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)

Devestating Duffin wraps up the league title for Moneyglass

Homefit Antrim All County Football League Division 2

St Paul’s 2-10 Moneyglass 1-15

Paul McIntyre reports from Pairc Naomh Pól

A Colum Duffin inspired Moneyglass clinched the division two league title and promotion back to the top flight of Antrim football after they saw off St Paul’s in a thriller on Wednesday evening.

Duffin landed eleven points over the sixty plus minutes of action as Hugh Carey’s outfit wrapped up the league title with two games to spare.

The midfielder could do no wrong on a night where he was head and shoulders above any other player on the park.

A fast start coupled with a dominant spell midway through the second half contributed majorly to their win but Tyler Cassidy’s goal in the 35th minute also proved vital.

It came just minutes after Eugene Reid netted St Paul’s second goal in the first attack of the second half and it helped to fire the visitors to victory.

But St Paul’s gave as good as they got and more than played their part in an exciting game that hung in the balance until Brendan Toland’s final whistle.

They did have a greater spread of scorers, but a few poor shot selections which resulted in a number of second half wides proved to be their undoing.

The Shaw’s Road side still have a slim chance of promotion through a play-off but they must win their final two games and hope other results go their way.

St Paul’s Micéal Duffy tripped Seanchann Duffin in the third minute and received a black card for his troubles and Moneyglass took full advantage.

Duffy returned to see his side were trailing 0-5 to 0-2, and when Colum Duffin kicked his fifth point of the night in the 22nd minute the gap was extended to five.

Half backs Jack McCoy and Patrick McCormick were continuingly bombing forward and with Colum Duffin effortlessly kicking the ball over the bar from every angle, Moneyglass were looking at a comfortable victory.

But St Paul’s rallied and two points from Liam McLarnon and one from Patrick Doyle cut the gap to three before an injury time goal from McLarnon saw the sides go in at the break all square, 1-5 to 0-8.

They second half was only 20 seconds young when Cormac O’Hanlon’s long ball was gathered by Reid, and ‘Gino’ showed great composure to place the ball beyond the reach of Gary Murray, and from five down, St Paul’s were now three up.

But the reply was swift.

Colum Duffin quickly added a point from a free before Connlaodh McCann set up Cassidy for a well taken goal and the pendulum had now swung back in Moneyglass’ favour.

It was all part of a hectic third quarter and when Liam McLarnon pointed in the 41st minute it left just one point between the sides, 2-8 to 1-12.

Colum Duffin then kicked the next three points as Moneyglass again threatened to run away with the game, but again St Paul’s fought back and points from Stephen O’Brien and Liam McLarnon set up a grandstand finish.

But the St Ergnats held on for the win to confirm their seat at the top table of Antrim club football for next year.

Teams & Scorers:

St Paul’s: Jack McAufield, Niall Ward, Conall Finnegan, Micéal Duffy, Aodhan Kavanagh, Don Burns, Caoimhín killyleagh, Cormac O’Hanlon, Stephen O’Brien (0-1f), Paul O’Hanlon, Colm McLarnon (0-1), Padraic Lowe (0-1), Eugene Reid (1-0), Liam McLarnon (1-3), Patrick Doyle (0-4 1f).

Replacements: Caoimhín Duffy for O’Brien (48).

Moneyglass: Gary Duffin, Callum McStocker, Tiernan Duffin, James McCormick, Jack McCoy, Conor Boyd, Patrick McCormick, Colum Duffin (0-11 5f), Seanchann Duffin, Fearghal Duffin, Dermott McErlain, Conor O’Kane (0-1), Connlaodh McCann, Conaill Prenter (0-1), Tyler Cassidy (1-2).

Replacements: Aidan McErlain for Prenter (35), Eoin McErlain for McCann (50).

Referee: Mr Brendan Toland (Lamh Dhearg).

Saints win with something to spare

ACFL Division 2

All Saints 1-16 Davitt’s 1-3

All Saints strengthened their chances of a play-off place following this facile victory over an under strength Davitt’s at Slemish Park tonight. Sean McKenna’s side briefly threatened to make a game of it when Christopher Rafferty finished to the net in the 4th minute of the second half to close the gap to three but it would prove to be the visitors final score as the home side came roaring back.

Davitt’s arrived in Ballymena with just 15 players to face an All Saints team aiming for their 8th consecutive victory and chasing a playoff spot in the race for promotion.

The home side dominated from the throw in and Benny McDonnell should have had a goal in the 9th minute but fluffed his lines to fire over from close range before Conor Stewart added a second with 11 minutes gone.

Cormac Lemon moved forward from defence to add a fine point and two more from the impressive Stewart had All Saints five in front by the 23d minute with the visitors yet to register. Christopher Rafferty finally got the visitors off the mark when he pointed a 30 meter free and keeper, Aaron Slane added another as Davitt’s threatened to get themselves back into the game.

It brought another response from the Slemish park side however with Paddy McAleer and Cavan Keenan splitting the posts at the other end before Gerard Slane struck Davitt’s first point from play in the 29th minute, an excellent long range effort.

All Saints had kicked away a lot of possession in the closing stages of the first half but were fast out of the starting blocks as the second half action got under way with Brendan McDonnell point a free after 30 seconds and Conor Stewart adding another from play with only a minute gone.

Aaron Slane in the Davitt’s goals then pulled off a good double save to deny McDonnell and Eoin Campbell before the visitors struck at the other end and Christopher Rafferty got the final touch to finish to the net after the All Saints defence failed to deal with a long searching delivery into their goal area.

Suddenly there was only three points between the sides but that was as close as Davitt’s got as things started to swing in favour of Liam Bradley’s side. Ryan Park was side-lined following a second yellow card in the 8th minute as Benny McDonnell and Shaun O’Callaghan replied with points for the home side.

Aron Slane then received a black card in the 12th minute to leave the visitors down to 13 men and a task that already looked difficult had become impossible and the home side took the opportunity to empty their bench.

It didn’t disrupt the All Saints rhythm however as Michael McCarry announced his introduction by pointing a free before firing an unstoppable shot to the Davitt’s net as All Saints pushed on to win with something to spare and they will now look forward to the visit of St. Paul’s who lost narrowly to St. Ergnat’s at Shaw’s Road tonight to wrap up the division 2 league title.

All Saints: 1 Connor Brennan, 2 Matty Downey, 3 James McDonnell, 4 James Gillan, 5 Ciaran McGarry, 6 Paddy McAleer, 7 Cormac Lemon, 8 Cavan Keenan, 9 Emmet Killough, 10 Conor Stewart, 11 Ciaran Campbell, 12 Shaun O’Callaghan, 13 Brendan McDonnell, 14 Eoin Campbell, 15 Shea O’Brien.Subs: Peter McNicholl for Cavan Keenan, Oisin Connolly for Ciaran Campbell, Michael McCarry for Benny McDonnell, Diarmuid McNally for Eoin Campbell, Michael Read for Emmet Killough

Davitt’s: 1 Aaron Slane, 2 Conor Toner, 3 Jason Park, 4 Nathan Maginn, 5 Gerard Slane, 7 James Lindsay, 8 Anthony Rowntree, 9 Paul McKinney, 10 Marcas Toner, 11 Ryan Park, 12 Oskar Deevy, 13 Anton McLaughlin, 14 Christopher Rafferty, 15 Tony McGrattan, 17 Ryan McAuley

Referee: Karol Dohertry (Rasharkin)