Cuchullains Cruise to Intermediate Title 

OB Construction Intermediate Football Final

Dunloy 0-14 Glenravel 0-10

Saturday 8 October

Brendan McTaggart reports from Dunsilly

The bridesmaid finally became the bride.  Dunloy have been knocking on the door for the Intermediate crown for the last eight years, on Saturday they finally got over the line.  Four points the difference at the end of the hour, much of that down to the heroics of James McEvoy between the sticks for Con Magees.  Five saves, three in the first half, McEvoy was outstanding for the Glenravel men and it was his efforts that kept the score line respectable, especially in the opening 30 minutes.

Dunloy’s Seaan Elliott is closed down by Glenravel’s Calum Higgins

In a first half that the Cuchullains dominated, much of that was down to their dominance in midfield.  Despite missing the talents of Deaglan Smith from injury, Ryan McGarry and Eoin McFerran were superb.  Winning clean ball, primary possession then recycling or giving to runners off the shoulder and Dunloy had plenty of them.  Seaan and Nigel Elliott left the Con Magees chasing their shadows on countless occasions, Keelan Molloy and Conal Cunning with the scores.

Defensively, Dunloy had their homework done.  Aaron Crawford was given the unenvious task of keeping tabs on Eamon Fyfe.  The Con Magees man finished with eight points beside his name, three of those from play but he had little in the way of support as the Cuchullains controlled this game from the first whistle.

The opening minutes were cagey with Con Magees having the lions share of possession.  Dunloy set up well to counter and opened the scoring through Keelan Molloy’s effort after just two minutes.  Eamon Fyfe replied with a free in the fifth minute but Dunloy’s midfield dominance began to pay dividends and they turned the screw on the Con Magees defence.  A brace of scores from Conal Cunning (one free) edged Dunloy ahead by two but scores weren’t easy come by.  Despite not winning the aerial of ground battle from restarts, the Glenravel men had created a white and green wall that the Cuchullains took some time to adapt to.  

Glenravel goalkeeper James McEvoy kept his team in the game with a series of outstanding saves

Another point from Cunning put three between the sides before Dunloy created their first chance for a major.  Cunning judging the flight of the ball and rolling his marker but his effort went just wide.  Referee Darren McKeown had called advantage for an infringement on Cunning and Molloy converted to put the Cuchullains ahead by five midway through the first half.

Any attacks from the Con Magees were fleeting with Fyfe living off scraps.  They were forced into shooting from difficult angles and from distance.  McEvoy was in action again when he denied Cunning from close range but another lightning Dunloy counter resulted in Molloy splitting the posts.

Eamon Fyfe converted a free to register Glenravel’s second point of the final in the 22nd minute but Dunloy were starting to cut loose.  Seaan Elliott thundering through the heart of the Glenravel defence but his rasping drive was turned over the bar.  McEvoy with a save right out of the top drawer.  Seaan Elliott (free) and Fyfe (mark) swapped scores before Keelan Molloy fired over his fourth point of the half to leave the half time score 0-9 to 0-3 in favour of the Cuchullains.

Conal Cunning sends over a Dunloy point from a free

It was pretty much a one sided affair in the opening half and a six point lead was the minimum the Cuchullains deserved.  The Glenravel men were second best all over the pitch and needed something special to get back in to the final and Fyfe was doing his best to accommodate.  He scored the opening point of the second half from wide on the right and off balance.  The Con Magees faithful were celebrating before Fyfe managed to get back to his feet.  A wonderful point that should have breathed life into the Glenravel challenge.  It didn’t.  What followed was more of the same precision from the Dunloy forwards with James Scally and Cunning (free) getting the scoreboard going again in the second half for Dunloy.

Seaan Elliott and Fyfe swapped frees before Fyfe added his second from play, scoring his and Glenravel’s sixth point of the game midway through the second half.

The Con Magees challenge was seriously dented when Conor McNeill was sent off for an overzealous challenge on Seaan Elliott.  Cunning executed the resulting free but the Dunloy numerical advantage was short lived with Eoin Gillan seeing black just three minutes later.

Eamon Fyfe sends over a Glenravel point

McEvoy was once again on his game to deny substitute Caolan Gillan before Fyfe (free) and Daniel McQuillan reduced the Dunloy lead to five points.  The first time in the game the Con Magees registered back to back scores, coming eight minutes from time.

Another McAvoy save denied Seaan Elliott before Cunning took his tally to six points for the final with five minutes remaining.  That would be the Cuchullains last score but they had enough on the score board to see out the time that remained.

Eoin Hynds (free) and Fyfe split the uprights for Glenravel, Fyfe’s effort just clipping the crossbar before going over but they never got the major they needed to worry the Dunloy defence.

At the final whistle the cheers went up.  Among the shouts of congratulations and hugs, a sigh of relief could be heard.  A mix of ecstasy and relief on faces young and old.  In recent times Dunloy have flattered to deceive in the Intermediate decider but today was their time.  The side have matured together and if the old saying goes, you have to lose on to win one, you got the feeling that Dunloy were never going to let this one slip.  The Cuchullains bridge a 15 year gap from their last Intermediate title and take the cup to Pearse Park.


Dunloy: Christopher Brogan; James Scally, Aaron Crawford, Conor Kinsella; Oran Quinn, Kevin McQuillan, Anton McGrath; Ryan McGarry, Eoin McFerran; Nigel Elliott, Eoin Gillan, Christopher McMahon; Conal Cunning, Keelan Molloy, Seaan Elliott 

Subs: Caolan Gillan for C McMahon (34); Michael Smith for A McGrath (56); Ciaran McQuillan for R McGarry (59); Anthony Smith for N Elliott (60); Ryan McFarline for K Molloy (60)

Scorers: C Cunning 0-6 (3fs); K Molloy 0-4 (1f); S Elliott 0-3 (2fs); J Scally 0-1; 

Glenravel: James McEvoy; Charlie Henry, Sean Higgins, Conor Carey; Rian Lennon, Niall Swann, Daniel McQuillan; Calum Higgins, David Higgins; Aidan O’Donnell, Eoin Hynds, Connor McNeill; Declan Traynor, Eamon Fyfe, Ryan McQuillan

Subs: Eoin McCusker for A O’Donnell (22); Kieran McKeown for C Henry (HT); Sean McKay for R Lennon (HT); Conleth O’Loan for S Higgins (36); Martin McCarry for D McQuillan (60)

Scorers: E Fyfe 0-8 (4fs, 1m); D McQuillan 0-1; E Hynds 0-1 (1f)

Referee: Darren McKeown (St Galls)

Dunloy players and subs jump for joy at the final whistle. Pic by Bert Trowlen
Nigel Elliott receives the Saffron Gael Man of the Match award after the game

Novel pairing could be hard to separate in Intermediate decider

OB Construction IFC Final

Dunsilly (Saturday) 3-00pm

Con Magge’s Glenravel v Cuchullain’s Dunloy

This Saturday’s OB Construction IFC final at Dunsilly throws together a novel pairing when South West neighbours, Con Magee’s Glenravel and Cuchullain’s Dunloy meet in what should be an excellent final.

The Cuchullain’s will probably start this one as slight favourites by virtue of the fact that they have been knocking at the championship door for a number of years. Last year they were beaten in the semi-final by All Saints and the previous year they defeated the same opposition at the semi-final stage before going on to lose to Moneyglass in the final at Saturday’s venue.

They will have to be at their best however to beat a Con Magee’s side who have been flying this year under the guidance of manager, Joe Cassidy and the ex Derry star has brought a new belief and intensity to the men from the 10th Glen.

Con Magee’s were drawn in Group 3 of the qualifiers with Davitt’s and Rasharkin and began their campaign with a 0-17 to 1-11 win away to St. Mary’s at Dreen and followed that up with a home win over Davitt’s at Fr. Maginn Park to top their group and so earn a home draw against All Saints in the quarter-final.

On a day, not conducive to good football Glenravel showed tremendous character and fighting spirit. Trailing by five points in the first ten minutes, the signs were looking ominous for the Con Magee’s. Ballymena had established a stranglehold on the game and their fluid movement in transitions and constant pressure had the hosts camped in their half. However, Eamon Fyfe spearheaded a Glenravel resurgence and his rasping point from range on the twenty fifth minute was the perfect exclamation mark for their revival. It would be a lead that they would refuse to relinquish for the remainder of the game.

They went on to win that one 0-14 to 0-12, holding the visitors scoreless for 25 minutes at one stage and this win seemed to have given them the confidence and belief as they went into the semi-final against a Sarsfields side who had been posting good results themselves.

Glenravel put in a polished performance which saw them over the line with a comfortable nine points to spare over Sarsfields in the semi-final at Saturday’s venue. The blend of youth and experience within their ranks proved to be too much for a Sarsfields side who struggled to replicate the scintillating form from their previous emphatic victory over neighbours St Paul’s.

Their successful Under 20 team from last year has proved to be their lynchpin moving forward. If they can maintain their current vein of form, they are a dangerous proposition for any team and will certainly go into the final rich in confidence and belief.

Dunloy enjoyed an indifferent league campaign to finish in the bottom half with their campaign interrupted by unavailability of key players owing to hurling commitments and some players spending the summer overseas. most of those players have come back on board for the championship and they have looked a side unrecognisable from the one who blew hot and cold in the league.

After a stuttering start in Group 1 where they lost 1-15 to 1-12 to Sarsfield’s at the Bear Pit, Cuchullain’s recovered to record a facile 8-12 to 1-6 home win over Ardoyne and followed that up with a 3-17 to 1-8 win over Naomh Padraig Lisburn to qualify for the quarter-finals in second place in their group.

They were drawn away to St. James’ Aldergrove in Crumlin in what looked a difficult assignment and so it proved to be but Dunloy with a raft of duel players now on board edged out the Crumlin side 1-12 to 2-7.

With this quarter-final stretching into injury time, it looked like Aldergrove had performed the great escape.  Dunloy had stretched into a five point lead and looked to have more than one foot in the semi-final when the home side scored two majors from out of this world that saw them take the lead for the first time in the game.

The Cuchullain’s remained composed in the time that remained and had enough quality to edge home.  An equaliser through a free and scores from substitute Anthony Smith and Nigel Elliott booked Dunloy’s place in the last four.

This win set them up for a semi-final meeting with Davitt’s  at Dunsilly and Dunloy made safe passage to the 2022 Intermediate decider with 11 points to spare.  Two goals in barely two minutes of the second half was the winning of this game, substitute Michael Smith with the opening major with his first touch while Conal Cunning added the second with the next attack.  

Neither side are likely to show many changes from the side that played in their respective semi-finals though Deaglan Smith was forced to retire injured during Dunloy hurlers win over St. John’s at the weekend in the SHC semi-final.

Smith would be a substantial loss to the Cuchullain’s but they have a strong panel with Aaron Crawford, Eoin McFerran and Kevin McQuillan ever present while the inclusion of dual stars, Ryan McGarry, Nigel and Seaan Elliott, Keelan Molloy and the inspirationa Conal ‘Coby’ Cunning makes them a formidable side.

Glenravel will certainly have been buoyed by their quarter-final wins over All Saints and an even more impressive performance against Sarsfield’s in the semi-final and will believe that this could be their year.

Eoin McCusker, Conor Carey, Eoin Hynds, Callum Higgins, Aidan O’Donnell, David Higgins, Declan Traynor, Ryan McQuillan and Eamon Fyfe will spearhead the Con Magee’s challenge but Rian Lennon who missed the semi-final with a shoulder injury is doubtful and Cathal Hynds will miss out.

Much will depend on how Glenravel react to the big occasion and on their ability to contain the threat of Conal Cunning and the Elliott’s in attack and indeed how those previous semi-final and final defeats will affect the Cuchullain’s.

Both sides contain serious attacking threats and the game has the potential to be high scoring and entertaining with Dunloy given a tentative nod but it might well take extra time to separate them.

Dunloy v Davitt’s: Christopher Brogan; Anton McGrath, Aaron Crawford, Conor Kinsella; James Scally Scally, Kevin McQuillan, Eoin McFerran; Ryan McGarry, Deaglan Smith; Nigel Elliott, Eoin Gillan, Christopher McMahon; Conal Cunning, Keelan Molloy, Seaan Elliott

Subs: Michael Smith for A McGrath (45); Caolan Gillan for C McMahon (45); Ciaran McQuillan for E McFerran (54); Ryan McFarline for S Elliott (56); Tom McFerran for N Elliott (60)

Con Magee’s Glenravel v Sarsfields: J McEvoy; C Henry, E McCusker, C Carey; S Higgins, N Swann, D McQuillan, C Higgins, D Higgins, A O’Donnell, E Hynds, C McNeill, D Traynor, E Fyfe, R McQuillan

Cuchullains through to Intermediate decider

OB Construction Intermediate Football Championship  – Semi-Final

Dunloy 2-9 Davitts 0-4

Sunday 25 September 2022

Brendan McTaggart reports from Dunsilly

Dunloy made safe passage to the 2022 Intermediate decider with 11 points to spare against Davitt’s on Sunday afternoon.  Two goals in barely two minutes of the second half was the winning of this game, substitute Michael Smith with the opening major with his first touch while Conal Cunning added the second with the next attack.  

In a low scoring first half, both sides lacked a clinical touch in front of goal.  Goal chances came and went with the woodwork and ‘keepers stopping a green flag from being raised at either end.  Davitt’s will look at their chances in the opening 30 minutes when they analyse this contest and wonder what if?  

Dunloy dominated the second half with more intensity in midfield and movement in attack.  They held Davitt’s to just one point after the half time break while dictating the play and staying defensively sound.  The Belfast men rarely looked like they could reel the Cuchullains in during a second half that saw Dunloy improve immeasurably with their attacking play.

The game was barely 10 seconds old when the first goal chance came.  Davitt’s claiming the throw in and sending the ball long to David Wallace.  He broke the ball to Sullivan but Dunloy ‘keeper Chrissy Brogan saved superbly from point blank range.

The opening score didn’t come until the 10th minute of the semi-final, Keelan Molloy converting a free after a foul on Conal Cunning.  Dunloy had their first sight of the Davitt’s goal with the next attack.  Nigel Elliott collecting the pass from Seaan Elliott before unleashing a shot with the outside of his right boot from an acute angle.  The ball drifted wide however, a half chance but in a game that was destined to be low scoring, chances like this would be the difference.

Dunloy were enjoying the lions share of possession but Davitt’s were defensively solid.  David Wallce playing deeper and closing space but Dunloy’s running from deep was creating chances.  The Elliott brothers Seaan and Nigel combining again to release Anton McGrath in front of goal but his effort hit the foot of the post.

A brace of points from Eoin Gillan and Nigel Elliott by the 18th minute gave Dunloy a three point lead and control of the game.

Davitt’s opening score came from Padraig McParland and they should have scored their first goal with the next attack. A Davitt’s player had a superb run from midfield before finding Conor Toner in space.  With just Brogan to beat, the Dunloy ‘keeper produced a save right out of the top drawer to deny him.  Brave, timed, perfection.  

Dunloy rattled the crossbar when Molloy’s pointed effort from distance dipped wickedly behind Aaron Slane but his blushes were saved by the woodwork.

Davitt’s rallied to score a brace of points from Padraig McParland, his second of the game to leave the sides tied but Dunloy had the final score of the half with Cunning dissecting the posts with the last kick of the opening 30 minutes.

Given how many chances were created, the biggest mystery of the opening 30 minutes was how low the scoring was.  Dunloy lead 0-4 to 0-3 but both sides hit numerous wides with Davitt’s missing frees that would normally be registered as scores.

Midfielder Deaglan Smith restored Dunloy’s two point lead with the opening score of the second half but in a game of cat and mouse, neither side really took control of the opening exchanges of the second half.  Davitt’s created another goal chance, James Lindsey leapt highest at the back post but his palmed effort went wide while Dunloy struggled to find their range at the opposite end of the pitch with a number of shots dropping short.

Davitts reduced the Dunloy lead to one in the 36th minute but incredibly that would be the only score the Belfast men would register in the second half as Dunloy dominated.  A free from Deaglan Smith was quickly followed by Cunning’s second point of the semi-final to open a three point lead midway through the second half.

Dunloy introduced Michael Smith into attack and the substitution made an immediate impact.  Seaan Elliott had the ball fully 45 yards from goal and there’s no doubt he was lining up a point but the ball landed to the right of the six yard box where Smith rose highest above Paul McKinney.  A quite brilliant catch that was matched by his finish to the back of the Davitt’s net.

The crowd were still purring from the major when Dunloy scored their second.  Seaan Elliott involved again before released Deaglan Smith.  His effort was superbly saved by Aaron Slane but the ball fell to Coby Cunning and he had the simplest of tasks to apply the finish.

Cunning and Molloy hit further scores to add gloss to the score board for the Cuchullains as they controlled the closing stages.

A comfortable win in the end for Dunloy who reach the Intermediate decider for the fifth time in eight years. They’ll face Con Magees in two week’s time with a senior hurling semi-final between times.  The momentum builds in the Cuchullains Village.


Dunloy: Christopher Brogan; Anton McGrath, Aaron Crawford, Conor Kinsella; James Scally Scally, Kevin McQuillan, Eoin McFerran; Ryan McGarry, Deaglan Smith; Nigel Elliott, Eoin Gillan, Christopher McMahon; Conal Cunning, Keelan Molloy, Seaan Elliott

Subs: Michael Smith for A McGrath (45); Caolan Gillan for C McMahon (45); Ciaran McQuillan for E McFerran (54); Ryan McFarline for S Elliott (56); Tom McFerran for N Elliott (60)

Scorers: C Cunning 1-3; M Smith 1-00; K Molloy 0-2 (1f); D Smith 0-2 (1f); N Elliott 0-1; E Gillan 0-1

Davitts: Aaron Slane; Conor Toner, Paul McKinney, Nathan Maginn; Michael Rowntree, Niall McParland, Jack Scalley; Seamus McNeill, Anthony Rowntree; Gerard Slane, Padraig McParland, James Lindsey; Tony McGrattan, Daniel Wallace, Conor O’ Sullivan

Subs:  Cristoir Brown for M Rowntree (HT); Deaglan Mooney for J Lindsey (41); Marcus Toner for A Rowntree (50); Christopher Rafferty for O’Sullivan (58)

Scorers: P McParland 0-2; S O’Neill 0-1; CJ Sullivan 0-1

Referee: Darren McKeown (St Galls)

Commanding Con Magee’s canter to Intermediate Final

OB Construction Intermediate Football Championship Semi-Final

Saturday 24th September

Report by Niall Kelly 

Con Magee’s Glenravel 1-16    Padraig Sarsfields 0-10

Glenravel clinched their place in this year’s Intermediate showpiece in swashbuckling style against a talented Sarsfields outfit. The men from the ‘tenth glen’ put in a polished and efficient performance which saw them over the line with a comfortable nine points to spare. The blend of youthful exuberance and composure in the more seasoned performers within their ranks proved to be too much for a Sarsfields side who struggled to replicate the scintillating form from their previous emphatic victory over neighbours St Paul’s.

Con Magees midfielder Calum Higgins in action against Sarsfield’s M Johnston

There can be little doubt that the Con Magee’s victory was forged in their engine room. Their domination of the midfield third proved to be the foundation for their success as they commandeered countless breaking balls to launch attacks. There was a precision and cutting edge to their play which was often finished with ruthless accuracy.

The Paddies didn’t have many answers to their opponents in the first half who led by five at the interval, but they grew into the game in the early exchanges of the second period and had reduced the margin to three points. The introductions of Darragh McGuinness and Conor Glenholmes at half time gave them more of an impetus in offence. However, their hopes of reaching the final were all but extinguished minutes later when man of the match Ryan McQuillan grabbed the only major of the game for the hosts and another resurgence from the Shaw’s Road men failed to materialise.

Sarsfield’s Niall McKenna passed the ball to team mate Caolan McKernan

It was Glenravel who started brightest, and their calculated and patient approach paid dividends as they established a three-point lead by the tenth minute. Dangerman Eamon Fyfe split the posts twice with Ryan McQuillan on target from range. The trusty boot of Kevin McKernan responded for the men in green and black but the Con Magee’s superiority in midfield ensured they maintained their stranglehold on the game. This was perfectly illustrated when Eoin Hynds rose highest to snatch a Sarsfield’s kick out and offloaded to Callum Higgins who steered his effort perfectly between the posts.

Again, McKernan replied from the placed ball but Glenravel continued to seamlessly transition through the gears and that man McQuillan was proving to be an absolute handful. The fleetfooted number 15 sailed over a superb effort after dancing his way through the Paddies’ rearguard, feinting this way and that. Aidan O’Donnell, Eoin Hynds and David Higgins further bolstered the Glenravel lead before Sarsfields grabbed their first score from play. Philip McPeake who had grafted tirelessly for his side put the finishing touches on a slick and flowing attack, caressing his effort over the bar perfectly from a seemingly impossible angle.

McQuillan was at the forefront again for Glenravel as he fisted over from close range before Gary Lennon raised the white flag from a close-range free on the stroke of half time with the North Antrim side five points to the good.

Glenravel’s Eoin Hynds goes highest to win the ball

Colin Toal’s charges came storming out of the traps in the second period with a few changes in personnel and had their opponents camped in their own half for the opening ten minutes. Daniel McQuillan put in a vital tackle to thwart a possible goal chance for the Belfast men but soon after Kevin McKernan finished a blistering attack of which half-time substitutes Conor Glenholmes and Darragh McGuinness were at the forefront. Liam Mitchell then blasted over from range and suddenly it looked game-on as the reinvigorated Paddies looked menacing.

However, that man McQuillan had other ideas. His quick threaded pass to Eamon Fyfe unlocked the Sarsfield’s defence and when Fyfe returned the favour, McQuillan bided his time and remained composed as he nonchalantly despatched to the net to trigger a deafening roar from the Glenravel travelling faithful.

McQuillan’s major had a galvanising effect on his side and they very nearly had a second minutes later. Aidan O’Donnell’s thundering close-range effort agonisingly skimmed the wrong side of the cross-bar as he had to suffice with a point. Momentum was very much back in favour of the men in green and white though and they were in clinical form picking off a further three scores in as many minutes with Daniel McQuillan, Callum Higgins on target and McQuillan added to his ever-growing tally.

Both full forwards then exchanged points from frees with Fyfe and Lennon (2) on target for their sides. With the game approaching it’s final chapter, Sarsfield’s deployed talisman Niall McKenna into the full forward line with the hopes that his fielding ability would help unlock the stubborn defence of Glenravel. High balls began to pepper their goal and McKenna’s positional change offered Sarsfield’s a focal point in attack. Nevertheless, the Con Magee’s defence stood resolute with the introduction of the evergreen Martin McCarry who dropped into defence to foil the Paddies’ plan of aerial bombardment.

Sarsfield’s Daniel McKernan

Conor Glenholmes sent over a towering effort from range as they continued to resiliently chase the game. Eamon Fyfe and Callum Higgins responded potently though as they continued to assert their authority on proceedings in the late stages. There was just enough time for Niall McKenna to get his name on the scoresheet with a lofted effort from range before Brendan Toland sounded his final whistle.

Sarsfields will no doubt rue their slow start. They looked dangerous in a few stages of the game but couldn’t sustain a prolonged enough period of dominance to make it count on the scoreboard. They just didn’t seem to be able to get their key men involved as often as they’d have liked and failed to build upon the eye-catching, fluent football they had played in earlier rounds.

Glenravel full forward Eamon Fyfe in action against Sarsfields C McCurry

Glenravel will await the winners of Davitts and Dunloy with great anticipation with both posing a potential stiff test.  They have consolidated themselves as a solid Division Two outfit and a definite threat for the Intermediate Title in recent years. Their successful Under 20 team from last year has proved to be their lynchpin moving forward. If they can maintain their current vein of form, they are a dangerous proposition for any team and will certainly go into the final rich in confidence and belief. Could this be their year?


Con Magee’s Glenravel:

J McEvoy; C Henry, E McCusker, C Carey; S Higgins, N Swann, D McQuillan (0-01;) C Higgins (0-03,) D Higgins (0-01;) A O’Donnell (0-02,) E Hynds (0-01,) C McNeill; D Traynor, E Fyfe (0-04,) R McQuillan (1-04)


M Brady; C McCurry, M McPolin, M Johnston; P McPeake (0-01,) D McKernan, C McKernan; C Murray, N McKenna (0-01;) K Floyd, K McKernan (0-04,) N McAlea; T Skillen, G Lennon (0-02,) B Healy

Substitute scorers:

C Glenholmes (0-01) L Mitchell (0-01)

Goals the difference as Davitt’s advance to the semis

OB Construction IFC Quarter-Final

St. Joseph’s Glenavy 0.12 Michael Davitt’s 2.09

Davitt’s finished runners up in Group 3 of the qualifiers to Glenravel but served notice that they still have Intermediate Championship success firmly in their sites with a good win over Group 2 winners, St. Joseph’s Glenavy at Chapel Hill on Saturday.

A goal in the first half from Tony McGrattan and another from Marcus Toner in the second proved the difference in the end as Sean Murray’s side take their place in the semi-finals

The game was played before a large crowd, on a beautiful Saturday afternoon with conditions conducive to good football. The view looking over Lough Neagh was splendid and both teams deserve great credit for the fare they served up for their supporters.

Davitt’s started in whirlwind fashion with two excellent points from Deaglan Mooney and James Lyndsay before Ciaran Loney popped up with an excellent point from an acute angle to get the home side off the mark.

Paddy Gallagher showed all his class when he finished a forty yard solo run with a point to bring his side level but Padraig McPartland restored his side’s advantage with a good point at the other end.

The visitors added a point from Deaglan Mooney that might have been a goal. A long ball was played in from midfield and was collected by Marcus Toner, who had the goal at his mercy but Lorcan Murphy, the home keeper made an excellent blocking save.

The defence was slow to react however and Tony McGrattan was quickest into action as he followed up to fire to the net and put his side in a strong position as he moved them five points ahead.

St. Joseph’s began to settle and with the half back line forming a wall across the pitch, Davitt’s were finding it difficult to set up attacks. The reliable Fergal Henry started the fight back with a long distance pointed free before Paddy Gallagher stole forward for an excellent point.

Not to be out done Fergal Henry split the posts and when Paddy Gallagher added his third of the day to leave just a point between the sides the Glenavy comeback was gathering momentum.

Davitt’s had the last say of the opening half however and Marcus Toner opened the gap to two just before the break to leave the score 0-06 to 1-05 in favour of the Belfast men and all still to play for in the second half.

The city side started the second half as they had finished the first with a pointed ‘45’ from their keeper Aaron Slane. The hard working Ciaran Loney pulled a point back for Glenavy before Padraig McPartland extended the Davitt’s lead with a pointed free to leave three between the sides.

St. Joseph’s were fighting hard to get back into contention and Ciaran Loney replied for the hill side but once again McPartland replied from a free with Fergal Henry responding from a well-executed free from an acute angle.

Davitt’s continued to carry the greater threat and once again, like in the first half they got a fortunate break of the ball with Marcus Toner finishing to the net to restore their five point advantage.

Back came the home side with two points from Fergal Henry to close the gap to three but Padraig McPartland kept the Davitt’s noses in front with a point at the other end. The last score fell to Fergal Henry who raised the white flag for the last score of the game but it was too little, too late and it is the men from the Lower Falls who move forward to the semi-final.

Credit to both sides for serving up an excellent game on such a hot day. With little to separate the sides it was Davitt’s ability to grab goals when the opportunity arose that was the difference in the end.

 St.Joseph’s: 1 Lorcan Murphy; 2 Timmy Honeyford; 3 Liam Henry; 4 Stephen Doone; 5 Darragh Doherty; 6 Patrick Gallagher; 7 Matthew Lawlor (Conor Hamill); 8 Oisin Hamill (Fergal Green); 9 Fiontain O’Boyle; 10 Pearse O’Neill; 10 Ciaran Loney; 11 Anthony Gallagher (Michael McCourt);12  Fergus Cunningham (Darragh Armstrong); 13 Fergal Henry; 14 Charles Gallagher.

Subs: Fergal Green; Thomas Gallagher; Michael Fox; Patrick Fox; Darragh Armstrong; Ben McCambridge; Niall McLaughlin; Chris Grant; Michael McCourt; Conor Hamill; David Nelson.

Davitt’s: 1 Aaron Slane; 2 Michael Rowntree; 3 Paul McKinney; 4 Nathan Maginn; 5 Gerard Slane;  6 Niall McPartland; 7 Jack Scolly; 8 C. J. Sullivan; 9 Anthony Rowntree; 10 Deaglan Mooney; 11 Padraig McPartland; 12 James Lyndsay; 13 CaomhIn Slane; 14 Tony McGrattan; 15 Marcus Toner;

Subs; Antoin McLaughlin;Christopher Rafferty; Christopher Brown; Conor Toner.

Referee: Conall Roberts (St. John’s)