St Pauls romp to victory in top of the table clash

ACFL Division Three

St Pauls 1-16 Ardoyne 0-10

By Kevin Herron at Shaw’s Road

St Pauls claimed two vital league points in the race for promotion from division three with a 1-16 to 0-10 win over Ardoyne at Shaw’s Road on Wednesday evening.

The hosts forged ahead early on and Liam McKenna’s goal ten minutes into the game opened up a four-point gap which was extended to six at the break.

Ardoyne were wasteful in front of the target in the opening stages of the second-half and despite a brief rally it was St Pauls who ended the game in the ascendancy to avenge their opening day defeat at the Cricky.

Micky-Joe Cooper converted an early free to open the scoring on a miserable evening on the Shaw’s Road – but Cormac Mullan replied from the same scenario.

Niall Peoples then burst forward with confidence and shot over the bar and a well worked training ground move saw Liam McKenna play a cross field pass from a free that was popped over the bar by Liam McLarnon.

Ardoyne hit back and halved the deficit through Mullan once more after some neat interchange from Kevin McLaughlin.

Just before the tenth minute the opening goal of the game arrived – Ardoyne goalkeeper Patrick McCullough easily dealt with a snapshot, moments earlier but could only watch as Liam McKenna powerfully rifled to the net at the end of a probing move forward as St Pauls took a 1-03-0-02 lead.

Conor Burns hit back to back scores as the hosts took a firm grip on proceedings at the midway point in the half.

Ardoyne were without a score in eight minutes but hit back through a converted Kevin McLaughlin free off the ground – the visitors were momentarily reduced to 14-men as McLaughlin departed for an emergency toilet break.

His momentary absence wasn’t felt however as Cormac Mullan slotted over the bar from Kiefer Toolan’s kick-out to make it 1-05-0-04.

St Pauls hit three unanswered scores to open up a seven-point gap before the interval – Liam McLarnon held off pressure and shot over his second point of the evening, Liam McKenna then converted back to back frees.

Aidan McNeill converted a late free in reply but at the interval it was the hosts that were in a much commanding position; leading 1-08-0-05.

Ardoyne began the second period with some purpose – however their dismal shot selection in front of the posts cost them dearly with four successive wide balls.

Instead of trailing by just two – the North Belfast men went eight behind; Liam McKenna weaved forward and shot over the bar and Niall Peoples followed suit.

Aidan McNeill then squeezed the ball over the bar in response to end the visitor’s misery in front of the posts.

Liam McKenna restored his sides eight point lead before the midway point in the half – collecting a short free and popping the ball over with ease.

St Pauls were arguably guilty of taking their foot of the gas for a shot period and Ardoyne kicked back to back scores through Joe McNeill and Cormac Mullan (free) to leave the score 1-11-0-08 with ten minutes to play.

Two points from Liam McKenna; a converted free and another from play got his side motoring once more and midfielder James Farrell almost saw his name in lights after bursting forward towards Patrick McCullough’s goal – in the end Farrell opted for a point to leave the margin at nine (1-14-0-08).

The sides traded scores in the final five minutes; Gary McKernan’s point was replied to by a delightful Liam McKenna score.

Joe McNeill kicked his second score of the evening but Liam McKenna again responded and brought his evenings tally to 1-08.

The ace marksman may have felt aggrieved not to have a second goal to his name late on – McKenna burst through one-on-one and saw his initial shot parried by Patrick McCullough, McKenna dinked the rebound over the Ardoyne keeper and the umpire signalled for a goal. The referee disagreed with that assertion though. 

It didn’t have any real significance  in the final outcome as St Pauls ran out 1-16-0-10 winners and victory over Pearse’s  in a rearranged Monday night game would draw the Shaw’s Road men level with Ardoyne and the their North Belfast neighbours at the top of a congested promotion race that is hotting up in Division three.

St Pauls: K Toolan, P Copland, S Bradley, A Kavannagh, J Duffy, D Burns, D Magee, C O’Hanlon, J Farrell (0-01), N Ward, N Peoples (0-02), MJ Cooper (0-01), C Burns (0-02), L McLarnon (0-02), L McKenna (1-08, 0-04f). Subs: D Lacery for MJ Cooper (40 mins), C Finnegan for D Magee (53 mins).

Ardoyne: P McCullough, SJ Rooney, G McFarlane, P Marley, N Bradley, J McNeill (0-02), C Carter, G McKernan (0-01), K Lynch, C Mullan (0-04, 0-02f), C McDonnell, P Lynch, C McLaughlin, A McNeill (0-02, 0-01f), K McLaughlin (0-01). Subs: A Davison for N Bradley (31 mins), K McCallan for K Mc Laughlin (31 mins), J McAuley for C McLaughlin (51 mins).

Referee: Danny O’Neill (Gort na Mona)

St. Paul’s hit O’Donnell’s for six

 ACFL Division 3

St. Paul’s 6-20 O’Donnell’s 0-5

Following relegation from division 2 last year St. Paul’s took a time to settle in division 3 but they have shown in recent games that they are capable of much better and last night a struggling O’Donnell’s had no answer to a slick Shaw’s Road outfit.

The hoops were superior all over the field with O’Donnell’s cause not helped when they lost their keeper through injury in the opening half but they must still have thought they were in with a shout despite trailing 3-4 to 0-4 at the break.

In truth the result was sealed after early goals from Conor Burns and Liam McKenna but O’Donnell’s rallied somewhat before the half time whistle with 4 unanswered points to leave the HT score at 3-4  to 0-4.

The home side laid siege on the visitor’s goal after the break, pinning them in their own half for long periods and the scores came thick and fast with Liam McKenna, Conor Burns, Niall Peoples and Paddy Doyle sending over some excellent points.

McKenna top scored with 3-3 and Burns followed close behind as these two proved a constant threat to an over worked O’Donnell’s defence who must have been relieved to hear the full time whistle.

After a poor start to their division 3 campaign St. Paul’s have got their game together and sit in fourth place but with a game in hand and a win over Ballycastle on Sunday would see them move into joint second and I would expect them to be very much in the promotion shake up cfome the end of the season.

St. Paul’s scorers: Liam McKenna 3-3, Conor Burns 2-4 (1F) Niall Peoples 1-3, Paddy Doyle 0-3, Liam McLarnon 0-2, Damian Magee 0-2, Joe Duffy 0-2 , Liam Og Magee 0-1 MJ Cooper 0-1 (f)

Impressive St Comgall’s move joint top of the table

ACFL Division 3

St Comgall’s Antrim 0-17 Kickham’s Ardoyne 1-04

St Comgall’s moved joint top of the Division Three League table in stylish fashion when they produced an impressive performance to gain victory over the previously unbeaten Kickham’s Ardoyne at Dunsilly on Wednesday evening.

The North Belfast side had arrived to the South west top of the heap with a clean slate and an unbeaten record to date but the home side, quick into stride signalled positive intention right from the outset and early scores ensured they had earned a six point lead by the end of the opening period, 0-09 to 0-03.

Patrick O’ Connor got them on the road with a 2nd minute point and with Ruairi Graffin following suit before Miles Devine got in on the act by the end of the 5th minute the Dunsilly residents were on their way.

Ardoyne missed a couple of chances and it was only after the home side’s centre forward Patrick O’Connor and James Mc Cabe added further scores for the home side that they  fiunally  got off the mark.

Liam Og McAuley came in front of his marker to receive from Kevin Mc Laughlin and send between the posts and when Cormac Mullan added another from a 30 metre free a couple of minutes later the North Belfast men looked in business.

St Comgall’s responded and an 18th minute point by the impressive Ruairi Graffin after Ryan Mc Auley and Oisin Crilly paved the way, got them going again.

Graffin was on hand to claim the resultant kick out and forward post haste between the posts again and when a strong advance by Dylan Murdock saw his shot denied by the woodwork Graffin collected the loose ball and raised another white.

The Antrim men were back in control and on top in most departments and a Miles Devine point increased thei advantage. Ardoyne were to have the last say on the board via a 28th minute Conor Magee point but the home side were good value for their 0-09 to 0-06 interval advantage.

It was back to business for the Antrim men as the second period got under way as Miles Devine sent Conor Mc Auley away to split the posts and when the corner man was blocked in search of the target with a goal in mind James McCabe gained compensation when he despatched the resultant ‘45’ between the posts.

Ardoyne replied in kind a couple of minutes later as centre forward Kevin McLaughlin grabbed an impressive long range point to offer hope of revival but the home responded again with an excellent Tom Pratchett point.

Ruairi Graffin followed with another in the41st minute and Tom Pratchett added another to make it 0-15 to 0-04 and the die looked well and truly cast at the end of the third quarter.

Ardoyne, having been on the back foot for much of the game really needed to find a way back as the clock ticked down and a super delivery by Ger Og McFarlane found the advancing Conor Magee on the right hand side and the latter nipped away to deliver low and hard into the left corner of the net.

That was as good as it got for the visitors however however as the 47th minute strike proved their last score  as the Antrim men finished with a flurry. Patrick O’ Connor added an eye catching 54th minute point, Miles Devine followed with another and Tom Pratchett completed the scoring to see St. Comgall’s home  0-17 to 1-04 victory move to the top of the table.

Referee Jarlath O’ Donnell (Con Magees)

Teams

St Comgall’s

Ben Johnston, Dannan O’ Hara, Callum Mc Cabe, Aaron Mc Gaw, Rory Mc Larnon, Ryan Mc Auley, Dylan Murdock, Louis Higgins, Oisin Crilly, Miles Devine (0-03), Padraig O’ Connor (0-03), Ruairi Graffin (0-05), Conor Mc Auley (0-01), James Mc Cabe (0-02), Tom Pratchett (0-03)

Subs

Peter Mc Auley for C Mc Auley

Ardoyne

Patrick Mc Cullough, Pearse Marley, Ger og Mc Farlane, Sean J Rooney, Conor Magee (1-01), Conor Carter, Conor Lynch, Kevin Lynch, Declan Mc Cormick, Cormac Mullan (0-01), Kevin Mc Laughlin (0-01), Padraig Lynch, Liam og Mc Auley (0-01), Conor Mc Dowell

Eire Og grab first win after thrilling finish

All County Football League Division 3

Eire Og 0-8 O’Donnells 0-7 

Friday 26 April 

Eirie Og got their first win of the season with a hard fought but deserved victory against O’Donnells. In what turned out to be a low scoring game it was O’Donnells who raced into an early lead scoring three points without reply in the opening ten minutes, but that was to be their last score of the half. Conor McKenna and Conor Erskine soon got control of midfield and the Ogs started to dominate possession with Stephen Erskine, Adam McKenna and Conor McKenna hitting points to bring them level at the break, and it could have been even better for the home side as a couple of clear goal chances went begging.

The second half started well for the Ogs as they continued to control the game with Brendan Shannon showing well at full forward. They opened up a two point lead which really should have been five when Brendan Shannon’s fisted ball, which seemed goal-bound, came off the crossbar. With ten minutes to go O’Donnell’s had pegged back the deficit to leave the game all square and set up a thrilling finish. A superbly struck 45 by Brendan Shannon saw the Ogs take the lead again only for ODonnell’s to respond with two fine points to regain the lead, and it looked like the men from the Whiterock side had snatched victory.

With just five minutes left to play, and the Ogs trailing by a point, things were looking ominous, but the Ogs dug deep and pressed forward playing some great football. This was rewarded when a superb point by Conor McKenna drew them level and in the last minute another excellent 45 by Brendan Shannon gave them victory, the 45 awarded after O’Donnell’s goalkeeper, Conor Walsh, made a fantastic save to deny Shannon what seemed a certain goal.

All an all a great performance by the men in black and red but particular credit to Conor Erskine who gave an outstanding display.

Naomh Comhghall’s good start continues with win over ‘Aggies’

ACFL Division 3

Naomh Comhghall 2-13 Naomh Una 1-06

Photographs: Eelco Westerhuis

Naomh Comhghall’s good start to the 2019 continued on Sunday with a win over St. Agnes at Dunsilly, their third win in three starts. The Antrim side made 6 changes from the side that played St Malachy’s during the week and took a time to find their rhythm against a strong breeze.

 When the first point came it settled the team down, Paddy Quinn scoring from play and then from a free before Paddy Cooke and Ryan Mc Auley added points and at this stage St. Comgall’s were well in control.

Indeed the Aggies net minder came to their rescue as the home side pressed or it could have been out of sight early in the contest. St Agnes took heart from those saves and responded with 3 points of their own before Paddy Cooke replied with a goal for the Antrim men.

Colm Logue extended the Naomh Comhghall lead with the final score of the first half to leave his side leading  1-05 0-04 at the break.  Naomh Comhghall made 4 changes at the start of the second half and playing with the wind started positively and the scores started to flow with James McCabe and Dylan Murdock 0-2 keeping the scoreboard ticking over.

Naomh Una weren’t finished however and after a turn over scored a point before a speculative lob deceived the home keeper and the visitors were back in touch. Naomh Comhghall however were able to find a response and went on the attack with James McCabe, returning for his first match in over 2 years, scoring 1-02 to put the match beyond their opponents.

Another good performances from Naomh Comhghall who played some very composed football and they now sit top of the division 3 table with Kickham’s Ardoyne after three rounds of games.