Quick Starting Mals hold on for victory

                            Graham Tarmac JFC (Group Two) Round One

St Malachy’s 1-09 St Agnes 1-08

A swift exit from the start traps and a dominant first quarter proved the key to success as St Malachy’s gained a first round win in the junior football championship. That early burst proved just enough to resist the late challenge of St Agnes in a hugely entertaining game on Friday evening.

The men from the Markets started the game with confidence following a win over the Aggies in the latter stages of the league and an early goal after only a couple of minutes saw Jock McGivern send ‘Wee Hyper McKavanagh in to find the net.

A super start to proceedings that ensured confidence prevailed and with the Aggies defence under extreme pressure St Malachy’s were in a dominant mode.

Connors, Millar, Vernon, Carlisle, and a superb long range finish from corner back Colly Connolly ensured a 1-05 to 0-00 lead just at the end of the opening quarter.

St Agnes were on the ropes from the outset and took a time to get it together but a couple of points seemed to settle them and when the Mals were reduced to 14 the tide began to turn.

 They added another few scores as St Malachy’s struggled to get going again  and only a couple of points separated the sides as the half came to a close with a late Jack Mc Givern point ensuring a 1-06 to 0-06 lead at the end of the period.

Having been reduced in number the Mal’s looked out of sorts in the opening period of the second half in which the Aggies enjoyed a lot of possession.

In the event the St Malachy’s rear guard stood tall and Vernon added a point to their tally before Mc Givern followed suit defying a most acute angle and they looked to have settled to the task on hand.

St. Agnes then were reduced to 14 following a second yellow card and Charlie Vernon popped the resultant free between the posts to move the Market’s men five points ahead and looking good.

The complexion of the tie changed again shortly after when St. Malachy’s were reduced further in number and with ten minutes on the clock St Agnes were back in there with a shout.

It was backs to the wall time for the Mal’s as St Agnes threw everything at them in the closing stages and only the quick reaction of the Mal’s net minder Turley who got a hand to the ball to prevent it crossing his line as the last frantic minutes progressed.

Further pressure on St Malachy’s men in the last frantic minutes when they were reduced further when a defender received a black card.

In the event and despite numerical advantage St Agnes were unable to grab a late point to ensure a share of the spoils as St. Malachy’s held on for a one point win.

The South Belfast men travel to McQuillan’s Ballycastle in the next round with the management hoping to keep momentum going.

St Malachy’s: Turley, C Connolly (0-01), Carson, Corr, Quinn, M Connolly, Hanna, Vernon (0-03), Maneely, Connors (0-01), Mc Givern (0-02), Millar (0-01), Mc Kavanagh (1-00), Carlisle (0-01)


Brennan for Dobbin

Mc Bride for Millar

Lynch for Maneely

O’ Neill for Corr

Pearses win but were pushed all the way

Graham Tarmac Junior Football Championship

 Wolfe Tones 1-8 – Pearses 3-7

Pearses arrived at the Valley on Friday evening as firm favourites against Greencastle Wolfe Tones having hammered them a number of times over the previous 2 years. Things however didn’t go according to plan as Wolfe Tones raced into a 4 point lead thanks to an early point from Martin Connor and 3 on the bounce from Gerard McDonnell. It took until the 19th before the visitors registered their first score through a hotly disputed penalty.

Liam Campbell stepped up and sent keeper Danny McIvor the wrong way to leave the score Wolfe Tones 0-4 Pearses 1-0. The visitors then scored 2 points in quick succession in the 25th and 26th minutes before that man McDonnell kicked a great score with the outside of his right boot to leave the half time score Wolfe Tones 0-5 – Pearses 1-2.

Those in attendance expected Pearses to come out firing on all cylinders after the break but their progress was hindered by an excellent point from Cillian Comiskey from 40 metres in the 4th minute. Pearses then scored twice in the 6th and 7th minutes to take a slender 1 point lead that lasted for all of 2 minutes before a Wolfe Tones goal converted expertly by the big man from Banagher, Declan O’Neill.

This was followed by a quick fire point from the excellent Jack Parke following an audacious back heel from man of the match Tomás Austin to Parke who drove a rising shot just over the bar. This was followed by a breakaway goal in the 16th minute from Liam Campbell who slipped his marker Declan Moloney on the forty before winning the race to goal to plant the ball in the top right hand corner of the Tones net.

Campbell followed this up with 2 points in the 18th and 19th minutes to put some daylight between the teams as Pearses opened up a 2 point gap. Gerard McDonnell then hit a point for the Tones in the 20th minute before 3 wides in a row in the 21st, 24th and 27th minutes left spectators thinking that it was not going to be Wolfe Tones day.

Following an unfortunate slip by corner back Fergal McQuillan Pearses scored their third goal of the evening in the 29th minute. This was followed by a point deep into injury time and allowed them to run out 5 point winners. Despite this loss it represents huge progress by the reborn Wolfe Tones who lost out at this stage to the same opposition last year by almost 20 points.

Pearses showed their experience over the final 5 minutes to get the win having only lead by 1 in the 28th minute of the second half when Gerard McDonnell hit the post. A point at this stage would have levelled the game and who know what would have happened.

Wolfe Tones to a man were outstanding and were hugely disappointed to lose, a massive reflection on the steps they have taken over the previous 2 years. If they continue to improve at this rate, who knows where that will lead to. Both teams have their next round of games on Friday 12th August and on this showing have much to look forward to.

Wolfe Tones – Danny McIvor, Fergal McQuillan, Declan Moloney, Joe Carmichael, Neil Brannigan, Connor Burrows (Captain), Kieran Moloney, Stephen McKee, Eoin McKee, Martin Connor (0-1), Cillian Comiskey (0-1), Jack Parke (0-1), Gerard McDonnell (0-5), Declan O’Neill (1-0), Tomás Austin. Subs. Matt McCann, Ciaran Higgins, Jamie Carberry, Kevin McCallion, Odhrán Hasson for Tomás Austin, 50 minutes, Ciaran Lavelle, Caolan McBrien.

Pearses scorers: Liam Campbell 3-2, James Begley 0-2, Naoise O’Cuilin 0-1, Philip Murray 0-1, Ciaran McCavana 0-1

Pearses: Niall Largey,Cormac Gillespie,Andrew Goodall, Ciaran McCavana, James Begley, Aodhan McCavana, Jack McKeown, James Smyth, Barry Harpur, Piaras Donaghy, Philip Murray, Conal Hughes, Naoise O’Collin, Liam Deegan-Campbell, Sean Moreland,

Referee: Richie Leahy (Niamh Comhghall)

Strong Second Half Secures Victory for O’Donnell’s

Graham Tarmac Junior Football Championship – Group 1

Friday 29th July

Report by Niall Kelly 

Éire Óg 1-08  Cardinal O’Donnells 2-09

With the scores deadlocked at half time, O’Donnell’s boss Joe Herald must’ve imparted some words of wisdom to his side as they took the impetus in the second period securing the all-important two points in this opening group game. It was a war of attrition at times with both teams struggling to penetrate and link up effectively in the greasy conditions but a greater composure in front of the posts would pay dividends for the visitors.

With ODs coming into proceedings as the favourites, Éire Óg opted to deploy a sweeper system and their low block ensured a frustrating first half for the Whiterock men. Indeed, chances were few and far between in the opening exchanges but on the fifth minute Fergal McNerney got the scoreboard going after demonstrating his superb aerial ability to fist over a high ball in from centre forward Cailean Walsh.

A matter of minutes later and O’Donnells corner forward Mark Close came agonisingly ‘Close’ himself to getting the first green flag of the evening which again stemmed from another high ball in. Close’s snapshot was expertly saved by Éire Óg shot stopper Brendan Shannon.

This seemed to stir the home side into life as their counter attacks using their wide players gave them some joy. James Toal caressed a beautiful effort over from range before tenacious work from Conor Ellis presented the opportunity for Niall Ward to split the sticks to take the lead on the twelfth minute.

The lead was short lived however as the Éire Óg defence continued to struggled with O’Donnell’s high ball delivery. Cailean Walsh was once again the provider of this. His lofted ball into the mixer caused panic and yet again McNerney was most alert to prod the ball into the back of the net much to the delight of the loyal travelling support.

Scores from placed balls were then exchanged by the trusted boots of James Toal and Cailean Walsh before it was Éire Óg’s turn to attain the ascendancy. As the first half clock ticked down to completion, the home side’s danger-man Conor McKenna came to the fore hitting two superb efforts from play. Éire Óg had the smell of blood in their nostrils and with two minutes to spare before the break, they were denied a goal of their own thanks to two cracking saves from OD’s shot stopping supremo Conor Murphy. Yet again though, McKenna was alert to the loose ball from Murphy’s heroics and pointed from close range.

There was just enough time for Cailean Walsh to send over his second free of the evening as the teams went into the break with nothing to separate them with the scores 0-06 to 1-03 at the short whistle.

O’Donnell’s emerged a different side in the second half. Improved ball retention, composure and a much more patient approach in their attacks would provide the platform for victory. Carrying the ball and driving at the Éire Óg defence paid off as the Whiterock men won a spate of frees in the scoring zone which were ably despatched by Ciaran McKissock (2) and Walsh yet again.

James Toal responded with a free of his own on the 42nd minute to cut the gap to two points before tenacious and persistent work from O’Donnell’s skipper Conor Walsh reinstated the three point gap. Tackles were now flying in as the intensity and passion of Championship was on display. Points were exchanged once more in the heat of battle from Kevin Clarke and a long range effort from substitute Padraig McKissock.

Éire Óg continued to battle and searched tirelessly for avenues to penetrate the OD’s defence but to no avail and five minutes from time, the death knell sounded for them. Fergal McNerney was brought down in the box and full forward Richard McAvoy made no mistake in finishing coolly as his effort rippled the bottom left of the net. Substitute John Ferran then increased the gap to seven with the game approaching added time and the deficit proved to be unassailable for the hosts.

To their credit, as they had done all game, Éire Óg continued to battle and threw men into the attack in the hope of getting a goal to make things nervy. With the last kick of the game, their gung-ho approach came to fruition as Niall Ward slotted home from the penalty spot but it was to prove too little too late.

Credit to both teams for a good, honest Championship duel. It wasn’t pretty at times but for O’Donnells, it didn’t need to be. Championship matches are there for winning and they will no doubt be buoyed by this result in advance for the welcoming of Wolfetones to McCrory Park. Éire Óg will also gain more confidence going into their next outing against Pearses. They put in a spirited and determined performance, frustrating O’Donnells for much of the sixty minutes. A similar performance next time may well reap better rewards.

Éire Óg: B Shannon; P Loughran, K Ryan, J Devine; C Rice, R Donnelly, C Ellis; S McNamee, S Mullan; C McKenna (0-03,) J Toal (0-03,) S Erskine; K Clarke (0-01,) D Edgar, N Ward (1-01)

O’Donnell’s: C Murphy; C Doherty, J O’Donnell, J McKenna; G McKernan, S Thompson, K Kennedy; S Seawright, C Walsh (0-01;) C McKissock (0-02,) C Walsh (0-03,) F McNerney (1-01;) D Walsh, R McAvoy (1-00,) M Close

Laochra Loch Lao had too much for understrenght Ballycastle

Graham Tarmac JFC – Group 2

Laochra Loch Lao 6-10 Ballycastle 0-6

Five goals from corner forward Padraig O’Prey steered Laochra Loch Lao to an emphatic victory over Ballycastle in Group 2 of the Junior Football Championship on Friday evening at Colaiste Feirste. O’Prey was in sensational form against a Ballycastle team who battled bravely against the odds, but with practically a brand new team on show, and no league football behind them, were always up against it.

Padraig O’Prey (15) who scored five of his team’s six goals in Laochra Loch Lao’s win over Ballycastle

Roibeard Mac Siacis  got Laochra off to the perfect start when he goaled in the fourth mimute and when Padraig O’Prey came back with two points, followed by a goal, they were in the driving seat. Conor Kelly and Fergus McBride pulled a couple back for Ballycastle but the two more from O’Prey kept the gap at six.  O’Prey fired in his team’s second goal to put them 2-5 to 0-4 ahead at the interval.

The second half was just three minutes old when O’Prey compeled his hat trick, and with Conor McGucken and Padraig O’Tiarnaigh (2)  adding points there was no way back for the Town. O’Prey would strike for two more goals between then and the end, but two their credit Ballycastle battled to the bitter end and were rewarded with two late points from Callum Campbell and Eoin Boylan.

Con Magee’s were JFC winners in 1937

A few weeks ago we launched a search to record all the junior football championship winners in Antrim in order to compose a record document for future reference. The response from the public has been great and we have received a substantial number of those winners along with photographs, photographs of winning medals and other items connected to those teams.

Con Magee’s Glenravel won the JFC in 1937 and today we publish a photograph from 1933 which included most of the men who took part in that success.

Con Magees Glenravel first won the Junior Football Championship in 1937, their first county honours.
This team, photographed with the South West League trophy in 1933 featured the majority of the players who collected the JFC title four years later.
Glenravel 1933
Back, L-R, Alex McKeown, John McNaughton, Charlie Scullion, David (Ray) McIlwaine.
Middle row – Paddy Magee, Jim McCann, Charlie Ried, Dan Kearney, David mcCann, Paddy Higgins.
Front, L-R, Frank mclaughlin, Bobby Mcneill, Paddy Carey, Philip Reid, Danny McCann, Jim McLaughlin, Johnny McNeill.

More recently our search has come to a halt and we are struggling to complete that list but the search continues and we hope that today’s article will serve as a reminder to those who may be able to assist us in the completion of the document

We are still missing the winners from 1999, 97, 94, 93, 89, 88, 86, 85, 83, 82, 81, 80, 77, 73, 68, 66, 65, 59, 56, 55, 54, 1940 to1952.

If you have information and photographs on any of the winning teams from the above years send them to:

ptrckmclwn@yahoo.co.uk or to john.mcilwaine@yahoo.co.uk