St Teresa’s were IFC Champions in 2013

Today we take a look back at the 2013 Intermediate Football Championship final between St. Teresa’s and Casement’s Portglenone. The game was part of a double header at Glenavy with Davitt’s and St. Malachy’s getting the action under way in the Junior decider. Portglenone would probably have started this one as favourites but in an exciting final it was the men from the Glen Road by the minimum to take the title.

Intermediate Football Championship final 2013

St. Teresa’s 2-8 Casement’s 2-7

St. Teresa’s withstood a late Portglenone rally to deservedly claim the 2013 Intermediate title at Glenavy on Sunday. With ten minutes to go and leading by eight points it appeared that the Glen Road men were going to win pulling up but the Portglenone side produced a late rally and came mighty close to sending the game into extra time.

They reduced the deficit to a point as the clock ticked down but St. Teresa’s withstood the late onslaught to unleash scenes of delirium amongst the Saffron and Blue clad supporters as the final whistle sounded.

In what was the 50th Anniversary of the club, it was perhaps fitting that St. Teresa’s would collect the silverware but their victory was nothing to do with sentiment. The foundations for this victory were laid down by a tenacious display packed with quick attacking football and determined defence.

It may be simplistic to say that the team that takes their chances always win, but this was the case as the Casement’s squandered chance after chance over the hour where they held the initiative for long periods and kicked 11 wides compared to six from the winners.

Portglenone employed the tactic of kicking the ball in long and early to towering full-forward Martin McCarry during the opening ten minutes with the breeze behind them and the tactic paid dividends when McCarry fired home the game’s opening goal after six minutes, firing past Conall Hamill in the St. Teresa’s goal after playing a smart one-two with Owen Doherty.

This gave Casemnt’s a two point lead after Paul McGoldrick had opened the scoring for the Glen Road side. Doherty edged the South West side three in front from a free but St. Teresa’s began to take control as they got on top all over the field.

Ronan Campfield got to grips with Martin McCarry as the long ball ploy that had worked well in the early stages was greatly negated as the reading and positioning of the St. Teresa’s full-back closed the door on the Port’s attacking threat.

Suddenly Portglenone found themselves looking for better options but it appeared that nobody wanted  to take responsibility as opportunities were passed up for an extra pass that too often resulted in a turnover.

The sides exchanged points through Robbie Gallagher for St. Teresa’s and Paddy Carey for Portglenone to leave the South West side 1-2 to 0-2 ahead at the end of the opening quarter but it was St. Teresa’s that appeared to be adapting better as the faced the stiff breeze.

Their ball retention was forcing their opponents to do a lot of chasing and as the half progressed gaps began to appear. Gallagher was sent clear on the left only to see his shot well saved by the feet of Brian McCann with Eamonn Doherty following up to point the rebound while a Gallagher free left the minimum between the sides at the break.

With the wind now at their backs the momentum was now with St. Teresa’s with their opponents continuing with their long ball tactics at the start of the second half and while this provided a bit of success in the opening period it wasn’t having the same success into the wind.

Ironically four minutes into the second half it was the Glen Road men who used the ploy to good effect and with devastating results as a long ball from Colm McGoldrick deceived Port’s corner-back Aidan Kearney allowing Anton Taylor to gather and fire to the net to give the city men the lead for the first time.

An Aaron Thompson free extended that lead to three before Casement’s replied with their first score for 23 minutes when mid-fielder Paddy Kelly, who had missed two earlier frees, screwed the ball over the bar with a shot over his shoulder.

This did little to break the St. Teresa’s momentum as Taylor gathered a loose ball to reply and then Conor Mallon instigated a counterattack to place Conor O’Rawe who sent over to extend the St. Teresa’s lead to four.

At the other end the South West side continued to over-elaborate and seemed hell bent on going for goal when a point seemed the better option. A Gerard McAleese effort which was blocked by Mallon and gathered by Conall Hamill typified the frustration of the country men.

Again, Casement’s were made to pay as from the resulting turn over Anton Taylor was put through on goal but was pulled down by Aidan Kearney with the referee pointing to the penalty spot and Mallon stepped up to send the resulting award to the left hand corner of the net.

Paul McGoldrick added a superb point to move St. Teresa’s 2-8 to 1-3 ahead and looking odds on certs with ten minutes remaining but suddenly Portglenone came to life, playing a much smarter brand of football with some success.

A Dermot McAleese point was followed by two converted frees from Paddy Kelly and when half-time substitute, Peter Duffin fired to the net an eight point lead had been reduced to two and the game was back in the melting pot.

Two points between the sides with two minutes remaining and when Aidan McKee moved forward from defence to split the posts the deficit had been reduced to the minimum and a draw looked a distinct possibility but the St. Teresa’s defence closed ranks and that was how it finished.

A great win for the Glen Road side and apart from the closing ten minutes they were the better side and fully deserving of this victory and the scenes that followed showed just what this win meant to a St. Teresa’s team and their supporters in this their 50th Anniversary.

St. Teresa’s: C Hamill, C Mallon (1-0 penalty), R Campfield, C O’Rawe, C McGoldrick, C Toal, P Johnston, J Mallon, A Thompson (0-1), P Maguire, C Donnelly, E Doherty (0-1), P McGoldrick (0-2), A Taylor (1-1), R Gallager (0-2) Subs: B Agnew for C Donnelly, E Gault for P Johnston.

Portglenone: B McCann, J Convery, A McKee, A Kearney, N Delargy, M McAleese, D McErlane, M Donnelly, B Kelly, P Kelly (0-4  3 frees), P Carey (0-1 free), O Doherty, D McAleese (0-1), M Kelly, M McCarry (1-0), G McAleese. Subs: P Duffin for M Kelly, C Delargy for O Doherty, M Graham for P Carey, C McKenna for M McCarry.

Referee: Eddie Fitzsimmons

Big breakthrough came for Ahoghill footballers in 2009

Ahoghill footballers have established themselves as a force in division 1 over the past decade or more and the men from Clooney have prided themselves on maintaining their division 1 status over this period but the breakthrough for St. Mary’s arrived back in 2009 when they won promotion from division 2 and defeated neighbours Tir na nOg in the IFC Final in Creggan.

IFC Final

St. Mary’s Ahoghill 1-13 Tir na nOg 1-6

With a four week break since the semi-final St. Mary’s had trained hard and were well prepared for the challenge of the Whitehill side. A large crowd had gathered on the Staffordstown Road and it took Ahoghill just 50 seconds to find the net with Donal Graham finish a great flowing move to the Tir na nOg net.

Initiated by Justin Downey who thwarted the initial Tir na nOg attack, he passed to Martin Graham who moved the ball quickly to PJ. O’Connell who l;aid it off to Donal Graham to plant the ball in the net to give St. Mary’s the perfect start.

Tir na nOg looked for a quick response as Oran McAuley came close to finding the net at the other end in the 4th minute before Aiden Savage and Michael Magill combined to set up Conor Magill for their opening point.

PJ O’Connell replied with an Ahoghill point from an 8th minute free and Thomas McGlone followed with a superb point from 55 meter after superb fielding by Christopher Bradley who sent him away to move the Clooney men 1-2 to 0-1 ahead.

The Randalstown side had a great chance to get back on terms when they were awarded a penalty following a foul on Eamonn Harte but Owen Neeson got down to turn away Michael Magill’s penalty to maintain Ahoghill’s four point advantage.

The first half continued with P’J O’Connell’s converted free cancelling out a similar effort from Eamonn Harte and then Diarmaid Graham moved forward from half back to add another and move the Ahoghill men five ahead.

Tir na nOg tried to respond but despite dominating possession for a time they were only able to add one further score thanks to some stubborn defending by the St. Mary’s defence with Chris McGlone doing well to sniff out the threat of Eamonn Harte in the 20th minute after Oran McAuley had created the opportunity for a goal.

St. Mary’s finished the half on the ascendancy and Sean O’Connell placed PJ O’Connell with a great opportunity but his rasping shot flew over via the crossbar when a goal looked on. Gerard Graham concluded the scoring from a massive 60 meter free to leave the Clooney side 1-5 to 03 ahead and good value for their lead.

It was a different story at the start of the second half as Tir na nOg came racing out of the starting blocks to hit 1-2 without reply and even the score, Michael Magill grabbing the goal to put the game back into the melting pot.

Ahoghill needed leaders to stand up and Chris McGlone duly obliged as he burst out of defence and fed the ball to Paul Bradley who split the uprights from 55meter to put the team in red ahead once more. Neil O’Connell followed suit following a good catch in the midfield area with a quality finish and St. Mary’s were two in front.

Ahoghill were again dominating the contest and they hit five points without reply to put themselves in a commanding position, PJ’O’Connell hitting two of them and Donal Graham following with  a hat-trick to put a bit of daylight between the sides.

The result was beyond doubt at this stage but Tir na nOg stuck to the task and were rewarded with a point from 17 year old replacement, Chris Sheerin. It was the men from Clooney who were to have the game’s final score however as Owen Neeson sent over to secure the club’s first Intermediate title amidst scenes of wild celebration.

Ahoghill panel: Francis Neeson, Chris McGlone, Aiden Graham, Donal Graham, Malachy Friel, Diarmaid Graham, Tomas McGlone, Paul Bradley, Neil O’Connell, Dominic Neeson, Gerard Scullion, Gerard Graham, Niall Magee, Gareth Neeson, Christopher Bradley, TJ Hamill, Sean O’Connell, PJ O’Connell, Justin Downey, Pearse Close, Ryan Doherty, Owen Neeson, Joseph Downey, John Friel, Stephen O’Connell, Martin Graham, Bernard Graham, Chris O’Neill, Conor Scullion.

When Rasharkin ruled Antrim


St. Mary’s Rasharkin will play their football in the JFC grade this year as the club goes through a rebuilding programme and I expect them to be serious challengers for the Junior title this year but just over a decade ago they were the top IFC side in Antrim and indeed went to the Ulster semi-final in 2010.

The Antrim final was a real cliff hanger that year and it took two games and extra time to separate the men from Dreen and neighbours Cuchullain’s Dunloy. Today the Saffron Gael takes a look back at that great final replay and carry photographs from the game.

IFC Final Replay 2010

Rasharkin 1-15 Cuchullain’s Dunloy 2-10

Jubilation as St.Mary’s Rasharkin are crowned Champions

 St.Mary’s Rasharkin captured the Intermediate Crown following two match winning points from Cathal Mooney and Brendan Etherson during the second half of extra time in the Intermediate final replay. In doing so this talented bunch of players have bridged a thirty two year gap landing the title for the first time since 1978 and completing a remarkable league and championship double.

Rasharkin were made earn this victory by neighbours Dunloy in a fiercely contested game played out in front of a sizable crowd on the perfect sod of Creggan on a perfect evening for Championship football. The two sides could not be separated in Ahoghill two weeks previous; a match in which both clubs didn’t perform to their full potential. Again these rival clubs finished all square at the end of normal time in a much more exciting encounter. There was then twenty minutes of additional time played to try to find a winner, Rasharkin who lead the game several times during normal time had more left in the tank at the end to pull away in the closing stages.

Major surgery was carried out as Paddy McNeill rang in the changes; the Dreen side started this fixture with three new faces and eight positional changes from the last day out.

Dunloy’s Benny McGarry started the scoring with a converted free inside the first minute. Brendan McMullan opened Rasharkin’s account a minute later with a peach out on the right from thirty yards. Rasharkin skipper Thomas Doherty lead from the front and napped over another point a minute later, before McGarry again for Dunloy split the posts. Rasharkin then were forced to replace their ever reliable steely corner back Cahir O’Kane and add another casualty to their growing injury list. Conor Gribben was bounced straight in after seven minutes.

Brendan Etherson clipped over a screamer after eight for the Dreen men before Dunloy Captain Kevin McQuillan replied for his side three minutes later. Rasharkin then took the game to Dunloy and pulled away with four unanswered points, two from the boot of Declan McKay and points apiece from Eamon McNeill and Johnny McAleese five minutes before the break.

Dunloy’s Gareth McAllister was to spring Dunloy right back into the fixture with a major on twenty six minutes. The towering midfielder slipped behind the Rasharkin rear guard to side foot a pass from Steven McAlonan beyond Donal McLarnon on the line.

Cuchullians wing half forward Declan McGarry tied the game before full forward Steven McAlonan gave Dunloy the lead going into added time at the end of the half. However, there was time for one more Rasharkin attack before the break. Top marksman Johnny McAleese was on hand to catapult St.Mary’s back in front when he palmed a pass from Brendan McMullan into the roof of the Dunloy net on thirty four minutes, to leave a  half time score line 1-7 to 1-5 in flavour of Rasharkin.

The importance of a good start in the second half was obviously made clear to the Dreen men at halftime and the first three scores went the way of  Rasharkin to put them five in front five minutes into the second half. Declan McKay and Eamon McNeill from the set ball and a long range effort from midfielder Brendan Etherson. But back came Cuchullians with points from Kevin McAllister and Declan McGarry to reduce the lead to three. Eamon McNeill slotted over an impressive free mid way through the half as Rasharkin moved the ball well round the park.

The comeback kings done it again after twenty one minutes of the second half; Dunloy’s Steven McAlonan won possession rounded his man and cracked a shot, Donal McLarnon pulled off a great save only to watch McAlonan gather the rebound and head goal bound, referee Jarleth O’Donnell then pointed to the spot when the Dunloy forward was up ended in the square. Benny McGarry unleashed a rocket low into the corner of the Rasharkin net, McLarnon did manage to get a hand to it but it was unable to turn it passed the post. This reduce Rasharkin’s cushion to a mere point. Eamon McNeill doubled St.Mary’s lead with five minutes left on the clock from a thirty yard free.

The intensity levels reached sky high (as did quite a few heart rates around the ground) as both teams franticly seeked possession. Dunloy showed great determination in the closing stages to pull the games from the jaws of defeat and send the game into additional time following two pressure kicks from Kevin McQuillan and Benny McGarry.

Yet again these teams could not be separated with Rasharkin taking the lead on four occasions always being hauled back by Cuchullians; the next twenty minutes would decide who would emerge worthy winners and which players would make the headlines. The first half of extra time finished scoreless as both sides nervously got men behind the ball. Johnny McAleese sent out a message of intent inside the first minute of the restart. The ace forward caught clean possession, rounded his man and coolly slotted over the head of Gary McIlfatrick on the Dunloy line.

Second half substitute Cathal Mooney stepped up to the plate midway through the half and push the Dreen men further in front following a brilliant long range effort. Declan McGarry pulled Dunloy back after nine minutes before Brendan Etherson finished the scoring in the second minute of added time in injury time. From the resulting kick out Jarleth O’Donnell called for the ball and sent Rasharkin players and many supporters into ecstasy.  

Donal McLarnon had a good game between the sticks he worked his magic yet again pulling off some match winning saves, Michael Hasson slipped back to shore up the defence and put in a man of the match performance from corner back. Aiddy Scullion, Sean Hasson and Conor Gribben done the business at the back along with Mr Consistency Paul Doherty in his new role at centre half. Veteran defender Alan McNeill justified his call up by putting in an incredible display. Duirmuid Quinn and Brendan Etherson were in the mix all afternoon at centre field and won their battle. Joey Quinn, Thomas Doherty, Decky McKay and Brendan McMullan caused havoc in the Dunloy defence. Johnny Mac with a personal tally of 1-2 put in a good shift along with Eamon McNeill who ran at Dunloy all afternoon. Substitutes Cathal Mooney, Conor Hardy and Conor Hasson all contributed to this victory.

Cuchullians Dunloy deserve much credit for their attitude and determination with a never say die motto. They can feel proud of the efforts from Steven Dooey, Paudie Shivers, Cathaoir Cunning, Conor McKinney, Gareth McAllister, Declan McGarry, team captain and leader Kevin McQuillan, Kevin McAllister, Steven McAlonan and Benny McGarry.

This was an outstanding Rasharkin performance from a great team of superb players who have worked hard all season to achieve their success. Congratulations go to each and every player who has made this dream a reality, a special mention much go to team manager and Rasharkin man Paddy McNeill and back room staff of Ryan McAleese, Thomas Donaghy, Johnny McErlaine and Liam Hardy who has lead these guys to fulfil their ambitions.

Rasharkin: Donal McLarnon, Michael Hasson , Adrian Scullion, Cahir O’Kane, Sean Hasson, Paul Doherty, Alan McNeill, Duirmuid Quinn and Brendan Etherson, Joey Quinn, Thomas Doherty (Capt), Johnny McAleese Declan McKay, Eamon McNeill and Brendan McMullan.

Subs: Conor Gribben for Cahir O’Kane, Cathal Mooney for Brendan McMullan, Conor Hardy for Joey Quinn and Conor Hasson for Conor Gribben.

Dunloy: Gary McIlfatrick, Steven Dooey, Barry Murphy, Eoghan Scott,  Cathaoir Cunning, Paudie Shivers, Colum Cunning, Conor McKinley and Gareth McAllister, Declan McGarry, Kevin McQuillan (Capt), Kevin McAlonan, Kevin McAllister, Steven McAlonan and Benny McGarry.

Subs: Jamie McFerran, Chris Brogan, Paddy Doherty, Johnny McAleese

Referee: Jarleth O’Donnell (Con Magees Glenravel)

Aghagallon beat Sarsfields in Intermediate final replay in 2012

DOWN MEMORY LANE – INTERMEDIATE FOOTBALL CHAMPIONSHIP REPLAY 2012

It took two meetings to seperate Aghagallon and Sarsfields in the final of the 2012 Intermediate Football Championship and in the end just a single point seperated the two. Because of a colour clash Aghgallon wore their reserve strip while the Paddies wore the Down reserve jerseys. This was how the Andytown News saw it all back then

G Force! Aghagallon supporters cheer on the their ‘Super Gs’ at Casement Park during the Intermediate Football Final replay.

Aghagallon 1-11 Sarsfields 1-10

Aghagallon were crowned Antrim Intermediate football champions when the St Mary’s men survived a late scare to see off Sarsfield’s by one point in the 2012 replay against Sarsfields at Casement Park.

The Belfast side had a last gasp shot from Caolan Mervyn that seemed destined for the roof of the net deflected up and over for a point and it was this act which was the winning and losing of the game.

After a keenly contested drawn game, the expectation was that it would come down to the small margins once again and so it proved as Aghagallon’s better economy in front of goal saw them home.

The game opened brightly and it was Sarsfield’s who were first to register a score when Gary Lennon received an excellent pass to curl over from the right after just 50 seconds.
This seemed to settle the Belfast men but poor shooting meant they were not able to add to the tally as they kicked four wides before their next score five minutes later.
 

Aghagallon’s Michael McStravick and Liam McCrory celebrate their team’s win over Sarsfield in the Intermediate Football Championship final replay at Casement Park.

In this time Aghagallon had clicked into gear and they moved into a one point lead thanks to free’s from Ronan Magee and Gareth Magee. However, they were dealt a blow on five minutes when midfielder Peter Tallon was forced to hobble off with a leg injury to be replaced by Oisín Lenaghan.

The sides were level seconds later as Daniel McKernan intercepted a slack handpass to turn and curl over brilliantly with his right boot. However, the South West club really took over from this point and just seemed to be more potent in attack and they hit the next four in a row through Dessie Marshall, Gareth Magee (two) and Ronan Magee.
However, they were not to score again in the first half as Sarsfield’s dragged themselves back into contention and reduced the gap to one at the change of ends.
A fine ball into corner forward Gary Lennon saw the Sarsfield’s man convert with his left boot before Daniel McKernan put Conor Laverty clear to score. Kevin McKernan then tapped over a late 13 meter free to leave the score 0-6 to 0-5 in Aghagallon’s favour going in at the break.

Sarsfields Connor Laverty sends over a point during the Intermediate Football Championship final replay with Aghagallon at Casement Park.

The second period was a similar story with both sides having their periods of dominance and it was Aghagallon who were first to score just seconds in when Niall Lavery picked out Francis Bustard who curled over superbly on the left.
Sarsfield’s took over for the next few minutes as Daniel McKernan cut the gap back to the minimum after he was setup by Quinn.
Two Kevin McKernan frees then nudged Sarsfield’s ahead before Gary Lennon had a shot saved by Aghagallon goalkeeper Gavin O’Neill but back came St Mary’s and a Ronan Magee free tied the game at 0-8.

Scores from Francis Bustard and Damien O’Hagan restored the Aghagallon lead but then came a crazy 60 seconds as both sides netted with the game moving into the final quarter.

Sarsfield’s were the first to raise a green flag as Niall McAlea pumped in a long ball that broke free and this led to a footrace between Daniel McKernan and Aghagallon’s Liam McRory. McKernan won that particular dual before dribbling soccer style and curling the ball past Gavin O’Neill and into the net to put his side into the lead once more.

However, St Mary’s hit back immediately to wipe this score out as in the next attack, some fine build-up play finished with Ciaran Lavery passing to the on-rushing Dessie Marshall on the right of goal who blasted to the roof of the net from close range.

Aghagallon full-forward Dessie Marshall celebrates after scoring his team’s goal in their 1-11 to 1-10 win over Sarsfields in the Intermediate Football Championship final replay at Casement Park.

Niall Lavery then curled over superbly with 48 minutes on the clock to stretch their lead to three but a Kevin McKernan free cut the gap back to two once more.
Sarsfield’s were getting plenty of primary possession but they just couldn’t turn it into scores or create any real chances as Aghagallon defended tigerishly. They intercepted passes, turned possession over and just seemed to have the measure of their opponents.

Still, there was time for late drama as four minutes into injury-time; Sarsfield’s were given one last chance to pull the game out of the fire. Trailing by two, only a goal would do and from a free-kick, the ball was pumped towards goal and Mervyn rose superbly, turned and shot for goal. It seemed the ball would find the roof of the net but in a swarm of players, an Aghagallon defender managed to get his hand to the ball and divert it over, not under, the bar to ensure they would hang on and take the honours by the narrowest of margins.

Brolly goal swings it St. Brigid’s way

2006 Intermediate Football Championship final

St. Brigid’s, Belfast 1.08 St. Ergnat’s, Moneyglass 1-6

Former Derry All Ireland winner, Joe Brolly was very much to the fore as St. Brigid’s came from behind at half-time to overcome the challenge of a good St. Ergnat’s, Moneyglass and lift the 2006 Intermediate title at Casement Park.

With the South West side looking comfortable at the break and leading by five points it was Brolly’s goal early in the second half that swung the momentum in favour of the Musgrave Park side.

The large attendance present in Casement Park for this Intermediate Football final would have been forgiven for thinking this game was over at halftime, with Moneyglass leading 1.5 to 0.3 and playing with a strong breeze in the second-half.

The Country men got into their stride with James Marron slotting over 2 points. Back came the city side with Ruairi O’Neill opening their account on 7 minutes.

The Moneyglass defence was put under severe pressure and when Joe Brolly was put through on a one-to-one on with keeper Brendan Marron a goal looked certain. The keeper brought off a magnificent save at the expense of a “45”.

Liam Brady & James Marron added points and Marron ran onto a well-placed pass from Liam Brady to score a well taken goal. Joe Brolly & Ruairi O’Neill give the Malone Road side hope with 2 points. James Mason finished the first half scoring to leave 5 points between the sides.

The second half very much belonged to St. Brigid’s. Joe Brolly, what an addition he is to any team, Mark Sweeny, Ruairi O’Neill added points. Joe Brolly scored the crucial St. Brigid’s goal on 37 minutes to give the lead to the newcomers. James Marron brought the sides level only to see his good work undone when Joe Brolly landed the winning points just before the fulltime whistle.

There was great excitement from the St. Brigid’s supporters when Martin Agnew handed over the cup.