Aldergrove undone by killer goals

AIB Ulster Intermediate Football Championship Quarter-final

St James, Aldergrove 1-10-2-10 Naomh Naille

From Kevin Herron at Corrigan Park

Aldergrove were undone by goals either side of the break as Donegal intermediate champions Naomh Naille progressed to the semi-final of the AIB Ulster Intermediate Championship with a 2-10-1-10 victory over the Crumlin side at Corrigan Park this afternoon.

It wasn’t until the dying embers of the opening period that the first hammer blow arrived through Peadar Morgan’s goal and within a few minutes of the restart Daniel Brennan conjured up a second goal that gave Aldergrove a mountain to climb.

Things were going well for the Antrim champions as Seamus McGarry’s deflected goal gave his side a narrow edge until the dismissal of Kian Jones through a second yellow card a few minutes before the break.

Brennan’s dismissal in the aftermath would level the player count though St James’ couldn’t turn the screw despite a flurry of late McGarry free’s and in the end it was a bridge too far for the Crumlin side as Naomh Naille advanced to the last four. It was a dissapointing end for the Antrim champions and they will look back on this game with frustration as it is a game they know they could have won.

Naomh Naille opened the scoring on the third minute after Gerard Mallon felled Barry Griffin with Stephen Griffin converting the resulting free.

Mallon atoned for his role in the concession of the opener and levelled with a fine point sixty seconds later.

The high point of the game as Seamus McGarry celebrates after his deflected goal game Aldergrove the lead.

Futher scores should have arrived for the Antrim champions as Ronan Hanna was taken down in a scoreable position but McGarry skewed the resulting free wide and on 11 minutes had a glorious opportunity to claim the opening goal as Chris O’Kane found himself in plenty of space, however it appeared as though the corner-back was caught in two minds and O’Kane shot wide of the posts.

But within two minutes the opening goal did arrive and fell to the Crumlin outfit – Seamus McGarry found himself in a promising position and his low shot was blocked by Naomh Naille full-back Brendan McCole, goalkeeper Gavin Mulreaney was convinced the ball was heading behind though it ended up in the net much to the delight of the James’ faithful as their side led 1-01-0-01.

Naomh Naille responded with back to back points either side of the midway point from Peadar Morgan and Stephen Griffin – though Seamus McGarry swung the ball over after smart work from Gerard Mallon.

Six minutes before the interval Aldergrove suffered a setback as Kian Jones felled Barry Griffin, already on a booking; referee Kevin Faloon gave Jones his marching orders and the resulting free was converted by Peadar Morgan to close the gap to the bare minimum (1-02-0-04).

Morgan proceeded to level the game with a shot from the outside of the boot that sailed over the bar – though Seamus McGarry popped the ball to Ronan Hanna who nudged the 14-men ahead once more.

Stuart Johnson strode forward and pulled Naomh Naille level in response and the Donegal side led for just the second time through a fine point from John Rose a minute into injury-time.

Alergrove’s Chris O’Kane come out of defence with the ball during the first half of Sunday’s Ulster Intermediate Championship tie at Corrigan Park.

Disaster would follow for Aldergrove at the worst possible time, the resulting kick-out from Shane O’Neill was straight to Peadar Morgan who drove forward and picked his spot low in the bottom corner with almost the last kick of the half to give his side a 1-07-1-03 advantage at the interval and leave Paddy Nugent’s men with a huge Job on their hands in the second period.

Aldergrove hit the second-half’s opening score through Fearghal Burke (free) though Naomh Naille struck a deadly blow in reply.

A quick free caught the Antrim champions napping and Stuart Johnson guided the ball into the path of Daniel Brennan who tucked the ball in at the near post past O’Neill to make it 2-07-1-04.

Aldergrove’s Fearghal Hanna in action during Sunday’s game at Corrigan Park

An outstanding point from Conor Morris closed the gap and although Aldergrove had work to do – their chances were slightly boosted as parity was restored on the player count with the dismissal of goal scorer Daniel Brennan. Already on a black-card, Brennan was shown a yellow and subsequent red by referee Faloon.

The sides traded scores on two occasions over the course of the next 13 minutes, Barry Griffin and namesake Stephen (free) twice opened up a six-point lead- but Seamus McGarry converted successive frees in response to keep his side in contention (1-07-2-09).

McGarry steered over his third point in succession and a fine point from substitute Corey Fogarty left a goal between the sides with three minutes plus minutes injury-time to play.

A goal was required in order for the comeback kings to have any chance of pulling off another major Championship scalp.

Though Stephen Griffin converted a free to keep Aldergrove at arms length- Seamus McGarry replied from the same scenario though that was to be as close as his side would come as Naomh Naille ran out 2-10-1-10 winners at the conclusion to advance to the semi-final.

It ended dissapointingly for Aldergrove today at Corrigan Park, but when the dust settles they will look back on this season with pride and the knowledge that the red flag is still flying high

Aldergrove: S O’Neill, P Cushley, F Carson, C O’Kane, D Gough, C McVeigh, O Graham, R Owens, B McQuillan, K Jones, F Burke (0-01f), R Hanna (0-01), C Morris (0-01), G Mallon (0-01), S McGarry (1-05, 0-03f).

Subs: C Fogarty (0-01) for F Carson (35); C Quinn for R Hanna (51); J Trowlen for F Burke (54).

Naomh Náille: G Mulreany, C Gaffney, B McCole, J Rose (0-01), M Breslin, C McBrearty, M Coughlan, L McBrearty, D Brennan (1-00), I Campbell, S Johnson (0-01), P Morgan (1-03), S Griffin (0-04, 0-03f), B Griffin (0-01), S Conneely.

Subs: Daniel  Gallagher for C Gaffney (39); C Lowther for M Breslin (54); D McDyre for L McBrearty (60).

Black card sub: I Campbell (36) replaced by Diarmuid Gallagher.

Referee: Kevin Faloon (Ard Mhacha)

Aldergrove can progress in first Ulster outing

Ulster Intermediate Club championship

St. James’ Aldergrove v St. Naul’s Donegal

Corrigan Park (Sunday-2-30)

St. James Aldergrove make their Ulster Club Football Intermediate championship debut when they face Donegal champions, St. Naul’s at Corrigan Park on Sunday and it is a game the Crumlin side are quite capable of winning.

Paddy Nugent’s side trailed in their semi-final win over St. Paul’s and again in the final against St. Ergnat’s Moneyglass but came back strongly in both games to deservedly claim the Antrim title.

A late Seamus McGarry goal capped a second-half comeback against St Paul’s at Sunday’s venue which saw Aldergrove book their place in the final.

St Pauls dominated the opening quarter and Liam McKenna’s goal gave his side a 1-03-0-01 lead, though goals from McGarry and Ronan Hanna saw a rejuvenated Aldergrove hold a slender 2-04-1-05 advantage at the interval.

Liam McLarnon nudged his side ahead again with an early second-half goal and the Shaw’s Road side held the lead until injury-time when Conor Morris drew the sides level with McGarry sealing the deal moments later to see his side into the decider with Moneyglass.

There was little to suggest from that semi-final that Aldergrove would produce the performance of the season when they met a strongly fancied St. Ergnat’s in Portglenone but the Crumlin side upped their game considerably to take their first Intermediate title for more than four decades.

Aldergrove ended a 42 year wait as they came back from seven points down to take the intermediate championship.  Trailing by seven points after 20 minutes, the Crumlin side produced a breath taking second half display where Seamus McGarry and Fergal Burke were immense for their sides.

McGarry with an exhibition of quite brilliant point scoring in the second 30 minutes while Burke landed the winning score in injury time and top scored for the St James’ men with 1-4 over the hour.

Coming into the match, many saw Moneyglass as favourites and when Dermot McErlain scored the opening goal after just 15 seconds, it looked like it could be a long evening for the Aldergrove men.  McErlain added his second major midway through the first half and Moneyglass were in control of their own destiny at that point.

There were two moments in the first half that changed the course of the game, however.  Aldergrove made a tactical change, replacing Conor Totten for Corey Fogarty and he kept an eye on the influential Gavin Murray and Burke’s major with minutes to go at the end of the first half.  It gave the Crumlin side a glimmer of hope coming into the second half with a three point deficit and as they’ve shown throughout the championship, that’s all they need.

Aldergrove kept Moneyglass scoreless for 17 minutes in the second half while McGarry and Burke went to town while Brian McQuillan was also superb in midfield.  They took a three point lead with ten minutes remaining but it was Moneyglass who fought back with Colum Duffin tying the sides.  There was still time for a winner and a hero.  Burke stepped up to the plate and split the posts with a simply brilliant score from wide on the left and the acutest of angles.

Aldergrove had a moderate league campaign but hit form at just the right time coming into the championship and their quarter-final win over All Saints would surely have given them confidence going into the St. Paul’s game.

They certainly didn’t set Corrigan alight that day but never the less did enough to go through to that meeting with an excellent Moneyglass and write their names in the club’s history with that famous victory.

Team manager, Paddy Nugent and his assistant, John Jones were amongst a delegation that attended the Donegal final where Sunday’s opponents, St. Nual’s have defeated Cloughaneely in a close encounter.

After coming through a replay the previous Wednesday night, Cloughaneely led with seven minutes left but they were unable to stop the late St Naul’s surge.

St Naul’s have suffered heartbreak at this level in the past, losing three of the last four finals they have contested, but with Daniel Brennan, Peadar Mogan and Stuart Johnston lively up front, they prevailed.

St Naul’s have been one of the top Intermediate teams in Donegal for the past five to six years.They just narrowly missed out to Killybegs on getting promotion to Division One, but the victory over Cloughaneely will have given them a huge fillip.

They lost the Intermediate final to Milford two years ago but have been a very driven side under manager Barry Meehan who used to be involved with St Eunan’s.

They are a large rural parish and have a big pick and are backboned by ex -county player Stephen Griffin who is over  six foot, hits the frees and can also double as a centre back.

His equally imposing brother Barry is in midfield with another giant called Lee McBrearty.

Naul’s have a strong towering spine and Daniel Brennan, who can also hit frees, is a pretty imposing figure.

And they have Donegal senior panellist Brendan McCole who has played full-back for the county and Peadar Mogan, this year’s U-20 captain.

They have loads of pace in Mogan, John Rose, Michael Coughlan and Stuart Johnson who play a running game, but Griffin’s, McBrearty and Brennan are also good target men.

Galway native Shane Conneely wins loads of dirty ball and is very important to them.

Naul’s have a nice blend of height, power, experience and youth and they are ambitious.

The Donegal champions face an Aldergrove side with plenty of experience themselves. The Crumlin men are no strangers to disappointment but eventually overcame their Intermediate Championship hoodoo this year with wins over All Saints, St. Paul’s and finally St. Ergnat’s.

Ferdia Carson, Chris O’Kane and Chris McVeigh bring a wealth of experience to a defence which is likely to include youngster Oisin Graham while Corey Fogarty, who replaced Conor Totten early in that final could be in line for a starting spot.

Brian McQuillan and Ryan Owens form a strong mid-field partnership with McQuillan one of the best in this department on his day. Seamus McGarry can be a match winner in attack where the experienced Fergal Burke and Ronan Hanna could be joined by the youthful Kian Jones and Conor Morris.

St. Naul’s are likely to provide St. James’ with a tough challenge on Sunday but with a familiar venue and a volatile home support edging them on I believe the Antrim champions have the knowhow , experience and skill to progress to the next round.

Aldergrove v Moneyglass: Shane O’Neill; Paul Cushley, Ferdia Carson, Chris O’Kane; Oisin Graham, Chris McVeigh, Conor Totten; Ryan Owens, Brian McQuillan; Kian Jones, Fergal Burke, Ronan Hanna; Conor Morris, Gerard Mallon, Seamus McGarry.

Subs: Corey Fogarty for C Totten (27); James Trowlen for K Jones (52)

Scorers: Fergal Burke 1-4 (2 f’s); Seamus McGarry 0-6 (2 f’s); Brian McQuillan 0-2; Oisin Graham 0-1

ST Naul’s v Cloughanelly: Gavin Mulreaney; Caolan Gaffney, Brendan McCole, John Rose; Peadar Mogan (0-2,1f), Conor McBrearty, Martin Breslin; Lee McBrearty, Barry Griffin; Michael Coughlan, Stuart Johnston (0-2), Peadar Mogan; Stephen Griffin (0-2,2f), Daniel Brennan (1-3,1f), Shane Conneely (0-1).

Subs: Diarmuid Gallagher for Gaffney 39; Cathal Lowther for Breslin 41; Daniel Gallagher for Coughlan 52; John Relihan for Campbell 62

Naomh Pol Reclaim Ulster Title after 10 year wait

Ulster Ladies Intermediate Club Football final

Naomh Pol 3-11 Kinawley 1-12 (AET)

Naomh Pol ladies headed to Emyvale Co. Monaghan for a chance at lifting an Ulster title, a title that they last won a distant decade ago. Whilst dominating Antrim for the last 10 years the Naomh Pol ladies found it difficult to successfully compete in Ulster senior and relished this opportunity when the county was regraded to intermediate status. Their opponents Brian Boru, Kinawley have been Ulster finalists for the past three years with the minimal of margins denying them glory in 2018.

The Fermanagh champions struck first in the opening minute from Fermanagh captain Aisling Doonan, who incidentally has just signed a contract to play AFLW this incoming season with Carlton Blues.  Naomh Pol counter attacked with a quick ball into Kirsty McGuinness who was being attentively marshalled by two Kinawley defenders. Mc Guinness proved difficult to handle and could only be stopped by being dragged down in the small square. McGuinness’ calm composure sent the ball past net minder Aine Haren to put the Shaw’s Road girls ahead. A point at the opposite end of the pitch from half forwards Niamh McManus and Lisa Maguire brought the game level again within the opening 5 minutes. Naomh Pol playing into a strong wind with accompanying hailstones, kept pushing forward. A long ball into the danger zone from Naomh Pol’s Lara Dahunsi was palmed down by Kinawley keeper onto a predating Fionnghuala Rocks who claimed Naomh Pol’s second goal in 6 minutes. There was an exchange of points from both sides over the course of the next quarter from Kinawley’s Maguire, Shauna Malanophy and Naomh Pol’s McGuinness and player of the match Niamh Enright. A breakdown in communication in Naomh Pol’s defence was exploited as Doonan netted the ball on 22nd minute to put them a point up. Enright was to level 4 minutes later. Coming up to the half time break disaster struck as Mc Guinness was controversially sin binned. Half time Naomh Pol 2.04 Kinawley 1.07

All square going into the second half, but Naomh Pol reduced to 14 players for 8 minutes carried over from the first half sin bin. The hard working Enright and Doonan continued to exchange scores for their teams. The introduction of the experienced Mairead Cooper on the 38th minute along with McGuinness being reinstated gave Naomh Pol the impetus to push on with the wind at their backs. Caoimhe Stewart, Maria Hanna and Lucy Wallace made some timely interceptions and soon the Belfast side opened a 3 point gap with 6 minutes remaining. However, Doonan and McManus levelled to force extra time.

Extra time Naomh Pol proved the fitter and stronger side as Cooper and McGuinness pointed to put their side up by 2 points going into the final period of extra time. McGuinness’ younger sister Caitlin also got her name on the score sheet. However, it was in the 72nd minute when team captain Aine Tubridy’s hand pass to Dahunsi created their third major. Dahunsi played a superbly picked out ball to Cooper who went one on one with Haren and netted to extend the Antrim champion’s lead. Sub Lauren Doonan and Danielle Maguire were to claim the only 2 points scored by Kinawley in the extra time period.

Final score Naomh Pol 3.11 Kinawley 1.12. Naomh Pol now face Connaught champions St Nathy’s Sligo in 2 weeks time.


Coffee morning at St. James Aldergrove

St. James Aldergrove are holding a coffee morning in aid of their Senior men’s Ulster Club Intermediate Championship campaign this Saturday from 9am to midday. The Crumlin side won their first Antrim Intermediate title in 42 years when they defeated a fancied Moneyglass in an exciting final a couple of weeks ago and face the Donegal champions on the 3d of Novemeber.  In what has been an excellent season for the Aldergrove club they added the Laverty Cup to their roll of honour for 2019 when they beat a good Tir na nOg side in the South West Minor decider. We would encourage family, friends and Gaels in the area to come along on Saturday and support this very worthwhile cause. Club gear can also be ordered from 10.00 am to mid-day.

#Groveabú #oneclubonelife #GAAi#GAAisfamily 🔴⚪

Burke and McGarry point Aldergrove to Intermediate glory

LOCC Solicitors

Intermediate Football Championship Final

St James, Aldergrove 1-13 St Ergnat’s, Moneyglass 2-9

Saturday October 5

Brendan McTaggart reports from Páirc Uí Cheallaigh, Portglenone

Aldergrove ended a 42 year wait on Saturday evening as they came back from seven points down to take the intermediate championship.  Trailing by seven points after 20 minutes, the Crumlin side produced a breath taking second half display where Seamus McGarry and Fergal Burke were immense for their sides. 

McGarry with an exhibition of quite brilliant point scoring in the second 30 minutes while Burke landed the winning score in injury time and top scored for the St Jame’s men with 1-4 over the hour.

Coming into the match, many saw Moneyglass as favourites for the crown and when Dermot McErlain scored the opening goal after just 15 seconds, it looked like it could be a long evening for the Aldergrove men.  ‘Bugsy’ would add his second major midway through the first half and Moneyglass were in control of their own destiny at that point.

Seamus McGarry celebrates at the final whistle

There were two moments in the first half that changed the course of the game, however.  Aldergrove made a tactical change, replacing Conor Totten for Corey Fogarty and he kept an eye on the influential Gavin Murray and Burke’s major with minutes to go at the end of the first half.  It gave the Crumlin side a glimmer of hope coming into the second half with a three point deficit and as they’ve shown throughout the championship, that’s all they need.

Aldergrove kept Moneyglass scoreless for 17 minutes in the second half while McGarry and Burke went to town while Brian McQuillan was also superb in midfield.  They took a three point lead with ten minutes remaining but it was Moneyglass who fought back with Colum Duffin tying the sides.  There was still time for a winner and a hero.  Burke stepped up to the plate and split the posts with a simply brilliant score from wide on the left and the acutest of angles.

Moneyglass made the dream start to the final and scored the opening goal after just 15 seconds.  Colum Duffin collecting the ball from the throw in and delayed his pass for McErlain to run onto.  The Aldergrove defence opened like the Red Sea with ‘Bugsy’ taking full advantage and burying his shot, leaving Shane O’Neill no chance between the posts.

Fergal Burke looks on as he lies on the ground as his shot flies to the corner of the Moneyglass net near the end of the opening half

Aldergrove responded well and dominated the opening 10 minutes but they couldn’t make their possession count on the scoreboard.  Four wides were recorded by the St James’ men and while Burke opened their account in the fifth minute, Moneyglass were more clinical.  Bugsy McErlain and Conor Boyd (free) splitting the uprights either side of Brian McQuillan’s white flag to leave the early goal separating the sides.

Conor Boyd (free) and McGarry’s first of the match midway through the half preceded McErlain’s second major of the half.  The St Ergnat’s men holding possession before McErlain broke the line and again, buried his shot to the back of the net.  Kevin Marron followed that major with a superb point with the outside of his boot to give Moneyglass a seven point led with five minutes of the first half remaining.

Aldergrove’s end to the first half quite possibly kept their championship hopes alive.  McGarry with Aldergrove’s first point from a free in the 28th minute before Burke scored their goal two minutes later.  Kian Jones’ effort was partially blocked and the Moneyglass defence stuttered, Burke lashed first day and his riffled effort bulged the net with Mark Carey no chance of stopping his drive to leave Moneyglass ahead 2-4 to 1-4 at the short whistle.

The three point deficit was probably harsh on the Crumlin side who had looked dangerous but their wastefulness in possession was playing into the hands of a Moneyglass side who were highly efficient in the first half.

Moneyglass players Dermot McErlain and Liam Brady celebrate after McErlain scored the second of his two first half goals.

Conor Boyd’s third free of the match opened a four point lead for Moneyglass once again but that was their last score for 17 minutes as Aldergrove turned the screw.  Burke (free) and Oisin Graham halved the Moneyglass lead inside four minutes of the restart as the Aldergrove midfield dominated.

Moneyglass could have had a goal with their second attack of the second half, McErlain’s long range effort dropped short and with Ferdia Carson and ‘keeper O’Neill waiting on the dropping ball, ‘Kindo’ Marron jumped highest but his effort cannoned back off the post into the waiting arms of Paul Cushley who cleared the danger.

Aldergrove were having the purple patch of their lives however with McGarry in particular in scintillating form.  He scored four point (one free), two quite brilliant and instinctive with Burke also adding to his tally to give the St James’ side a three point lead midway through the second half.

Bugsy McErlain took his tally to 2-2 for the final with a superb score from distance to stop the rot and while Brian McQuillan scored his second point of the match with ten minutes remaining, the ‘Grove had changed their tactics.  With the St Ergnat’s men reduced to 14 after Eamon Kelly was black carded having already been on a yellow, instead of continuing to keep the pressure on the Moneyglass defence, Aldergrove looked to keep possession and run down the clock.  It played into Moneyglass’ hands however as they accepted the invitation and rolled the dice one last time.  Hunting in packs, tackling in numbers and pressurising errors that weren’t happening before in the Aldergrove midfield,  Colum Duffin scoring his first point of the match in the 51st minute and Moneyglass were like a side transformed.

Dermot McErlian celebrates afer scoring his opening goal in the first minute of the game.

They had a massive shout for a penalty turned down after Kindo was felled inside the square by Carson but referee Cathal McDermot waved away the calls.  Moneyglass continued to pile on the pressure and a brace of frees from Smiley restored parity and they looked to have the momentum.

Aldergrove mounted another attack and were awarded a free wide on the left and just over 20 yards from the end line.  Burke stood over the free and had the hopes of his club resting on his shoulders.  Three steps, one swing of his right peg and the ball was on it’s way.  Hung high in the air with the crowd waiting, Burke new before anyone else.  His arm aloft and the white flag was raised.  The score that ended 42 years of dreams as reality struck, Aldergrove – Intermediate Champions, 2019.

TEAMS

Aldergrove: Shane O’Neill; Paul Cushley, Ferdia Carson, Chris O’Kane; Oisin Graham, Chris McVeigh, Conor Totten; Ryan Owens, Brian McQuillan; Kian Jones, Fergal Burke, Ronan Hanna; Conor Morris, Gerard Mallon, Seamus McGarry.

Subs: Corey Fogarty for C Totten (27); James Trowlen for K Jones (52)

Scorers: Fergal Burke 1-4 (2 f’s); Seamus McGarry 0-6 (2 f’s); Brian McQuillan 0-2; Oisin Graham 0-1

Moneyglass: Mark Carey; Sean Kelly, Tiarnan Duffin, Peter McCormick; Jack McCoy, Conor Boyd, Eamon Kelly; Colum Duffin, Dermot McErlain; James McMeel, Paul Tohill, Paddy McCormick; Liam Brady, Kevin Marron, Gavin Murray.

Subs: Conaill Prenter for L Brady (41); Jervis Weir for J McCoy (41); Niall Boyd for P Tohill (47); Seanchann Duffin for J McMeel (53).

Scorers: Dermot McErlain 2-2; Conor Boyd 0-3 (3 f’s); Colum Duffin 0-3 (2 f’s); Kevin Marron 0-1

Referee: Cathal McDermot (Tír na nÓg)