Pairc Tailteann engulfed in a sea of Black & Amber as Enda’s advance

Two years ago St. Enda’s of Glengormley recorded their greatest victory in the clubs history when they defeated An Spidal of Galway in the All Ireland Intermediate club football semi-final at Pairc Tailteann in Navan. Today we take a look back at that famous day.

As the final whistle sounded and St. Enda’s supported raced onto Pairc Tailteann yesterday, turning the green sward of the Meath ground into a carpet of black and amber it was hard not to think that we were witnessing something special.

As the Glengormley players turned on a virtuoso performance to overcome the challenge of An Spideal of Galway in this All Ireland Intermediate club semi-final with something to spare their supporters had outnumbered and out cheered their rivals throughout.

A crowd of youngster counted down the seconds prior to Niall Cullen’s full-time whistle before being given access to the pitch and adding to what was a carnival occasion. This was the first time an Antrim team had won Ulster at Intermediate level and their heroes were one step from All Ireland glory.

Hundreds remained on the Pairc Tailteann pitch for nearly an hour after the game hugging and congratulating their heroes while big Joe Maskey was signing autographs for a group of youngsters on another part of the pitch after an interview with tg4.

Prior to this season Joe had been making a name for himself with his performances for Antrim hurlers but it has been during St. Enda’s run to a first Antrim and Ulster success that a growing reputation as a serious footballer has grown.

His goal against Mullahoran in the Ulster final earned his rave reviews and his very special goal on Sunday has propelled him to the status of a God in the eyes of these youngsters. Maskey struck an unbelievable goal from 60 meters after An Spideal keeper Maghnus Breathnach was turned over on an ill-fated solo run. It was a goal that the Galway men never recovered from.

A colleague who had attended a St. Enda’s training session on the week leading up to yesterday’s game told me that St. Enda’s had spent an hour on turn over and it was obvious that Frank Fitzsimmons, Pat Hughes and Thomas McNulty had done their homework on An Spideal and reaped the rewards.

Big Joe was only one of a team of heroes who performed out of their skin with Damian Gault taking his place at full-back for the first time in this year’s championship and never putting a foot wrong despite his lengthy lay off due to injury.

Over the years I’ve followed the fortunes of Antrim clubs in the Ulster Intermediate championship and shared in the disappointment suffered by Dunloy and Moneyglass in Ulster final as well as semi-final defeats for All Saints and Rasharkin so St. Enda’s success and the way they have conducted themselves has been very rewarding.

Undoubtedly there were a few pints consumed at their Hightown club last night and why not but they are a very level headed bunch of young men and will keep their feet firmly on the ground. Kilcummin stand between them and ultimate All Ireland success on February 9th and the Kerry and Munster champions are likely to pose a stiffer challenge than An Spideal but it is one that St. Enda’s are more than capable of overcoming.

Croke Park will provide them with the expansive surface to express their very special brand of football and I would expected the Hogan stand to be turned into another sea of black and amber as James McAuley lifts the cup while big Joe could be busy again signing autographs for his growing band of admirers.

2004 a great year for Moneyglass

We continue our 2004 theme here with a look back at St. Ergnat’s Moneyglass and photographs from their Antrim Intermediate Championship victory over St. Mary’s Aghagallon. Moneyglass went on to reach the Ulster final that year before losing to a very good Plunkett’s Pomeroy from Tyrone in the final at Casement Park and we have included some photographs from their Ulster campaign. I apologise for the poor quality of some of the photographs.

Rasharkin were Intermediate champions in 2010

2010 was a great season for St. Mary’s Rasharkin. The men from Dreen recorded a memorable double, clinching the division 2 league title with a 2-16 to 0-6 win over Rossa at Dreen. It was their 15th league win in 17 games that season.

Their championship campaign began with a win over St. James Aldergrove at Creggan on the 21st September in the quarter-final. The clubs previous meeting had been back in 1977 semi-final where St. James ran out winners by two points and went on to claim the Intermediate title. On this occasion Rasharkin just shaded a tight encounter to run out winners by 0-9 to 1-4 and set up a semi-final meeting with All Saints.

This was the fifth meeting of these sides that season with the Dreen men claiming four points from their two league encounters. Ballymena however gained some compensation when narrowly defeating Rasharkin at Dreen in the North Antrim Feis final following a draw after extra time at Slemish Park in June. These statistics meant very little however when it came to the passion and expectation of championship football. In a riveting semi-final at Creggan, Rasharkin, despite enjoying a four point interval lead, just held on to win by the narrowest of margins on a scoreline of 1-11 to 2-7.

Dunloy had beaten Aghagallon in the other semi-final and the teams met at Clooney with the 2010 title at stake. A desperately close encounter ensued as Rasharkin gained the upper hand to lead 0-6 to 0-3 at the break. On the resumption Dunloy, despite being reduced to 14 men, staged a spirited come-back to level the scores at 0-7 each at the final whistle.

The intermediate final replay took place at Creggan on Saturday the 16th October with the following report appearing in the Ballymena Guardian on the 19th October.

When Kevin McQuillan and Benny McGarry knocked over two injury time points to level this Intermediate Championship final replay, it seemed there was no separating Dunloy and Rasharkin.

With both sets of players playing themselves to a standstill there was no option this time but to go into extra time, adding to what had already been a dramatic affair. In a nail biting extra 20 minutes Rasharkin did just enough to capture the title, their last one at this level coming some 32 years ago. It ended 1-5 to 2-10, the winners adding three points and Dunloy just one in the second half of the added time period.

Despite the disparity in the division 2 league positions, Rasharkin winning the title and Dunloy relegated to division 3, this was a tough close encounter with neither side prepared to throw in the towel.

After the drawn affair it was soon clear that these side knew each other inside out and Dunloy, with Chris Brogan reinstated after a Red card incident in the first encounter, they were prepared to give it everything. They led twice in the first half and came back with two late points to level matters at 2-9 to 1-12. But when the crunch of extra time kicked in they were only able to add one more score as Rasharkin finished the stronger, Jonathan McAleese, Cathal Mooney and Brendan Etherson points giving St. Mary’s a unique double.

Benny McGarry fired Dunloy into an early first half lead with a point in the opening minute but Rasharkin made their intentions known immediately with a Brendan McMullan response. Another exchange between Thomas Doherty and McGarry left the game level again after ten minutes before Brendan Etherson and Kevin McQuillan were involved in a further exchange.

The winners appeared to have taken off in the following 15 minutes with four unanswered scores. Eamon McNeill led the charge from a free with Declan McKay converting another one by the 18th minute. McKay was again on the mark with a fine score from play, six minutes later with Jonathan McAleese making it 0-7 to 0-3 with five minutes remaining to the break.

Dunloy however had other ideas and when Gareth McAllister side footed the ball to the net a minute later it was clear they were in for the long haul. Declan McGarry then fired over to level matters and Stephen McAlonan put them to the front in first half injury time.

It took a fisted goal from McAleese after Joey Quinn delivered the telling pass in the 34th minute to send Rasharkin in with a smile on their face, leading 1-7 to 1-5, but they knew in their hearts that it wasn’t over.

A strong start to the second half saw Rasharkin move into a five point lead by the 5th minute when McKay, McNeill and Etherson added points but it soon became clear that Dunloy were not going to roll over. Kevin McQuillan and Declan McGarry responded immediately with good point and it took another effort from full-forward McNeill to again put Rasharkin in the comfort zone at the end of the third quarter.

The closing ten minutes belonged to Dunloy who came back with a vengeance. A penalty award, nine minutes from time saw McGarry make no mistake although goalkeeper Donal McLernon did get a touch. Eamon McNeill picked up his fourth point of the game, four minutes later and McLernon made a super save from Kevin McAllister as they just about held on.

As in the first game Dunloy came back with a vengeance and Kevin McQuillan and Benny McGarry added points to take the game to extra time at 1-12 to 2-9.

What a tense time the additional 20 minutes proved to be. Neither side was on target in the opening ten minutes but Rasharkin managed to break the deadlock when Jonathan McAleese fired over on the change of ends. Substitute Cathal Mooney then made his presence felt with another score four minutes later as Dunloy appeared dead on their feet.

They had one last throw of the dice when Declan McGarry, their hero in the first game, scored with time running out only to see Rasharkin mid-fielder, Brendan Etherson seal it with a point almost on time.

This was truly an excellent encounter and not one for the feint hearted. Both sides gave it everything and it is a pity there had to be a loser. For the winners it was celebration all the way having completed a unique double but absolute misery for a good Dunloy side who have absolutely nothing to show for all their efforts.

Donal McLernon made his customary match winning saves in the Rasharkin goals with Michael Hasson, Paul Doherty and Alan McNeill all excellent in defence. Brendan Etherson was the big man at mid-field with Joey Quinn, Jonathan McAleese and Eamon McNeill on top of their game in attack.

Dunloy put up a brave fight and certainly didn’t look like a team deserving of relegation. With performances like this they will be straight back up. In Kevin McQuillan, Declan McGarry, Conor McKinley, Gareth McAllister, Cahir Cunning, Paudie Shivers and Benny McGarry they had class acts and certainly deserved better.

St. Mary’s team: Donal McLernon, Cahir O’Kane, Adrian Scullion, Michael Hasson, Sean Hasson, Paul Doherty, Alan McNeill, Diarmuid Quinn, Brendan Etherson, Joey Quinn, Thomas Doherty (0-), Conor Hardy, Conor Hasson, Jonathan McAleese (1-2), Declan McKay (0-3), Eamon McNeill (0-4), Brendan McMullan (0-1) Subs: Conor Gribben, Cathal Mooney (0-1),

Ulster Club Campaign

The Ulster club campaign began at Casement Park on the 31st October with Derry champions, Castledawson in opposition. In their best performance of the year the Dreen side just shaded a tense encounter 1-10 to 0-11. The Derry champions led 0-06 to 0-05 after an evenly balanced first half. On the resumption, two long range efforts from Johnny McAleese and one from Paul Doherty restored St. Mary’s advantage. The Derry champions came back once more and levelled an absorbing game for the fifth time mid-way through the second half.  The game’s vital scored arrived in the 16th minute when Brendan Etherson was on hand to finish to the net following a goalmouth scramble. Both sides missed scoring opportunities in a frantic last ten minutes but, with St. Mary’s holding a one point advantage, the outcome was put beyond doubt when Declan McKay hand passed the ball over the head of Michael O’Kane to put two between the sides in the third minute of injury time.

The Ulster Club campaign ended in disappointment at a fog-bound Healey Park in Omagh on the 14th November when Lisnaskea Emmets (The eventual All Ireland champions) finished strongly to run out winners on a scoreline of 2-12 to 0-9.

The Senior management team for 2010 was: Paddy McNeill, Thomas Donaghy and Paul Hasson.

IFC final. The managers views

Managers View

Moneyglass – Hugh Carey

“They really knuckled down and they deserve to be where they are right now.”

By Brendan McTaggart

When the winning captain singles you out for praise in his acceptance speech, you know you’ve done something right.  Step forward Hugh Carey.  A livewire on the side line and Mr Moneyglass.  In his own words, he was ‘relieved’ at the final whistle after tasting defeat in last years decider but he told us this match was a culmination of years of work: “Them boys deserve it.  They’ve worked hard and have been there or thereabouts.  This was their fifth final since winning it in ’04. 

“It means a lot, it means a lot to the club.  We’re predominantly football and we focus on it.

“We knew last year something was missing.  We knew we needed that wee bit more experience. 

“We had a decision to make, stay or don’t stay.  We were a kick of the ball away in two games from having a very good season.  I said I was done.  I approached Peter (Doherty), he was the experienced manager we needed to get over the line and he made me stay.

““He’s Kindo’s (Kevin Marron) father-in-law.  He was at all the games last year and he knows his stuff.  He watched us in the final last year and he’s brought that something that we needed.  That wee bit of knowhow and man management.

“I was threw in at the deep end last year, it’s as simple as that.  Peter coming in just made sense.  Him and Sean McGoldrick were in for the Derry job last year, just beat by Rory Gallagher.  That’s the calibre of manager he is and level of a man we have.

“I’ve learned a lot from him.  He stands on the line, arms folded and takes all in and as you see, I’m up and down the line and can’t contain myself.

“The best thing this year for us was the introduction of the water breaks because Peter has the match analysed and relays all to the lads.”

Dunloy settled into the final quickly and put Moneyglass on the back foot.  Carey told us that it was the complete opposite from what they had discussed.  They wanted to put the Cuchullains under pressure early doors after their week of celebrations: “That wasn’t the plan. We wanted to get off to a good start and see how big a week they had.  We wanted to get on top of them and get our own game going.  Suck teams in and counter.  We tried to go a bit different today with the two bigger men up top.

“Dunloy put the pressure on us on a big pitch, fair play to them.”

The Moneyglass coach told us they wanted to play more direct ball into their forward line for the final and while that tactic worked a treat in the second half, it wasn’t happening in the opening 30 minutes: “Dunloy stopped us from doing that.  Everybody knows us to be a running team and we wanted to change that today.”  As Carey continued, he attributed their win against St Pauls in the semi-final for how they fought back in the final: “That win (vs St Pauls) was massive.  St Paul’s were a big, physical side and I said to the lads all week, don’t get too down about it.  That’s a Division One club with Division One football.  The difference is Division One teams mix it up and we tried to do that today.  It worked better in the second half.”

The match was barely 12 minutes old when Moneyglass lost the services of key man, Dermot McErlain.  A massive moment in the game yet ‘Bugsy’ going off meant Ryan ‘Fish’ Doyle came into the fray and his impact was massive.  Carey added: “Losing Bugsy was huge.  When we need things to happen he’s our go-to man. 

“The final last year, when we needed someone to step up it didn’t happen.  They done it last week against St Pauls and they done it today again.  Smiley played the last 15 minutes on one leg.  He hyper-extended his knee.  He probably should have been off but he stayed on.  He played on injured and Bugsy was off.

“Fish came on and had an absolute stormer.

I rang him at the end of lockdown and told him he was the most frustrating player in our club.  He has bags of ability, you just don’t use it.  I told him to put the work in and give us four months and see what happens.  It paid off for him today.

“It’s not about individuals.  The boys started to knit together.  We need this.  We need this as a club.  We need to be back playing Division One football, it’s been far too long.  There’s no guarantees of that either but at least next year the focus can be on the league to make that happen.”

Saturday spelled the end of a 16 year wait for the St Ergnat’s.  2004 was their last win in the Intermediate championship and Carey told us it was more than just the past 12 months to get this far: “We’ve been working hard as a club and taking it a step further.  We got the gym in at the start of the year and we couldn’t use it.  Everything wasn’t going right but fair play to the lads.  They really knuckled down and they deserve to be where they are right now. 

“We’ll enjoy the celebrations that’s for sure.”

Manager View

Dunloy – Anthony McQuillan

“They want to play senior at some stage but to do that you need to win this competition”

By Brendan McTaggart

A bridge too far.  Dunloy manager Anthony McQuillan looked devastated as he watched Colum Duffin lift the Intermediate championship for Moneyglass on the Dunsilly pitch.  As we caught up with him, he was still trying to decipher how it got away from his Cuchullains.

After a first half that saw them lead by four points thanks to a thunderous goal from Seaan Elliott, Dunloy in McQuillan’s words were in ‘pole position’: “We talked about keeping the game tight at half time and a long ball in caught us out and they got a goal with a point just before that brought them back into the game.”

Ryan ‘Fish’ Doyle’s goal came shortly after the restart as Moneyglass made a dream start to the second half.  Any team talk made by McQuillan and his backroom team went out the window and Dunloy never recovered: “We were shellshocked” continued McQuillan, “and to be honest I don’t think we got over those first couple of minutes in the second half.

“It was a sucker punch.

“It was a lucky goal.  A hopeful ball in that fell into their boys’ hand and you can’t blame anybody for it. 

“Four points up, 1-5 to 0-4.  That’s the position we wanted to be in.  We wanted to win the first 15 minutes and see where we were.  That sucker punch in the first couple of minutes of the second half done us.

“We wanted to win.  We came here today feeling like we could and would win and we’re going home gutted.”

In the second half, Moneyglass were a different animal.  Defensively they gave Dunloy very little and forced turnover after turnover.  Their second goal a prime example.  The Cuchullains looked to carve out an attack but the St Ergnat’s men swarmed Keelan Molloy superbly.  Turned the ball over and 15 seconds later the ball was in the back of the Dunloy net.  McQuillan paid tribute to Moneyglass when he continued: “Moneyglass tackled like demons as well to give them their dues.  They held us out and kept us at arm’s length.”

The Cuchullains needed a response but they had nothing left to give.  A gruelling dual schedule looked to have finally caught up with them.  McQuillan added: “They were out on their feet.  We were having to make changes and bring boys on as they were absolutely shattered.  We wanted fresh legs on but I don’t know what more to say.  It’s serious disappointment.”

A fourth defeat at this stage in six years is tough to take.  McQuillan has been here before and knows what it takes to lift the Cuchullains once again.  He optimistically looked to the future when he concluded: “If you take Rev (Kevin McAllister) and Scooby (Kevin McQuillan) out of our squad, the majority of that squad are under 23.

“They’re still learning their trade and Intermediate football is a good start for them but they want to play senior at some stage but to do that you need to win this competition. 

“That’s something we want to do in the next couple of years and the only way to do it is win the Intermediate.

“We’ll regroup and go again next year.”

Moneyglass battle back to defeat Dunloy in thrilling final

Antrim Intermediate Football Championship final

Moneyglass 2-09 Dunloy 1-08

Report by Gary Duffin

Moneyglass staged a fantastic second half comeback to beat Dunloy in Saturday’s thrilling Antrim Intermediate Football final at Dunsilly to clinch the title for the first time since 2004. When they trailed by four at half time last year’s beaten finalists must have felt this was not going to be their day once again, but a brilliant goal from substitute Ryan Doyle within a minute of the restart turned the game on its head and they pushed on to victory.

Paddy McCormick celebrates after scoring the second goal for Moneyglass

Conditions couldn’t have been anymore perfect as all roads led to Dunsilly for the eagerly awaited meeting of South West rivals Moneyglass and Dunloy. The Cuchullains were on a high after retaining the County Senior Hurling crown last weekend and Moneyglass were still smarting from last year’s final defeat to Aldergrove in which they were strongly fancied to win.

Both sides were very evenly matched going through the qualifying group with only a kick of the ball separating both teams when they met in Marrion Hill.

From the throw in Dunloy showed their intent. They came out of the blocks fast and Seaan Elliott had registered their first score within a minute.

They then won the proceeding Moneyglass kickout and worked the ball to full forward Eamon Gillan who doubled Dunloy’s lead.

Disaster then struck when Moneyglass lost their marquee forward Dermot McErlain to a serious knee injury after five minutes but the Marrion Hill men hit back with a point from Colum Duffin.

Dermot McErlain cuts a forlorn figure as he watches the action from the sideline.

Jack McCoy then put the sides level with a fine score as both sides settled into their stride.

Cuchullains edged in front again with two pointed frees from Keelan Molloy and Caolan Gillan but the Blues hit back with one from centre back Conor Boyd.

The game continued with space at a premium and it wasn’t until fifteen minutes later that Kevin Marron equalised for St Ergnats.

However Dunloy weren’t finished for the half with Keelan Molloy putting them ahead again on thirty minutes and then Sean Elliott smashed home a goal to send the Cuchullains into the half time break with a four point advantage.

Seaan Elliott celebrates after scoring Dunloy’s goal just before half time.

This provided the Moneyglass management with some serious questions at half time and they certainly delivered the answers.

Within two minutes of the restart Moneyglass were on level terms with a second point from Kevin Marron and a fantastic goal from Ryan Doyle.

Doyle then added a point to his tally before Dunloy retook the lead with points from Keelan Molloy and Conall Cunning just as the whistle went to give the players a well earned water break.

St Ergnats management went to work again and sent their troops out to battle on the front foot with county star Paddy Mc Cormick knocking over two sublime points to see Moneyglass edge ahead again in this nail biting tussle.

Substitute Ryan Doyle was a real thorn in the side of the Dunloy defenders

Keelan Molloy hit back with a point once again to leave the game on a knife edge with time running out and it looked like it could go either way.

However this year the St Ergnet’s men were not going to be denied and big Seanchann Duffin sent the Moneyglass support wild with a fantastic point from well out the field.

It could still have gone either way but Paddy McCormick then sealed the deal when he got on the end of a wonderful counter attacking move involving the very impressive Conor Boyd and Fearghal Duffin to inflict the fatal blow on Dunloy, his goal expertly finished from a narrow angle.

Dunloy’s Keelan Molloy in action against Moneyglass defender Eamon Kelly

Dunloy battled on bravely but Moneyglass were not going to let it slip and the final whistle saw an outpouring of emotion from their team and its followers as they joined in the celebrations.

Moneyglass had stars all over the field. The Kelly brothers and Conor Boyd who worked tirelessly in defence.  Seanchann Duffin in the middle and goal heroes Ryan Doyle and Paddy McCormick up front.

Dunloy also had big performers in Sean Elliott, Keelan Molloy and Conal Cunning but it was to be a day for  Moneyglass to erase the painful memories of twelve months ago.

Moneyglass players celebrate at the final whistle

Moneyglass

  1. Mark Carey
  2. Peter McCormick
  3. Tiernan Duffin
  4. Eamonn Kelly
  5. 5 Fearghal Duffin
  6. Conor Boyd (0-01)
  7. Jervis Weir
  8. Seanchann Duffin (0-01)
  9. Colum Duffin (0-01)
  10. Paddy McCormick (1-02)
  11. Jimmy McMeel
  12. Dermott McErlain
  13. Jack McCoy (0-01)
  14. Kevin Marron (0-02)
  15. Sean Kelly

Subs Ryan Doyle (1-01), Donal Laverty, Liam Brady

Dunloy

  1.              Stephen McIlroy

2.      Conor Kinsella

3.      Karl O’Kane

4.      Oran Quinn

5.      Aaron Crawford

6.      Callum Scullion

7.      Anton McGrath

8.      Kevin McQuillan

9.      Ryan McFarline

10.    Keelan Molloy (0-04)

11.    Sean Elliott (1-01)

12.    Connall Cunning (0-01)

13.    Ryan McGarry

14.    Caolan Gillan (0-02)

15.    Christopher McMahon

Subs Kevin Mc Allister, Conor McKinley