Battling Rasharkin come up short

ACFL Division 2B

Rasharkin  2-14(20)  Aldergrove 2-15(21)

St. Mary’s Rasharkin’s fight for division 2 survival ended in failure in Crumlin on Wednesday night but not before a mighty second half fight-back against St. James’ Aldergrove which came up just short in the end.

The Dreen side already looked on their way to division 3 when they trailed by 8 points to a sharp Aldergrove side at the halfway point but they threw everything but the kitchen sink at their opponents in the second half but in the end it wasn’t enough.

St. James opened strongly and Conor Morris, Brian McQuillan and Fearghal Hanna shot them into a 0-3 to 0-0 lead after five minutes but Rasharkin responded through Eamonn McNeill and two Ryan Lynch pointed frees to draw level with eight minutes gone.

Back came the Crumlin side and in a period of almost total dominance they kicked five unanswered points with Seamus McGarry 0-2, Conor Morris 0-2 and the impressive Brian McQuillan the men on target.

Shane Hasson briefly stopped the onslaught on the Rasharkin goal as he pointed a free in the 16th minute but the momentum was still very much with the Aldergrove men and they replied with points from Fearghal Hanna and Conor Browning to lead by six after 20 minutes.

A Shane Hasson goal from the penalty spot had it back to a manageable three with seven minutes remaining to the break but it was Aldergrove who grabbed the baton again as they kicked the final four points of the half through McGarry, Morris 0-2 and Glen Dunham to lead 1-12 to 1-4 at the short whistle and it looked a long way back for the visitors.

Eammon McNeill who was in fine form for Rasharkin

Rasharkin started the second half on the front foot, determined not to give up their division 2 status without a fight and Eammon McNeill and Shane Hasson kicked early points before Seamus McGarry replied with a goal for the home side in the third minute to edge his side nine in front.

Things were getting a bit heated and referee, Richard Leahy issued Red cards to a player from both sides in the 6th minute and when things got under way again it was St. Mary’s who made the running for a time as they began to eat into the Aldergrove lead.

Ryan Lynch pointed and the excellent Eammon McNeill followed with a goal in the 10th minute and suddenly it was the visitors who were calling the shots.

The momentum had swung very much in favour of the visitors at this stage as they continued to take the game to the home side as Ryan Lynch pointed three frees and further points from Eammon McNeill and Ruairi O’Boyle saw them move one ahead by the 18th minute.

A bit of nervousness and uncertainty seemed to creep into their play at this stage like the marathon runner hitting the wall as Aldergrove came back with points from Seamus McGarry 0-2 before Eammon McNeill kept the visitors hopes alive with a point in the 26th minute.

Aldergrove edged two in front once more with Rasharkin’s final response coming from a Tiernan OBoyle ‘45’ to leave the home side winners by the minimum.

Ryan Lynch kicked a number of excellent frees but couldn’t get Rasharkin over the line against Aldergrove

Not for the first time this year Rasharkin have come close to victory only to be denied in the closing stages but this one will stick in the throat for days to come and with St. Teresa’s winning at Glenavy there could be no reprieve from the Dreen side.

They can hold their head up high despite this defeat and the consequent relegation but they have been competitive in division 2 all season but sometimes the ball just didn’t bounce their way but if they can keep this squad together they are capable of making a quick return to the higher grade.

Aldergrove: 1 Sean O’Neill, 2 David Aiken, 3 Chris McVeigh, 4 Oisin Graham, 5 Andy Flood, 6 Brian McQuillan, 7 Christopher Browning, 8 Ryan Owens, 9 Conor Browning, 10 Declan Gough, 11 Seamus McGarry, 12 Fearghal Hanna, 13 Glen Dunham, 14 Conor Morris, 15 Ronan Hanna

Rasharkin: 1 – Tiernan O’Boyle, 2 – Conor Higgins, 3 – Emmet McFerran, 4 – Pearse Kelly, 5 – Donagh Quigg, 6 – Conor Hasson, 7 – Colm Kennedy, 8 – Ruairi OBoyle, 9 – Thomas McMullan, 10 – Shane Hasson, 11 – Eammon McNeill, 12 – Seamus Ellis, 13 – Ryan Lynch,

14 – Conor McKeever, 15 – Andrew Hasson.

Referee: Richard Leahy (Naomh Comhghall)

Team captains, Eammopn McNeill, Rasharkin and Ryan Oqwens, Aldergrove with referee Richard Leahy

St. Teresa’s complete the great escape

ACFL Division 2B

St.Joseph’s 0.10 v 2.08 St.Teresa’s

The old saying “goals win matches” was proven to be true when St.Teresas’ scored two goals against the run of play which saw them heading home with two very valuable points to retain their place in division 2. This defeat leaves the home side in a playoff against division three runners up St.Comgall’s in order to retain division 2 status for next season.

A draw would have ensured division two football for Glenavy but it didn’t happen as the visitors took full advantage of two mistakes by the home defence. Both sides had a number of changes in their teams due to a variety of reasons.

The game started with the Chapel Hill side on the attack and they were rewarded with two points in the first three minutes. From the throw in young Fiontáin O’Boyle got the ball through to full-forward Charles Gallagher who cooly slotted the ball over the bar. Fergal Henry then showed all his class when he sent a free between the sticks but he home side could have been in trouble only for an excellent save from

St.Teresa’s then struck for their first goal when a mix up in the home defence allowed Joseph Ramsey the opportunity and he made no mistake from close range.

 To their credit Glenavy won the resulting kick-out which was played through to Charles Gallagher who raised the white flag once again to level the contest. Back came the Belfast side with an excellent point from Niall McCann to put his side back in front and there was little between the sides at this stage.

Both sides were having difficulty with the strong cross field breeze which made passing difficult but Patrick Gallagher got in on the scoring act when he made a run forward to level the scores.

The visitors have shown improvement in recent weeks and took control of the game with with four unanswered points to put themselves in a lead they never lost. Conor O’Rawe broke forward to take a pass and put his side ahead and John Mallon pointed two frees and an excellent point from Eoghan Hamill left the halftime score Glenavy 0.04 St.Teresa’s1’05

Whatever Glenavy team manager Martin Clenaghan said to his players in the dressing room had the desired effect as they started the second half brightly with Fiontáin O’Boyle, Fergal Green and Fergal Henry adding three points in the first six minutes to narrow the gap to one.

Eoghan Hamill stopped the rot when he split the posts from an acute angle but once again Fergal Henry closed the gap raising another white flag. The home side mounted another attack but were turned over and St Teresa’s broke forward and quickly got the ball to Joseph Ramsey who gave the keeper no chance as the ball nestled in the corner of the net.

Once again young Fergal Henry replied for the home side and split the posts but Paul McGoldrick steadied the ship for the blue and gold side with a well-executed point. The momentum was now with the Glen Road side and Niall McCann made sure his side was staying in division two with two excellent points before Malachi Doherty replied with a consolation score for Glenavy.

Moneyglass complete the double over All Saints

ACFL Division 2A

All Saints 2-11 Moneyglass 3-12

St. Ergnat’s Moneyglass completed their division 2 winning campaign as they had started it with a win over All Saints. Two points separated the sides on the opening day of the campaign and last night the visitors extended that winning margin to four at Slemish Park.

The league winners led by 1-8 to 2-3 at the break with their goal coming from Shay Madden in the 17th minute and Colm Duffin 0-2, Connlaodh McCann 0-3, Patrick McCormick and Shay Madden getting the points.

All Saints were well in it as the sides switched ends and goals from Shea O’Brien after 4 minutes and Emmet Killough with 27 minutes gone and points from Ciaran Campbell, Michael McCarry and Conor Stewart left them trailing by two at the change of ends.

Two from Conor Stewart in reply to a Dermot McErlain point for the Marian Hill side had the gap down to one with only 4 minutes of the second half gone but a Patrick McCormick goal for Moneyglass edged them four ahead after 7 minutes.

Three points from the returning Michael McCarry between the 39th and 49th minutes in reply to one from Connlaodh McCann left just one in it again and when Emmet Killough sent over the equaliser with 10 minutes remaining it looked like anybody’s game.

The newly crowned league champions were always able to find a response and Colm Duffin edged them two ahead once more before Stewart replied for the home side again with six minutes remaining.

The Slemish Park side pushed for an equaliser but the visitors struck a killer blow when Dermot McErlain got in for their third goal in the 59th minute to put the game out of reach and complete the double over the Ballymena men who can still gain promotion and now await a play-off with the second bottom team in division 1, a position that has not yet been decided

All Saints: 1 Connor Brennan, 2 Michael Read, James McDonnell, 4 James Gillan, 5 Cormac Lemon, Rhys O’Mullan, 7 Conall Killough, 8 Emmet Killough, 9 Kavan Keenan, 10 Conor Stewart, 11 Michael McCarry, 12 Shaun O’Callaghan, 13 Ciaran Campbell, 14 Eoin Campbell, 15 Shea O’Brien

Moneyglass: 1. Gary Murray, 2. Luke O’Donnell,  3. Tiernan Duffin, 4. Callum McStocker, 5. Fearghal Duffin, 6. Conor Boyd,  7. James McCormick,  8. Colum Duffin, 9. Dermot McErlaine, 10. Connlaodh McCann, 11. Paddy McCormick, 12. Miran Neeson, 13. Connor O’Kane, 14. Conaill Prenter, 15. Shay Madden

Subs: Peter McCormick for Miran Neeson. Declan Neeson for Colum Duffin

Relegation spectre looms for Rasharkin but survival still possible

ACFL Division 2

Sarsfields 1-15 Rasharkin 2-7

Report and pics: Mark Hasson

A minutes silence was observed before this vital division 2 clash at the Bear Pit for Sarsfield’s recently deceased member, Jim McMenamin before the home side took on visitors Rasharkin in a game where the points could mean relegation or survival for both sides.

Padraig Sarsfields were in a much stronger position going into last night’s game and this win in effect will have shaken off any lingering relegation worries while Rasharkin are staring relegation in the face going into their final game away to Aldergrove.

Sarsfields came from behind to win the corresponding game at Dreen at the end of May and were first off the mark when Gary Lennon pointed them ahead in the second minute. Conor Laverty, Sam Walsh and Cormac Murray added three more by the 12th minute to move the home side 0-4 to 0-0 ahead and it was looking like a long night for the visitors.

Ryan Lynch finally got them on the score sheet with a point in the 13th minute with Gary Lennon replying immediately with Sarsfield’s fifth point but a Lynch point from a free in the 19th minute kept the visitors in touch but they were struggling to deal with a slick moving Sarsfield’s attack.

Back came the men from the Bear Pit and they looked to have put themselves in a strong position when the ball ended in the net in the 22nd minute but the score was ruled out for a square ball infringement, much to the visitors relief.

Brian Healey pointed a free for the home side before Conor Hasson finished a well worked team score with a point in the 24th minute which he started himself from deep before applying an excellent finish.

It failed to bring an immediate response from his colleagues as the ‘Paddies’ replied with points from a Brian Healey free and another from Thomas Skillen but St. Mary’s were handed a lifeline as the game edged into first half stoppage time.

Sarsfield’s failed to deal with a long ball in from mid-field and the ball broke favourably to Ruairi O’Boyle and ‘Blondie’ finished to the net to close the gap to two points as Colm McDonald blew for half time.

The second half was only a minute old when Sarsfield’s were awarded a penalty and an opportunity of restoring their five point advantage but Conor Glenholmes’ effort sailed over for a point.

This let off seemed to lift the visitors and they responded with a well worked team goal with Eamon McNeill starting the move with a strong solo run before feeding the ball off the shoulder to Ruair O’Boyle. O’Boyle found Seamus Ellis and he placed Lynch who finished with aplomb to bring matters level with only four minutes of the new half gone.

Gary Lennon for Sarsfield’s and Shane Hasson for the Dreen men exchanged further points but a pointed Brian Healey free and another from play by Kevin Floyd moved the home side two in front again by the 12th minute.

The hard working Ryan Lynch closed the gap to the minimum once more but Sarsfield’s replied again with a point from Brian Healey and the home side struck a killer blow. The ‘Paddies’ forced a turnover deep in their own half and an early ball into Thomas Skillen saw him turn his marker before soloing clear from 30 meters out before finishing to the net.

Rasharkin tried to respond and came back with points from Shane Hasson and Donagh Quigg to close the gap to two with two minutes remaining but that was close as they got with Skillen and Healey replying with points for the home side to ensure there would be no way back for the visitors.

This win leaves sarsfields well clear of the relegation zone but plunges Rasharkin into bottom spot after St. Teresa’s Lazerath like recovery in recent weeks continued with an impressive 5-10 to 2-12 win away to St. James Aldergrove which sees them climb above he Dreen men.

With one game left Rasharkin travel to St. James and must win and hope that St. Joseph’s Glenavy defeat St. Teresa’s at Chapel Hill in order to avoid a relegation play-off with the division 3 runners up.

Sarsfields: 1 Michael Brady, 2 Martin McPolin, 3 Miceal Ferris, 5 Philp McPeake, 6 Daniel McKiernan, 7 Calvin McCurry, 8 Cormac Murray, 9 Gary Lennon, 11 Conor Glenholmes, 12 Kevin Floyd, 13 Thomas Skillen, 14 Sam Walsh, 26 Conor Laverty, 28 Eamon Quinn

Rasharkin: 1 – Tiernan O’Boyle, 2 – Conor Higgins, 3 – Emmet McFerran, 4 – Pearse Kelly, 5 – Donagh Quigg, 6 – Conor Hasson, 7 – Colm Kennedy, 8 – Thomas McMullan, 9 – Ruairi OBoyle, 10 – Seamus Ellis, 11 – Eammon McNeill, 12 – Shane Hasson, 13 – Ryan Lynch, 14 – Conor McKeever, 15 – Andrew Hasson

Referee: Colm McDonald (St. Gall’s)

League champions Moneyglass celebrate with a win

Homefit Antrim Football League – Division 2

St Ergnat’s Moneyglass 1-14 Ardoyne Kickhams 0-12

St Ergnat’s Moneyglass received their Division 2 trophy at the end of Wednesday evening’s league win over Ardoyne at Marian Hill. Ironically the visitors were the only team to beat them this season, (their only defeat of the year) at the Crickey in the first half of the league campaign, but Moneyglass have been the stand out team of the year and fully deserve their title.

Antrim treasurer Donal Murphy presents the Division 2 trophy to Moneyglass captain Peter McCormick

With Ardoyne starting to build towards championship they were going to be a tough nut to crack, but despite being short a few regulars the home side were mostly in control of the game and were good value for their five point win. The north Belfast men made them work for the win though, and after trailing by four at half time, they twice fought back to within a point. However the clinching score of the match came at the end of the third quarter when Dermot McEralin got the only goal of the game.

Kevin Lynch opened the scoring for Ardoyne when he pointed in the third minute, but Aidan McErlain and Conlaidh McCann came back with points for the home side to edge them ahead by the 8th minute.

Cahal Keown brought the visitors level, but Moneyglass were starting to get on top and it was another 14 minutes before Ardoyne raised their next flag, while in the meantime the home side tagged on points from Colm Duffin (2) and Aidan McErlain to move three clear by the 21st minutes. Cahal Keown closed the gap to 2 with his second point of the half, but Moneyglass came back through McCann and Cassidy to stretch the gap out to four. It was score for score in the lead up to half time as Aidan McNeill and Conor McLaughlin came back with points for the Kickham’s, but two by Colum Duffin put Moneyglass four ahead at the half time whistle.

Ardoyne battled their way back into the game at the start of the second half and three in a row from Aidan McNeill, Ciaran McNeill and Kevin Lynch cut the deficit back to a single point by the 39th minute. A pointed free by Colm Duffin got Moneyglass up and running, but Fiontan Marley replied for Ardoyne almost immediately. Colm Duffin and Ardoyne corner back Garyy McKernan exchanged points two minutes later before Moneyglass got the all important score of the game when Dermot McErlain fired to the Ardoyne net on 45 mintues.

McEralin’s score settled Moneyglass nerves and they dominated the remainder of the game with Colm Duffin hitting his 7th and 8th points of the game, before Dermot McErlain closed it out with a point in the final minute.

After the game county treasurer Donal Murphy was there to present the Division 2 League trophy, and the celebration got underway soon afterwards.

Congratulations St Ergnat’s  – Division 2 champions!

Hugh Carey and his management team celebrate with the Division 2 trophy.