Con Magees seal the Division 2 title

O’Neill’s Sportswear Division 2 Football League

Davitt’s 2-7 Con Magees Glenravel 1-15

Con Magees clinched the Division 2 Football League title on Wednesday evening when they travelled to Davitt’s and beat them in the final game of the league campaign. The Glenravel men certainly had to work hard for their win against a Davitt’s side who battled to the end and who had their visitors in trouble on a few occasions. However the men from the Tenth Glen stuck to their task and turned in a great last quarter to seal their promotion back to Division 1 for the first time in 17 years, a few of those which were spent in Division 3. Five points separated the sides at the end but there were times when it was far from convincing for the winners. However they got the job done in the end and special mention must go to corner forward Ryan McQuillan who was superb in the opening half and to his cousin Eamon Fyfe, who really stepped up to the mark when introduced midway through the first half. When Davitt’s came back to level early in the second half things did not look good for the Glenravel men, but Fyfe settled them down with a couple of classic points and orchestrated much that was good going down the finishing straight.

Davitt’s full forward Anthony Rowntree fires the ball to the Con Magees net to give his team and early lead

With three teams capable of claiming the title on the night, (fellow contenders Aldergrove and All Saints were meeting in Ballymena) tensions were high, but Ryan McQuillan got Con Magees off to a good start with a pointed free in the opening minute. However Davitt’s hit back right away and full forward Anthony Rowntree fired in a great goal less than a minute later. Ryan McQuillan responded with his second point of the game soon afterward and a good move by their forwards saw Cormac McKeown put clear in front of goal, but his shot was well saved by the Davitt’s goalkeeper Slane.

Eoin Hynds got the visitors going again when he struck a fine point from outside the D but Davitt’s hit back again when left half back Conor Toner soloed through the middle and sent over a point to restore his team’s two point advantage. It was clear that Glenravel had a battle on their hands but Ryan McQuillan got them back in front when he hit three points in a row, two with the right foot and one with the left. Davitt’s came close to grabbing a second goal when the ever dangerous Rowntree got behind the Glenravel defence yet again and it took a  great point blank block by goalkeeper Johnny Fyfe to deny the big full forward.

David Higgins palms the ball to the Davitt’s net before turning away to clebrate the decisive score

The introduction of Eamon Fyfe, who has been out for almost a month through injury, helped bolster the Glenravel challenge and he added two points in the last eight minutes of the opening half to put his side three ahead, though Davitt’s had the last say as midfielder Niall McParland landed a good point from play to leave just two between the sides at the short whistle.

When Davitt’s came out and landed the first two points of the second half through Rowntree and McParland to draw level there were a lot of Glenravel fans started to get very anxious, but Eamon Fyfe began to settle the nerves when he restored his team’s lead after good work by Ryan McQuillan. When centre forward Gerard Slane brought Davitt’s back on terms again with a well taken point it looked like anyone’s game, but a great scoring burst from the visitors saw Eamon Fyfe and midfielder Calum Higgins knock over two points apiece to open a gap.

Con Magees midfielder Calum Higgins celebates at the final whistle

Slane pulled one back for the home side but Glenravel struck a telling blow when good work by corner back Charlie Henry, the Gruig man  operating temporarily at corner forward, cut in along the line and fisted a ball across the edge of the Davitt’s ‘square’ where joint team captain David Higgins rose to palm the ball down past the Davitt’s goalkeeper for a decisive goal.

Seven up at this stage it all looked comfortable with just minutes left to play, but Davitt’s gave the travelling fans another few heart flutters when a high ball into the square was palmed down to their full back Paul McKinney and he drilled it low through a packed goalmouth to cut the gap back to four. However there were only a few minutes left to play at this stage and the Glenravel played time out with no further setbacks to seal the title.

Ryan McQuillan and Eamon Fyfe who did the bulk of the Glenravel scoring

County Chairman Ciaran McCavanna presents the Division 2 trophy to joint captains Conor McNeill and David Higgins while looking on is county executive member Seamus McMullan, who is a Glenravel man.
Glenravel legend Alec McQuillan with members of the McQuillan clan on the league winning team. L-R, Ryan McQuillan, Johnny Fyfe, Aidan O’Donnell, Daniel McQuillan (Alec’s nephew) and Eamon Fyfe.

Kidney conversion earns Aldergrove a share of the points

ACFL Division 2

All Saints 2-11 Aldergrove 2-11

An Anto Kidney pointed ‘45’ in the 6th minute of stoppage time earned St. James’ Aldergrove a deserved share of the points with All Saints Ballymena in an excellent game of twists and turns at Quinn Park on Wednesday night.

Both sides went into this one knowing that they probably needed a win and Glenravel to get beat at Davitt’s if they were to collect the league title and for different spells in the game people had their ears to matters 30 miles up the road.

At half time the word came through that the Con Magee’s were two up at Davitt’s Park while All Saints had staged a strong comeback to trail St. James by a point.

The Ballymena side pushed on in the second half to lead by three at the end of the third quarter but lost their way and St. James finished strongly and Kidney’s conversion, deep in added time tied matters in Ballymena.

The opening minutes were dominated by the home side but they were unable to turn almost total possession into scores with the final ball letting them down on a number of occasions.

The visitors soaked up the early pressure and slowly took control and Fearghal Burke pointed them ahead after 6 minutes and Corey Fogarty added a second before Ryan McCarthy got the final touch to a Seamus McGarry delivery to finish to the net with 13 minutes gone.

Oisin Graham moved the Crumlin side seven ahead before Ronan McKillop finally got the home side off the mark with a point in the 20th minute.

Fearghal Burke restored the Aldergrove 7 point lead almost immediately but the Ballymena side were starting to get their game together and would finish the half on the front foot as they played some excellent football.

Cal O’Brien, Ronan McKillop, James McDonnell and Shea O’Brien with a fisted effort that could have been a goal, hit four unanswered points and the excellent Connell Lemon fired to the Aldergrove net to tie matters after 29 minutes.

Burke would edge the visitors in front with a point to restore his side’s lead as Eamon McAuley blew his half time whistle and with Davitt’s still in contention at half time in Belfast, there was still plenty to play for in the second half.

Ronan McKillop was providing plenty of problems for the visitors defence and he tied the contest from a pointed free for the second time with only 30 seconds of the new half gone.

Seamus McGarry replied from a free at the other end to edge the Crumlin side ahead once more and further exchanges between McGarry (f) and Lemon kept it finally balanced before McGarry restored the visitor’s lead from another free in the 5th minute.

The Ballymena side continued to press however and seemed to be gaining the upper hand when Ronan McKillop (f) and James McDonnell edged them ahead by the 10th minute but they were rocked back on their heels when the excellent Seamus McGarry soloed through the home defence to fire past Ryan Stewart in the All Saints goals.

At this stage of the game the smart money was on St. James’ to push on but instead it was All Saints who took control and two pointed Ronan McKillop frees and a goal from Shea O’Brien saw them hit the front after 15 minutes.

Not for the first time this season the home side failed to push on when the momentum was with them as they began to play possession football and invite the opposition on and Aldergrove didn’t disappoint.

Malachy Byrne and the superb McGarry from another free closed the gap to one with 29 minutes gone and deep into injury time Anton Kidney squared matters from a ‘45’ after substitute James Trolan’s shot for goal was deflected wide by a defender.

By the time the action had subsided the word had filtered through that Glenravel had clinched the title with a win over Davitt’s but both tonight’s opponents will put the disappointment behind them as they face each other again in the forthcoming Intermediate championship.

All Saints: 1 Ryan Stewart, 2 Eoin Walsh, 3 James Gillan, 4 Cal O’Brien, 5 Kavan Keenan, 6 Sean O’Callaghan, 7 James McDonnell, 8 Sean McVeigh, 9 Shea O’Brien, 10 Ciaran McGarry, 21 Luke O’Rawe, 18 Michael Read, 20 Eoin Campbell, 13 Ronan McKillop, 19 Connell Lemon  

Subs: Patrick Ferris, Emmet Killough, Brendan McDonnell

Aldergrove: 1 Sean O’Neill, 2 Aiden Ervine, 3 Eoin Gough, 4 Malachy Burns, 5 Conor Browning, 6 Christopher McVeigh, 7 Declan Gough, 8 Brian McQuillan, 9 Corey Fogarty, 10 Gerard Mallon, 11 Fergal Burke, 12 Ryan Owens, 13 Ryan McCarthy, 14 Seamus McGarry, 15 Oisin Graham

Subs: James Trolan, Conleith McVeigh, Anto Kidney, Malachy Byrne

Referee: Eamon McAuley (Cargin)

Aldergrove keep promotion hopes alive

O’Neill’s Sportswear Football League Division 2

Aldergrove 0-11 Davitt’s 0-7

Aldergrove kept their promotion hopes firmly on track when they beat Davitt’s in Crumlin on Wednesday evening in Division 2 of the Antrim Football League. Leading by 0-4 to 0-1 at the end of a low scoring first half they pushed on after the break, and with Seamus McGarry picking off the points they sealed the win, despite a late charge by the visitors.

The first half was not one that will be remembered for its flowing football but Aldergrove started well and were two up after six minutes as James Trowlen and Seamus McGarry sent over points. Davitt’s did have their opportunities but they were off the mark with three scorable frees in the opening quarter. Full forward Gerard Slane opened his team’s account on fifteen minutes, but that was to be the only flag they raised, and though Aldergrove were not exactly proficient either, they did add points from midfielder Ryan Owens and full forward Seamus McGarry to lead by 0-4 to 0-1 at the short whistle.

A well worked length of the field move early in the second half was finished with a point from corner back Andy Irvine to increase the home side’s lead to four, but an excellent finish from long range by Davitt’s centre forward Padraig McPartland closed the gap back to three.

Aldergrove took a firm grip of the game when Seamus McGarry added the next three points, two of them from frees, before Gerard Slane pulled one back for the Falls Road men.  Two more from McGarry stretched the Aldergrove lead to 0-10 to 0-3 and it looked to be all over, but Davitt’s dug in and two points from Gerard Slane, one from Michael Connolly and one from Anthony Rowntree had the gap back to just three, with four minutes of normal time still to play. The Aldergrove fans must have been a little apprehensive at this stage but Andy Irvine settled those nerves when he pointed in the 60th minute to seal the win.

The win keeps the Crumlin men on course for the Division 2 title, though they are dependent on other results to get there. They play their game in hand on Friday evening at home to Sarsfields before taking on All Saints in the final game next Wednesday in Ballymena. A win against Sarsfields would put them ahead of All Saints going into that final game, where a win would give them the title, if Davitt’s can beat or draw with Con Magees Glenravel in their final game in Belfast. All Saints can also win the title of course, even they are point behind Glenravel and if they beat Aldergrove in that final game and Davitt’s beat Con Magees then it will be them who will be celebrating promotion.

McQuillan stars as Con Magees overcome slow start to beat Gort na Mona

O’Neill Sportswear Football League Division 2

Glenravel 3-15  Gort na Mona 2-04

Glenravel secured two more league points against Gort na Mona in Fr Maginn Park on Wednesday evening. Ahead by four points at the interval Con Magees put in a strong second half performance, despite a shaky start to the half, and ran out comfortable winners in the end with corner forward Ryan McQuillan leading the charge

This game was a very much cat and mouse affair with neither team able to raise a flag in the opening thirteen minutes. Indeed they squandered eight scoring chances between them and not a breath of wind to effect the kicking on this beautiful Midsummer evening at Fr Maginn Park. But a slick move upfield from the Belfast men saw them fire off two shots on goal that were superbly saved by Johnny Fyfe but a fisted ball across the goal line was eventually palmed to the net by Tarlach Enright at full forward and Gort na Mona went three ahead. Ryan McQuillan opened for the home team but Enright canceled that one out to leave Gorts three ahead again with fifteen minutes gone and that was how it remained for the next five minutes but in the final ten minutes Glenravel upped the tempo to score 1-05 without reply. Ryan McQuillan supplied the points whilst Rian Lennon chipped in with a great goal. Tarlach Enright got Gort na Mona back into the game with the final point of the half so the sides retired to the changing rooms with the home side ahead 1-06 to 1-02.

Gorts full forward Tarlach Enright raises his hand in celebration after scoring his team’s first goal

Gort na Mona came out like men inspired in the second half and in two quick counter attacks they were back on  level terms after a Darron Boyd point was followed by a Patrick McCaffrey goal in the opening two minutes of the half. This might have shaken some sides but the Con Magees kept their composure. They regained control of the game and went on to absolutely dominate the rest of the half and Gorts would not score again until three minutes from the end when their talisman Tarlach Enright pointed form a free.

In the meantime Glenravel had gone on to notch up 2-08 without conceding. Ryan McQuillan scoring 2-02 of that and the other score coming from Eoin Hynds (0-02), Rian Lennon (0-02), Declan Traynor and Charlie Henry. Eoin Hynds rounded off proceedings with a pointed free but the game was over as a contest long before that. 

Ryan McQuillan celebrates (ever so slightly) after scoring the second of his two goals

The final round of league games is Wed Jun 28th when Gort na Mona will host Glenavy whilst Glenravel will travel to the city to face Davitts. Both game throw in at 7:45pm. 

Con Magees Daniel McQuillan in action against Gort na Mona’s Patrick McCaffrey

Glenravel continue winning ways

O’Neill Sportswear Football League Division 2

Glenravel 3-15 Glenavy 0-12

A strong second half performance from Glenravel saw them cruise past a very good Glenavy team but there was very little to separate these teams for much of the first half. Indeed had Glenavy’s full back, Oisin Hamill, goaled when one on one with Glenravel keeper Johnny Fyfe late in the first half this could have been a different game. Instead Fyfe saved and the unfortunate Hamill had to be stretchered off as a result of the collision. Everyone at Saffron Gael wishes Oisin a speedy recovery – he had been very influential up to that point. 

Niall Swann opened the scoring for the home side with a lovely point from distance and this was followed up a few minutes later with a point from Daniel McQuillan. Glenavy’s talisman Fergal Henry opened for the visitors before Cormac McKeown opened a two point lead for Glenravel with a deft finish. Henry and Oisin Hamill brought the game all level as Glenavy started to find some rhythm in their play. But the home team regained control with three points from Danial Higgins and a brace for Cormac McKeown to give them a three point lead. Both sides would exchange two points each to leave the score 0-08 to 0-05 in favour of Glenravel as we entered injury time. However a defensive lapse from Glenavy allowed Glenravel’s Rian Lennon to ghost in behind the defence and he gave Glenavy keeper Stephen Daly no chance as his shot found the back of the net. When referee Karol Doherty blew the short whistle Glenravel would have been happy enough to go in leading 1-08 to 0-05.

Having conceded a goal in the last minute of the first half, Glenavy would have hoped for a bright start to the second half to get back into the game and indeed they scored directly from the throw in when Patrick Gallagher reduced the deficit to five points. But Glenravel took full control of the game for the next ten minutes and went on to score 1-04 without reply, the goal coming from Danial McQuillan. So with twenty minutes remaining Glenravel led 2-12 to 0-06 and looked to have secured victory. Glenavy would come back with three points of their own from Fergal Henry and Fintan O’Boyle to leave six between them with fifteen minutes to go and the away supporters were hoping for a comeback. But it didn’t prove to be for the visitors. Both teams would exchange points up to the end of the game to leave a healthy gap for the home side, and as he had done in the first half, Rian Lennon popped up with his second goal of the game in the dying minutes to leave Glenravel comfortable winners 3-15 to 0-12.