McGarry second half scoring burst give Aldergrove victory

O’Neill’s Sportswear – Antrim Football League Division 1

Gort na Móna 1-11 Aldergrove 1-16

Aldergrove moved into second place in the Division 2 league table when they travelled to Turf Lodge and beat Gort na Móna by 1-16 to 1-11. The win puts them ahead of Con Magees Glenravel on score difference, but with two games in hand.

Sunday’s win was hard earned against a Gorts side who fought to the bitter end. The visitors were a point ahead at half time after playing up the slope in the first half, and when they moved five clear ten minutes into the second half it looked like they had the points wrapped up. However the Gorts hit back with a goal and a point to close the gap to a single point and it took a great scoring display from full forward Seamus McGarry to get the Crumlin men over the line.

Two points by Padraig McHugh and one from Niall Malaney had the Gorts 0-3 to 0-2 ahead after eight minutes, the Aldergrove scores coming from Declan Gough and Ryan Owens. Goalkeeper Shane O’Neill sent over a 45 to bring the visitors level on 11 minutes and they moved ahead when Ryan Owens hit a superb point.

Points from Christopher Carson and Padraig McHugh restored the Gorts lead midway through the opening half but three on the trot from Seamus McGarry, Oisin Graham and Conor Browning put Aldergrove three ahead with just five minute of the first half left to play, but two well taken points from Carson brought Gort na Móna back to within a point by half time.

Ronan Hanna stretched the visitors lead to two with an early second half point but Niall Malaney cancelled that out with a point at the other end on 35 minutes. However the Crumlin men were starting to find the target and points from Seamus McGarry and Cormac McGarry were followed by a Ronan Hanna goal, the centre forward selling the defender a neat dummy before blasting home.

With the gap now out to six Aldergrove looked comfortable but nothing is won easily at Pairc Enright and back came the Gorts with goal from Carson and a Manus McMullan point to close within two. The gap was still at two with just nine minutes of normal time left on the clock, but Aldergrove dominated those final minutes and with McGarry in great form on the edge of the square they hit five of the last seven points, four of them from the full forward and one from Ronan Hanna to seal the win and keep their league title hopes very much alive.

Christopher Carson fires in a Gort na Móna goal

Dunloy are running out of road

ACFL Division 2

Cuchullain’s 0-11 Davitt’s 2-10

Cuchullain’s Dunloy appear to be running out of road following this five point defeat to Davitt’s in Dunloy on Sunday. The Cuchullian’s find themselves firmly fixed at the bottom of the table with St. Patrick’s Lisburn and will need to get it together sooner rather than later with one game remaining to the split.

It was Davitt’s who raced into attack right from the throw in and Conor McGilligan was forced to get down sharp to deny Sean O’Neill after 45 seconds with the ball cleared to safety.

Michael Og Rowntree pointed the visitors ahead after 5 minutes but Declan McGarry replied with the equaliser, two minutes later and the same player edged them ahead with another in the 9th minute.

Playing with the wind at their back, Barry McCloskey replied to a point from Padraig McParland to keep the home side one ahead at the end of the opening quarter but the visitors were beginning to get on top with Anthony Rowntree and the deep lying Sean O’Neill dictating matters at mid-field.

Davitt’s produced a decisive move in the 16th minute with several players involved in the build-up and Anton Hargan placed Michael Og Rowntree who blasted to the net to give his side a lead they would not again lose.

This score seemed to lift the visitors and Gerard Slane soloed through for a fine individual point and added another after being placed by Sean O’Neill to move the visitors four in front.

The momentum was very much with the Falls Road side as Padraig McParland split the posts following good work from substitute CJ Sullivan and then Dunloy lost Peter McQuillan to injury to be replaced by Kevin McQuillan.

Kevin ‘Red’ McAllister replied with Dunloy’s first point for 15 minutes but the final score of the half fell to the visitors with Jay Maguire splitting the posts to leave Davitt’s 1-6 to 0-4 ahead at the break and with the wind to face in the second half, it wasn’t looking good for the home side.

CJ Sullivan increased the Davitt’s lead as he raced forty yards with the ball before firing over after 40 seconds but Dunloy settled after this and began to move the ball around through the hands and keep possession.

Kevin McQuillan replied from a free, Declan McGarry added another from play and another converted free from substitute McQuillan had the Cuchullian’s back into contention and trailing by three with five minutes of the new half gone.

The visitors replied immediately with a point from Daniel Wallace but Dunloy were now playing with a bit of belief and McQuillan pointed his third free of the half to keep their hopes of a comeback very much alive.

Gerard Slane for Davitt’s and Kevin McQuillan for Dunloy exchanged further points to keep the gap at three with 13 minutes of the half gone and Davitt’s had been forced onto the back foot for a time but they broke at pace from defence with the ball breaking to Daniel Wallace who‘s first time volley ended in the net.

Once again it was the home side’s captain, Kevin McQuillan who struck his fifth point from a free in the 21st minute but Dunloy needed a goal and they could find no way through the visitors defence though they did have one attempt cleared off the line.

The closing stages saw Davitt’s back in control with Gerard Slane moving them six ahead once more and Declan McGarry replying with a consolation point for the Cuchullian’s but it was too little, too late.

Dunloy now find themselves on 1 point from 10 starts with St. Patrick’s Lisburn on the same total but having played a game more. Dunloy entertain Con Magee’s, Glenravel on Thursday night in the final game before the split.

The night before Davitt’s host unbeaten St. James’ Aldergrove at Davitt’s Park and a win over the Crumlin side would see them climb above Sarsfield’s who have the same number of points but have a superior score difference.

Sarsfields have also one game to play against Aldergrove. The previous meeting between the sides was abandoned owing to a serious injury to a Sarsfield’s player but whether this game can be re-arranged before the split remains to be seen

Dunloy: 1 Conor McGilligan, 2 Cathair McCloskey, 3 Adrian Scullion, 4 Oisin McErlain, 5 Tom McFerran, 6 James Scally, 7 Sean Scullion, 8 Peter McQuillan, 9 Eoin McFerran, 10 Anthony Smith, 11 Eoin Gillan, 12 Rory Smyth, 13 Kevin McAllister, 14 Declan McGarry, 15 Barry McCloskey.

Subs:  Kevin McQuillan for Peter McQuillan, Michael Traynor for Oisin McErlaine, Darragh Waterson for Sean Scullion

Davitt’s: 1 Liam McGivern, 2 Nathan Maginn, 3 Caomhin Rainey, 4 Christoir Browne, 5 Caoimhin Slane, 6 Anton Hargan, 7 Deaglan Mooney, 8 Niall McParland, 9 Anthony Rowntree, 10 Padraig McParland, 11 Gerard Slane, 12 Jay Maguire, 13 Daniel Wallace, 14 Michael Og Rowntree, 15 Sean Og O’Neill. Subs: CJ Sullivan for Declan Mooney, Anto McGrattan for Jay Maguire

Referee: Karol Doherty (Rasharkin)

Glenavy sink Glenravel in the lough shore sunshine

Antrim Football League – Division 2

Glenavy 1-12 Glenravel 0-09

Con Magees will look back on a game of too many missed chances. They only converted nine scores from twenty three attempts and that effectively is the story of the game. Combined with too many frees conceded by the visitors when the opposition’s sharp shooting freetaker Fergal Henry was in fine form gave Con Magees a mountain to climb – a mountain that proved just too much on the day. This defeat seriously dents the Glenravel men’s promotion hopes, and as the league nears the half way stage they fall further behind both All Saints and Aldergrove, both of whom had good wins today.

Glenravel opened well with a brace of points from Eoin Hynds but Fergal Henry was running riot up front for the men in Orange and he would score five on the trot in an impressive ten minute spell to nudge his side ahead by three. However Glenravel would then take back control with a run of points from Daniel McQuillan (3) and Eoin Hynds to leave the half time score 0-06 to 0-05 in favour of Glenravel.

Glenavy started very strongly in the second half with three consecutive frees from Fergal Henry (2) and Malachi Doherty to put the home side two in front ten minutes into the second half. Two minutes later we saw the pivotal moment of the game when Glenavy keeper Stephen Daly made a great point blank save from Charlie Henry denying him a goal and twenty seconds later Glenavy had a goal of their own when Fergal Henry converted from short range, effectively opening a five point lead for the home side, when they could have been a point in arrears had it not been for the agility of Daly. Both teams would trade scores to the end of the game but Glenravel couldn’t make inroads on the deficit and ultimately declared six points short. They will look back despairingly on their poor return from twenty three efforts – albeit three of them came off the woodwork and were cleared.

Glenravel edge a very evenly balanced contest

Antrim Football League – Division 2

Glenravel 0-13  Sarsfields 0-12

Con Magees, Glenravel emerged victorious in a very even game at Fr Maginn Park in beautiful Spring sunshine. The last time these sides met was in the Intermediate Championship semi final in September last year with the same team winning but that was a totally different game. Both sides were even at half time and only a single point in it at the end, indeed very little ever separated these sides over the hour with the lead changing hands a couple of times. Special mention also to referee Ray Matthews who handled the game well; in truth both sides came to play football which probably eased his job on the night.

The first five points of the evening all came from open play with Philip McPeake scoring for Sarsfields in the opening minute but Eamon Fyfe and Eoin Hynds would level and put Glenravel ahead. Garry Lennon and Eamon Fyfe would exchange points before the former put Sarsfields ahead from a free. Lennon was very accurate with dead balls over the hour. So with ten minutes gone both sides were even at three points each. There followed an eleven minute spell where neither side could raise a flag but on twenty two minutes Lennon would nudge Sarsfields ahead once more. Fyfe and Conor Glenholmes traded points to keep the Paddies narrowly ahead but on the stroke of half time David Higgins pointed to restore parity and the sides retired to their changing rooms all square at 0-05 each.

Rian Lennon gave the home side the lead on resumption but back came the Belfast men with points from Garry Lennon and big midfielder Cormac Murray and they were back in front. Niall Swann surged forward with one of the scores of the game to restore parity but shortly after Brian Healy put the visitors in front again. The second half was just a repeat of the first as the ding dong battle continued with neither side really dominating. The home side however hit a purple patch as we entered the final quarter and with points from Eamon Fyfe, Declan Traynor and David Higgins suddenly there was a two point advantage for Con Magees; the first time in the game that more then a single point separated the teams. Tomas Skillen reduced the deficit to a single point and then with eight minutes left on the clock came a pivotal moment in the game. Garry Lennon surged through the Glenravel defence and offloaded to Sam Walsh who was through one on one with Johnny Fyfe in the Glenravel goals. Fyfe held his nerve and saved a pile driver from Walsh when he looked odds on to score.

Who knows how the  game would have ended if that had been converted. Lennon levelled the game minutes later and then a brace of points from Eamon Fyfe put Glenravel ahead by two as we entered stoppage time. The visitors managed to reduce the gap to the minimum through midfielder Ethan Mervyn but Aiden O’Donnell popped up with a fine score to restore the home side’s two point lead. Sarsfields went desperately in search of scores over the closing minutes but despite  Garry Lennon getting the final score in Fr Maginn Park it wasn’t enough to bridge the gap. So Glenravel took both points but they were hard earned against a very strong  Sarsfields outfit. 

Eamonn Ward, grandson of Sarsfields legend Jimmy Ward RIP, in action for Con Magees Glenravel against his granda’s old team at Fr Maginn Park on Wednesday evening

Glenavy win the south west derby

Antrim Football League – Division 2

Naomh Padraig Lisburn 0-8 Glenavy 1-13

Glenavy travelled to Lisburn on Wednesday evening to take on Naomh Padraig and came away winners by seven points, a result that keeps them in the top six with just one game left to play.

Lisburn were first to strike when full forward Mark Chernek pointed them ahead early in the game and while it took Glenavy until the seventh minute to raise their first flag, they made up for lost time and a point from Patrick Gallaher and Fergal Henry, plus a goal from centre forward Charles Gallagher put them four clear. Mark Chernek pulled one back for the home team but two in a row from Glenavy’s Fergal Henry pulled them five ahead by the 20th minute.

Glenavy goalkeeper Stephen Daly makes a magnificent save to deny what seemed a certain goal for Naomh Padraig

Luca Mulholland pulled on back for Naomh Padraig but Glenavy finished the half strongly with points from Henry, Doherty and Henry to lead by seven at the break. (0-3 to 1-7)

Francis McMeel brought the gap back to six early in the second half with a pint from play, but five minutes later a well worked team move was finished by Glenavy’s Paddy Gallagher who sent over a point. A great point from distance by midfielder Ben McMullan closed the gap again and the Lisburn men seemed set to get even closer when they got through on goal, only to be denied by a fantastic save by Glenavy goalkeeper Stephen Daly who dived at the forward’s foot as he was about to pull the trigger and turned the goal bound shot around the post.

Lisburn kept going however and they were rewarded as Chernek and McMeel sent over points, to close to within five midway through the second half. However Glenavy hit back with points from Ciaran Loney, Fergal Henry, Malachi Doherty (2) and Paddy Gallagher to seal the win.