Johnnies dent Creggan’s league ambitions

All County Football League Division 1

Naomh Eoin 4-14 Creggan 0-12

Pics by Bert Trowlen

Creggan’s hopes of retaining their Division 1 Football League title were dealt a bad blow at Corrigan Park on Sunday when they were well beaten by St John’s. Things were going well for the Kickham’s when they led by 0-6 to 0-2 after twenty minutes but St John’s hit back before the break in emphatic fashion, scoring 2-5 to go in at half time with a 2-7 to 0-6 lead. After the change of ends the Belfast side continued to dominate and two more goals put them in control as they ran out winners by 14 points.

On a great day for football Kickhams were dominant in the early stages as points from Conor Small (2),Ruairi McCann, David McGuckian, Marty Johnston and Eunan McAteer, to two Patrick McBride frees saw them lead 0-6 to 0-2. With a four point lead things looked good for the visitors but St. John’s really stepped it up a gear scoring two cracking goals through Simon McDonagh and Mathew Fitzpatrick plus three points from Conal Kelly and two from Andy McGowan to turn the game on its head.

Seven points to the good at the break St. John’s started the second half on the front foot with points from Mc Bride, Kelly, Fitzpatrick and Peter McCallin in reply to just three from Creggan’s Dominic McAteer, Ruair McCann an Eunan McAteer. By this stage the game was beyond reach for the Staffrodstown side but St. John’s hadn’t finished yet with another Fitzpatrick point and goals for Patrick McBride and Andy McGowan. With the game fizzling out both team scored another two points each with McBride and McCallin getting the Johnnies scores and Aiden McKeown and McGuckian getting Kickhams scores.

The ball is now firmly in Cargin’s court and if they can win their game in hand on Tuesday night against Casements then they will have one hand on the trophy.

St Enda’s claim spoils from the basement battle

ACFL Division One

St Teresa’s 1-11-3-14 St Enda’s

By Kevin Herron at McDonnell/ Doherty Park

St Enda’s kept their survival hopes alive with a crucial 3-14-1-11 win over St Teresa’s in the meeting of the bottom two at the Glen Road this evening.

The sides couldn’t be separated until the end of the opening half when Odhran Eastwood converted from the spot to give his side a 1-06-0-06 lead and a goal at the beginning of the second half from substitute Ciaran O’Neill had the Hightown men in control.

St Teresa’s hit back through an Anton Taylor strike and were within a point of their basement rivals with around eight minutes to go, but St Enda’s kicked on and a Peter Healy goal on the stroke of full-time put the seal on an important win that keeps the visitors survival hopes firmly alive and in the process ensured that St Teresa’s will drop out of the top division.

The stakes were high pre-match as both sides knew the consequences that defeat would bring with only two further games remaining post-game.

The pressure appeared to be telling early on at the Glen Road as chances were squandered but it was St Teresa’s who eventually forged ahead after seven minutes – Liam Gault popped the ball into the path of Jay Mallon who shot high between the posts.

St Enda’s replied courtesy of an Odhran Eastwood free in front of the posts and the corner-forward quickly added a second from play to edge the Hightown men into the lead.

An excellent Liam Gault shot squeezed over the bar to level the game for a second time after ten minutes but at the midway point it was the visitors that held a 0-04-0-02 advantage.

Michael Morgan popped the ball over from a tight angle and Peter Healy cut in from the left and tapped over.

Jay Mallon replied with a close range free and it was from another Mallon free that St Teresa’s second leveller arrived – the wing half-back’s effort dropped short only for Robert Gallagher to fist the ball over and tie the game at 0-04 apiece with ten minutes to the break.

A neat interchange of passes resulted in Ciaran Thompson restoring the visitors lead – only for an instant response from Conor Mallon.

St Teresa’s edged ahead for only the second time on the 26th minute thanks to a second converted Jay Mallon free of the half.

 Ruairi Scott tied the game up for a fifth time, converting a free and the opening goal of the game would arrive deep into the opening half.

On 28 minutes Odhran Eastwood intercepted a pass and looked to burst in on goal, only to felled by a challenge from Philip Maguire as referee Eamon McAuley signalled for a penalty.

Eastwood himself took responsibility and wrong footed Aaron Thompson before rifling low into the bottom left corner to give his side a 1-06-0-06 lead at the interval.

St Teresa’s hopes were dealt a further blow within sixty seconds of the restart as St Enda’s made a fabulous start to the second period.

Keeping possession after winning the break ball the Hightown men moved the ball through the hands and into the path of substitute Ciaran O’Neill – who drilled the ball to the net.

Jay Mallon responded from the placed ball but Odhran Eastwood angled over to ensure that the two goals separated the sides.

Anton Taylor again reduced arrears- converting a free, but Odhran Eastwood claimed his second score in quick succession through a fisted effort from close range.

The hosts were in need of some quick inspiration and it arrived ten minutes into the second-half as Anton Taylor went steaming forward and played a one-two with Paul McGoldrick before drilling the ball past Donal Walsh to the corner of the net to make it 2-08-1-08.

The Super T’s would kick the next score on the 47th minute as Philip Maguire evaded heavy pressure and somehow managed to steer the ball over the bar on the back-foot. Although without a score in almost ten minutes St Enda’s replied; Peter Healy playing a neat pass to Eastwood who conjured up his third point of the second period.

Jay Mallon’s fourth converted free of the evening closed the gap again and with nine minutes to play a single score separated the sides – Mallon was the recipient of Paul McGoldrick’s pass and having strayed to the left; Mallon cut inside and popped the ball over to reduce the deficit further (2-09-1-11).

But in the blink of an eye St Enda’s regained control with four points on the bounce – substitute Ryan Kennedy with the first after combining with Eastwood, James McAuley was rewarded for his venture from defence and further points from Michael Morgan and Eastwood gave their side a 2-13-1-11 cushion.

Odhran Eastwood kicked his seventh point of the evening to ensure that St Teresa’s would require two goals to at least claim a share of the spoils.

But it was the men from Hightown that hit the net late on as Peter Healy put the game beyond the hosts – confidently rifling past Thompson to give his side a 3-14-1-11 lead.

Things would go from bad to worse as St Teresa’s ended the game with 14-men – substitute Conor McCann given his marching orders for a high foot tackle as St Enda’s closed out the game with ease to give themselves a chance of avoiding the relegation/ promotion play-off at the end of the season.

Victory over Ahoghill on Sunday would lift Frank Fitzsimons men above the Clooney club with a game to go – St Teresa’s go into Sunday’s encounter with their fate already sealed and must now prepare for an assault on promotion back to Division One next season.

St Teresa’s: A Thompson, R Mallon, D McCann, P O’Rawe, E Connolly, P Maguire (0-01), J Mallon (0-06, 0-04f), N McCann, J Rainey, L Gault (0-01), A Taylor (1-01, 0-01f), C McGoldrick, C Mallon (0-01), R Gallagher (0-01), P McGoldrick. Subs: S Maguire for J Rainey (52 mins); P Glennon for C McGoldrick (52 mins); C McCann for C Mallon (56 mins).

St Endas: D Walsh, C Lyttle, M McNamee, C McAuley, K Jennings, J McAuley (0-01), C Thompson (0-01), E Gibson, N McKeown, M Morgan (0-02), R Scott (0-01f), S O’Connor, P Healy (1-01), J Maskey, O Eastwood (1-07, 1-02f). Subs: C O’Neill (1-00) for E Gibson (30 mins); R Kennedy (0-01) for S O’Connor (40 mins); S Flynn for M Morgan (55 mins); P Hamilton for C Thompson (60 mins).

Referee: Eamon McAuley (Cargin)

PICS BY JJ LAWELL

Cargin close the gap on leaders Casements

ACFL Division 1 Reserve

Erin’s Own Cargin 6-18 St Brigid’s 3-10

As the division one reserve league moves closer to completion Cargin closed the gap to move within a point of the pace setters Casement’s, Portglenone when they claimed the points at the expense of the visiting St Brigid’s in Toome on Friday evening.

The home side started on the positive with an early John McNabb major in the opening minutes but St Brigid’s were quick to reply at the other end as Oran Boyle nipped in to find the net.

The home side were soon to gain the upper hand however as John McNabb won and converted a penalty at the end of the opening quarter and when he completed a slick approach to earn a hat trick in the 20th minute the Erin’s own men had moved into a 3-04 to 1-02 advantage.

St Brigid’s were under the cosh in the opening period as the home side applied the pressure with Michael Magill leading the attack and Ciaran Close and David Johnston added a brace of points apiece as the Toome men went at 3-05 to 1-03 as the end of the opening period approached.

St Brigid’s gained a foothold in the latter stages of the opening half as Ethan Carelton moved in to finish an astute Oran Boyle cross to the net with a late Ciaran Close point at the other end ensuring the home side enjoyed a 3-06 to 1-03 interval advantage.

Cargin extended their lead in the opening minutes of the second half as Ciaran Close, John Mc Nabb, and Ciaran Close again raised white flags in turn and although the visitors replied with an excellent Ryan Murtagh goal, David McElhone, Michael Magill, and John Mc Nabb combined in style to open the door for Ciaran Close to add prompt reply and the home side were 4-09 to 3-03 ahead.

St Brigid’s replied with Ethan Carelton adding a 36th minute point but the home side were quick to respond with Ciaran Close raising back to back whites before Odhran McGuckin and John McNabb combined to send the former in to add a 41st minute goal.

Ciaran Close started the last quarter with another point before Donal Mc Keever followed suit and although the visitors were to add the next three scores as Ethan Carelton, Ryan Murtagh, and Shane Boyle split the posts, David Johnston and John McNabb hit back for the Toome side and the die looked cast at the 50th minute mark with Cargin at 5-13 to 3-07.

St Brigid’s kept battling and were rewarded as Oran Boyle and Shane Boyle added points but the home side replied again through Odhran McGuckin and Shay Bovill before a 59th minute goal from replacement Jack McAllister proved to be the coup de grace.

The St Brigid’s net minder Stephen Morrissey got down well to parry McAllister’s initial effort but the ball broke favorably for the substitute to return posts haste to the back of the net.

Another Cargin addition, Matthew McGuckin added a further point and although the visitors were to have the last say on the scoreboard as Oran O’Boyle and center back Finn McKiernan raised late back to back white flags, these were very much consolation scores as Cargin breasted the winning line full value for their 6-18 to 3-11 winning margin.

Casement’s lead the way at the top of the division with Cargin a point in arrears but with a game in hand while Creggan sit third, a further two points behind

Cargin: Michael J McGuckin, Sean Og Quinn, Gerard McCorley, Conor McFall, Dermot McGuckin, Ronan Gribbin, Shay Bovill (0-01), Odhran McGuckin (0-01), David McElhone, Enda McGrogan, Michael Magill (0-01), David Johnston (0-03), Ciaran Close (2-07), John McNabb (3-04), Donal McKeever (0-01)

Subs:

Jack McAllister (1-00) for E Mc Grogan

Turlough Mc Keever for C Close

Tomas Laverty for M Mc Guckin

Matthew Mc Guckin (0-01) for O Mc Guckin

Odhran Mc Guckin for D Mc Keever

St Brigid’s: Stephen Morrissey, Peter Heaney, Ryan Daly, Brian Mc Kernan, David Mc Gowdy, Finn Mc Kernan (0-01), Diarmuid Mc Laughlin, Eddie Mc Keever,  Henry Mc Guigan, Peter Lundy ,  John Toner, Shane Boyle (0-03), Oran Boyle (1-02), Ryan Murtagh (1-02), Ethan Carelton (1-04)

Referee Jarlath O’ Donnell (Con Magees)

Late Graham points earns Ahoghill a share of the spoils

ACFL Division One (B)

St Mary’s Ahoghill 0-15 St Brigid’s 1-12

A trio of points in the dying embers of this crucial Division One encounter by the ever accurate Donal Graham saw St Mary’s Ahoghill come from well off the pace to grab a share of the spoils, and what may prove a most valuable point when they finished on terms with the visiting St Brigid’s.

Nothing separated the sides in the opening period but after the Cloney men had dominated the early exchanges to lead 0-05 to 0-01 by the end of the 10th minute, an 18th minute goal from the ill-fated Ronan McGrady ensured the visitors were just a point in arrears at the interval with the breeze to provide assistance in the second period.

An early Peter Lundy point saw the South Belfast men off in front but Neil O’ Connell provided prompt reply at the other end and when Tom McGlone, Donal Graham (2), and Eamon Brady followed the big man’s lead the St Mary’s men looked in charge at 0-05 to 0-01.

Despite a smart exit from the start traps the home side lost their way somewhat for a time as the visitors took control in the central zone and very much in charge of the ‘broken ball’.

The home side were proving erratic in attack but strong in the defensive until a poor delivery opened the door to the target for the incoming Ronan McGrady and the center forward’s low drive was delivered to the corner of the net to reduce the deficit to the bare minimum, 0-05 to 1-01.

McGrady incurred a facial injury in the process and he was forced out of the game as a consequence to be replaced by Mark Quinn.

The latter stages of the opening half proceeded tit for tat as a fine Sean Mahon point provoked reply from Jack Dowling and similarly when Diarmuid Graham raised a 28th minute white the resultant kick out saw Michael Cummings and Ethan Carleton combine to send Paul Mc Cumiskey scampering away to make similar response.

A super Tom Mc Glone long range point looked like giving the home side an interval advantage of a couple of points but as injury time proceeded an indiscretion on Jack Dowling, 30 meters from the posts was firmly punished as Paul Mc Cumiskey directed the right sided effort between the posts to see the home side at 0-08 to 1-04 at the break.

St Brigid’s started the second half with positive intent and with the firm Southerly breeze in their favour they had opened up a three point gap by the 40th minute.

The visitors were dominant in the central zone, gaining most of the loose ball in that area and after both mid-fielders, Michael Cummings and Cathal Conway raised white flags a similar effort from Jack Dowling and the strong running Paul Mc Cumiskey saw them move into a 1-08 to 0-08 advantage and they looked in charge.

Donal Graham pulled one back for the home side after a slick Stephen O’ Connell intervention and a strong clearance opened the way but the visitors were prompt in reply as Patrick Finnegan fired over a fine 43rd minute point.

Tom McGlone  grabbed another fine point to reduce the deficit to a couple of points but the St Brigid’s lads were calling most of the shots and back to back points from the impressive Paul McCumiskey and corner forward Ethan Carleton put them in a strong position.

St Brigid’s had nipped away to lead 1-11 to 0-10 as the game entered the last ten minutes and they looked secure.

St. Mary’s finished strongly however and a Donal Graham point which followed a foul on replacement Eoin Graham and another from centre back Fionbarr O’ Neill suggested the home side were on the comeback trail.

 However It took a smashing save from net-minder Frankie Neeson who stood tall to deny Paul Mc Cumiskey after a cute Rory Brolly flick opened the way to the target.

The wing half forward did add a point from a placed effort a few minutes later and the 57th minute score ensured a three point advantage and the points looked destined for South Belfast.

St. Mary’s looked down but once again Dualtagh Johnston’s men were not about to be counted out as they staged another character laden finish.

A foul on the incoming Eamon Brady was punished when Donal Graham despatched the left sided award between the posts and when the advancing Eoin Graham sent him away on the same side the ever accurate corner man added another and only a point separated them.

As the clock ticked down with St. Brigid’s hanging on they were penalized for an over carrying offence in the 33rd minute and despite the acute angle and the pressure of the kick Donal Graham was not to be found wanting as he drilled the leather firmly between the posts to see his side conclude on terms at 0-15 to 1-12.

Ahoghill: Frankie Neeson, Bernard Graham, Stephen O’ Connell, Gerard Graham, Eamon Brady (0-01), Fionbarr O’ Neill (0-01), Sean Mahon (0-01), Martin Graham, Tom Mc Glone (0-03), Diarmuid Graham (0-01), PJ O’ Connell, Bobby Magee, Patrick Graham, Neil O’ Connell (0-01), Donal Graham (0-07)

Subs:

Eoin Graham for Diarmuid Graham

St Brigid’s: Stephen Magennis,  Daire Mc Garvey, Niall Mc Donald, Finn Mc Kernan, Patrick Finnegan (0-01), Michael Cummings (0-01), Cathal Conway (0-01), Paul Mc Cumiskey (0-04), Ronan Mc Grady (1-00), Peter Lundy (0-01), Ethan Carleton (0-01), Jack Dowling (0-02), Rory Brolly

Subs:

Mark Quinn for R McGrady

Referee Sean Laverty (St Ergnat’s)

McCann clan sink the Johnnies

ACFL Division 1

St. John’s 1-10 Cargin 3-12

A blistering opening five minutes and an emphatic final seven saw Erin’s Own Cargin dispense with the challenge of St. John’s in near perfect conditions at Corrigan Park tonight. The McCann brothers led the way for the league leaders with Paul firing to the net in the third minute to put his side in control and both Michael and Tomas adding goals in the 52nd minute at a time when St. John’s were enjoying a bit of success.

It was Paul McCann who put the visitors into an early lead when he finished a good move to the corner of the net in the third minute and Tomas McCann followed from a free in the 4th minute to put the Toome side four ahead.

Tomas McCann added a second free and his place kicking was to prove decisive over the hour and he was to go on to top score with 1-8 as Erin’s Own controlled most of the game depriving their opponent possession for long periods.

Peter McCallin pulled one back for the Corrigan men with a point in the 7th minute but a couple more from the accurate Tomas McCann had Cargin 1-3 to 0-1 ahead after 14 minutes.

Ryan McNulty and the excellent Matthew Fitzpatrick replied with points for St. John’s to leave three between the sides but a point from Paul McCann and two more from his sibling Tomas saw the visitors move six in front by the 24th minute as Barry McFall replaced Ross Hannigan in the St. John’s side.

Cargin had controlled matters up to this point in the game but Matthew Fitzpatrick, who was superb throughout pulled one back for the home side and Paddy Nugent came forward from goals to fire a long range free between the sticks and leave the half time score 1-7 to 0-5 in favour of the South West side.

Fitzpatrick was on target within 30 seconds of the restart to close the gap to four and after Tomas McCann replied from a free the big centre half forward struck another excellent point to keep his side’s hopes very much alive.

St. John’s continued to give away soft frees however and Tomas McCann made it look easy as he added another point in the 9th minute with Enda McGroggan following with another from play and the gap was back to six points.

St. John’s were dealt another blow as Simon McDonagh received a Black card to be replaced by Colm McGlade and when Paul McCann extended the visitors lead with a point at the end of the third quarter it certainly wasn’t looking good for Gearoid Adams’ side.

They rallied however with Matthew Fitzpatrick driving them forward and the county man was involved in an excellent move which ended with Michael Bradley finishing to the net in the 19th minute and when ‘Fitzy’ followed with an excellent point in the 21st minute the visitors lead had been cup to three and they looked in a spot of difficulties for the first time in the game.

From the resulting kick-out Cargin demonstrated just why they are league leaders however as John Carron rose to flick John McNabb’s long kick-out onwards into the path of Michael McCann and he raced through to beat Nugent from close range.

Suddenly all St. John’s good work had been undone and to make matters worse the keeper’s attempted short kick-out went disastrously wrong and fell to Tomas McCann who strode forward before applying the coup de grace.

Substitute David Johnston followed with a point from play with Ryan McNulty replying with a consolation score from a 29th minute free to conclude the scoring.

This win sees Cargin stay ahead of Creggan on score difference; the Kickham’s edging out Lamh Dhearg in a bad tempered affair in Creggan tonight. With the Kickham’s travelling to Corrigan on the 4th of August and Cargin to Portglenone two days later the stage could well be set for a grandstand finish when the sides meet on the Staffordstown Road in the final game of the season.

St. John’s: Paddy Nugent, Aidan McMahon, Ryan McNulty, Jack Bohill, Ciaran Garland, Michael Bradley, Ross Hannigan, Ronan McCafferty, Simon McDonagh, Peter McCallin, Matthew Fitzpatrick, Conal Kelly, Conor McEvoy, Andy McGowan, Stephen Tierney.

Cargin: John McNabb, Martin Kane, Justin Crozier, Gerard McCorley, Ciaran Bradley, Gerard McCann, James Laverty, Kevin McShane, John Carron, Paul McCann, Michael McCann, Enda McGroggan, Michael Clarke, Pat Shivers, Tomas McCann. Suds: David Johnston

Referee: Colm McDonald (St. Gall’s)