Rory hat-trick paves way for convincing All Saints victory

O’Neill’s ACFL Division 2B

All Saints 4-15 Davitt’s 1-6

A few weeks ago the spectre of relegation hung over All Saints Ballymena but a recent good run of results has seen them climb into second place  in division 2B and above tonight’s opponents, Davitt’s on score difference.

With their respective league status secured in division 2 for another year both sides would probably have seen this game as preparation for their respective forthcoming championship games and while an understrength Davitt’s hung in there for a while they were eventually over ran by a rampant Ballymena side.

The visitors cause wasn’t helped by a sending off, midway through the second half but even at that stage the game had moved out of reach but the Ballymena side went on to drive home their numerical superiority with a blistering finish.

The game marked the return to All Saints colours for Peter ‘Pizza’ McReynolds following a two year sabbatical in Australia and the red haired mid-fielder put in an excellent shift but it was another returning Ballymena man, Rory McVeigh who stole the show with a sparkling display on the edge of the square.

Rory was out of action for over a year with a career threatening injury but has worked extremely hard to fight his way back to fitness and his return of 3-3 on the night would suggest that he is well on his way to achieving just that.

Michael McCarry 0-2 and Joe Rafferty fired All Saints into an early three point lead before the excellent Christopher Rafferty opened Davitt’s account with a point in the 10th minute. McCarry replied with a point for the Quinn Park side before Rory McVeigh opened his personal account with points in the 13th and 15th minute to put the home side 0-6 to 0-1 ahead at the end of the opening quarter.

Rafferty responded with the visitor’s second score but All Saints were dictating matters in most areas of the field and playing with good intensity as Michael McCarry and Eoin Campbell replied with points at the other end to move the men in white seven clear with nine minutes remaining to half time.

Davitt’s were playing some attractive football but were finding it difficult to penetrate a solid home defence where Peter McNicholl, Ciaran McGarry and Emmet Killough were giving little away but Sean Lindberg got in for their third point in the 23d minute.

Two minutes later they were right back in contention when Lindberg followed with a goal from the penalty spot and suddenly a six point lead had been reduced to two and questions were being asked of the Ballymena side for the first time.

Those questions were soon answered however as All Saints returned to the offensive with Michael McCarry sending over two excellent points and Rory McVeigh getting in for a goal in the 32nd minute to put a bit of daylight between the sides.

It was Davitt’s who opened the second half scoring when keeper Aaron Slane converted a second minute free but All Saints responded through that man McVeigh with a point in the 5th minute and Ciaran McGarry burst through for a fine individual goal with eight minutes on the clock. Michael McCarry added a point to stretch the All Saints lead 2-12 to 1-4 after 12 minutes.

Davitt’s cause wasn’t helped when they had a player dismissed in the 18th minute and two minutes later Rory McVeigh hammered home his second goal to put the contest out of reach of a Davitt’s side who were starting to wilt under the relentless pressure.

Michael McCarry pointed a couple of frees and Brendan McDonald added another from play before Padraig McParland replied with Davitt’s third point of the half with only three minutes of normal time remaining.

Davitt’s keeper, Aaron Slane moved up field once more to convert another free in the 28th minute before Rory McVeigh completed his hat-trick to conclude the scoring with another good goal and put the icing on a good night’s performance for the home side.

Davitt’s started well, moving the ball around and building promisingly but they lacked the overall fire power to trouble a solid All Saints defence. They now face St. Enda’s in the Intermediate Football Championship and even with all their players back on board they will be hard pushed to beat a side who have been doing well in division 1 this year.

The All Saints management will be pleased by their side’s performance on the night and indeed in recent weeks but will know that they too face a much stiffer challenge when they take on a Rasharkin team they have never beaten in championship football in a few weeks’ time.

All Saints: Emmet McAllister, James Gillan, Peter McNicholl, Kavan Keenan, Ciaran McGarry, Emmet Killough, Connell Lemon, Sean McVeigh, Peter McReynolds, Joe Rafferty, Michael McCarry, Eoin Campbell, Brendan McDonald, Rory McVeigh, Ciaran McLarnon, Subs: Joe Rocks for James Gillan, Luke O’Rawe for Ciaran McLarnon, Niall Shannon for Emmet McAllister

Davitt’s: Aaron Slane, Nathan Maginn, Jason Close, Michael Og Rowntree, Niall McParland, Caomhan Slane, Declan Smyth, Anthony Rowntree, Paul McKinney, James Lindsay, Danny Largey, Sean Lindberg, Christopher Rafferty, Niall Hughes, Padraig McParland

Referee: Eamon McAuley (Erin’s own)

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St Brigid’s stumble as promotion race hots up

O’Neill’s All County Football League – Division 2

St Brigid’s 1-14 Moneyglass 1-14

John McIlwaine reports from Musgrave Park

St Brigid’s missed the chance of clinching promotion to Division 1 when they were held to a draw by Moneyglass in Wednesday evening’s Division 2 league game at Musgrave Park. As things turned out their Belfast neighbours Gort na Móna did the Saints a massive favour when they beat fellow contenders Aldergrove up at Turf Lodge, and with Tir na Óg winning down in Dunloy there are four teams still in contention for a promotion place. St Brigid’s still hold the upper hand with a two point advantage with just two game remaining, but their opponents in those games are both Gort na Móna and Tir na Óg so it promises to be an intriguing run in when the league resumes after the championship break4

Early in this game it looked like the men from Musgrave Park were on their way to a comfortable win when they opened up a 1-3 to 0-1 lead after just twelve minutes. Wing half back John Blaney opened the scoring inside thirty seconds with a point from forty metres and two minutes later James Smith added another from play. Seanchann Duffin opened the visitors’ account on six minutes with a point from a free but St Brigid’s went straight down the field and got a slice of good luck when John Blaney’s shot for a point looped over the Moneyglass goalkeeper Mark Carey and into the net. Carey had to be alert to tip a Jack Dowling shot over the bar on 12 minutes, a score that put the home side five clear and apparently in a dominant position but Moneyglass upped their tempo and started to play much more direct football as they clawed their way back. Two pointed frees from Conall Prenter and two excellent scores from Seanchann Duffin suddenly had the gap back to a single point, and though Ronan McGrady fired one over at the other end for St Brigid’s the flow of the game was now towards Moneyglass.

Conall Prenter cut the gap to one again with a neat finish from close range and soon afterwards Seanchann Duffin, one of four brothers on the team, brought the St Ergnat’s men level. Things got even better for the visitors when Prenter edged them ahead and when they won the kick-out and sent corner forward Jack McCoy clear they were two to the good. St Brigid’s were treading water at this stage but just before they break they mounted their first serious attack in quite a while and were on goal only to be denied by a sharp save by Carey in the Moneyglass goal. However Ronan McGrady fired over the resultant 45 and in first half injury time James Smith fired a shot inches over the bar to bring his team level at the break.


The south Belfast side continued on the front foot after the interval and points by Michael Cummins, Ronan McGrady and John Blaney put them three clear and apparently back in control. It was not to be as Moneyglass battle back and two excellent points from corner forward Dermot McErlain brought them back to within a point. The gap remained at one as points by Webb and Smith for the home side were answered by similar scores from Colum Duffin and Conall Prenter for Moneyglass but the St Ergnet’s men appeared to have struck a telling blow on 48 minutes when a flowing move the length of the field was finished brilliantly to the net by full forward Prenter.

Suddenly they were in front and bossing the game, but they missed a couple of easy chances to increase their lead though a fine strike by Seanchann Duffin did put them two clear as the game entered the home stretch. Two points from Roan McGrady free brought St Brigid’s level but Moneyglass must have felt they had victory in the bag when Patrick McCormick edge them back ahead in injury time, but it was not be as Ronan McGrady landed a later point from a close range free to earn his team a share of the spoils, and a vital league point.

ST BRIGID’S: J Allen; J Toner, C King, A Brennan; J Blaney (1-2), P Finnegan, O Boyle; E Clarke, M Cummings (0-1); J Smith (0-2), R McGrady (0-6, 0-4fs, 0-1 ‘45’), P Lundy; P Webb (0-2), J Dowling (0-1), E Carleton.

Subs: S McKenna for Brennan (38mins), B Sinnott for Carleton (47mins), T McCrudden for Lundy (50mins), F McKernan for Blaney (black card, 57mins).


MONEYGLASS: M Carey; M Neeson, T Duffin, S Kelly; P Mackle, C Boyd, P McCormick (0-1); C Duffin (0-1f), N Boyd; S Duffin (0-5, 0-1f), G Murray, F Duffin; D McErlain (0-2fs), C Prenter (1-4, 0-2fs), J McCoy (0-1).

Subs: R Doyle for McCoy (37mins), S McGlinchey for Murray (38mins), D Laverty for Mackle (42mins), L Brady for N Boyd (57mins).

REFEREE: Fiontan McCotter (Sarsfield’s)

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Pics by John McIlwaine


Tir na nOg keep promotion hopes alive with good win in Moneyglass


Christy Sherrin had a fine  game at mid-field as Tir na nOg kept their promotion hopes alive with a  good win at Moneyglass

O’Neill’s ACFL Div 2

Moneyglass 1.13 (16)

Tír na nÓg 4.17 (29)

Tir na nOg, Randalstown kept themselves very much in the promotion race following this win over St. Ergnat’s Moneyglass and Aldergrove’s defeat to St. Brigid’s on the same night. In completing the league double over St. Ergnat’s the Whitehill side join Gort na Mona on 18 points, just two behind the Crumlin men with three games of the league campaign remaining.

Early season contenders, St. Ergnat’s have been hurt by injuries as they slip down the division 2A table but will take comfort in the fact that their division 2 status is secure for another year and undoubtedly will be concentrating on getting back to full strength as the Championship approaches.

Ciaran McKeown led the charge for the Randalstown side and finished top scorer with 2-4 with Daryl Fegan making a telling contribution with 1-5 and Peter Cullen getting the other goal. Christy Sheerin controlled matters from mid-field where he had an excellent partner in Darren McCormick and overall they had just too much for the host team.

Tir na nOg face a difficult run in if they are to make their promotion hopes a reality however with an away trip to Dunloy, a home fixture against second placed Aldergrove and a very difficult away game against league leaders St. Brigid’s but on this performance they will fancy their chances of being in the promotion mix come the end of the season.

Tír na nÓg

  1. SP McAtamney 2. B. Magee 3. D. Martin 4. S. Redmond 5. B. McCormick 6. C. Duffin 7. D. McCormick 8. C. Sheerin 9. M. Duffin 10. A. McNeilly 11. C. McKeown 12. P. Cullen 13. D. Fegan 14. K. Sheerin 15. D. Fegan 16. M. Dempsy 17. R. O’Neill 18. D. Mallon 19. D. O’Kane 20. K. Kerr

Scorers: C. McKeown (2.4), D. Fegan (1.5-3 frees), P. Cullen (1.0), C. Sheerin (0.2), A. McNeilly (0.2- 2 frees), K. Sheerin (0.1), M. Duffin (0.1), S. Duffin (0.1), R. O’Neill (0.1),


Subs used: R. O’Neill for P. Cullen, D. Mallon for B. McCormick

McAllister penalty save inspires All Saints in vital victory over St. Pauls


Emmet McAllister, who’s penalty save helped All Saints to two vital points over St. Paul’s in Belfast last night

O’Neill’s ACFL Division 2B

St. Paul’s 2-12 All Saints 1-20

An Emmet McAllister penalty save and a personal tally of 0-11 from ace forward, Michael McCarry paved the way for a vital win for All Saints, Ballymena when they travelled to Belfast last night and recorded a fine victory over fellow strugglers St. Paul’s.

McAllister lost possession of the number one jersey following some indifferent performances as the Ballymena side struggled to put results together earlier in the season but, like the true ‘professional’ he is he worked hard at his game and has returned to claim the goal keeper’s jersey.

His penalty save last night was his fifth in five games for the first team and reserves and his fine performances has installed a wee bit of confidence in a side that has struggled for long parts of the season to put a run of wins together.

Recently though they have achieved just that and last night’s win was their second in four days with St. Paul’s neighbours and rivals, Sarsfield’s losing by the narrowest of margins at Slemish Park on Wednesday night.

The Ballymena side could only manage 0-11 on that occasion but they put together the sort of scoring performance they have been threatening recently with the mercurial McCarry leading the way with 0-11.

McCarry’s Antrim county colleague, Paddy McAleer made a telling contribution with 1-4 from mid-field and Brendan McDonnell 0-3, Eoin Campbell and substitute Shea O’Brien completed a very satisfactory night’s scoring for the Slemish Park side.

These wins move All Saints two points above St. Paul’s who have played a game more and one above Sarsfield’s with O’Donnell’s occupying bottom spot and already relegated but there is no room for complacency with three games still to play and the relegation battle could go down to the last day of the season.

All Saints: Emmet McAllister, Rhys O’Mullan, Peter McNicholl, James Gillan, Kavan Keenan, Emmet Killough, James McDonnell, Shaun McVeigh, Paddy McAleer, Joe Rafferty, Michael McCarry, Brendan McDonnell, Ciaran McLarnon, Ciaran Campbell, Rory McVeigh. Subs: Shea O’Brien for Joe Rafferty, Joe Rocks for Rhys O’Mullan

Brigid’s make major push for promotion with win over Aldergrove


St. Brigid’s who defeated St. James’ Aldergrove to move top of division 2.

By St. Brigid’s PRO

Photographs: Bert Trowlen

O’Neill’s ACFL Division 2

Aldergrove 0-10, St Brigid’s 3-10

St. Brigid’s made a major push towards promotion to division 1 with this hard earned but merited victory over their main rivals, St. James Aldergrove in Crumlin last night. Goals from Ruairi O’Neill, John Blaney and Jack Dowling proved pivotal as the Musgrave Park side completed the double over A St. James’ side who still hold their promotion fate very much in their own hands

“There’s nahin’ won yet,” to quote any number of wise oul’ GAA heads over the years. There are still two big wins to secure promotion to Division One for St Brigid’s’ senior men, but last night – in front of a large, loyal and vociferous support – the team put on a fine display against a tough and experienced Aldergrove.

Excellent all over the field, St. Brigid’s were struggling to convert point-scoring opportunities. This mirrored much of St Brigid’s’ first-half display in shooting terms. At the back, Conor King and John Toner were resolute, while Ben Sinnott displayed admirable levels of fitness and Patrick Finnegan was setting up attack after attack while Peter Lundy was looking very sharp at half-forward. With all the good work going on out the field, it wasn’t long before the forwards converted it into points on the board, starting with the man known in South Belfast circles as the “Red Jesus”.

St. Brigid’s got off to a great start as Ruairi O’Neill received the ball wide on the right, turned his man and proceeded to send the entire opposition defence the wrong way with an absolutely outrageous dummy before sticking the ball right in the top corner.

Shortly after, John Blaney found himself in possession of the ball near the Aldergrove net after some neat forward interplay and finished to the Aldergrove net and the visitors were very much in the ascendancy.

With two screamers, their next goal would inevitably be a bit of a scrapper, and to provide it up stepped a bit of a scrapper, Jack Dowling. After his low, driven effort produced a brilliant save from the home goalkeeper, Dowling managed to get his foot to the rebound and raise another green flag. At half time St. Brigid’s looked well on their way to the two important points on offer but the home side were not ready to concede without a fight.

Aldergrove came out and showed just why they are pushing for promotion, kicking a couple of fine scores at the start of the half. In a very competitive and physical second-half, Oran Boyle showed huge bravery on a number of occasions. As the game progressed it was obvious it would take a couple of majors to get the Crumlin side back into contention but the visitors defence stood strong.

St. Brigid’s continued to edge the exchanges with  Mikey Cummings and Ethan Carleton using every bit of craft and cunning to set up and win frees and scores. Ronan McGrady was excellent from general play – and also put his health at risk on a number of occasions – while Sean McKernan’s man-marking was excellent.

A couple of well struck Ronan McGrady frees kept the eventual winners noses in front and In the end, St Brigid’s did well to close the game out against a very difficult side on their home patch. A fine win and one to build on in the weeks ahead!.


Despite defeat last night, St. James remain very much in the promotion hunt.

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