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.

Saints secure a promotion play-off place

ACFL Division 2

All Saints 1-13 St. Pauls 1-7

All Saints secured a promotion playoff place with a fairly comfortable victory over a battling St. Paul’s side who for the second time in five days arrived in Ballymena with only 15 players but who battled hard against a home side who had more to play for on the night.

A draw would have been enough to secure the promotion playoff place for Liam Bradley’s side and although St. Paul’s could have caught All Saints in theory a massive score difference for the Ballymena side made that scenario unlikely.

Matty Downey pointed All Saints ahead in the 5th minute from a 40 meter free with Ciaran Killough following with another from play and Shea O’Brien opened up a three point lead before Conall Duffy opened the visitors account with 12 minutes gone.

Paddy Doyle closed the gap to the minimum as the visitors fought hard to establish control of the game but All Saints were moving the ball at pace and a Shea O’Brien pointed free moved them three in front at the end of the opening quarter.

St. Paul’s replied with an excellent point from Colm McLarnon but once again the Slemish Park side were able to respond and Matty Downey fired a 45 yard free between the uprights and Cavan Keenan added another from play as they continued to enjoy the better of the exchanges.

Jack McAufield pulled off a good save to deny Ciaran Campbell but Conor Stewart was on hand to return the ball over the bar as the Ballymena men moved five clear after 24 minutes before Conall Duffy replied with a point at the other end to keep the Shaw’s Road side within touching distance.

Free taker Downey limped out of the contest following a collision to be replaced by Connell Lemon as Shea O’Brien kicked the final point of the half from a close range free to leave it 0-9 to 0-4 for the home side as referee Sean Laverty sounded his half time whistle.

O’Brien started the second half as he finished the first as he increased the home side’s lead with a point in the opening minute but Patrick Doyle threw the visitors a lifeline when he intercepted Niall Shannon’s kick-out at the other end before lobbing the All Saints keeper as he tried in vain to get back to his line.

Doyle’s goal left just three between the sides and it looked like we might be in for a tight contest but All Saints response was emphatic as they replied with unanswered points through Shea O’Brien, Emmet Killough and Ciaran McGarry to move six ahead once more.

All Saints were then handed an opportunity to sew matters up early but Jack McAufield in the visitors goals dived to his right to turn away Shea O’Brien’s penalty kick and when and All Saints player received a straight red minutes later it seemed to have handed the visitors another lifeline.

The impressive Patrick Doyle added a point for the Belfast men but once again a sweet moving all Saints found the appropriate response with Conor Stewart firing to the net at the other end as the home side started to empty their bench.

To their credit St. Paul’s kept battling right to the end and were rewarded with late points from Colm McLarnon and Duffy but the damage had been done at that stage and All Saints ran out comfortable winners in the end and must now await the outcome of the final rounds of games in division 1 before knowing who they will play in that much anticipating promotion-relegation playoff.

All Saints: 1 Niall Shannon, 2 Matty Downey, 3 James McDonnell, 4 James Gillan, 5 Michael Read, 6 Paddy McAleer, 7 Conall Killough, 8 Emmet Killough, 9 Ciaran McGarry, 10 Conor Stewart, 11 Cavan Keenan, 12 Shaun O’Callaghan, 13 Ciaran Campbell, 14 Eoin Campbell, 15 Shea O’Brien. Subs: Connell Lemon for Matty Downey, Michael McCarry for Eoghan Campbell, Mark Murchin, Rory McVeigh

St. Paul’s: 1 Jack mcAufield, 2 Pearse Magee, 3 Conall Finnegan, 4 Miceal Duffy, 5 Aodhan Kavanagh, 6 Don Burns, 7 Niall Ward, 8 Marcas Munce, 9 Colm McLarnon, 10 Paul O’Hanalon, 11 Paddy Doyle, 12 Padraic Lowe, 13 Conall Duffy, 14 Eugene Reid, 15 Caomhin Duffy

Referee: Sean Laverty (Moneyglass)

Convincing win for the Con Magees

Homefit Antrim Football League – Division 2

Glenravel 3-19  Ardoyne 1-11

Glenravel turned a three point defeat earlier in the season at the Crickey into a convincing victory on Wednesday evening when they entertained Ardoyne in Fr Maginn Park. The home team got off to a great start in the opening five minutes which left Ardoyne reeling and by the time they got their first score of the game after six minutes Ardoyne had already conceded 1-04. Ross Carr’s men faced an uphill battle from there and it proved a mountain too steep to climb.

Eamon Fyfe

Con Magees scored straight from the throw in off Eoin Hynd’s left boot. Eamon Fyfe followed up two minutes later and the same player put Niall Swan through on goals in the third minute and he blasted passed Paul Fisher in the visitors’ net. The perfect start was followed by points from Fyfe and Rian Lennon and the North Belfast outfit must have wondered what had hit them. Glenravel had scored 1-04 in the opening five minutes. In their previous encounter Con Magees had only managed 0-07 over the entire sixty minutes! Aidan McNeill pointed from a free in the sixth minute for the visitors and then the game settled slightly. There would be two further points in the opening quarter, McNeill from a free and Fyfe from play left the score 1-05 to 0-02 in favour of the home team. Glenravel would go on to score a further six points before half time with points from Fyfe, Rian Lennon, Conleth O’Loan and Decky Traynor whilst Anthony McKenna put over a couple off frees for Ardoyne.  Half time, Glenravel 1-11  Ardoyne 0-04

Conlith O’Loan

Ardoyne badly needed a good start to the second half and did mount the first two attacks but their shooting let them down. Aidan McNeill did get on the scoresheet with a couple of minutes gone but five minutes into the half, Glenravel’s full back, Eoin McCusker found himself “a long way from home” as he pounced on a great move the full length of the pitch to fire home from short range and effectively kill this game off as a contest. Adrian McLaughlin recorded Ardoyne’s first point from open play on thirty seven minutes and this was followed up by an Anthony McKenna point a minute later but Glenravel took back control of the game with points from Fyfe and Sean McKay to leave the home team leading 2-13 to 0-07 going into the final quarter. Anthony McKenna and Kevin Lynch added to the Ardoyne score and Eamon Fyfe pulled one back for the home team. With only seven minutes remaining, Ardoyne’s Ciaran McNeill finished to the net in an almost carbon copy of Eoin McCusker’s earlier effort to leave the score 2-14 to 1-09.

However that goal only served to waken the home team again who put in 1-02 in the next three minutes. The goal coming from Sean McKay and points each from the Hynds brothers. Anthony McKenna and Sean Joe Rooney would complete the scoring for the beleaguered visitors but the home team finished strongly with points from Conor Carey, Conleth O’Loan and Eamon Fyfe to leave a final score of 3-19 to 1-11.

A convincing enough victory in the end for Glenravel given the defeat earlier in the season. Both teams will get a break now with only a couple of games left in the 2022 league season.

Late Lynch strike earns Rasharkin a valuable point

ACFL Division 2

Rasharkin 0-11 St. Joseph’s 0-11

A late Ryan Lynch point earned St. Mary’s Rasharkin a valuable point as they staged a strong second half comeback to earn a share of the spoils against St. Joseph’s Glenavy at Dreen last night but once again the win they so badly needed eluded them as they continue their fight for survival.

Ryan Lynch got the home side on their way with a point in the 1st minute and Fergal Henry fired over the equaliser before Andrew Hasson pointed a 6th minute free to edge the Dreen side ahead once more.

Fiontan O’Boyle for Glenavy and Andrew Hasson for the home side exchanged further points to edge the home side ahead once more but Glenavy were slowly gaining the upper hand and they went on to dominate the opening half.

Fergal Henry fired over two in succession and Fergal Green stepped forward to send a ‘45’ between the uprights before Andrew Hasson replied with Rasharkin’s final point of the opening half in the 20th minute.

The visitors were now in full stride however as Niall McCann and the excellent Fergal Henry 0-2 moved them 0-8 to 0-4 ahead at half time and the visitors would have been sorry to hear the short whistle as the momentum was very much with them.

As so often happens the half time break gave the home side a chance to regroup and whatever was said at the interval seemed to have the necessary effect as they returned a much more focused and determined outfit for the second half.

Andrew Hasson pointed a free after two minutes and Shane Hasson added another from play with three minutes gone to close the gap to two as Rasharkin dominated the opening exchanges.

Ryan Lynch added a further point in the11th and the same player levelled matters with a fine score in the 17th minute and at this stage the traffic was very much heading in the direction of the visitors goal.

Conor McFerran edged them in front for the first time since the 10th minute with 20 minutes of the second half gone and the home side looked to be on their way to two much needed points but for the third game in succession they appeared to hit a wall.

Glenavy gathered themselves up of the canvas and Pearse O’Neill fired over the equaliser and when Fergus Cunningham edged the Chapel Hill side ahead with a point in the 25th minute the Rasharklin second half effort looked like counting for nothing.

Tiernan O’Boyle struck a monster point from all of 55 meters off the ground to tie matters once more but substitute Anthony Gallagher looked to have nicked it for the visitors with a point in the 29th minute.

The home side refused to throw in the towel however as they pressed up on the Glenavy kick out, forcing a turnover and Ryan Lynch kept his cool to send over an excellent point and secure a share of the spoils.

The draw keeps Rasharkin one point ahead of St. Teresa’s who secured a draw themselves against visitors Dunloy but both Glenavy and Dunloy remain three points ahead of Rasharkin and on reflection the visitors will be more satisfied with the result.

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 – Oran McMullan, 11 – Seamus Ellis, 12 – Shane Hasson, 13 – Andrew Hasson, 14 – Ryan Lynch, 15 – Conor McFerran. Sub: Dylan O’Doherty for Oran McMullan.

Glenavy: 1 Fergal Green, 2 Darragh Doherty, 3 Liam Henry, 4 Oliver Brankin, 5 Patrick Fox, 6 Pearse O’Neill, 7 Michael; Fox, 8 Ciaran Loney, 9 Stephen Doone, 10 Fiontan O’Boyle, 11 Niall McCann, 12 Patrick Gallagher, 13 Fergal Henry, 14 Charlie Gallagfher, 15 Fergus Cunningham, 16 Gareth Cunningham, 17 Matthew Lawlor, 18 Michael McCourt, 19 Anthony Gallagher, 20 David Nelson, 21 Michael Kane, 22 Ben McCambridge, 23 Michael Johnston.

Referee: Eamon McAuley (Cargin)