Aldergrove complete the double over neighbours Glenavy

Antrim Division 2 Football league

St.James’ 1-10 St.Joseph’s 1-9

Local parish rivals Aldergrove and Glenavy met in the second round of the league at Crumlin on a cold miserable Wednesday evening. Torrential rain just before the throw-in meant the players had to contend with a wet slippery pitch. One bright note was the return of Aghagallon referee, Gregory Walsh back in the middle after a long illness.

The visitors playing up the hill were first on the score sheet with a Michael McCourt pointed free but Brian McQuillan and Seamus McGarry replied with points to put the reds in front. We then had the first goal of the game when Thomas Gallagher was alert and finished to the net for the visitors to restore their lead. Fergal Burke responded for St. James’ to close the gap to one when he split the posts but the ever reliable Michael McCourt added to his tally with a pointed free. Owen Gallagher, one of six brothers in the St. Joseph’s panel, burst through from midfield to land an excellent point but back came the Crumlin men with a move that started in defence and finished with Fergal Burke finding the back of the net. The final score of the half was a point from an acute angle by Fergal Burke to leave the home side leading by the narrowest of margins at the break.                                                        

 Halftime score St.James’ 1.04  St.Joseph’s  1.03

From the throw-in Owen Gallagher broke free and landed the equalizing score but Seamus McGarry showed all his experience to slip his marker and put his side back in front. Connor Morris got on the score sheet with an excellent point as play continued to swing from end to end. The young Chapel Hill side was tiring on the heavy pitch when the management made three changes which settled the side down. Thomas Gallagher closed the gap to the minimum when he split the posts with a beauty before  Brian McQuillan replied to extend the home sides lead with a point from some distance. Owen Gallagher showed all his class when he jinked through for a point for the visitors but when Seamus McGarry while under severe pressure was fouled, he landed a point from the resultant free to edge the home side two in front once more.

With darkness closing in the game would not have been finished had it not been for the floodlights being turned on as James Gallagher and Fergal Burke exchanged points with time running out.  James Gallagher was now operating on the edge of the square and added a pointed free and one from play to leave the scores level and it was clear this one was going to go to the wire. The visitors then enjoyed a period of ascendancy and could have settled the issue but were guilty of some poor shooting and were to pay for those misses. From a kickout late in the game Aldergrove’s  Brian McQuillan won possession  and drove the ball over the bar for what turned out to be the winning score.

Over the hour the home side deserved their win as they made much better use of their scoring chances. The visitors were bitterly disappointed in losing their fifth league game of the season by a single point. Both sides will be glad to see the league ending in what both would class as a poor season to date but with championship just around the corner there is still ample opportunity to end their respective seasons with a flourish.

Glenavy; Donard Shannon; Ryan Malley; Conor Hamill; Ruairi Forester; Ryan Phillips; Charles Gallagher; Patrick Gallagher; James Gallagher; Owen Gallagher; Michael McCourt (Anthony Gallagher); Niall McCann; Peter Traynor (Fergal Green); Thomas Gallagher; Ciaran Loney, Fergus Cunningham. (Fergal Henry).

Referee Gregory Walsh (St.Mary’s Aghagallon)

First half goals pave the way for Rossa victory

                  AcFL Division 2

Rossa 3-14 Moneyglass 0-12

‘Goals win prizes’, is the old adage and that was certainly the case at Shaw’s Road on Wednesday night as Rossa defeated their closest rivals, Tir na nOg to lift the division 2 title.

 Three green flags hoisted in a five minute spell during the opening half were the scores that separated the sides at half time and although the Moneyglass men never gave up, three goals were still the difference as Karol Doherty sounded the full-time whistle in the fading light.

The visitors went into this game knowing that a win would put them a point ahead of their opponents and leave the Rossa needing something from their final game away to Tir na nOg but in truth they never really looked like gaining that win.

 Moneyglass were first on the score board as Colm Duffin and Conor Boyd hoisted back to back white flags in the opening couple of minutes as the visitors opened brightly.

The home side took a time to adjust to the slippery surface but were on their way when Colm Fleming punished a foul on the incoming Sean Pat Donnelly by guiding the placed effort between the posts in the 5th minute and when the latter added another and wing half back Sean Finch followed suit they had claimed advantage.

Moneyglass drew abreast again in the 11th minute with a smart Paul Tohill point but Rossa responded and Michael Armstrong raced clear to split the posts and regain the lead.

Rossa were starting to get on top at mid-field with Michael Armstrong and Stephen Beatty gaining control and when the latter combined with Eoghan Mc Menamin to send Colm Fleming in to grab an eye catching 15th minute goal the home side were on their way.

A real body blow for the St. Ergnat’s men and they were about to be hit with another as mid fielder Stephen Beatty nipped undetected inside the last line of defence to collect from Colm Fleming before finishing stylishly to the net.

The home side were on the march and not about to ease off the accelerator as Sean Pat Donnelly sped ‘soccer style’ up the left hand side before delivering on a plate for Eoin Fleming to apply the coupe de grace and ensure a more than healthy 3-04 to 0-03 advantage for the blue and gold.

Points from Colm Duffin and Conal Prenter (2) ensured that the visitors outscored their hosts in the latter stages of the opening period but the home side took respite in the gathering gloom with a more than useful 3-06 to 0-06 half time lead.

Moneyglass started the second half brightly with two early scores as the hard working Colm Duffin and Jack Mc Coy added points apiece but this provoked reply from their hosts as Thomas Morgan and Michael Armstrong followed suit.

Such was the trend throughout the second half as a score at one end would provoke reply at the other and those three green flags raised in the opening period remained the difference throughout.

The rain which had threatened for a time finally arrived but the home side had the bit firmly between their teeth as they continued to hold their guests at arm’s length.

The South West side needed a goal if they were to make inroads and with Conor Boyd and Colm Duffin leading the offensive they came close on a couple of occasions but when danger threatened net-minder Michael Byrne was not found wanting.

The young keeper was on hand to make a couple of exceptional saves in the last quarter as he stood tall to defy both Jack Mc Coy and again in the 51st minute as he denied Seanachan Duffin from close range.

Despite a lung bursting effort by the visitors the home defence stood firm in the descending gloom and at conclusion it was Rossa who celebrated their victory and a return to division 1 next season while Moneyglass still have the opportunity to join them if they can win a play-off against the side that finishes second bottom in division 1.

Rossa: Michael Byrne, Michael Mc Greevey, Ciaran Orchin, Niall Crossan, Sean Finch (0-01), Christopher Mc Guinness, Richard Gowdy, Michael Armstrong (0-01), Stephen Beatty (1-01), Sean Pat Donnelly (0-01), Eoghan Mc Menamin (0-01), Gerard Walsh, Eoin Fleming (1-03), Colm Fleming (1-05), Thomas Morgan (0-01)

Subs:

Conal Mc Donald

Dominic Mc Enhill

Oisin Mc Vicar

Paddy Mc Greevey

Damien Grego

Moneyglass: Mark Carey, Myron Neeson, Tiernan Duffin, Peter Mc Cormick, Jack Mc Coy (0-01), Conor Boyd (0-03), James Mc Meill, Niall Boyd, Sean Kelly, Paul Tohill, Colm Duffin (0-06), Conal Prenter (0-03), Seanachan Duffin, Gareth Murray

Subs:

Liam Brady for S Kelly (inj)

Ryan Doyle for J Mc Coy

Enda Duffin for E Kelly

Gary Murray for C Prenter

Referee Karol Doherty (Rasharkin)

Glenavy win local derby

ACFL Division 2B

St.Patrick’s Lisburn 1.08 v 1.14 St.Joseph’s Glenavy.

Going into this game the home side playing at their home ground on Kirkwood Road knew they would be playing division three football next season. On the other hand the visitors knew their division 2 place had been secured for another season. After a close first half the game was finely balanced but the second half belonged to the Chapel Hill side.

 The visitors our scored their hosts by  ten points to 1.03. At half time the referee made the score 0.05 to 0.04 in Lisburn’s favour, even though both sides had the score level at five apiece.

Corner forward Conor Dixon got the home side up and running with an excellent point before the ever reliable Michael McCourt had the scores level with a pointed free. Francis McMeel put his side back in front with a point from play but Glenavy moved ahead with a pointed free by Michael McCourt and two from open play from Niall McCann and Ciaran Loney (this was the disputed point). Back came the side in blue and gold with three of their own from Conor Dixon, Mark Torbitt and a pointed free from Francis McMeel to put their side one in front once more. Michael McCourt pointed a free as the halftime whistle blew to leave the score 0-5 to 0-4 in the home side’s favour.

The second half started with a Francis McMeel pointed free and Lisburn were looking good. Could they go on to record a second victory after last week’s win in Glenravel? Glenavy soon put paid to that notion. James Gallagher started the fight back with a long distance point and team captain Ciaran Loney stroked a beauty through the upright to put the orange men one up. Fergus Cunningham, who had replaced the injured Michael Johnston at half-timereplied for St. Joseph’s from a placed ball. Back came the lads in blue and gold with a point from Mark Torbitt to level the scores at 7 apiece and it still looked anyone’s game.

 The visitors hit a purple patch at this point however, scoring 1.06 without reply to virtually put the game out of reach of their opponents. Niall McCann and James Gallagher hit a brace a piece and Fergus Cunningham struck a good point from a difficult angle. Ciaran Loney added to his side’s tally which left the visitors leading by double scores as Aaron McGarry replaced Thomas Gallagher and with his first kick of the ball he helped himself to an opportunist goal. To their credit back came the hosts and were rewarded with a goal from the penalty spot expertly taken by Conor Dixon. Mark Torbitt had the final say with a point to leave the visitors winning by 1.14 v 1.08.

It has been a difficult season for both sides and let’s hope next year will be more fruitful. The final league game of the season will be on Wednesday   with a home game for St.Patrick’s against Rasharkin and St.Joseph’s travelling to near neighbours Aldergrove.

St.Patrick’s: Peter O’Neill, Shane McEvoy, Thomas Burns, Mark Torbitt, Sean Casey, Aaron McDonald; Ben McMullan, Niall Ward; Eoin Fay, Josh McMullan; Declan Burns; Conor Dixon, Mark Chemek, Francis McMeel; Mark Kennedy

St.Joseph’s: Donard Shannon; Ruairi Forester; Conor Hamill; Ryan Phillips; Patrick Gallagher; Charles Gallagher; Peter Traynor; Ciaran Loney; Michael Johnston (Fergus Cunningham. Ben McCambridge); Niall McCann; Michael McCourt; (Jack Hill); Anthony Gallagher; Thomas Gallagher (Aaron McGarry); James Gallagher; Fergal Henry

Referee: Colin Mallon Aghagallon

Saints spoil Rossa’s celebration party

ACFL Division 2

All Saint 2-16 Rossa 1-16

O’Donovan Rossa travelled to Slemish Park today knowing that a win would secure the division 2 league title but they came up against an All Saints side determined to postpone those title celebrations.

It wasn’t looking good for the home side when mid-fielder, Emmet Killough was shown Black after 16 minutes but his replacement, Conor Stewart announced his arrival with a great catch and point that appeared to lift those around him.

Stewart, who is still a Minor fitted seamlessly into the home side’s mid-field and added a goal in the 23d minute of the second half to turn the game at a time the visitors were threatening to take over.

It was visitors Rossa who were first off the mark with a good point from Michael Armstrong in the first minute but Connell lemon replied with an equally impressive score for the home side to level the contest with two minutes gone.

Sean Pat Donnelly edged the visitors ahead once more from a 4th minute free but again the Ballymena side found a response through youngster  Shea O’Brien who cut in from the left to split the posts.

The home side were gaining in confidence with Sean McVeigh driving them on from mid-field and points from Brendan McDonnell and McVeigh saw them move two in front before Rossa replied with a good point from Gerard Walsh in the 10th minute.

Walsh tied the contest with another point in the 12th minute and points from Michael Armstrong and Sean Finch saw them move two clear at the end of the opening quarter. The home side responded again through James McDonnell but they received a setback when Emmet Killough was shown Black with 16 minutes on the clock.

Michael McCarry levelled matters once more when he sent over in the 18th minute and an excellent score from Stephen Beatty brought another response from sharp shooter McCarry to leave it all square again with seven minutes remaining to the break.

In an excellent game of end to end football Conor Stewart made a great catch followed by an impressive point and when his mid-field partner, Sean McVeigh sent over an even more impressive effort the home side seemed to be gaining an edge.

In the minutes leading up to half time Rossa showed why they are odds on favourites to claim the title however as they hit back through Thomas Morgan and Gerard Walsh to edge one ahead once more but late scores from Michael McCarry and James McDonnell saw the Ballymena men lead 0-10 to 0-9 at the short whistle.

On the restart Eoghan Daly raced through the heart of the visitors defence to fist over and when Rory McVeigh was on hand to finish to the net after a good save by Rossa keeper, Michael Byrne All Saints were five in front and looked to be taking control.

The Shaw’s Road side were having none of it and after Padraig McGreevey replied with a point, Darren Grego intercepted a short kick-out from Stephen McAvoy to lob the keeper and close the gap to one with only four minutes of the new half gone.

Grego levelled matters as Stephen Beatty saw his free kick come back of an upright and Michael McCarry for All Saints and McGreevey for Rossa exchanged further scores to keep their supporters on their toes as play swung from end to end.

The Ballymena management introduced Eoin Campbell and Ciaran Shannon for Eoghan Daly and Rory McVeigh as both sides wasted opportunities as they strove to gain the upper hand but two point in quick succession from Kavan Keenan and Michael McCarry in the 17th minute looked again to have swung the advantage in favour of theBallymena men.

Back came the league leaders once more however with points from Stephen Beatty, Thomas Morgan and Beatty again before McCarry replied yet again for the Slemish Park side. It was going to take something special to separate these sides and it was youngster Stewart who was to provide it.

Undeterred from hitting a number of wides, Stewart took a pass out to the left of goals and soloed through before sending his shot low past Michael Byrne to the corner of the net. This score put the home side two in front again and Rossa received another setback when they lost a player to a second yellow card.

Michael McCarry and Sean Pat Donnelly exchanged further points before the home side were reduced to 14 as the game went into injury time with the final score of the game falling to the excellent Michael McCarry as he sent over his seventh of the game to see his side home three point winners.

This was a good win for All Saints but comes too late in the season to affect their chances of promotion but will never the less give them a lot of confidence going into the championship. Stephen McAvoy was confident in goals and his kick-outs were good, nearly always finding a man.

Niall McGarry, Joe Rocks and Connell Lemon were solid in defence while Sean McVeigh and Conor Stewart were on top for lengthy periods at mid-field. Michael McCarry made a telling contribution, both from play and from frees while Eoghan Daly, Kavan Keenan and Brendan McDonnell were others to impress in attack.

Rossa were well in contention for most of the game but quite a number of them have endured a number of tough hurling games over the last week and they seemed to tire going into the closing stages.

They meet second place Moneyglass in their next game on the 14th August before travelling to Tir na nOg five days later with their fate still very much in their own hands and I would expect them to push on and claim the league title.

All Saints: Stephen McAvoy, Joe Rocks, Ciaran McGarry, Rhys O’Mullan, James McDonnell, Damian Kelly, Connell Lemon, Sean McVeigh, Eoghan Daly, Michael McCarry, Shea O’Brien, Kavan Keenan, Rory McVeigh, Brendan McDonnell. Subs: Conor Stewart for Emmet Killough (Black card) Eoin Campbell for Eoghan Daly, Ciaran Shannon for Rory McVeigh, Luke O’Rawe for Shea O’Brien.

Rossa: Michael Byrne, James Cooley, Christopher McGuinness, Michael McGreevey, Padraig McGreevey, Michael Armstrong, Sean Finch, Oisin McVicker, Stephen Beatty, Sean Pat Donnelly, Eoghan McMenanin, Dermot McEvoy, Thomas Armstrong, Gerard Walsh, Darren Grego. Subs: Ciaran Orchin, Donal Armstrong, Niall Crossan.

Referee: Cathal McDermott: Tir na nOg

Moneyglass seal second spot and play off date

ACFL Division 2a

St Ergnat’s Moneyglass 2-14 Tír na nÓg 1-12

Sunday August 4

Brendan McTaggart reports from Moneyglass

An opening scoring burst of 1-6 in 14 minutes from Moneyglass paved the way for the St Ergnat’s men to a five point victory over Tír na nÓg.  Colum Duffin top scored for the Marion Hill side, finishing the hour with 0-7 while Conaill Prenter and Dermott McErlain scored the majors before the half time whistle.

Tír na nÓg were slow in starting and didn’t record their first score until the 19th minute but the introduction of Christy Sheerin midway through the first half gave the Randalstown side more impetus in midfield.  The home side controlled the contest after their early scoring blitz and Sean Redmond’s late major did little but put some respectability on the score board. 

Despite their control, the Moneyglass men were left to thank the brilliance of Mark Carey between the sticks to keep Tír na nÓg at bay.  Two outstanding saves and two further major chances came and went for the visitors to Marion Hill before Redmond finally hit the back of the net but Moneyglass were worthy of their margin of victory.

The opening exchanges were not so much a game of chess but a masterclass in counter attacking from the home side.  Tír na nÓg had possession but a mix of poor shooting and the Moneyglass defence turning them over allowed the home side to build a commanding lead.  Dermot McErlain pulling the strings in midfield and found Colum Duffin on the inside forward line on numerous occasions.  Duffin with four points in the opening quarter along with Niall Boyd and Sean Kelly raising white flags. 

The opening goal came in the 10th minute and it was McErlain who started and finished the move.  Claiming the ball in midfield, ‘Bugsy’ sped through the heart of the Tír na nÓg defence, playing a one-two with Patrick McCormick before finding the back of the net.

When Kelly split the posts in the 14th minute for the St Ergnat’s to put nine between the sides, they were dominant and gave the visitors very little in the way of chances.  Ryan O’Neill opened their account with a point from distance with the outside of his boot and would signal the start of a mini revival by the visitors.  They went onto score a further three points unanswered from Christy Sheerin (two) and Ciaran Dobbin.

Moneyglass finished the first half on top however and despite the loss of McErlain to injury and Jack McCoy to a black card, they opened a nine point lead by the interval.  Colum Duffin with his fifth point of the half before Prenter scored their second major with the last action of the half.  Patrick McCormick and Tiernan Duffin involved in the build-up before the flying Moneyglass forward applied the finish.

Half time: Moneyglass 2-7 Tír na nÓg 0-4

Prenter’s goal on the stroke of half time was a blow for the visitors who had done well to turn the game around.  They were more competitive after the restart but Moneyglass always retained an element of control.  Colum Duffin’s second free and sixth white flag of the match opened the scoring four minutes after the restart.  Caoimhin Duffin got the visitors going moments later but the Randalstown side couldn’t gather any momentum that would see them eat into the Moneyglass lead. 

Points from Prenter (free), Kevin Marron and Colum Duffin were answered by white flags from Aaron McNeilly and two from Leigh Martin (one free) but Carey had denied Tír na nÓg twice in the opening quarter of the second half that retained a substantial lead for Moneyglass.

Darren McCormick and McNeilly fired over for the Whitehill side before a brace of frees from Prenter and Liam Brady left nine points between the sides with just over five minutes remaining.  Tír na nÓg continued to push however and after Martin’s second free of the match, they finally scored the goal their efforts deserved.  Leigh Martin with the long ball to Kevin Sheerin on the edge of the square and while the Tír na nÓg sub managed to get his shot away, Carey pulled off another outstanding save only for the ball to fall to Redmond on the rebound.  The Tír na nÓg half back showed composure to finish well but time was against the visitors. 

Christy Sheerin fired over his third point of the match to cut the gap to four points but the home side managed the time remaining by keeping hold of the ball and not giving Tír na nÓg a sniff.  Conaill Prenter took his tally to 1-3 for the game with the last kick of the game as the home side celebrated a comfortable victory.  The two points ensure the Marion Hill side are now guaranteed second place and a two-legged promotion/relegation play off with whoever finished second bottom in Division One.

TEAMS

St Ergnat’s: Mark Carey; Miran Neeson, Tiernan Duffin, Peter McCormick; Jack McCoy, Kevin Marron, Eamonn Kelly; Niall Boyd, Dermott McErlain; Sean Kelly, Paul Tohill, Patrick McCormick; Conaill Prenter, Colum Duffin, James McMeel.

Scorers: Colum Duffin 0-7 (2 f’s); Conaill Prenter 1-3 (2 f’s); Dermott McErlain 1-00; Kevin Marron 0-1; Niall Boyd 0-1; Sean Kelly 0-1; Liam Brady 0-1 (1f).

Tír na nÓg: Sean Paul McAtamney; Caoimhin Duffin, Niall Cassidy, Ciaran Logan; Darren McCormick, Barry McCormick, Sean Redmond; Malachy Og Duffin, Ryan O’Neill; Ciaran O’Neill, Aaron McNeilly; Darragh Fegan, Leigh Martin, Jack O’Mahoney.

Scorers: Christy Sheerin 0-3; Leigh Martin 0-3 (2 f’s); Sean Redmond 1-00; Aaron McNeilly 0-2; Ciaran Dobbin 0-1; Ryan O’Neill 0-1; Darren McCormick 0-1; Caoimhin Duffin 0-1.

Referee: Vincent Boyle (Cuchullains, Dunloy)