Six of the best for high riding Con Magee’s in Division 3

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Con Magee’s Glenravel who defeated Na Piarsaigh at Fr. Maginn Park on Sunday.

Photographs: Neal O’Boyle

ACFL Division 3

Con Magee’s 4-10 Na Piarsaigh 0-11

Con Magee’s Glenravel made it six wins from six starts in division 3 of the All County Football League when they entertained Pearses at Fr. Maginn Park on Sunday. The Glenravel men have been setting a fast pace in this division this season and even at this early stage look favourites for promotion to division 2.

Sunday’s win follows a good away win over last year’s beaten JFC finalists, St. Patrick’s Lisburn who sit two points behind the Glensmen but have a game more played and Laochra Loch Lao, St. Malachy’s, St. Agnes and Eire Og have all been put to the sword this season by a young and skilful Con Magee’s.

Perhaps their biggest challenges have yet to come however with last year’s relegated sides, St. Comgall’s, Antrim and Kickham’s, Ardoyne still to play and when Glenravel travel to Antrim on 27th May this game could provide their sternest test to date but on recent form it is a game they look well capable of winning.

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The beaten Na Piarsaigh team

Eire Og take points with win over Aggies

O’Neill’s All County Football League – Division 3
Eire Og Doire achaidh played some good football in their win over rivals St Agnes at Pairc Naomh Una on Sunday May 13th.
The Ogs started well with a well taken point from play by the lively Conor Ellis and another from a free kick by Conor Mc Kenna for a foul on the 20 metre line.
St Agnes hit back shortly afterwards with a well taken free kick of their own from Conor Gilligan. Eire og were well on top with Caomhan Daykin starring at midfield but the team were struggling to get scores on the board in a scappy first half of stop-start football.
The Ogs missed a few simple point chances to extend their lead and show their dominance, but Erskine and Joe Hughes made it 0.4 – 0.1 as the half drew to a close. However, The Aggies stuck doggedly at it and Conor Gilligan scored another free and a point from play to leave the half time score with just the minimum between the teams in a low scoring first half. Young Ronan Donnelly was having a great game at centre half back for Eire Og while veteran Joe George kept Aggies full forward Deaglan Crummy quiet. A quiet unremarkable first half of Gaelic football.
The second half started with a bang for the Ogs with 4 unanswered points, from Conor Erskine, Conor McKenna (2, 1 free kick) and young Adam McKenna.
St Agnes’ were not giving up though and finally got on the second half scoresheet with a fine strike from Christopher McKee The game was becoming a bit more tense now with a few silly fouls from both sides but referee Mc Cartan was quick to stop any altercations. Ciaran Rice was using his skill and speed to kick start attacks for the Ogs even though he had taken a knock to his jaw towards the end of the first half. Daykin was ruling the midfield with his strength and power.
Eire Og got to grips with the Aggies attack and broke away on numerous occasions to score further second half points with Conor Erskine getting 3 from play and a further free from 20 metres. Conor Ellis added 2 more from play and Gavin Donnelly knocked over a great team point also. The Aggies kept going and reduced the deficit with a few points of their own from Conor Gilligan and Cormac McBride. Conor Mc Kenna stroked a couple of further frees over the bar for the Ogs to keep a good distance between the two teams. He could have put further daylight between the teams when he was fouled inside the ‘large parallelogram’ (as Michael O’Hehir used to call it) but he stroked the penalty wide of the goal after an unusual long run up!! Matthew Corr in goals for St Agnes was well relieved.
The game finished after a bit of indiscipline from both sides as sometimes happens when two rival teams meet. Final score was St Agnes 0.8 Eire Og 0.17. Well done to both sides.
Great performances from the younger Ogs against a quite experienced St Agnes, especially, Conor Erskine, Jarlath Devlin, Gavin Donnelly, Adam McKenna and Cronin Rogers. Experienced players Kieran Ryan in goals, Ciaran Rice, Ciaran McAreevy, Fra Grimley , Conor Mc Clean, Joe Hughes, and old hands Joe George and Fearghal Gribben all supported the young lads brilliantly. However, Ronan Donnelly takes the plaudits on this occasion with his man of the match performance at Centre Half.
A lot of credit must also go to Coach Seamus McKenna who has the lads well marshalled and ready for the games.
Scorers: Conor Erskine 4 points, Conor Ellis 3 points, Joe Hughes 1 point, Gavin Donnelly 1 point.
Team: Kieran Ryan, Ciaran Rice, Joe George, Fearghal Gribben, Adam McKenna (0-1), Ronan Donnelly, Ciaran McAreevy, Conor McKenna (0-7 5f), Caomhan Daykin, Jarlath Devlin, Conor Erskine (0-4 1f), Joe Hughes (0-1)Conor Ellis (0-3), Fra Grimley, Gavin Donnelly (0-1). Subs, Conor McClean, Cronin Rogers.

St Comgall’s battle back to take both league points

Naomh Padraig 1-11 Naomh Comhghall 1-12

St Comgall’s fought back from a bad start to take both league points in Sunday’s Division 3 game in Lisburn. The game started badly for the Antrim men when Lisburn scored a goal straight from the throw in and it got worse for the visitors as they fell 1.04 to no score behind after 10 minutes.

Fielding a much changed team than lined out in the previous games things were not working out, but switches were made and St. Comgall’s got their first score after 15 minutes and pulled back 2 more points to get back into contention. However the Lisburn side kept up the pressure and increased their lead to 1.09 to 0.04 at half time.

St Comhghalls V Lisburn 6-5-2018 (4)

Things improved for Naomh Comhghall after the change of ends as the Antrim side sorted out their defence and cut-out the first half mistakes and took the game to Lisburn with the defence keeping the home side at bay. Naomh Comhghall now attacked at will and kept the scoreboard ticking as the pressure mounted.

The Antrim town side spurned a glorious goal chance when Rory McLarnon won a Lisburn kick-out and raced through on the Lisburn goal, before unselfishly passing to Conor McAuley whose shot was turned around the post. However all was not lost as Ciaran Quinn pointed the resultant 45 to keep the pressure on the home side. The turning point came for Saint Comgall’s when Paddy O’Connor won the Lisburn kick-out and blasted to the net to give his side a 1.09 to 1.07 lead

St Comgall’s kept up  the pressure and pulled away to take a 1-12 to 1-10 lead. Lisburn closed the gap with a point to leave just the minimum between the sides, but it was to be the last score of the game as Naomh Comhghall held on for a hard earned two points.

ST COMGALL’S

1              Ben Johnson

2              Paul Flannagan

3              Paddy OConnor

4              Joe Webb

5              Ryan mc Auley

6              Paddy Quinn

7              Shane og Gribben

8             Oisin Crilly

9              Daryl mc Neill

10           Ruairi Griffen

11           Ciaran Quinn

12           Miles Devine

13           Conor McAuley

14           Lewis Higgins

15           Rory Mc Larnon

16           Colm Logue

17           Colm Griffen

18          Richie Leahy

substitution Colm Griffen for Lewis Higgins

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Pics by Eelco Westerhuis, St Comgall’s GAA

Elliott’s second half goal proves decisive

Laochra Loch Lao 0-8 v 1-13 Eire Og @ Colaiste Feirste 02.05.2018

An early second half goal by Peter Elliott killed off any potential resistance from Division 3 newcomers Laochra Loch Lao in what was ultimately a straightforward victory for Eire Og. The Ogs have been hugely depleted by injuries so far this season but are now starting to find their form, following an impressive display against Lisburn with a more accomplished and hardworking performance on Wednesday evening.

An early free from Laochra started the scoring, however two quick Peter Elliott points from play settled Eire Og into their rhythm, and it was a lead they would keep for the remainder of the game. The home side were finding it very difficult to find space against a tight Eire Og defence who were on top throughout. Laochra were dangerous from placed balls, however the swirling wind took a few efforts wide, and Eire Og took full advantage with a point from full forward Vesali, and 2 fine efforts from Conor McKenna.  The home side added a few points themselves but were otherwise well marshalled by the Og defence, with both Conor Ellis and Ciaran Rice also able to break forward on many occasions. Another McKenna point, followed by an Elliott point from a free left the score 0-4 v 0-7 in the Ogs favour at Half time.

HT – Laochra 0-4 v 0-7 Eire Og

The second half started similar to the first with the home side opening the scoring, however two more Elliott points followed, before some excellent work by both Stephen Carson and Kayvan Vesali, resulted in Vesali robbing possession from the home defence, before cutting back a lovely ball to an unmarked Elliott, who finished to the top corner of the net from around 20 metres out. Eire Og were now in total control and a Stephen Carson point was followed by an excellent point from young centre forward Conor Erskine, who left his marker for dust before finishing brilliantly from a difficult angle. Erskine then responded to a point for the home side with another well taken score to cap an impressive all round performance. The home side tired in the closing stages having been made to work hard throughout for every score, and the Ogs seen the game out with some excellent play. Young forwards Erskine and Devlin showed pace and skill throughout and gave the home defence plenty to think about, maintaining possession well to help see the game out. The last kick of the game saw another Elliott point, from a difficult angle, finish the scoring and the match.

An excellent all round performance from a young, growing team who were again short of 7 or 8 regulars, with the defence on top throughout. Both McKenna and McIlroy won their midfield battles, and along with a lively half forward line, supplied good service into an inside forward line that looked like scoring every time they were on the ball.

Eire Og:

Kieran Ryan, Ciaran Rice, Joe George, Conor Ellis, Adam McKenna, Ronan Donnelly, Ciaran McAreavey, Conor McKenna (0-3), Ruairi McIlroy, Conor Erskine (0-2), Jarlath Devlin, Joe Hughes, Peter Elliott (1-06 0-4f), Kayvan Vesali (0-1), Stephen Carson (0-2)

Full round of football fixtures on Sunday

The football show is on the road again this week-end as the fourth round of the leagues are down for decision. Geordie McGuckin looks ahead to the weekend action

Division One (all games at 3.00pm)

Casement’s v Kickham’s Creggan

Creggan remain unbeaten thus far in the league and they are obviously well prepared for the season ahead.

Kevin Madden’s men continued on the positive trail on Wednesday evening coming from off the pace to gain the verdict over the visiting St Enda’s and they will take the road to Portglenone looking to add more points in a game which features as part of the opening of the magnificent new grounds for the Casement’s club.

Casement’s lost out in their opening game when beaten up at Hannahstown, but Jude Donnelly’s charges have improved as the season has progressed.

They proved too good for near neighbours Ahoghill last time and will return to O’ Cahan Park in good spirits and ready for their next assignment.

A good crowd will likely be in attendance at this one and they may well be treated to a good game which could go either way, but the Bannsider’s may just gain the verdict.

St Gall’s v O’ Donovan Rossa

St Gall’s have started well in the league and Sean Kelly’s charges have proceeded without the loss of a point thus far.

The Milltown men were tested last time at the Glen road but did emerge with a win over St Teresa’s albeit by the minimum.

Rossa having opened their account with back to back wins lost out to the visiting Cargin last time and they will travel up to Milltown seeking a return to winning ways.

The Shaw’s road side do look in transition at the moment, and with a young talented squad at their disposal they will gain from the experience.

St Gall’s will be favoured to retain that unbeaten run and though they may well do just that, Rossa can cause them problems.

St Teresa’s v Lamh Dhearg

Glen road based St Teresa’s await their first win of the season following defeats to Rossa, Cargin and St Gall’s but they have certainly not been far away in any of their assignments.

Just a single score or less has meant the difference between victory and defeat in each of the above games and back on home soil they will look forward to a better return this time.

Reigning county champions Lamh Dhearg took a fall in their second game of the season when losing out to the Johnnies following an opening round victory over Casement’s.

Mairtin Lynch’s men were not at all hard pressed in last week when they accounted for Glenavy with the minimum of fuss and will travel in confidence.

Lamh Dhearg will start as firm favourites and although they may well gain the day they will have to work for the points.

St Mary’s Aghagallon v St Joseph’s Glenavy

The destination of the points at stake in this one will be most keenly sought as both Aghagallon and Glenavy await their first league rewards for the present season in this South West derby.

The home side seem slightly under par this term in comparison to their 2017 programme and they will look for better to come if they are to hint at improvement.

The St Mary’s side completed their league campaign in sixth place last term and will look for better to come if they are to continue on the upward way.

Glenavy having gained promotion at the end of the 2017 season seem to be having difficulty in adjusting to life in the top division and they await their opening points.

The Chapel Hill men have faced stern tests thus far but they do need to find improvement sooner rather than later if they are to gain the positivity required at the top table.

This is certain to be a keenly contested affair with ground advantage most likely aiding the St Mary’s side to what would be a much needed win.

St John’s v St Mary’s Ahoghill

St Mary’s Ahoghill have struggled thus far to make a mark in their assignments to date and a lengthy injury list has intervened to make life difficult for the Clooney men at present.

They are renowned for their strength of character when such is a requirement but with three defeats from three starts to date and the latest being a big loss to neighbours Casement’s in a local derby game underlines present difficulty at Ahoghill as they get set to visit Corrigan Park.

St John’s did trip up in their opening game when beaten on their own turf by St Gall’s, but improvement was forthcoming.

The Whiterock road men had a win at Hannahstown in round two and followed up with another couple of points gained over Aghagallon in their next tie and last year’s championship finalists seem on the way forwards.

Ahoghill will travel up the M2 really needing a positive return but the present climate would suggest a home win is more than likely

St Enda’s v Erin’s Own Cargin

New kids on the block St Enda’s  have failed to collect in their last two games following an opening win at Ahoghill in round one but the Glengormley men under former County Manager Frank Fitzsimmons were only a point in arrears of both Rossa and Creggan in rounds two and three.

The Hightown men seem to have adapted to life in the top grade well and they may well relish another test as Cargin pay a visit to their lofty abode.

The Toome men have continued thus far in their bid to retain the league title undefeated and Damien Cassidy’s side have hinted at improvement last time in a win at Rossa.

Cargin are residing at the top of the heap in the ratings at present and they will be taking another trip up the motorway looking to retain that winning habit.

This will possibly be a close one but although it has been a time since the Erin’s Own men strode across the Hightown sod, they will find their hosts eager to halt their progress but the greater experience of Erin’s Own may prove the key to success for the Toome men.

 

Division Two (all games at 3.00pm)

Tir na Nog v St Ergnat’s Moneyglass

This looks a good one with the presently in-form Tir na Nog men set to play hosts to the unbeaten Moneyglass at  Whitehill .

Damien Hagan’s Whitehill Blues had their colours lowered in game one of the season when they endured defeat against Davitt’s but such was left well in arrears in their latest assignments and back to back wins gained over Dunloy and All Saint’s respectively.

Moneyglass have impressed from game one when they accounted for St Paul’s and followed on with victories gained respectively over Davitt’s and Dunloy.

Niall Jackman’s charges seem firing on al cylinders at present and they will travel up to Whitehill no doubt aiming to keep the winning habit.

A good game is in prospect and this fixture should attract a good crowd to the ‘Hill with only a tentative vote given to the visitors but this one could go either way.

O’ Donnell’s v Gort na Mona

Despite effort aplenty O’ Donnell’s, who earned promotion from basement level following a successful 2017 campaign,  remain without reward of any points to date and they face another stern test as the unbeaten Gort na Mona come calling.

The Gorts have impressed this term and exploits to date would suggest they are contenders for honours if they can sustain early promise.

The home side will be striving for a positive return but Gort na Mona will arrive as firm favourites and most likely leave Mc Crory Park with the points secured.

St Mary’s Rasharkin v St Paul’s

Rasharkin opened their account with a win secured over the visiting O’ Donnell’s in round one but the Dreen residents have failed to add further points since, losing out to Aldergrove, and Gort na Mona in sequence.

St Paul’s were fancied by more than a few to make impact in this division this term but the Shaw’s road side have waited until the third round to pick up their first points, having lost to both Moneyglass and Sarsfield’s before coming home as 1-11 to 0-10 winners over St Brigid’s on Wednesday evening.

Rasharkin will return to home base in this one and familiar sod underfoot may well give them the edge and aid them to victory.

St Brigid’s v Michael Davitt’s

St Brigid’s have proved disappointing this term as after a good opener and a stylish win gained over Aldergrove the reigning Intermediate champions lost their next two league assignments losing out to Gort na Mona and St Paul’s.

Davitt’s started the season in style earning full points from two out of their opening three games, but they were put firmly in place by Moneyglass last week.

St Brigid’s are most likely capable of better than produced thus far and if they can regain form of old they may well collect the points.

St James Aldergrove v All Saint’s

Both these side have disappointed to date in the present season and no doubt both Aldergrove and All Saints who cross swords in this one are capable of better.

The Aldergrove men do have a couple of wins secured to date with the points gained over Rasharkin and O’ Donnell’s and they do reside in a better place than the Ballymena men at present.

All Saint’s have yet to gain a point with defeats incurred against Dunloy and Tir na Nog and they will travel to Crumlin hoping to get off the mark in 2018.

This could very well be a close one and indeed a draw, and a share of the points is possible.

Division Three (all games at 3.00pm)

St Patrick’s Lisburn v St Comgall’s Antrim

Antrim based St Comgall’s returned to winning ways on Wednesday evening with with an easy win over the visiting Mc Quillan’s and will travel to Lisburn in good nick.

St Patrick’s were adrift of the visiting Glenravel in the opening round but remain unbeaten since and seem in good form at present.

The home side will start as favourites but St Comgall’s are capable of causing upset.

Con Magee’s Glenravel v St Agnes

Con Magee’s are fancied by many to make a strong bid for silverware in this division and they should continue on the positive in this one as the Aggies pay a visit.

Kickham’s Ardoyne v Mc Quillan’s

North Belfast based Ardoyne Kickham’s will start this one as firm favourites and should collect a full return as the men from Ballycastle pay a visit.

St Malachy’s v Eire Og

Eire Og gained a win over the new addition to the Antrim leagues when they finished as 1-13 to 0-08 ahead of Laochra Loch Lao but this looks a sterner test as they visit Market’s based St Malachy’s with a home win favoured.