All Saints on top but Con Magees contribute to their own downfall

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Intermediate Football Championship

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All Saints talisman Sean McVeigh in action during Monday evening ‘s Intermediate Football semi-final win over Con Magees in Creggan. Pic by John McIlwaine

All Saints 2-11 Con Magees 0-7

All Saints booked a place in the semi-final of the Intermediate Football Championship when they saw off the challenge of Con Magees Glenravel with a bit to spare in Monday evening’s quarter final in Creggan. The Ballymena outfit always held the upper hand and were totally dominant in the second half, but Glenravel contributed greatly to their own downfall by scoring an own goal early in the game and squandering two glorious goal chances of their own. Despite that they were still in with a chance at half time, but they lost their way badly in the second period and managed just a single point during the thirty minutes of normal time and four of injury as All Saints grip on the game strengthened by the minute.

The game was only two minutes old when disaster struck for Glenravel. All Saints had taken the lead with a neatly taken point from full forward Brendan McDonnell, but as the Con Magees keeper tried a quick kick out to Niall Swann on the left touchline the ball fell short and All Saints talisman Sean McVeigh dispossesed him and broke through to the right of goal. The big midfielder kept the ball on the ground and shot for goal and though the ball appeared to be running across the goal and wide, Con Magee’s corner back Michael Laverty was forced into making a quick decision while running back towards his own goal and turned the ball across his own goal line.

The gap was out to five by the fourth minute when Michael McCarry added a point from play for All Saints and the Glenravel boys appeared in deep trouble, but right from the kick out they put together a good move involving Conor McNeill and Declan Traynor which ended with Joe Scullion pointing at the other end. All Saints went straight down the field from the kick out and a powerful run by McVeigh set up McCarry for a simple point at the other end, but Glenravel were starting to find their feet and good work by Conor McNeill sent dangerman Eamon Fyfe through for a point. Two minute later a great move up the right wing saw Fyfe in action again as he sent David Higgins through on goal with only the keeper to beat. Glenravel fans held their breadth but Higgins probably ‘pulled the trigger’ too early and his shot was brilliantly saved by All Saints goalkeeper Emmet McAllister who diverted the ball across the goal where corner forward Damian Gillan did well to clear the danger. Eamon Fyfe pulled a point back soon afterwards but the Ballymena boys came back strongly and McVeigh plundered another fine point from play while McCarry added his third of the half to put his side five clear.

On 13 minutes Conor McNeill got Glenravel going with a well taken point and when Josh McKeown converted a free from distance the gap was down to a goal by the end of the opening quarter. A minute later it looked like it was going to be a tied game when good movement by the forward saw Fyfe cut through on goal again but the full forward tried to place the ball in the corner instead of simply blasting it and it flew across the frame of the goal and went inches wide of the far post. That was to be as good as it for the Con Magees for as the half wore on All Saints regained their grip on the game and though the scores were not flowing as they did earlier Sean McVeigh powered through for a point minutes before half time to give his team a 1-8 to 0-6 lead at the break.

Right half forward Eoin Campbell increased the All Saints lead within a minute of the restart but Glenravel stayed in touch as Eamon Fyfe hit a lovely point on the turn from 25 metres. However that was to be the Con Magees only score of the second half as the Saints took over throughout the field. The score that really settled it came on forty two minutes when All Saints teenager Kavan Keenan took advantage of a poor clearance by the Con Magees defence and broke through from the right wing to send a shot low to the Glenravel net. From then on it was just a case of how many they would win by and though the standard understandably dropped as bodies tired, and only two more points were to be added in the eighteen minutes which remained (Michael McCarry and Connell Lemon the scorers). All Saints were always in control as they cruised to a semi-final meeting with St Brigid’s in two weeks’ time.

All Saints

Emmet McAllister, Joe Rocks, Andy Kelly, Rhys O’Mullan, Ciaran McGarry, Damian Kelly, Kavan Keenan, Sean McVeigh, Peter McNicholl, Eoin Campbell, Michael McCarry, Conall Lemon, Damian Gillan, Brendan McDonnell, Ciaran Shannon.

Con Magees

Sean O’Boyle, Conor Carey, Paul McCurry, Michael Laverty, David Higgins, Ally McKeown, Joshua McKeown, Conor Carey, Niall Swann, Joe Scullion, Kieran McKeown, Aidan McCafferty, Conor McNeill, Eamon Fyfe, Declan Traynor.

Referee – Cathal McDermott (Tir na nOg)

Boyd Point Edges St. Ergnat’s Through to Semi-Final

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LOCC Solicitors Antrim Intermediate Football Championship

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 St Ergnat’s Moneyglass 2-10

Gort na Móna 0-15

St. Ergnat’s Moneyglass are through to the semi-final of the Antrim Intermediate Football Championship after holding off a late sustained challenge by Gort na Mona at Whitehill on Saturday evening.

With the sides level deep into injury time, substitute Conor Boyd became the Moneyglass hero as he converted a late free after being dragged down himself as he bore down on goal.

The Marian Hill side were on top during the opening half and a well taken goal by Dermot McErlain in the second minute put them in the driving seat. McErlaine received the ball out on the left and his pace left two defenders for dead before firing past Tomas McCaffrey in the Gort na Mona goals.

Patrick McCaffrey replied with a point for the Turf Lodge men, but Moneyglass enjoyed the majority of the possession in the first quarter.

With Gavin Murray playing as sweeper, they forced a lot of turnovers. However, the South West side missed quite a number of chances as they dominated the early exchanges, allowing the City men to stay in touch.

Patrick McCormick, Ryan Boyd and Paul Tohill finally found the target with good points while Dermott McVeigh replied for the Turf Lodge side.

Moneyglass midfielders Seachann Duffin and Ryan Boyd hit fine back-to-back points while McVeigh (free) and centre-back David McErlean kept Gorts in touch.

A further free from McVeigh on the stroke of half-time ensured that just a goal separated the sides as Moneyglass led 1-5 to 0-5 at the interval.

St. Ergnat’s were struck a blow just before half time when the impressive Patrick McCormick limped out of the contest to be replaced by Jarvis Weir and it was clear as the sides headed to the dressing room that this one was far from over.

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Well done St. Ergnat’s from Boyd’s Mace

Gort na Mona returned for the second half with Dermott McVeigh now playing at midfield and it was McVeigh who opened the second half scoring with an early point to cut the deficit to two points. His side received a serious setback however when Jarvis Weir’s attempted point dropped under the crossbar and was collected by Tomas McCaffrey.

McCaffrey cleared his lines but after consulting with his umpires referee Vincent Boyle awarded a goal, the umpire deciding that the Gort’s keeper had stepped over the line with the ball and despite strong protestations the score stood.

A point from Conaill Prenter increased the South West side’s lead to six with only six minutes of the new half gone and Gort na Mona looked in serious trouble and further points from Dessie McClean and Padraig McHugh for the Gorts and replies from Duffin and McErlaine for Moneyglass saw the St. Ergnat’s men maintain their six point advantage

Moneyglass looked comfortable as they entered the final quarter but Gort na Mona upped their game considerably as they started to exert pressure on the St. Ergnat’s defence. A free and a converted ‘45’ from McVeigh made it 2-8 to 0-10 before Gort na Móna were awarded a penalty on 50 minutes after McHugh was fouled

The corner-forward took the responsibility himself and went for power, but blasted the ball over the crossbar much to the relief of the South West side and they looked to have weathered the storm when Ryan Boyd popped up with a much-needed point for his side at the other end.

However, the West Belfast men were far from finished as they replied with back-to-back points from a McHugh (free) and McDonagh from play to leave just two between the sides with time creeping towards 60 minutes.

Brendan Corr fired over another and the gap was down to one before Ryan Doyle was shown a black card as St. Ergnat’s defended desperately and then a fine long range point from Dermott McVeigh tied the contest and we looked to be heading for a replay.

The same player had the opportunity to seal it for the Turf Lodge side but his attempt dropped short and Moneyglass countered. Substitute Seamus Devlin set up Conor Boyd and as he bore down on goal he was hauled down. Boyd gathered himself of the ground to convert the resulting free and give his side back a lead they were not to lose, much to the delight and relief of the St. Ergnat’s support.

 

MONEYGLASS: M Carey; K McPeake, T Duffin, M Neeson; S Kelly, P Mackle, P McCormick 0-1; R Boyd 0-3, S Duffin 0-2; D McErlain 1-1, P Tohill 0-1, R Doyle; C Prenter 0-1, L Brady, G Murray.

Subs: J Weir 1-0 for McCormick (28mins), B Conway for Murray (41mins), C Boyd 0-1 (0-1f) for Prenter (47mins), S Devlin for McPeake (57mins), M McLaughlin for Doyle (black card replacement, 58mins).

GORT NA MONA: T McCaffrey; C Connolly, D Hughes, M Savage; B Burns, D McErlean 0-1, P Mulvenna; C Carson, B Corr 0-1; S Campbell, D McClean 0-1, A McDonagh 0-1; P McCaffrey 0-1, D McVeigh 0-7 (0-3fs, 0-1 45), P McHugh 0-3 (0-3fs).

Subs: C McErlean for Campbell (41mins), G Doyle for Hughes (54mins), S Doyle for Carson (54mins), J Reilly for Mulvenna (58mins).

REFEREE: V Boyle (Dunloy)

St Enda’s comeback comes up short

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St Brides v St Enda's - 3St Brigid’s 1-13 St Enda’s 1-11

St Brigid’s claimed a place in the semi finals of the Intermediate championship when they passed the winning line with a two point advantage over St Enda’s on the pristine Hannahstown sod on Saturday evening last but the South Belfast side came close to a dramatic exit.

In fact St Brigid’s looked home and hosed when after holding sway for much of the opening period they took the respite afforded by the short blast holding a 0-07 to 0-03 lead, and they seemed to put the issue beyond all reasonable doubt when they dashed out of the blocks for the second period so convincingly that they had increased their advantage to 1-11 to 0-03 by the 41st minute.

St Enda’s having secured promotion to the top grade earlier in the week seemed to have settled for that as they looked at an eleven point deficit nearing the end of the third quarter, but the Hightown men woke from their slumber as they produced a startling comeback that took them mighty close to revival.

St Brigid’s, who had scored a dramatic last gasp win over Tir na Nog in the opening round were away first with a Peter Webb point less than a minute into proceedings.

Out in front the city men looked composed and at ease and they increased advantage in the 4th minute as John Blayney seized on a poor clearance to return the ball firmly between the posts. The wing half forward, son of former Down great Greg Blayney, impressed throughout and looks very much cast in a similar mode to his father.

St Brigid’s looked composed as they played some excellent football, but the Glengormley men were less so as they struggled to settle into any sort of patternand things got worse for the Hightown outfiet when Ronan O’ Grady nipped in from the left to added another St Brigid’s point. St Enda’s really needed a score settle them but they were forced to make a change in the 12th minute as corner forward Donal Walsh received a black card with minor start Ethan Gibson entering as replacement.

St Enda’s were off the mark shortly afterwards as the elegant Odhran Eastwood raised a white flag and when be combined with the replacement Ethan White to add another the Hightown men looked up and running.

Jack Dowling added a similar score at the other end within a minute but Eastwood increased the tally to three when he stroked a free kick between the posts again in the 20th minute and it looked game on with St Brigid’s just a point ahead at 0-04 to 0-03.

Having their early lead reduced appeared to spur St Brigid’s and they upped the tempo as Ben Leonard and Jack Dowling added points apiece, and when John Blayney strode onto the edge of the square in the 28th minute a goal looked likely but the wing half forward calmly sent over the bar to see his side at 0-07 to 0-03 at the end of the opening half.

The second period saw the St Brigid’s men continue as they had concluded the opening thirty minutes and laying siege to the St Enda’s posts they further increased advantage by three as John Dowling, James Smith and Jack Dowling all added point apiece by the 35th minute.

The St Enda’s cause was beginning to look forlorn and indeed all but lost in the next phase as James Smith rose highest to punch an Enda Clarke lofted delivery to the back of the net and when John Blayney followed with a 42nd minute point only the eternal optimist within the ranks of those in black and amber would have contemplated a likely come-back.

The St Brigid’s men looked to be on their way to the semis but as it turned out their passage would not prove as smooth as predicted as the Glengormley men were to stage a dramatic revival.

A 44th minute Kristian Healey point signalled the revival and when Conor Lyttle nicked a point and impressive centre back James Mc Auley went forward at pace to claim a smash and grab goal the deficit was reduced by five. St Brigid’s were under pressure and indeed under siege as the Glengormley men smelt blood and after an Oran Eastwood point further reduced the deficit Ronan Mc Grady’s 50th minute reply in kind looked to settle them.

St Enda’s were not to be halted in their positive tracks however and gaining in composure they claimd dominance in the central zone where Niall Mc Keown was working like a demon to feed his forwards with dangerous ball. The ever accurate Odhran Eastwood raised another white flag, Niall Mc Keever raced through to add another and when Eastwood struck again and Scott tagged on two, only a point separated the sides at the 56th minute.

St Brigid’s having been in the calm waters of security a short time earlier now looked to be battling against the elements as the St Enda’s men drove onward seeking a semi berth which suddenly looked in reach.

It was backs to the wall time for the beleaguered St Brigid’s side and seemingly up against it as the St Enda’s men controlled possession.

As the clock ticked towards and beyond the allotted sixty minutes with St Enda’s needing a score to force extra time, but the men from Musgrave Park St  stood firm. St Enda’s did get their opportunity when a foul on the advancing James Mc Auley gave them a 60 metre free and the chance to bring the game to extra time. However as the well struck free was gathered by Clarke rose highest to claim the leather. The big man came out to clear his lines and send his clearance long to start a counter-attack which the set late replacement Kevin Gallagher away, and when he delivered straight and true and over the bar the issue was resolved.

The long blast brought relief to St Brigid’s, and indeed a place in the semi final stage of the Intermediate championship and a late September date with either All Saint’s or Glenravel who meet on Monday evening.

St Brigid’s

Stephen Morrissey, Finn Mc Kernan, Michael Cummings, Andy Sweeney, Patrick Finnegan, Ben Sinnot, Conor King, Enda Clarke, Cathal Conway, John Blayney (0-03), Ben Leonard, James Smith (1-01), Peter Webb (0-01), Jack Dowling (0-02), Ronan Mc Grady (0-03)

Subs

Kevin Gallagher (0-01) for J Blayney

Peter Lundy for P Webb

Conor O’ Doherty for J Dowling

 

Paddy Flodd, Michael Mc Namee, Damien Gault, Killian Jennings, Ryan Kennedy, James Mc Auley (1-00), Philly Curran, Niall Mc Keown (0-01), Ciaran Thompson, Odhran Eastwood (0-06), Kristian Healey (0-01), Ruairi Scott (0-02), Gerard Crossey, Donal Walsh

Subs

Ethan Gibson for D Walsh (black card)

Diarmuid Mc Nulty for K Jennings

Conor Scott for Philly Curran

Philly Curran for O Eastwood

Pics by Bert Trowlen for the Saffron Gae

Busy Weekend of Intermediate Football Championship Action

Intermediate Football Championship (Qtr Finals)

A busy week-end indeed on the championship scene and three quarter final games are on the programme for Saturday.

A couple of ties ensure double headers as St Comgall’s and Dunloy are first on the card at Toome whilst St Brigid’s will line out against St Enda’s at Hannahstown.

The Moneyglass v Gort na Mona game will proceed at Whitehill with the game involving Glenravel and All Saint’s deferred to Monday evening.

 

St Comgall’s Antrim v Cuchullian’s Dunloy (Toome) at 4.00pm

If league form was to be a guide in this one as St Comgall’s line out against Dunloy then the Antrim men would enter the fray as firm favourites.

The Cuchullian’s limped through the second phase of the division two league programme and they failed to cope with the Antrim men when they visited back last month.

However in this instance and bearing in mind past history and the Cuchullian’s recent performances in championship they will carry the confidence of the pundits into this one.

The Dunloy men have made final appearances in the past two seasons and will most likely have firm intentions in making amends this season.

They do have a strong panel and include Conor Mc Kinley, Keelin Molloy, Kevin ‘Speedy’ Mc Allister and Duane Scott in their ranks and having secured the minor football title in 2016 more than a few fresh faces will be included.

St Comgall’s secured promotion from the lower division at the end of 2016 but despite the best endeavours in the second grade they failed to sustain status and having endured relegation morale may have taken a knock.

The Antrim men are keen to gain the upward way and will include such as Paddy Quinn, Dylan Murdock, Kieran Quinn, Eoghan Gribbin and Caolan Mc Keown to lead the charge.

St. Comgall’s men will most certainly give this a lash but Dunloy are a different lot when championship comes around and the Cuchullian’s are given the nod.

 

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St Brigid’s v St Enda’s (Hannahstown) at 4.00pm

This looks a close affair as the in-form St Enda’s are set to lock horns with South Belfast based St Brigid’s up at the Hannahstown arena.

St Brigid’s have had a previous outing in the championship when they stuck at it to come from off the pace to gain the verdict over Tir na Nog.

The city men looked up against it when their country cousins held advantage when Pearse Sheerin knocked over a 59th minute point to secure the lead but back came St Brigid’s and a point supplied by Ronan Mc Grady levelled the issue before and injury time white flag raised by Peter Webb gained the win.

St Enda’s were not troubled to make the last eight as they proved too strong for Davitt’s on a 1-16 to 0-011 margin and the Glengormley men were not taking it at all easy since that one as a late surge in league fare saw the Hightown residents secure promotion to the top grade 2018.

They do have a strong panel with the emphasis on youth, drawing from their under-18 level championship success gained in 2015 with ‘old hand’s’ Damien Gault, Philly Curran, Paddy Flood and Gerard Crossey supplying experience in a blend of youthful exuberance  which will be found within such as Ruairi Scott, Odhran Eastwood, Kristen Healey and Conan Lyttle.

St Brigid’s will look to such as the very accurate Ronan Mc Grady, Jack Dowling, Niall George, Ben Sinnot, Cathal Conway, Peter Lundy and Patrick Finnegan to lead them on to a semi final berth.

Little may separate this duo at conclusion with the more experience St Brigid’s just getting the nod.

Huntinglodge(57)

 

 

Boyds Filling Station copy 3

St Ergnat’s Moneyglass v Gort na Mona (Whitehill) at 5.00pm

A town versus country affair in this one as St Ergnat’s Moneyglass who got the better of Rasharkin in round one line out against Gort na Mona who are making their first championship this year.

Moneyglass who are in a transitional period underlined the old adage which states, ‘goals win games’ in that one as they made progress at 4-08 to 0-17 and after enduring late disappointment on the league front, just missing out on promotion they will focus on championship fare.

With more than a few ‘young guns’ and new faces in the blue and gold this term the St Ergnat’s have a good blend of youth and experience with such as Ryan Boyd, Donal Laverty, Ryan Doyle, Jervis Weir, Benny Conway, Myron Neeson, Liam Brady and Colm Duffin having seen it all before joined on the championship trail by such as Dermot ‘Bugsy’ Mc Erlean, Sean Kelly, Tiernan and Seanachan Duffin Seamus Devlin and Conal Prenter.

Gort na Mona have had a fair enough league campaign but the West Belfast men were well below the Moneyglass men in the ratings.

They only crossed swords with the St Ergnat’s men on the bread and butter scene and on that occasion the South West men gained a seven point verdict.

The Gorts are backboned by such as Dermot McCabe, Brendan Corr, Christopher Devlin,  Sean Campbell, Conor Connolly, Niall Melaney and Declan Hughes and they are capable.

Moneyglass will start this one as favourites and if they have gotten over recent disappointment then they may well gain passage to the last four.

 

Monday 4th September

Con Magees Glenravel v All Saint’s Ballymena (Creggan) at 6.30

This is the last tie in an action packed championship week-end as Glenravel and All Saint’s line out on the Creggan arena in a meeting of near neighbours and close rivalry.

All Saint’s will most certainly be burdened by the ‘warm favourite’ tag in a game in which they will carry the unanimous vote of the pundits.

All Saint’s were employed in the top division last term and although they endured relegation at the end of 2016 and the tag of ‘disappointing’ in their league showing this term they are more than capable of better.

They do have players of quality within the ranks, such as Sean Mc Veigh, Andy Kelly, Peter McNicholl, Emmett Killough, Michael McCarry, Paddy McAleer, and Joe Rafferty and some may feel they are capable of going all the way.

Glenravel slipped up in the race to gain promotion from the lower division this term and a loss to O’ Donnell’s when least anticipated cost them plenty.

They will certainly look to make amends on the championship route and experience in the knock out competition was gained last term when they took the junior title.

This is a tougher assignment for the Glensmen however and they will look to the sharpshooting abilities of Eamon Fyffe together with such as Joe Scullion, AidenMc Caffrey, Conor McNeill, Kieran McKeown, David Higgins, and Brendan Lynes to navigate a course to the semi finals.

The Ballymena men may well gain access but the Con Magee’s will not give in without a fight.

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