Dunloy firmly back in the hunt

OB Construction Antrim IFC Group 2

Sarsfield’s 0-9 Dunloy 0-11

Pics: Bernie McAllister

Cuchullain’s Dunloy travelled to the Bear Pit on Sunday knowing that nothing other than a win would do if they were to maintain their qualification ambitions and win they did.

The visitors produced a gusty second half comeback to keep their Intermediate Championship ambitions alive and qualification from Group 2 will now be decided on the final round of games in a fortnight’s time

The home side led by three at the break and again 11 minutes into the second half, but Sarsfield’s were unable to shake off the challenge of a determined Dunloy who finished on top.

Sarsfield’s, playing against the breeze in the first half, wasted no time in getting off the mark when Gary Lennon fired over the bar with just 16 seconds on the clock.

The hosts had an opportunity for an early goal but Mícéal Ferris was off target, but they doubled their lead when Rian McShane fisted over the bar moments later.

Dunloy opened their account on six minutes when a delightful punt pass from Karl Fitzpatrick set up Christopher McMahon for a well-taken point.

Lennon and Fitzpatrick then exchanged frees before Dunloy had their first goal chance with Keelan Molloy firing wide after Dunloy intercepted Michael Brady’s short kick-out.

Sarsfield’s were on top at this stage but wasted a number of opportunities before Niall McKenna got them back on track with a converted free on 24 minutes while Thomas Skillen landed a great point to move his side 0-5 to 0-2 ahead.

Molloy and McKenna exchanged frees to leave Sarsfield’s 0-6 to 0-3 ahead at the half-time interval.

Dunloy made a bright start to the second half and drew level within five minutes as Molloy gotr them on their way and Seaan Elliott and McMahon hit two points in quick succession to tie the game at 0-6 each.

Lennon hit back with a point for the Paddies and an inspirational point from McKenna moved the home side two clear once more and they appeared to again be getting on top.

The home side then had appeals for a penalty turned down when Daniel McKernan was brought downbut referee Ray Matthews was well-placed to make the call and Lennon tapped over the resulting free as Sarsfield’s moved 0-9 to 0-6 ahead on 41 minutes.

The home side looked to be in a strong position at this stage but they failed to score in the final quarter and Dunloy closed the gap back to a single point before the water break with Molloy (free) and McMahon on target.

The North Antrim side finished strongly with a great score from Elliott and they took the lead minutes later with Molloy finishing off a brilliant attack involving Eoin O’Neill and substitute Declan Smyth.

Sarsfield’s could not find a response and a late free from Molloy sealed the victory as and it remains all to play for ahead of the final round of games on Sunday, October 3.

Dunloy visit Glenavy and St Paul’s host Naomh Padraig with both teams needing handsome wins to overhaul Sarsfield’s at the top of Group Two and it could be down to the calculator to decide who advances to the semi-finals.

SARSFIELD’S: M Brady; P McPeake, M McPolin, M Johnston; E Mervyn, D McKernan, L Mitchel; C Murray, N McKenna (0-2, 0-1f); R McShane (0-1), G Lennon (0-5, 0-3fs), M Ferris; T Skillen (0-1), N McAlea, K Floyd.

Subs: C Laverty for Skillen (20), K Carson for McAlea (25), S Walsh for Floyd (50), E Quinn for McPolin (56), C Glenholmes for Mervyn (56).

DUNLOY: C McGilligan; C McCloskey, C Kinsella, E McFerran; O Quinn, A Crawford, A McGrath; R McGarry, R McFarline; E O’Neill, K Fitzpatrick (0-1, 0-1f), S Elliott (0-2); C McMahon (0-3), K Molloy (0-5, 0-3fs), S Dooey.

Subs: K McQuillan for McFarline (HT), D Smyth for Quinn (35), A Smyth for Dooey (37).

REFEREE: R Matthews (Rossa).

Tir na nÓg get back to winning ways

Tir na nOg bounced back from their recent defeat to All Saints in the OB Construction Intermediate Football Championship to record a four point victory over Con Magees, Glenravel in what was a dour hour’s football.

Ferocious defensive tackling in the opening half from the Randalstown men choked any creativity Glenravel could muster and that combined with some poor ball into the forward line led eventually to the home team’s downfall. 
Tir na nOg went ahead in the opening minute from big midfielder Darren McCormick and that was a lead they would hold onto the entire game. After seven minutes, Randalstown’s full back Ciaran McGrellis found himself far from home when he fisted a point from ten yards out and Ciaran Dobbin increased the visitor’s lead to three with a point on eleven minutes. A minute later Eoin Hynds put over the best score of the game when under intense pressure and off balance his trusty left footed effort sailed over the green spot from forty five yards.

Sean Duffin who scored Tir na nÓg’s goal

Eamon Fyfe followed up a minute later to reduce the gap to a minimum before Sean Duffin, who had an impressive performance throughout the hour, restored a two point lead for the Whitehill men. Eamon Fyfe was being well marshalled by the intense Randalstown tackling but still managed to pop over a score just after the water break but Duffin and Aaron McNeilly stretched Randalstown’s lead to three points on a 0-06 to 0-03  score line.

Aiden O’Donnell and Daragh Fagan traded points before the game’s decisive score off the boot of Sean Duffin who found the net one minute before half time and suddenly Tir na nOg had a six point lead. Callum Higgins and Aiden O’Donnell put over a couple of points between which Randalstown midfielder Darren McCormick pointed, all of which took us to half time with the visitors leading 1-08 to 0-06. 

Eamon Fyfe who top scored for Glenravel

Brothers Eamon and Johnny Fyfe got Glenravel off to a good start in the second half with points on three and six minutes but Randalstown bounced back with three unanswered points in the next five minutes to restore their six point lead with only fifteen minutes remaining. They focussed from there to the end of the game in a defensive strategy with one further point from Sean Duffin the only score they recorded in that fifteen minute period. Eamon Fyfe pointed two nice frees and Aiden O’Donnell got the final score of the game to leave four between them in the end. 
In truth the result was more important than the means in this game which did little to advertise the free flowing game that Gaelic football can be. In the end, Tir na nOg had a little more experience and used that to good effect. Both teams now get a well deserved break before embarking on the final two games late September in this round robin league. 

St Paul’s championship race back on track

OB Construction IFC Round3

Glenavy 2-4 St Paul’s 1-10

After losing their opening game to neighbours Sarsfields St Paul’s faced an uphill struggle to make the knock-out stages and when they trailed Dunloy by seven points in last week’s game the mountain appeared to be getting even steeper. However a fantastic fight back by the Shaw’s Road men saw them come away from Dunloy with both points in the bag and on Friday evening they took another step towards the play offs with a three point win over Glenavy at Chapel Hill.

It was the home team who started the stronger in this game and despite the fact that Fergal Henry rattled a shot off the St Paul’s crossbar they came back with a point from the same player from a 45 to take the lead.

St Paul drew level when Liam McLarnon point but Glenavy went in front again when Rory Foster fired in a goal and Johnny Philips put them four clear as the went to the water break with a 1-2 to 0-2 lead.

St Paul’s responded well and points from Aaron Traynor and Colm McLarnon cut the gap back to a point and when Conal Duffy broke through for a goal they were 1-4 to 1-2 in front at the break.

St Paul’s increased their lead after half time with points from Liam Larnon, Aaron Duffy and Colm McLarnon to go five clear, but when Glenavy’s Mal Doherty scored his team’s second goal Glenavy were right back in the game. An exchange of point by Conor Hughes for the visitors and Mattew Lawlor for Glenavy left two between the sides and when Glenavy’s Fergal Henry pointed the gap was down to the minimum.

It looked like anyone’s game at this stage but St Paul’s finished strongly and points from Liam and Colum McLarnon saw them home with a goal to spare.

McVeigh goal kills off Davitt’s challenge

OB Construction IFC Group 1

All Saints 1-13 Davitt’s 1-6

A goal from Rory McVeigh in the 28th minute of the second half finally killed off the challenge of a spirited Davitt’s in round 3 of the OB Construction IFC at Slemish Park tonight. The home side trailed to a goal from the penalty spot from Michael Connolly just after the first water break but hit five points on the bounce to lead by the minimum at the half way mark.

After the break All Saints dominated possession but it was not until the closing stages that they really pressed home their advantage with substitutes Oisin Connolly and Rory McVeigh combining for the goal that finally killed off the Davitt’s challenge.

Benny McDonald opened the scoring with a point for All Saints in the 5th minute with Gerard Slane replying for the visitors with six minutes on the clock. McDonald restored the home side’s lead with an outrageous point from near the side-line in the 12th minute and that was how it stood at the first water break.

On the restart Davitt’s went on the attack and were awarded a penalty after an indiscretion by the home defence and Michael Connolly stepped up to send Conor Brennan the wrong way from the spot kick and give his side the lead.

This score seemed to lift the visitors and Aaron Slane moved out of his goal keeping berth to take a short free and play a clever one-two before firing over a great point to move the Falls Road side two in front and when Marcus Toner followed with another the home side looked to be in a bit of trouble.

They began to settle however with Michael McCarry leading the way with two points from play and looked to have taken the lead when Benny McDonald rose to beat Aaron Slane to the touch from a dropping ball and finish to the net in the 23d minute but the score was ruled out for a Square-ball infringement.

That was in the 23d minute but it didn’t unsettle the Slemish Park side as they finished the half on the offensive with Michael McCarry pointing a couple of frees and the superb Brendan McDonnell adding another from play to leave them 0-7 to 1-3 ahead at half time.

On the restart it was the home side who opened where they had left off and Peter McReynolds looked to be in for an early goal but shot over from close range. Gerard Slane replied from a close range free to leave just one between the sides once more and it still looked anybody’s game at this stage.

The home side were beginning to dominate possession however with Michael McCarry leading the way with a couple of good points and Sean McVeigh hit another great point with the outside of his boot to move All Saints four in front by the 11th minute.

Davitt’s were still giving it everything to get themselves back into the game and Gerard Slane pointed another close range free to leave just a goal in it as we reached the second water break and it still looked far from over.

The visitors looked to be in for that goal as gthey produced their best attack of the second half but Conor Brennan and Sean McVeigh combined to deny Daniel Wallace and that was as near as the visitrs got.

All Saints finished the game strongly however and Rory McVeigh rose to palm an Oisin Connolly pass to the net with three minutes remaining and points from Michael McCarry and Oisin Connolly put matters out of reach of a Davitt’s side who had given it everything on the night.

This win puts All Saints top of the group with six points from three starts, two ahead of Tir na nOg who won at Glenravel tonight with the Con Magee’s also on four points from three starts but with a break in proceedings until the 19th September nothing has been decided yet.

All Saints: Conor Brennan, Matt Downey, Peter McNicholl, James McDonnell, Ciaran McGarry, Reece O Mullin, Joe Rafferty, Sean McVeigh (0.1), Emmet Killough, Conal Lemon, Michael McCarry (0.7 (0.2F), Peter McReynolds (0.1), Ronan McKillop, Conor Stewart, Brendan McDonnell (0.3)


Oisin Connolly (0.1) for James McDonnell 15 minutes

Rory McVeigh (1.0) for Ronan McKillop 40mins

Davitt’s: Aaron Slane, Conor Toner, Michael Rowntree, Aaron McLaughlin, Gerard Slane, Thomas McCourt, Chris Gardner, Paul McKinney, Anthony Rowntree, Anthony McGowan, Conor Sullivan, Marcus Toner, Caomhin Grant, Michael Connolly, Daniel Wallace. Subs: Niall McParland, Chris Rafferty

Referee: Colin Mallon

Late Fyfe goal seals it for Glenravel

OB Construction IFC Group 1

St Teresa’s 1-14 Glenravel 3-12.

A goal with the last kick of the game, three minutes into stoppage time, secured a victory for Glenravel that had looked unlikely in the earlier stages of this game. Trailing for most of the first half, Glenravel managed to secure three unanswered points in the final five minutes of the first half to nudge into the lead by a single point on the short whistle. It was a lead they would not relinquish to the end of the game though St Teresa’s came mighty close on a few occasions.

Eamon Fyfe sends a breaking ball to the St Teresa’s net deep in injury time to seal his team’s win.

A fairly even opening quarter saw both sides exchange points to leave the locals ahead by a solitary point 0-06 to 0-05. On resumption that lead was stretched to two points when Anton Taylor fired over. Eoin Hynds (Glenravel) and Niall McCann (St Teresa’s) pointed to keep the gap at two but then the visitors with three scores in the final five minutes nudged ahead for the first time and took us to half time leading by the narrowest of margins 0-09 to 0-08.

St Teresa’s centre back Sean Maguire breaks through the Con Magees defence to fire the ball to the net.

Four minutes into the second half, Con Magees struck a double blow when Declan Traynor goaled one minute after Eamon Fyfe pointed and suddenly there was five between them. John Mallon and Niall McCann reduced that lead to three with the former scoring from play and the later a lovely point from a forty five. Callum Higgins stretched Glenravel’s lead to four points ten minutes into the half but St Teresa’s were putting the Glenravel defence under severe pressure and the goal they had threatened, materialised just before the water break when Sean Maguire found the net. A couple of minutes later Anton Taylor levelled the game and St Teresa’s went to the water break on even terms and all to play for. However it was the visitors who were to strike next when a high ball into the square could have ended up anywhere, but unfortunately for the home team it ended up in their net, via the boot of Eamon Fyfe, and they found themselves a further point behind one minute later when Aiden O’Donnell put Glenravel back into a four point lead.

Declan Traynor celebrates after scoring his team’s opening goal.

If Glenravel finished the first half strongly it was now St Teresa’s turn to start chasing the game with time running out. In the final ten minutes they recorded three points from Darren McCann, Paul McGoldrick and John Mallon to again leave the minimum between them as the referee indicated three minutes of stoppage time. The home team chased that elusive score frantically but they knew their time was up when Fyfe grabbed his second goal with the final kick of the game to give his team a four points win. 

Both teams go at it again this coming Friday, Aug 20th with St Teresa’s making the short journey across the city to face Ardoyne and Glenravel take on League winners Tir na nOg, Randalstown. Both games throw in at 7:15pm