Johnnies withstand late Lámhs fightback

Homefit ACFL Division One 

St Johns 0-13-1-08 Lámh Dhearg 

Kevin Herron reports from Corrigan Park 

St Johns withstood a late fightback from Lámh Dhearg to make it four wins on the spin with a 0-13-1-08 win at Corrigan Park on Wednesday evening.

The hosts were in cruise control in the opening half with Paddy McBride claiming six of his sides eight first half scores that saw them 0-08-0-01 ahead. 

Lámh Dhearg improved slightly in the second period and Paddy Cunningham pulled his side back in contention with six-points and a late goal that made it a nervy finish- that in the end the Johnnies saw out. 

Both sides were missing key players for the second post-split clash on the Whiterock Road. 

St Johns hit the front early-on through points from Ross Hannigan and a converted Paddy McBride free. 

Conor Murray swung over a marvellous reply at the other end, but it was to be his sides only score of a first period that would become largely one-sided.

The Johnnies could have had an early goal, though Conor Hand dragged a shot wide of the target and at the other end Bam Neeson parried a shot from Conor Murray- after Marc Jordan slipped him in for a goal chance. 

Paddy McBride kicked his first point from play after a pop off from Conor Hand and then dropped another effort over the bar to give his side a 0-04-0-01 lead. 

McBride was in confident form and kicked another two back-to-back points from play, before converting his second free of the evening.

Paddy McBride contributed seven-points in his sides win over Lámh Dhearg

Just before the break Conor Johnston marked his return to club action with a straightforward conversion in front of the posts to give the hosts a 0-08-0-01 lead at the midway point. 

Lámh Dhearg required a fast start to the second period if they had any aspirations of coming back into proceedings. 

But they suffered a further set-back when Declan Smith was shown a black-card and they were a man down for 10 minutes. 

Conor Murray did reduce the deficit from a quickly taken free- however Luke Pedan dropped a shot over the bar in response.

The hosts were perhaps fortunate not to be reduced to 14-men temporarily when Bam Neeson caught Ross Murray with his foot in attempting to cut-out a dangerous opportunity and was booked instead. 

Neeson parried the resulting free from Paddy Cunningham on two occasions and after another offence was spotted, Cunningham eventually opted for a point at the third time of asking, 

The corner-forward swept over his first from play after Conor Murray and Aaron McAufield combined. 

But St Johns hit back-to-back scores themselves through an angled Laughlin McCurdy effort and a Conal McGlade point in the aftermath. 

Paddy Cunningham reduced the deficit again with a second converted free of the evening, only for Conor Hand to cancel it out with a point at the other end. 

Back-to-back Cunningham points from either side and a third converted free made it a four-point game (0-12-0-08) with minutes remaining. 

Paddy McBride hit his seventh point of the evening with a late free and It looked as though the hosts would run out five-point winners, though two minutes into injury-time a grandstand finish materialised. 

Stephen Tully got on the end of Bam Neeson’s kick-out and he floated in a high ball that Conor Murray palmed into the path of Declan Dunne, the substitute weighed up his options and picked out Cunningham to side foot and make it 0-13-1-08. 

The Hannahstown side turned over the kick-out and pushed for a winning score, though St Johns held firm and made it four league wins on the spin and in the process inflicted back-to-back defeats on Lámh Dhearg. 

St Johns: B Neeson, C McEvoy, P Nugent, L Pedan (0-01), R Hannigan (0-01), C Johnston, A McGowan, S McDonagh, R McNulty, P McBride (0-08, 0-03f), C Johnston (0-01), C Hand (0-01), L McCurdy (0-01), C McGlade (0-01), C Quinn (0-01). Subs: C Adams for L McCurdy (52), L Boyd for C Hand (58). 

Lámh Dhearg: M McIlvenny, F Mervyn, M McGarry, R Murray, D Smith, P Mervyn, M Hynes, C Hannan, M Jordan, S McManus, S Tully, C Maxwell, P Cunningham (1-06, 0-03f), C Murray (0-02, 0-01f), N McGarry. Subs: A McAufield for S McManus (8), D Dunne for C Maxwell (45), P Larkin for M Hynes (49), A Byrne for C Hannan (49), K Fay-Kelly for N McGarry (53). 

Referee: Sean Laverty (St Ergnat’s, Moneyglass)

Can Gorts climb the mountain?

ACFL Division 1

Gort na Mona 1-12 Ahoghill 1-5

Going into today’s game Gort na Mona found themselves seated at the foot of the table with only two points from 12 starts, their prospect s of division 1 survival looked as steep as the mountain that overlooks Enright Park.

The Gorts set out to climb that mountain today and while there is still a way to go following their best display of the season and a seven point win over St. Mary’s Ahoghill, they have at least reached first base.

In a swirling wind and intermittent rain it was Gort na Mona who edged matters during the opening half as they played down the slope into the breeze. The sides were tied at 0-3 apiece as the clock ticked down to half time but a Christopher Carson goal in the 30th minute was to prove the turning point in the game.

Carson fielded superbly on the edge of the Ahoghill square and despite the attention of James Magee the big number 11 turned and sent his shot beyond the reach of Noel Crossey to give his side a lead they would not lose.

Ahoghill got themselves right back into contention when substitute Patrick Graham forced the ball home following a goalmouth scramble when the Gort na Mona defence failed to deal with a Ronan Graham free but they failed to build on this bit of good fortune as the home side went on to dominate the second period.

James O’Connell for St. Mary’s and Patrick McCaffrey for Gort na Mona exchanged early points before Darren Boyd edged the Enright Park side ahead from a 13 meter free with16 minutes of a very mundane opening half gone.

James O’Connell levelled matters for the second time from a free in the 20th minute and Aodhan McDonagh and Boris O’Connell exchanged further points before Christopher Carson struck with the game’s opening goal in the 30th minute.

Carson’s goal gave the home side a bit of momentum and keeper Thomas McCaffery stepped up to send an injury time free from 30 meters over the bar to leave the Enright Park side in a good position as they headed to the dressing rooms leading by four points.

Patrick Graham’s goal on the restart made it a one point game again and Dessy McLean pointed following a mark and Ronan Graham replied from a close range free to keep the gap at one with nine minutes of the second half gone.

Gort na Mona were starting to get on top however with their high press and more direct running starting to pay dividends and Padraic McHugh pointed from play and then from a free, following an excellent save from Noel Crossey in the Ahoghill goals.

Another pointed free from Gort’s keeper, Thomas McCaffery following a point from Ahogill substitute, Patrick Dougan with his first touch left three between the sides at the end of the third quarter but the momentum was now very much with the home side.

They finished the game with a flurry as Eamon Scanell, Thomas McCaffery and Padraig Mulvenna hit unanswered points to leave them winners by seven points and hand them a lifeline to climb out of the bottom spot.

It’s still a way to the top of the proverbial mountain as they remain bottom on four points, three behind Tir na nOg and four behind today’s visitors but with four games remaining they are still in with a shout if they can build on today’s performance.

Gort na Mona: 1 Thomas McCaffery, 2 Sean Campbell, 3 Tiarna Keenan, 4 Padraig Curnane, 5 Ciaran Donnelly, 6 Michael Savage, 7 Neill Henry, 8 Caoimhin Magee, 9 Darren Boyd, 10 Aodhan McDonagh, 11 Christopher Carson, 12 Eamon Scanell, 13 Padraic McHugh, 14 Patrick McCaffrey, 15 Desy McLean

Ahoghill: 1 Noel Crossey, 2 Francis Neeson, 3 James Magee, 4 Bernard Graham, 5 Eoin Graham, 6 Thomas McGlone, 7 Eamonn Brady, 8 Neil O’Connell, 9 Daniel O’Neill, 10 James O’Conn ell, 11 Ronan Graham, 12 Fionnbar O’Neill, 13 P.J. O’Connell, 14 Donal Graham, 15 Conor Paul Crossey, 17 Patrick Graham

Referee: Cathal McDermott (Tir na nOg)

Kickham’s maintain their place at the top

HomeFit ACFL Division 1

Kickhams 0-10 to Casement’s 0-06

Kickham’s Creggan maintain their place at the top of division 1 following this four point win over their nearest rivals, Casement’s Portglenone in Creggan today.

The game was never going to be a classic giving the strong wind blowing down the field and it was Casements who had it in their favour in the opening half. Kickham’s really controlled the first 20 minutes playing a nice brand of possession football and by the 18th minute they lead 0-03 to 0-01 with points from Ruairi McCann, Tiernan McAteer and Kevin Small and Niall mc Keever replying for Portglenone. 

The visitors began to find their feet however and with the wind behind them they responded with the next 3 points through Paddy Kelly and 2 points from the boot of Michael Hagan to put Casement’s into a 1 point lead at half time.

 A good finish to the opening half for the Kelly Park side but would it be enough as they turned to face the wind in the second half.

The McAteer brothers were to the fore as Creggan started the second half with a bang as Dominic McAteer in a man of the match performance scored 2 excellent points in the 1st and 7th minute and then his brother Tiernan hit the score of the day with a fantastic point from out near the sideline.

Aiden Hagan replied for Casement’s in the 12 minute only for Ruairi McCann to kick his second point of the day as he and Kevin Small started to control midfield. The home side were now controlling matters and upped stepped Kickham’s keeper Oisin Kerr to score his customary point of the match.

Jamie McCann got his first point of the day in the 23rd minute but a Michael Hagan point in the 26th minute left just a goal in it.  With Marty Johnston in charge at the heart of the Kickham’s defence he set up the last score of the game with a long diagonal ball into Jamie McCann’s path and the later duly complemented the pass by stroking the ball over the bar to leave the league leaders winners by four points.

This win leaves Creggan top of division 1 with 22 points from 13 starts, two above neighbours Erin’s Own who sit on 20 points from the same number of games after their win over Lamh Dhearg in Toome today. 

St Gall’s finish strongly to clinch the win

Homefit Antrim All-County League Division 1

St Gall’s 1-11 Tir na nÓg 2-6

Two late points from substitute Garric Adams and centre forward Niall Burns secured the league points for St Gall’s in Sunday’s league tie with Tir na nÓg, Randalstown at Milltown Row. A well taken point from Tir na nÓg centre back Barry McCormick had brought the Randalstown side back on level terms and for five minutes both side battled to get ahead. With both teams filtering back in defence it was clear that players on both sides did not want to make the mistake that would cost their team the points. However after a period of cautious possession St Gall’s worked the ball up the field and Adams broke through to send over the lead point.

Barry

Another ultra-defensive period of play ensued as the St Gall’s defended their narrow lead, but the pressure was relieved when the ball was transferred to centre forward Niall Burns in injury time and he raced through the middle to send over the insurance point.

In a low scoring first half there was little to separate the two sides, but the visitors had a slight edge and led by1-4 to 0-3 at the interval, thier goal coming from Ciaran Dobbin, while Niall Fallon got the St Gall’s major. A couple of St Gall’s points put the home side in front early in the second half, but a well worked goal, finished by Tir na nÓg corner forward Daniel O’Neill, gave his side a two point advantage. Points from Pollock, Murray and Burns put St Gall’s a point clear, but Barry McCormick fines finish tied thing up.

Niall Burns who top scored for St Gall’s with five points

It could have gone either way at this stage but St Gall’s were patient in the build-up and took the two decisive scores very well to seal the win

Cargin see off below par Lámhs

Homefit ACFL Division One 

Cargin 0-13-0-06 Lámh Dhearg 

Kevin Herron reports from Toome 

Cargin started the post-split league fixtures with a comfortable 0-13-0-06 win over Lámh Dhearg at a blustery and at times- wet Toome on Sunday afternoon. 

Pat Shivers and Tomas McCann both helped themselves to three points each in the opening half as their side led 0-06-0-03 at the midway point.  

Despite falling futher behind at beginning of the second period, the Lámhs closed the deficit and then were denied a goal by the crossbar ten minutes in. 

It was a wake-up call that Cargin responded to with six-unanswered points to wrap up an easy win in the end. 

Cargin were first off the mark inside of three minutes, Jamie Gribbin burst forward and offloaded, eventually Pat Shivers came into possession and gave a pass off the shoulder to Tomas McCann to point.

Lamh Dhearg hit back with Paddy Cunningham swinging over a free from out wide, but McCann restored his sides lead with a fisted effort and after Marc Jordan touched the ball on the ground, the resulting free was converted by Pat Shivers.

Pat Shivers notched up three points in the opening half

Shivers doubled his tally for the half with an effort from range that dropped over the bar and the hosts were looking comfortable a quarter of an hour into proceedings.

Terry McCrudden grabbed a much-needed score for the visitors after Paddy Mervyn broke forward from defence and a few minutes later Ryan Murray squeezed a high shot inside the post from a difficult angle to make it 0-04-0-03.

Cargin almost found the net before the break when Jamie Gribbin was played through- but John Finucane parried the initial shot and did enough to turn the ball behind at the expense of a 45’.

Tomas McCann would make a simple conversion from a free and with the last meaningful act of the half the hosts extended their lead through a nice Shivers point to ensure they led 0-06-0-03 at the interval.

Paul McCann steered an early point over after the break- through Lamh Dhearg hit back through a Paddy Cunningham free and an outstanding swinging effort from Ryan Murray.

The Hannahstown side almost hit the front when Fionn Mervyn forged into an attacking position and clipped the ball into the area where Declan Dunne palmed an effort against the crossbar.

At the other end Shivers shot over his fourth of the contest with a little help from the swirling elements and Gribbin then bent an angled effort over the posts to give his side a 0-09-0-05 lead.

Gribbin made it back-to-back points with an effort that he floated over the black-spot and when Fionn Mervyn felled substitute Michael Clarke, Tomas McCann converted the resulting free to make it four scores in succession.

McCann made it back-to-back set pieces, kicking a 45’ after David Johnston’s shot took a deflection on the way wide and the hosts final score of the afternoon came courtesy of Benen Kelly who shot over at the near post.

Paddy Cunningham would kick a further point from a free before the conclusion, but his side were by far second-best and outclassed by the hosts from the Shore Road.

Cargin: J McNabb, J Crozier, K O’Boyle, C Donnelly, S O’Neill, J Laverty, B Kelly (0-01), K McShane, M Kelly, J Carron, T McCann (0-05, 0-02f, 0-01 45’), J Gribbin (0-02), D Johnston, P Shivers (0-04, 0-01f), P McCann (0-01). Subs: G McSorley for S O’Neill (48), C Johnston for M Kelly (53), M Clarke for P McCann (53). 

Lámh Dhearg: J Finucane, F Mervyn, M McGarry, R Murray, A McAufield, P Mervyn, M Jordan, D Lynch, E Matassa, R Murray (0-02), C Murray, C Maxwell, P Cunningham (0-03f), D Dunne, T McCrudden (0-01). Subs:S McManus for E Matassa (4), D Smith for A McAufield (HT), S Tully for D Dunne (44), M Hynes for D Lynch (48), C Hannan for C Maxwell (55). 

Referee: Colm McDonald (St Galls)