Dreen Machine maintain maximum points

ACFL Division 3

Rasharkin 3-20 Na Piarsaigh 1-5

It’s still early days but on the evidence of what I witnessed on Sunday, St. Mary’s Rasharkin are on course to go through their division 3 league campaign without dropping a point.

Na Piarsaigh, who had been going well themselves were the latest victims of the league leaders at Dreen on Sunday and the home side had put this one to bed as early as the 16th minute with goals from Ryan Lynch and Shane Hasson.

They led by 2-5 to 0-1 at this stage and some of the football they displayed was right out of the top drawer as they moved the ball through the hands at speed and their intelligent movement opened up the visitors defence, time and again while their high press forced turn over after turn over.

Eamon McNeill got Rasharkin on their way from a pointed free in the second minute and then fielded a Na Piarsaigh kick-out before putting Ryan Lynch through on goal and the big man finished with aplomb.

The impressive McNeill added his second point and Shane Hasson pointed a free to move St. Mary’s 1-2 to 0-0 ahead by the 9th minute as the visitors struggled to put a meaningful attack together.

Their best player on the day, Sean Moreland finally got them off the mark with a point in the 10th minute but two minutes later Eamon McKenna in the Na Piarsaigh goals had to be at his best to deny Eammon McNeill at the expense of a point.

The Dreen Machine continued to attack and Donagh Quigg got forward from corner back to send over and when Shane Hasson got on the end of a good build up to rifle home their second goal they were 10 in front.

Na Piarsaigh were still giving it everything but with little success but Stephen Fitzsimmons fired over their second point from distance in the 19th minute to give them a glimmer of hope.

Back came the ‘Hoops’ however and Ryan Lynch pointed a close range free after the ball had been moved forward for dissent  and further points from Eammon McNeill and Killian O’Boyle in reply to a fine point from Ciaran McCavana had the home side 2-9 to 0-3 ahead at the break.

With the wind now behind them Na Piarsaigh would have hoped for a change of fortunes in the second half but it was Rasharkin who continued where they had left off as they hit three points in quick succession through O’Boyle, Lynch and McNeill.

The visitors opened their second half account through a Daniel Magee free but McNeill replied with his second of the half and Ryan Lynch fired over after claiming a ‘Mark’ as the one way traffic towards the visitor’s goal continued.

Further minors from Eammon McNeill and Ryan Lynch moved the home side 2-15 to 0-5 ahead by the 16th minute, the Na Piarsaigh point coming from a Stephen Fitzsimmons free and it had become an exercise in damage limitation at this stage.

The league leaders were in no mood to rest on their laurels however as Ryan Lynch, Ruairi O’Boyle and Lynch again added point before the hard working Sean Moreland pointed at the other end.

Moreland was still busting a gut and looked to have been rewarded for his work when he cut in from the right and fired past the advancing Andrew Hasson but his shot was saved on the line by Emmet McFerran and cleared to safety.

That was as good as it got for the North Belfast side and Rasharkin finished as they had started with Ryan Lynch stroking over two more points and Eammon McNeill putting the icing on a five star performance with a splendid late goal.

This win puts Rasharkin five points ahead of second place O’Donnell’s, who recorded a good win over St. Comgall’s in Antrim and the MacRory Park side do have a game in hand and still have Rasharkin to play at Dreen.

Laochra Loch Lao continued their good form with a win over Eire Og and move into third place with Na Piarsaigh now in fourth after yesterday’s defeat.

Rasharkin: 1 Andrew Hasson, 2 Pearce Kelly, 3 Emmet McFerran, 4 Donagh Quigg, 5 Fearghal Kennedy, 6 Conor Hasson, 7 Fergus Quigg, 8 Cathal Mooney, 9 Ruairi O’Boyle, 10 Shane Hasson, 11 Thomas McMullan, 12 Oran McMullan, 13 Killian O’Boyle, 14 Eammon McNeill 15 Ryan Lync

Na Piarsaigh:1 Eamonn McKenna, 2 Darren O’Neill, 3 Tom McCall, 4 Jim Collins, Philip Murray, 6 Aodhan McCavanagh, 7 Nathan Gorman, 8 Ruairi Bannon, 9 Piaras Donaghy, 10 Ciaran McCavana, 11 Stephen Fitzsimmons, 12 Sean Moreland, 13 Michael Girvan, 25 Michael Bannon, 15 James Smith

Referee: Richie Leahy

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Rasharkin bandwagon keeps on rolling

ACFL Division 3

Rasharkin 4-10 St. Agnes 0-6

The Rasharkin bandwagon keeps on rolling and on Sunday at Dreen it was the turn of St. Agnes to feel the force of the division 3 juggernaut as they made it 11 wins from 11 starts as they continue their relentless journey back to division 2.

The Aggies were just about hanging in there as half time approached as they trailed 1-5 to 0-3 but when youngster, Oisin Casey got in for his side’s second goal as the game went into time added on, they looked in trouble.

It was the men from Dreen who opened the scoring from an Oran McMullan point with Ronan Carroll replying for the visitors from a free to draw level after 6 minutes but St. Mary’s began to settle and hit three on the bounce through Shane Hasson, Ryan Lynch and Oran McMullan.

The Aggies first point from play and their second of the game came from that man Carroll in the 13th minute and at this stage there was only two between the sides but it brought a decisive response from the ‘Hoops’.

Eammon McNeill struck with the game’s opening goal in the 15th minute after Thomas ‘Tucker’ McMullan won possession and sent the number 14 through on goal and he played a sharp 1-2 with Shane Hasson before finishing from close range.

Oisin Casey added a point before Roan Carroll brought his and his side’s total to 0-3 with a point in the 30th minute to close the gap to five and the visitors would probably have settled for that going into the dressing room but there was one more play remaining in the half.

Oisin Casey has emerged in recent weeks as a real find for the home side and he continued to build his reputation when he got through on goal and fired through keeper Colum Carroll’s legs to leave eight between the sides at the change of ends.

Half time score: Rasharkin  2-5(11)  St Agnes 0-3(3)

To their credit St. Agnes did better at the start of the second half with Cormac McBride replying to Eammon McNeill’s opening point but when Ryan Lynch fired home the Dreen side’s third goal after 7 minutes it was as good as over.

The city side kept battling away and replied with points from David McGaharan and a great point from Paul McClenaghan in the 11th minute but the league leaders were always able to respond with Shane Hasson splitting the posts in the 14th minute.

Ryan Lynch added two more before St. Agnes best player, Ronan Carroll struck their final point from play with five minutes remaining but again it brought a strong reaction from the home side.

Jack Quinn got his name on the score sheet as he pointed a free and Donagh Quigg was rewarded for his hard work over the hour when he scored his side’s fourth goal of the game in the 29th minute to conclude the scoring.

Another clinical performance from a Rasharkin team who suffered relegation last year but have set about making an immediate return to the higher division and on the evidence of what we have seen to date that project is well on course.

Rasharkin: 1 – Andrew Hasson, 2 – Pearse Kelly, 3 – Emmet McFerran, 4 – Daniel Doherty, 5 – Fearghal Kennedy, 6 – Donagh Quigg, 7 – Fergus Quigg, 8 – Ruairi OBoyle, 9 – Cathal Mooney

10 – Oran McMullan, 11 – Thomas McMullan, 12 – Oisin Casey, 13 – Ryan Lynch, 14 – Eammon McNeill, 15 – Shane Hasson

Subs Used:

Cormac McMullan, Jack Quinn, Killian O’Boyle, Colm Kennedy,Pearse McTague

St. Agnes: 1 Colum Carroll, 2 Patrick Carroll, 3 Mark Caldwell, 4 Killian McCormick, 5 Cormac McCann, 6 Declan Crummey, 7 Paul McClenaghan, 8 David Quigley, 9 James Halleron, 10 David McGaharan, 11 Conal Turley, 12 Cormac McBride, 13 Neil Gillespie, 14 Ronan Carroll, 15 Kevin Grieve.

Subs: 17 Kealan McAllister, 18 Peter McCullough, 19 Mark McLaughlin, 20 Paddy Toner

Referee: Richard Leahy

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Rasharkin maintain their relentless run

ACFL Division 3

Laochra Loch Lao 0-4 Rasharkin 0-17

Rasharkin maintained their relentless run towards the Division 3 title when they travelled to Belfast on Wednesday night and recorded a resounding win over Laochra Loch Lao – their 10th win on the trot.

They got off to a perfect start when a long ball into Eamonn McNeill from Cathal Mooney was off loaded to Ryan Lynch and the big man finished with the outside of his boot for the game’s opening point in the second minute.

Laochra replied with a point from Conor McGucken but Rasharkin were in buoyant mood as they hit three on the trop from Eamonn McNeill (0-2) and Ryan Lynch whose return to the side in recent weeks has bolstered their attack.

The home side were fighting hard to gain a foothold and they replied through Niall MacAodha and PJ O’Prey to close the gap to two with 17 minutes gone and we looked to have a game on our hands but that as close as they got.

Back came the men from Dreen and that man Lynch hit his third point of the half and the same player struck another in the 19th minute after being set up by Ruairi O’Boyle.

The scores dried up after that but it was the visitors who were to finish with the best point of the half when Ryan Lynch hit another excellent effort from a sideline free from out on the left as St. Mary’s started to impose their authority on the game to lead 0-7 to 0-3 at the break.

There was still work to do as the game got under way for the second half but Rasharkin were in no mood to take their foot of the pedal as Eamonn McNeill pointed after 18 seconds and Donagh Quigg and McNeill again moved their side seven ahead by the third minute.

Laochra Loch Lao had been under the cosh for a time but they replied with a point from Connor McGucken in the 6th minute to momentarily relieve the pressure but McGucken’s point would be their last score of the game.

Despite a Black card to Cathal Mooney, the league leaders stepped it up another gear to produce football that their opponents just couldn’t live with as Ryan Lynch, Fearghal Kennedy, Lynch again and youngster, Oisin Casey added points by the 22nd minute and it was as good as over at this stage.

Rasharkin turned on the style in the run in to the final whistle with Shane Hasson, Eamonn McNeill from a free (after a blistering run from defence by Pearce Kelly who was fouled), Oisin Casey and McNeill again concluded the scoring to leave the visitors convincing winners.

Rasharkin top the division with 20 points from 10 starts with Peases four points behind them on 16 points from 11 starts and O’Donnell’s handily placed in third with 15 points from 9 starts and these two look best placed to challenge St. Mary’s for the title.

Rasharkin: 1 – Andrew Hasson, 2 – Pearse Kelly, 3 – Emmet McFerran, 4 – Conor Hasson, 5 – Daniel Doherty, 6 – Donagh Quigg, 7 – Fergus Quigg, 8 – Ruairi OBoyle, 9 – Cathal Mooney, 10 – Fearghal Kennedy, 11 – Thomas McMullan, 12 – Shane Hasson, 13 – Ryan Lynch, 14 – Eammon McNeill, 15 – Killian O’Boyle

Subs Used:

Oisin Casey

Colm Kennedy

Cormac McMullan

Oran McMullan

Pearse McTague

Referee: Eamon Hamill

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Football League Fixtures & Previews – Wed 17th May

There’s another round of football fixtures scheduled for Wednesday evening as the programme makes progress towards the Split

Wed 17th May

Division One

Lamh Dhearg v St Enda’s

Lamh Dhearg had a slow start in the league but have gained in stride of late. They had a good win over the in-form Moneyglass last time at Marian Hill to underline current wellbeing and they have home advantage this time as they welcome St Enda’s to Hannahstown.

St Enda’s have been inconsistent this season and they seem to struggle without their county men in harness.

They failed to cope with the visiting Gall’s last time and this looks a sterner test.

Lamh Dhearg will start this one as firm favourites and although the Glengormley men will not go down without a struggle a home win does look the most likely result.

Tir na nOg Randalstown v St Brigid’s

Tir na nOg recorded a good win over the visiting St Enda’s two weeks ago before giving St. Mary’s a run for their money when they visited Aghagallon last time.

They welcome St Brigid’s to Whitehill for this one in search of a much needed victory.

This one may well be close but St. Brigid’s will be without their county contingent and the home side are given a tentative nod.

Kickham’s Creggan v St Ergnat’s Moneyglass

A local derby with St Ergnat’s Moneyglass who gained promotion last term, paying a visit to their neighbours and current league champions Kickham’s Creggan.

The home side are struggling this season with only a couple of victories to their credit to date and they will need improvement if they are to gain victory over their neighbours.

Erin’s Own Cargin v O’ Donovan Rossa

Cargin have gained in stride after a poor start and their latest win over the visiting St Gall’s saw them climb to third place in the current league ratings.

Recent meetings between these sides have been close but ground advantage may well tip the balance in favour of Ronan Devlin’s charges.

St Gall’s v St Mary’s Aghagallon

St Gall’s asked questions of Cargin when they visited Toome last time and they will return to Milltown for the visit of Aghagallon for this one. Aghagallon have impressed in the league this term and currently sit in second place and the beaten county finalist’s in2022 will travel in search of another couple of pointsAghagallon will start as favourites but they will face a stiff enough test without their county players and they may well have to settle for a share of the points.

Casement’s Portglenone v St John’s

Casement’s currently top division 1 and the Kelly Park side will hope to add another couple of points in this one as the Johnnies visit. Games featuring this duo are by tradition close, hard fought encounters and this latest chapter may well follow in the same trend as previous. St. John’s have dipped in form following a good start to the season and Portglenone will start as favourites and a win for John McKeever’s men looks likely.

Division Two

All games at 7.30pm

Cuchullian’s Dunloy v St Pauls

Reigning Intermediate champions Cuchullian’s have struggled this season and have only one point from their 8 starts to date. They are in desperate need of a win as they play hosts to St Paul’s in this one.

St Paul’s have also struggled but have shown improvement lately but lost last time out at neighbour’s Sarsfields.

Ground advantage may well lend a hand to the Cuchullian’s cause but a draw and a share of the spoils may be the best they can muster.

Con Magees Glenravel v Patrick Sarsfield’s

Glenravel are going well this term and are currently lying second in the ratings, close on the heels of Ballymena and they will be hoping for another win from the visit of Sarsfields.

Sarsfield’s sit in 6th place in the division and are aiming for a playoff spot as the split approaches. The home side are going well at present however and a home win looks likely.

St Patrick’s Lisburn v St Joseph’s Glenavy

St Joseph’s Glenavy have been a bit hit and miss to date but the Chapel Hill side still occupy a place in the playoff zone, currently residing in fifth position.

They will be looking to cement that place with the addition of more points as they travel to Lisburn.

Lisburn based St Patrick’s have struggled to gain points in the division thus far despite honest endeavour  and the home side will be hoping to get the better of their visitors with an away win anticipated.

St James Aldergrove v All Saint’s Ballymena

This could be a close one as the current leaders in the division All Saints travel to Crumlin to play Aldergrove.

All Saints have recorded 7 wins and two draws from 9 starts in the division while Aldergrove have won all their six games played to date and a win over their visitors would put them in a strong position.

This looks a hard one to call but home advantage may well swing it in favour of the Crumlin men but a draw cannot be ruled out.

St Teresa’s v Gort na Mona

St Teresa’s have been inconsistent in 2023 but their four wins to date have all come at home and they are a formidable opponent on their own ground. They recorded a good win over the visiting Glenavy in their last home fixture and they will be looking for a similar result as they welcome Gort na Mona to the Glen road.

Gort na Mona lost their place in the top grade last year and after a good start in division 2 their form has dipped recently. The visitors need a result if they are to maintain their top six place coming up to the split but they may struggle to get a full return from this one.

Kickham’s Ardoyne v Michael Davitt’s

Only a point separates these sides in the table and this may well be a close one as Kickham’s play hosts to the Falls Road side.

Ardoyne have made progress this term and they will look to make ground advantage count and aid Martin Kane’s side to a home victory.

Division Three

All games at 7.30pm

Laochra Loch Lao v St Mary’s Rasharkin

St Mary’s Rasharkin are going well this season and they will travel to Belfast to meet Laochra Loch Lao undefeated to date but they could face a stern challenge against a Loch Lao side currently sitting in third place. Rasharkin should have enough to keep their unbeaten run in tact however.

 St Agnes v Wolfe Tones

Wolfe Tones will travel over to Woodlands to meet St. Agnes seeking much needed points but will find them hard to come bye against the Aggies on their own patch.

Patrick Pearses v St Comgall’s Antrim

St Comgall’s returned to winning ways last time with a good home win over Laochra Loch Lao but they will have to be at their best as the travel to take on third placed Pearses who still retain promotion ambitions.

 Eire Og v St Malachy’s

Only a single point separates this duo in the ratings with the home side a place above the Mals who may reverse such placing with a win gained over their hosts.

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Rasharkin’s relentless push continues

ACFL Division 3

Eire og 2-05 Rasharkin 3-14

Rasharkin’s relentless push towards the division 3 title continues as they travelled to Belfast on Sunday. The men from Dreen were forced to up their game during the second half after Eire Og had out played them in the opening thirty minute and took a deserved two point lead into the break.

Whatever was said during the interval seemed to do the trick however as Rasharkin found another gear, or several gears on the restart to pull away and win comfortable to keep them firmly on course for the division 3 title.

The visitors started brightly with Eammon McNeill hitting the first two points of the game and another from Fergus Quigg had them three in front before Eire Og replied with two fine points from their centre half forward.

A fine goal from Eammon McNeill and a Shane Hasson point moved St. Mary’s four clear after 15 minutes but they seemed to lose their way at this stage.

It was Eire Og who came strong during the second quarter and they replied with points in the 23d and 25th minutes and finished the half well on top with two fine goals.

The visitors looked a bit shocked as they headed for the half time team talk but they returned a much more focused side for the second half and immediately set about reducing the Og’s lead

Oran McMullan, Eammon McNeill, Ryan Lynch and Shane Hasson hit the first four points of the second half and Ryan Lynch fired home from the penalty spot aftyer Daniel Doherty was fouled to turn the game on its head.

Shane Hasson then converted a 20 meter free before the score of the game and possibly the season when Ryan Lynch fired over from a sideline kick from way out on the right and there would be no way back for the Belfast side.

The visitors continued to carry the game to the opposition asd Daniel Doherty fired low to the corner of the net on 50 minutes to kill the game as a contest with the home side’s only contribution coming from points in the 48th and 51st minutes.

St. Mary’s continued to carry the game to the opposition in the closing minutes and added points from Shane Hasson, James Higgins and another from Cathal Mooney which brought the biggest cheer of the day from the travelling faithful.

Rasharkin: 1 Oisin Johnston 2 Pearse Kelly 3 Emmett McFerran 4 Pearse McTague

5 Conor Higgins 6 Conor Hasson 7 Fergus Quigg 8 Cathal Mooney 9 Ruairi O’Boyle 10 Cormac McMullan 11 Shane Hasson 12 Oran Mc Mullan 13 Oisin Casey 14 Eamonn Mc Neill 15 Ryan Lynch


Colm kennedy for conor  Higgins 34 mins

Daniel doherty for oran mc mullan 41mins

James Higgins for pearse mc tague 46 mins

Killian o boyle for cormac mc mullan  56 mins

Ethan McAffee

Jake Quinn for Ryan Lynch

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