St. Paul’s finish on a high

ACFL Division 2

St Ergnat’s 0-11 St. Paul’s 0-14

St. Paul’s finished their league programme on a high as they recorded their 5th win on the trot to finish a very creditable 4th when they overcame the challenge of St. Ergnat’s , Moneyglass last night. The Shaw’s Road side led 0-8 to 0-5 at the interval and went on to record a three point victory over a Moneyglass side who have been hampered by injuries this season.

Liam McLernon was the man who led the St. Paul’s charge as he scored five first half points with Ryan Doyle in fine form for St. Ergnat’s, scoring four and Niall Boyd getting the other opening half scores.

During the second half St. Ergnat’s matched their opponents score for score but despite having a man sent off, St. Paul’s never really looked like being overhauled. Again McLarnon led the way for the city side as he brought his personal tally to 0-9 for the night and Daniel Lavery and Padraic Lowe other who shone for the hoops and last year’s beaten Intermediate championship semi-finalists will be a serious threat this year again.

St. Ergnat’s gave it everything with Patrick McCormick 0-2, Seanchann Duffin 0-2, Conall Prenter and Jarvis Weir the men on target during the second period and the Moneyglass men will be hoping to get a number of their injured men back before taking part in their first Senior championship campaign for a number of years.

Saints gain the points but Tir na nOg claim the title

ACFL Division 2

All Saints 1-12 Moneyglass 0-6

All Saints overcame the challenge of a depleted Moneyglass at Slemish Park tonight but the final score-line somewhat flattered the home side. They laboured for long periods of the game to reproduce the form they had displayed at Aldergrove on Wednesday night but never really looked like losing this one.

However they had to thank their young keeper, Rory Brennan who brought off a great blocking save to deny Ryan Doyle in the first half and he was again in top form when he saved a Seanchann Duffin penalty in the second when the visitors briefly looked like staging a comeback.

The elusive Benny McDonnell got All Saints on their way with points in the opening four minutes and the flying number 14 might have had a goal but blazed wide when well placed to score. Michael McCarry added an 11th minute point to open up a three point lead and it all seemed to be going to plan at this stage.

The visitors were battling hard to get into contention and a well struck 40 meter free from Aidan McErlain and another from 20 meters by the same player closed the gap to the minimum after 15 minutes and that was how it stood at the first water break

All Saints had struggled up to this point with too many cross-field passes going astray but on the restart they began to find their feet with Michael McCarry (Free), Ronan McKillop (0-2) and Kavan Keenan moving the five ahead after 25 minutes.

Benny McDonnell shot wide from close range as All Saints continued to enjoy the better of the exchanges before Michael McCarry for All Saints and Seanchann Duffin exchanged late points to leave the half time score 0-8 to 0-3 for the Slemish Park side.

The visitors opened up the home defence as the game moved into first half injury time and Ryan Doyle found himself on a one to one with Rory Brennan but the All Saints keeper came off his line to make a good save and the ball was cleared to safety.

Moneyglass pressed forward on the restart but Aidan McErlain fired wide from a close range free before Connell Lemon extended the All Saints lead with a point at the other end. Seanchann Duffin was then off target as he took over the free taking duties but was afforded an opportunity to redeem himself when referee Eamon Hamill pointed to the penalty spot.

Duffin struck his shot firmly but Conor Brennan  got down to push his shot away and it was cleared to safety and at the second water break the home side held a fairly comfortable 0-9 to 0-3 lead but it looked far from over at this stage.

On the restart the pacey Joe Rafferty sped through to fire over and Oisin Connolly followed with another as All Saints took the opportunity to empty their bench. Tiernan Duffin moved forward from defence to pull one back for the Marian Hill side but when Kavan Keenan got through for the game’s only goal with six minutes remaining it was as good as over.

Moneyglass battled to the end but their only reward was a late point from Patrick McCormick and it was All Saints who take the points but there celebrations were somewhat muted when the news filtered through that Tir na nOg had won at Glenravel to take the division 2 title.

All Saints: Rory Brennan, Matty Downey, Peter McNicholl, James Gillan, Joe Rafferty, Ciaran McGarry, Connell Lemon, Sean McVeigh, Kavan Keenan, Shea O’Brien, Emmet Killough, Michael McCarry, Ronan McKillop, Brtendan McDonnell, Rory McVeigh, Subs: Michael Reed, Oisin Connolly, Eoin Daly, Joe Rocks

Moneyglass: Danny McErlain, Peter McCormick, Tiernan Duffin, Luke O’Donnell, Miran Neeson, Feargal Duffin, Jervis Weir, Patrick McCormick, Niall Boyd, Kevin McPeake, Seanchann Duffin, Sean Kelly, Connor O’Kane, Ryan Doyle, Aidan McErlain. Subs: Diarmuid Scullin, James McCormick, Conal Prenter, Charlie McCormick, Tyler Cassidy

Referee: Eamon Hamill

St. Paul’s take the points at Chapel Hill

ACFL Division 2

St. Joseph’s Glenavy 1.11  St. Paul’s 2.15

St.Paul’s travelled to Glenavy on a beautiful summer evening and returned home with a well-earned win. The home side once e again fielded a young team that is still learning the hard way to try and win matches. Everything was right for a good game, the pitch was as usual in great condition, with the sun shining and no wind. This was a good game played in the right spirit. St.Paul’s won because of their ability to turn attack into scores, whereas the locals wasted too many scoring chances.

St.Paul’s had the better start and had a point on the scoreboard from Conor Hughes but the home side were given a boost when former county player Patrick Gallagher finished to the net. The lead was short lived as the visitors added a goal and three points. Conor Hughes (pointed before Liam McLarnon added a goal and Billy Joe Burns followed with another a point. The ever reliable Fergal Henry pulled a point back for the home side who were finding it difficult to turn good approach play into scores. Liam McLarnon extended St.Paul’s lead when he split the posts and Joe Duffy stole up the pitch to score a beauty to leave his side five in front. Tomas Gallagher responded with a point for the home side but it was St. Paul’s who were dictating matters and Billy Joe Burns and Joe Duffy added points for the city side. The home side finished the half strongly with three unanswered points from Tomas Gallagher, Fergal Henry with a pointed free and the hard-working Peter Traynor to leave the half time score St.Joseph’s 1.05 v 1.08 St. Pauls.

Once again Fergal Henry was on target to narrow the gap to two and at this stage a come-back looked on the cards and James Farrell for the visitors and Fergal Henry exchanged further points.

St. Pauls extended their advantage with a point and a ‘45’ from Niall McStravick but once again the ever-reliable Fergal Henry was on target with a point for the home team. St. Paul’s continued to hold the upper hand however and Liam McLarnon added a point quickly followed by a goal from Daniel Lavery to extend their advantage

The Chapel Hill side continued to rely on Fertgal Henry for scores and the mercurial forward didn’t disappoint as he pointed another free but it only served to stem the tide for a time. Niall McStravick once again was on target with a point for the visitors before Ethan McGarry got on the score sheet with a point.

The home side kept fighting until the end and were rewarded with a Patrick Gallagher point but the final score of the game fell to St. Paul’s Niall McStravick to leave the visitors winners by seven points.

St.Joseph’s: Liam Murphy; Liam Henry; Ryan Malley  Sean McGirr; Ruairi Forester; Darragh Doherty; Johnny Phillips Peter Traynor; Stephen Doone; Ciaran Loney;  Patrick Gallagher; Ryan Phillips; Fergal Henry; Tomas Gallagher Miichael McCourt. Reserves: Jake Nelson; Nick, Ethan McGarry; Oisin Hamill; Declan Doone; Chris Grant

St.Paul’s: Kiefer Toolan; Aodhan Kavanagh; Sean Bradley; Patrick Copeland; Joe Duffy; Dan Burns; Niall Ward; Cormac O’Hanlon; James Farrell; Padraic Mac Loweq; Niall McStravick; Conor Hughes; Daniel Lavery; Liam McLarnon; Billy Joe Burns

Referee Mark McDonald                                                          

All Saints recover to take the points

ACFL Div.2

St. James Aldergrove 1-12 All Saints 3-12

All Saints recovered from an early James Trowlen goal to take the points in a good game of football in excellent conditions in Crumlin last night. Both sides needed the points if they were to have any chance of catching league leaders, Tir na nOg but in the end it was the more experienced All Saints men who prevailed.

They certainly didn’t get it all their own way as a youthful Aldergrove raced through for a goal in the opening minute with James Trowlen getting on the end of a good passage of play to fire past Conor Brennan in the Ballymena goals.

Their lead didn’t last long however and Michael McCarry pointed a free before a long searching ball was collected by Benny McDonnell who side stepped his marker and then rounded the keeper before firing to an empty net.

This score clearly rattled the home side as the visitors began to move the ball about confidently and they opened up the Aldergrove defence again in the 6th minute with Kavan Keenan getting on the end of a flowing attack to hammer home from close range.

Michael McCarry, who with Sean McVeigh directed matters all evening, pointed his second free of the game just before the second water break to leave his side leading 2-2 to 1-0 and they were in control of matters at this juncture of play.

On resumption Caoimhin O’Connell pointed a close range free for Aldergrove’s second score of the game but Kavan Keenan replied with a point from play before McConnell again punished an indiscretion by the visitors defence to point again and keep his side in touch.

The visitors were still controlling matters with Sean McVeigh giving them a decided advantage at mid-field and Michael McCarry from a 25th minute free and Brendan McDonnell from play extended their lead.

The youthful home side were giving it everything to get themselves back into the game and Caoimhin O’Connell pointed his third free of the game with Ronan McKillop returning fire for the visitors with the final point of the half to leave his side 2-6 to 1-3 in front.

St. James needed a good start if they were to get themselves back into the game but in the event it was Michael McCarry who added to the visitors total with a point from play after 30 seconds to move his side seven in front.

Back came the Aldergrove men and the All Saints goal survived a scare when the ball was scrambled wide for a ‘45’ which the impressive James Trowlen stroked over and Caoimhin O’Connell added another from a free as Aldergrove began to enjoy a bit of success.

Michael McCarry eased the pressure with a point at the other end in the 10th minute but exchanges were fairly even at this stage and substitute Ronan Hanna replied with a point at the other end.

Ronan McKillop for All Saints and James Trowlen for the home side exchanged further points as play swung from end to end with Caoimhin O’Connell sending over the final point for the visitors just before the water break to leave just four between the sides.

On the restart the impressive Eoin Gough raced forward from defence to send over an excellent point and close the gap to three and the visitors lead was looking a bit precarious for the first time and when Conor Browning followed with another the momentum was very much with the Crumlin side.

The visitors regrouped however and Michael McCarry pointed a couple of frees before setting up Joe Rafferty with a tantalising lob across goal which the substitute rose to palm to the Aldergrove net and that was that.

St. James kept going until the end and Ronan Hanna and Caoimhin O’Connell replied with points but the final score of the game fell to Joe Rafferty who will have put himself in the frame for a starting spot on Friday night after an impressive contribution as a second half substitute.

St. James Aldergrove: Shane O’Neill, Eoin Gough, Emmett Irvine, Tomas O’Callaghan, Christopher Browning, Chris McVeigh, Conor Browning, Ryan Owens, James Trowlen, Conor Morris, Caoimhin McConnell, Ryan McCarthy, Odhran Creaney. Subs: Ronan Hanna, Daniel Bell, Declan Gough

All Saints: Conor Brennan, Matt Downey, Peter McNicholl, James Gillan, Kavan Keenan, Ciaran McGarry, Conal Lemon, Sean McVeigh, Peter McReynolds, Shea O Brien, Emmet Killough, Michael McCarry, Ronan McKillop, Rory McVeigh, Brendan McDonnell

Subs:

E Daly for R McVeigh

O Connolly for B McDonnell

J Rafferty for P. Mc Reynolds

Reece O’Mullan for K Keenan

Referee: Darren McKeown (St. Gall’s)

Tir na nOg have one hand on the division 2 trophy

ACFL Div.2

Ardoyne 1-7 Tir na nOg 0-13

Tir na nOg have one hand on the division 2 trophy and promotion after this three point win over Kickham’s Ardoyne at the Crickey last night. They certainly didn’t get it all their own way against an Ardoyne side who have proved difficult to beat at Fennell Park this year and it took two injury time points from Aaron McNeilly and Barry McCormick to usher the visitors over the winner’s line.

Tir na nOg were first off the mark and they took the lead from a Darragh Fagan point in the 2nd minute but Ardoyne replied through Kevin Lynch and Aidan McNeill to take the lead after seven minutes.

There was little between the sides at this stage with Kevin Sheerin and Darragh Fegan edging the Whitehill side one in front by the 13th minute before Cormac Mullan squared matters once more as he split the posts with 14 minutes on the clock.

It was end to end stuff as both sides battled to gain the upper hand as Barry McCormick for Tir na nOg and Cormac Mullan for their hosts exchanging further points to tie matters again by the 23d minute.

The visitors certainly knew they were in a game at this stage but they began to get on top in the lead up to half time as they hit the vfinal two points of the half through Christy Sheerin and Ciaran McKeown to lead 0-6 to 0-4 at the break but there was still plenty to play for in the second half.

Play was halted for five minutes early in the second half following an injury to an Ardoyne player who had to be replaced but when matters got under way again it was visitors, Tir na nOg who made the early running.

Darragh Fagan extended the visitors lead with a point on the restart and when Barry McCormick and Fagan again fired over, Tir na nOg were five in front after 14 minutes and appeared to be gaining the upper hand.

Ardoyne had other ideas however as they came back strongly from two pointed Aidan McNeill frees but the Whitehill side were beginning to find a bit of rhythm  and when they moved five in front once more it looked as good as over.

Aaron McNeilly and Sean Duffin were the men on target and with only three minutes of normal time remaining the points looked to be safely in the bag but Ardoyne quite simply refused to throw in the towel

Cormac Mullan, who had posed a threat all evening, split the posts as the game entered the closing stages and when Kevin Lynch fired to the Randalstown net things were very much in the melting pot and only a point separated the sides.

Tir na nOg are unbeaten for a reason however and when the pressure was on they kept their composure and late points from Aaron McNeilly and the excellent Barry McCormick eased them home and they can collect the title as early as tomorrow night when they travel to Glenravel.