Saints fall short in tight battle at Musgrave Park


O’Neill’s ACFL Division 2

St. Brigid’s 2-11  All Saints 1-12

St. Brigid’s overcame the challenge of visitors All Saints in a tight battle at Musgrave Park on Friday evening to keep in touch with the league leaders and in doing so sent the Ballymena side back into the bottom two.

All Saints had moved above Sarsfield’s with a win away to O’Donnell’s the previous Thursday night, their only win to date, and hoped to build on that win when they visited St. Brigid’s but despite a battling performance came up just short.

Once again All Saints fielded a very young and relatively inexperienced side and it was the greater experience and guile of the Belfast men that got them over the line in the end. As ever All Saints were up for it and certainly had a bit of bite about them from the off.

A brilliant goal from RJ McGrady and a brave punched finish from Cathal Conway (following an exquisite interception and ball-in from Paddy Finnegan) were the scores that swung it St. Brigid’s way.

All Saints responded with a goal from Shea O’Brien and four points from Michael McCarry and they pushed their opponents right to the wire but just couldn’t get the second goal that would have swung it their way.

All over the field St. Brigid’s had men who stood up and were counted, from Jamie Allen’s incredible shot-stopping to Conor King and Finn McKernan’s tenacity in the full-back line. Jack Dowling hit a couple of corking scores and Peter Henvey and Ben Leonard caused havoc alongside the ever-superb McGrady. And it was great to see Conor Taylor back in action after a long injury lay-off, coming on as a sub and helping to get his side over the line.

All Saints will be wondering just what they have to do to get a win. They led on the opening day of the season away to Dunloy until conceding two late goals which saw them lose by a point and defeats by two points to Tir na nOg and  Moneyglass and by four away to high riding Aldergrove and Gort na Mona and will be hoping for a turn in their fortunes when St. Paul’s visit on Wednesday night.


All Saints:

Niall Shannon

James Gillan

Pete McNicholl

Rhys O’Mullan.

James McDonnell

Emmet Killough

Joe Rafferty

Sean McVeigh

Paddy McAleer

Brendan McDonnell

Eoin Campbell

Kavan Keenan

Mick Mcgarry

Shea O’Brien

Cormac Lemon


Caolan loughran

Joe Rocks

D Kelly

Aldergrove stay tops thanks to impressive third quarter


Sean McAtamney and Brian Magee look back in despair as the ball nestles in the back of the Tir na nOg net during their ACFL Division 2 game at Aldergrove on Friday night.

O’Neill’s AFCL Division 2


Report: Gary Crossan

Photographs: Bert Trowlen

St James Aldergrove (4-12) V Tir Na NOg (1-14)

The key to this somewhat facile victory for St James was an impressive third quarter display when they scored 2-03 with Tir Na NOg’s solitary response a solitary free converted after 44 minutes. The visitors had started brightly and looked the sharper with Christy Sheerin to the fore at midfield. A converted free by full-forward O’Neill after 5 minutes was added to by a score from play by McNeilly 4 minutes later as the visitors took a well-deserved 2 point advantage. St James were struggling to find any fluency but a well taken point by Conor Browning narrowed their arrears to the minimum somewhat against the run of play with 10-minutes elapsed. From the kick-out the Ogs moved the ball forward into the scoring zone with the minimum of fuss and Fegan slotted the ball over the black spot. The White Hill outfit, despite their lead were guilty of some wayward shooting and they had already racked up 5 wides by the time Fegan had re-established their 2-point advantage. Their wastefulness was punished when a high ball into the heart of their defence was plucked from the air by Aldergrove full-forward Ronan Hanna and his quick hands released the marauding Andy Flood who made no mistake from close range finishing to the Tir Na NOg net. The balance of possession started to swing in Aldergrove’s favour but several long-range efforts didn’t find their target and it was the Randalstown men who registered the next score with Sheerin converting a free after 16 minutes. The direct route proved fruitful once more for Aldergrove when Ronan Hanna rose highest to claim a speculative lob and, having turned sharply, dispatched a rasping shot past the stranded Tir Na NOg net minder McAtamney into the corner of the net. This pushed the home side into a 3-point lead  and although the visitors battled manfully Aldergrove started to take control with team captain Chris O’Kane and midfielder Brian McQuillan starting to boss the contest. When O’ Kane and James Trowlen added points from play after 18 and 20 minutes St James lead was stretched to 5-points. The White Hill men refused to buckle however and hit back with 4-points from play between the 21st and 26th minutes with McNeilly (2-points), Logan and McCormick adding to their side’s tally. This was as good as it got for the visitors however as Ryan Owens added a point from play and Fearghal Burke tagged on a couple of converted frees as the half entered added time to push Aldergrove’s lead out to 4-points at the half drew to a close.

BER_2931_383627 Aldergrove’s Ronan Hanna escapes the clutches of Christy Sheerin, Tir na nOg

H/T: St James Aldergrove (2-06) V Tir Na NOg (0-08)

Despite their advantage, the home side had not been at their best during the first-half but they emerged from the changing rooms with a renewed vigour and focus. When wing-back Chris Browning burst forward and sent a long range point between the posts 2 minutes into the half it was a sign of what was to come as St James stepped up a couple of gears. Gerald Mallon fed Burke a minute later and he pushed his side into a 6-point lead with an expertly finished point. The Randalstown challenge was beginning to wilt under the Crumlin sunshine and when the link-up between Hanna and Flood ended with the latter firing to the roof of the Tir Na NOg net Aldergrove’s greater dynamism threatened to steamroll a gallant but outgunned visitors. The home side were dominating all over the field during this decisive quarter and it was that man Andy Flood who was in the right place at the right time to once more finish of a fluid move with another 3-pointer. St James were now 12-points ahead before a solitary pointed free by Fegan registered his sides first score of the second half after 44 minutes. Aldergrove were not to be denied however and long range points by Fearghal Burke and Conor Browning supplemented by an audacious effort from fully 50 meters out on the left hand sideline by wing-back Stephen Gorman meant there was 14-points between the sides with 51 minutes gone. The Aldergrove management team took the opportunity to empty their bench during the closing stages of the game and this did result in a degree of disruption with the visitors able to capitalise hitting 1-5 in the closing minutes, the goal courtesy of McKeown. Aldergrove’s solitary response during this period was another long-range point from play by Conor Browning taking his personal tally to 3-points. As the entertaining contest came to an end it was St James who emerged victorious extending their unbeaten run to 6 games.



St James Team: 1. Chris Taggart 2. Paul Cushley 3. Ferdia Carson 4. Chris McVeigh 5. Chris Browning (0-1) 6. Chris O’Kane (0-1) 7. Stephen Gorman (0-1) 8. Brian McQuillan 9. Ryan Owens (0-1), 10. Conor Browning (0-3) 11. Gerald Mallon 12. Andy Flood (3-0) 13. James Trowlen (0-1) 14. Ronan Hanna (1-0) 15. Fearghal Burke (0-4, 2 frees)


Subs:  Conleth Hendron for James Trowlen (40 mins), Tomas O’Callaghan for Chris Browning (51 mins), Fearghal Hanna for Andy Flood (49 mins), Eoin Masterson for Gerald Mallon (55 mins), Sean Fay for Fearghal Burke (56 mins).


Tír na nÓg 1. SP McAtamney 2. B. Magee 3. D. Martin 4. D. McCormick 5. S. Redmond 6. C. Duffin 7. C. Logan 8. M. Duffin 9. C. Sheerin 10. B. McCormick 11. C. McKeown 12. A. McNeilly 13. D. Fegan 14. R. O’Neill 15. P. Cullen 17. M. Tolan 18. P. Sheerin 19. K. McCann 20. D. O’Kane

Scorers:  A. McNeilly (0.4- 1 Free), D. Fegan (0.3- 2 Frees), C. Sheerin (0.3- 1 free), C. McKeown (1.0), C. Logan (0.1), B. McCormick (0.1), B. Magee (0.1), R. O’Neill (0.1- 1 Free)


Subs used: M. Tolan for P. Cullen (HT), P. Sheerin for D. Fegan (40mins), K. McCann for C. Logan (40mins), D. O’Kane for B. McCormick (43mins)


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Aghagallon climb to fifth place



Oisin Lenehan and Gavin O’Neill combine to deny St. Enda’s as the Lough shore side climb to fifth in the table after defeating the Glengormley side on Friday night.

O’Neill’s ACFL Division 1 – Round 10

Fri 15th June 2018-Páirc na nGael

Naomh Mhuire Aghagallon 3-8 Naomh Éanna 1-9

Following a three week break and with Antrim out of the Ulster Championship and the qualifiers,  the club scene has resumed and the anticipation builds towards  the championship later in the Summer.

This game’s result would decide who would move into the top half of the table and as it turned out the win for Aghagallon saw the home side move into fifth place. The next sequence of games see both teams playing four games in two weeks, with Aghagallon playing three of their games away and the fourth at home and Naomh Éanna with the advantage of playing three of the four games at home and the fourth away.

From the throw in Naomh Éanna were in trouble, Aghagallon quickly gained possession and went on the attack and with the ball moved quickly the home side carved an opening for Ruairí Loughran to register the first score and the opening goal of the match.

Within a minute the visiting side had opened their own account with a well taken point from play from Diarmuid McNulty with their opening score.

Loughran would add a second score for St. Mary’s with three minutes played to make it 1-1 to 0-1  but the opportunity to increase the lead was missed as Aghagallon fired wide when a score looked on.

Ruairí Loughran added another score for St Marys in quick response to make it 1-2 to 0-1 and at this stage the home side were well on top.

Two scores in two minutes from St. Enda’s, one from Odhrán Eastwood and a second from McNulty,  suggested that the visiting team were settling and closed the gap to two points. Both team had opportunities to keep the score board moving before Eunan Walsh fired to the Glengormley men’s net in the eighteenth minute to move his side five in front.

Aghagallon looked to build on their defensive setup and effectively shut down the forward department, pulling men back they invited the Glengormley side to attack and shoot from distance.

As a result the visitors fired wide or were short on a number of occasions adding to their frustration and Just before half time Ruairí McCann would get his first and the final score of the first half  to leave Aghagallon leading 2-3 to 0-3 at the short whistle.


Peter Healey, St. Enda’s runs at the Aghagallon defence


The second half began with the visiting side making changes in the mid-field and forward departments, the introduction of Daniel Kennedy in place of Fionntán O’Connor and Stephen Flynn in place of Conor Burrows set the wheels in motion.

The second half was again a stop start affair with the referee ensuring that any infringement or unnecessary commentary was punished. To mirror the first half both teams where guilty of missed chances as the wides tally increased. Naomh Éanna were the more guilty party  and will rue the number of squandered chances that fell their way.

Inside a minute Ruairí Loughran added a point from a free and Ruairí McCann followed with a goal to put the home side very much in control and effectively kill off the game as a contest.

However in response to Aghagallon’s four points Naomh Éanna did rally and two points from Gerard Crossey, a point from James McAuley and a further point from a free from Dónall Walsh closed the gap to five and a well worked goal following a goalmouth scramble gave the visitors renewed hope.

Odhrán Eastwood was the man on target and there was now only two points separating the sides but Aghagallon responded strongly to ensure there would be no way back for the visitors. Gareth Magee, Niall McShane and Eunan Walsh responded with points to edge Aghagallon seven clear with five minutes of normal time remaining.

St. Enda’s responded with a free from Dónall Walsh  but a late Eunan Walsh point ensured there would be no way back for the Glengormley men. With time almost up Eunan Walsh fired over a late point for the home side to conclude the scoring.


Aghagallon: Gavin O’Neill, Aidan Mulholland,Michael McStravick, Mark McKenna,Shane Russell, Jack Lenehan, Pat Branagan, Dessie Marshall, Oisín Lenehan, Eunan Walsh, Ruairí McCann, Ciarán Brady, Darryl McLarnon, Gareth Magee, Ruairí Loughran


Naomh Éanna: Paddy Flood, Fionntán Eastwood, Ryan Kennedy, Conor Burrows, Diarmuid McNulty, James McAuley, Conan Lyttle, Philly Curran, Ciarán O’Neill, Gerard Crossey, Ruairí Scott, Fionntán O’Connor, Dónall Walsh, Peter Healy, Odhrán Eastwood

Referee: Brendan Toland

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Photographs: J.J. Lawell

All Saints collect first points of the season to move off the bottom of the table


Paddy McAleer, Sean McVeigh and Michael McCarry were all to the fore as All Saints defeated O’Donnell’s at MacRory Park on Thursday night.

O’Neill’s ACFL Division 2

O’Donnell’s 1-9 All Saints  3-17

All Saints recorded their first win of the season when they defeated O’Donnell’s at MacRory Park on Thursday night. In the battle of the bottom two in the division, Thursday night’s protagonists went into this game pointless after five previous starts so a win was vital for both sides.

The Ballymena men started brightly hitting two early scores through Patrick McAleer and Michael McCarry before the Belfast side levelled matters.  Youngster James McDonnell put the visitors ahead again with a brilliant shot from 20 yards finding the top corner of the net to put Saints back in control and this was soon followed by a goal from fellow minor Shea O’Brien as he finished from close range.  Sean McVeigh and Patrick McAleer were starting to dominate midfield at this stage and this gave All Saints the platform to open up a five point half time lead despite conceding a sloppy goal before the break.

A point from Michael McCarry set the tone for the second half as the Ballymena side kicked on and put the game to bed with fellow county star Patrick McAleer also chipping in with a few points.  Saints limited their hosts to two points in the second half and sealed the win late on when James McDonnell scored his second goal of the game.

A very important win for All Saints with Antrim county players, Paddy McAleer and Michael McCarry recording an impressive 14 points between them and their pace and movement proved too much for the home side .  Connell Lemon, playing his last game before leaving for Boston for the summer went through a power of work for the visitors with Sean McVeigh also prominent.  Youngster James McDonnell also deserves credit as he hit two great goals to keep up his recent good form in a win which Saints will hope can finally ignite a very disappointing season to date and inspire them to greater success in the coming weeks.

This win moves All Saints above Sarsfield’s on score difference and with an away game against St. Brigid’s followed by home games against St. Paul’s and Sarsfield’s to come in their next three fixtures they will face much tougher tests than Thursday night’s opponents.


“Aldergrove win bruising encounter with St Pauls by smallest of margins”


Photographs: Bert Trowlen

ACFL Division 2

Aldergrove arrived at Shaw’s Road looking for a win to bring them level at the top of Division 2 knowing they would face a determined St Paul’s team. In what turned out to be a bruising and physical encounter, Aldergrove managed to leave with the 2 points and a 5th win in a row wining by a single point.

The match started with the lead being passed back and forward between the two teams, Aldergrove taking 1st spoils with a point from influential midfielder Ryan Owens before Micky Joe Cooper levelled from a free kick. The lead then returned to Aldergrove from the boot of Ferghal Burke who eventually ended up top Scorer with 0-6 before St Paul’s began to get a foothold in the game. St The home team dominated the next 10 minutes taking the score to 0-7 to 0-3 and Aldergrove looked in trouble as St Paul’s midfield dominated the high ball. From a free kick 45 yards out Ryan Owens won possession on the edge of the St Paul’s square and drilled it to the net to kick-start Aldergrove’s challenge before a serious injury to Brian McQuillan led to him being taken off. A serious blow to Aldergrove losing one of their most influential players but they dug deep and levelled with another point from Burke before St Paul’s came straight back to once again take the lead. Aldergrove levelled once more before the whistle blew for Half time.

The tit for tat continued into the 2nd half when Chris O’Kane cut through from half back to score a point but not long after Aaron Trainor once again levelled up with a nicely taken point. With plenty of physicality being shown throughout the pitch and some heavy tackling both teams continued to keep the scoreboard ticking over before Aldergrove had a 10 minute spell of dominance where Gerard Mallon burst through the middle to finish tidily into the corner of the net giving the keeper no chance. Ferghal Burke popped over another 2 points and Conor Browning pointed with his fist to put Aldergrove into a commanding lead 2-10 to 0-12. Conor McCartan, who came on as a substitute started to influence the game and scored a couple of points to bring it to a 3 point game before Burke scored his best point of the game from 45 yards to bring the lead back to 4. St Paul’s once again took control of the next 5 minutes to bring the game down to 1 point with scores from Don Burns after a burst through the middle, Niall Peoples and Conor McCartan before missing a kickable free just before the final whistle. Aldergrove would have been happy with another 2 points in the bag after this fiercely contested game.

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