner forward Eoin Nagle rose in the square to palm a dropping ball over the Ahoghill crossbar. Graham replied with his second a minute later but St Enda’s continued to dominate and four points on the trot from Ruair Scott, Odhran Eastwood (2) and Michael Morgan ended any lingering hopes the home side may have had. Donal Graham hit is third point on fifty two minutes and centre forward James O’Connell sent one over from thirty metres, but St Enda’s finished with a flurry as Kristian Healy soloed through for a fine point before Eastwood fired home a penalty with the last kick of the game.

AHOGHILL

Pearse Downey, Conor Neeson, Diarmuid Graham, Bernard Graham, Eamon Brady, Dominic Neeson, Justin Downey, Sean O’Connell, Thomas McGlone, Patrick Graham, James O’Connell, Fionbarr O’Neill, Eoin Graham, Donal Graham.

ST ENDA’S

Paddy Flood, Cillian Jennings, Damian Gault, Michael McNamee, Ryan Kennedy, James McAuley, Conan Lyttle, Philip Curran, Ruairi Scott, Donal Walsh, Kristian Healy, Michael Morgan, Eoin Nagle, Peter Healy, Odhran Eastwood.

Referee – Sean Laverty (Moneyglass)

 

Strong second half sees Rossa snatch victory

All County Camogie League – Division 1

Rossa 3-09 Cushendall 2-09

By Michael Costello

Rossa got their first win of the season when they fought back two goals down at half time to beat Cushendall at Rossa Park Cusndall had a great start to the game with a strong tail-wind in their favour which saw them two goals and two points ahead after ten minutes, the goals coming from Siobhan McKillop and Ellen Leech as Colleen Patterson , Orlagh O’Hara and Sinead Cosgrove ran at their defence with great success.

Rossa struggled to gain possession with Dervla Cosgrove , Nuala McQuillan  and Laura McMullan strong in midfield, but with hard work from Sarah Armstrong , Orlagh  McCall and Natalie McGuinness the home side gradually put a  few scores together. Points from McCall, Eimear Byrne and Armstrong brought them back into the game and left a half time score of Rossa 0-05 Cushendall 2-05

The second half was almost an exact replica of the first half with the wind now helping Rossa who totally dominated the game . Natalie McGuiness , Bronagh Orchin and Sarah Armstrong added goals for the home side and although they made a late rally to chalk up 4 more points , Cushendall drove at least 5 frees wide of the target which might have ensured victory on another occasion . Overall an excellent game for so early in the season .

CUSHENDALL

Noleen Cosgrove, Caoimhe O’Hara, Claire Kearney, Aoife McClafferty, Clodagh McKillop, Laura McMullan, Nuala McQullian Dervla Cosgrove, Brogan Abhram, Colleen Patterson, Orlagh O’Hara, Siobhan McKillop, Niamh Conlon, Sinèad Cosgrove, Ellen Leech

ROSSA

Coleen Doherty, Tierna Johnston, Eimear Matthews, Clodagh McMenamin, Orla McCaw, Caoimhe Quinn, Muirinn Quinn, Caoimhe McNeice, Nicole Killen, Grace Shannon, Bronagh Orchin, Sarah Armstrong, Mairead Rainey, Maibh McCurdy.