St. Pats cruise into third successive decider

The Devenish Antrim Junior Football Championship semi-final

St Pat’s Lisburn 1-22 O’Donnells 0-09

From Kevin Herron at Woodlands

Pics by Bert Trowlen

St Pat’s Lisburn booked their place in the final of the Devenish Junior Football Championship for the third year in succession after running out 1-22 to 0-09 winners over O’Donnells in Friday evening’s semi-final at Woodlands.

The sides were evenly matched in the opening quarter as Richard McAvoy kicked five of his sides opening scores and brought his side back on terms after Conor Dixon had edged Lisburn in front with the games only goal.

But O’Donnells went over 40 minutes without a score and struggled to deal with the threat from outstanding corner-forward Josh McMullan.

McMullan drew numerous fouls that were converted by Dixon and Francis McMeel as their side hit 17-points unanswered to comfortably progress to the decider in a few weeks time.

St Pat’s began the game as favourites though it was O’Donnells who made the brighter start under the Friday night lights at Woodlands.

Padraig McKissock opened the scoring with a delightful angled point, only for Ben McMullan to bear down on goal and pop the ball over in response.

O’Donnells twice restored their lead though points from Ciaran Ferran and McKissock (free) with Mark Chemek replying for St Pat’s in-between.

The games only goal arrived after eight minutes, Francis McMeel’s quickly taken free released Josh McMullan who advanced and fisted the ball across to Conor Dixon and Dixon steered the ball high into the roof of the net – past Conor Walsh in the O’Donnell’s goal to make it 1-02-0-03.

McKissock levelled the game with two placed balls in succession, but St Pat’s hit the front again through a goalkeeping error from Walsh who let Sionan O’Suilleabhan’s shot bounce over him and the bar.

Midfielder O’Suilleabhan doubled his tally after a neat interchange with Tighearnan O’Meaghllaigh, though Richard McAvoy converted his fourth free of the half after Patrick Meenan’s dangerous run was obstructed.

It would prove to be the Whiterock sides final score of the half as St Pat’s hit nine unanswered points to take a commanding lead at the break – though a defensive clearance from Sean Casey saved goalkeeper Peter O’Neill’s blushes as Richard McAvoy’s fisted pass evaded Jonathan O’Donnell unmarked in the area.

Josh McMullan switched the ball to Francis McMeel to double his sides lead once again, McMullan was causing the O’Donnells defence plenty of bother and the corner-forward popped over his first of the evening and was twice dragged to ground in the aftermath as Conor Dixon converted back to back frees.

McMeel converted his sides third successive placed ball as the Lisburn men were firmly in the driving seat.

Sionan O’Suilleabhan conjured up his third score of the half and scores from McMeel (free), Chemek and Dixon (free) had their side 1-13-0-06 to the good at the interval.

St Pat’s picked up were they left off before the break as Francis McMeel converted an early free. Ben McMullan almost claimed his sides second goal on the 39th minute, but his low shot fizzed across the face of Conor Walsh’s goal and narrowly wide.

Dixon and McMeel both converted further frees and three points  in a dominant three minute period from Josh McMullan, Ben McMullan saw their side’s lead expand (1-19-0-06).

O’Donnells kept plugging away as Ciaran McKissock’s neat pass found Ciaran Ferran whose low shot drew a save from Peter O’Neill.

O’Neill also had to deny Padraig McKissock a certain consolation goal, but in the scramble that ensued in the aftermath – referee Paul Burns awarded a free for a foul on the St Pat’s goalkeeper.

Half-forward Mark Chemek added his third point of the evening in the aftermath and it was his sides 16th unanswered score since O’Donnells last registered.

With less than a minute of time remaining the Whiterock men ended their scoreless spell through a fifth converted McAvoy free – with a sixth closely following.

Patrick Meenan made it three points unanswered for O’Donnells, though it was little more than scant consolation deep into added time.

St Pat’s regained their composure late on and points from Tighearnan O’Meaghllaigh and Mark Chemek saw their side run out 1-22-0-09 winners at the conclusion as Lisburn sealed a place in the final for the third year running.

Niall Wards side will be hoping that will be third time lucky on this occasion and will be able to sit back and watch from the side as Ardoyne take on Ballycastle in tomorrow’s second semi-final at Toome.

O’Donnell’s: C Walsh, J Rafferty, J Lavery, G Diamond, C McKissock, C Walsh, C O’Donnell, S Seawright, J Rafferty, M McKenna, P Meenan (0-01), R McAvoy, J O’Donnell, C Ferran, P McKissock (0-07, 0-06f) . Subs: J Walker for C O’Donnell (25); L Doyle for J Lavery (HT); P Golden for M McKenna (50); C O’Donnell for GD Doherty (53); C Donegan for J O’Donnell (54).

St Pat’s Lisburn: P O’Neill, S Casey, T Burns, J McMullan, B McMullan (0-03), T O’Meaghllaigh (0-01),E Fay, S O’Suilleabhan (0-03), M Torbitt, A McDonald, M Chemek (0-04), F McMeel (0-05, 0-04f), N Ward, J McMullan (0-02), C Dixon (1-04, 0-04f). Subs: T Fay for A McDonald (47); R Kennedy for J McMullan 55); C Burns for N Ward (59); P McMahon for E Fay (61).

Referee: Paul Burns (St Comgalls).  

St. Patrick’s Lisburn remain on course

The Devenish Junior Football Championship quarter-final

St. Patrick’s Lisburn 1-14 Na Piarsaigh 0-4

Having lost the last two Junior Football Championship finals, St. Patrick’s Lisburn remain on course for another attempt at the title following this convincing win over a battling but in the end outclassed Na Piarsaigh at St. Paul’s last night.

Two years ago the Lisburn men pushed a strong Sarsfields all the way in the decider at Hannastown and there was heartbreak again last year when Con Magee’s, Glenravel pipped them in the decider and the men from the North’s second city will be hoping its third time lucky this year.

They gained some consolation in 2018 when they gained promotion as runners up to Glenravel in division 3 but that campaign has not gone as planned with St. Patrick’s relegated after a season in which they failed to gain a win.

Closer scrutiny however would suggest that the Lisburn side have benefited from a year in division 2 and on the occasions I saw them in action they performed well. They led St. Mary’s Rasharkin until late in the game at Dreen before succumbing to a late rally and it was the same at Whitehill where they lost to Tir na nOg after leading at half time.

It was obvious last night that playing at a higher level has sharpened St. Patrick’s and they had too much knowhow for a Na Piarsaigh side who battled hard but had no answer to the team work and skill of their opponents.

They didn’t get it all their own way in the opening half against Na Piarsaigh with the North Belfast side defending stoutly and holding St. Patrick’s to six points with Conor Dixon leading the way with 0-3 and Ben McMullan, Josh McMullan and Mark Torbitt all weighing in with a point apiece.

After the break the game started to open up with St. Patrick’s combining well and the excellent Josh McMullan adding 1-1 to his first half tally while Francis McMeel made a telling contribution with 0-3 and the equally impressive Dixon bringing his total to 0-5 for the hour.

Ben McMullan brought his total to 0-4 as the Lisburn side started to turn the screw with Niall Ward and Tighearnan O’Meallaigh  getting their names on the scoresheet to put the icing on a very competent performance for the beaten finalists of the last two years.

St. Patrick’s: Peter O’Neill, Jack McMullan, Thomas Burns, Sean Casey, Shane McEvoy, Tighearnan O’Meallaigh, Sionan O’Suilleabhain, Mark Torbitt, Francis McMeel, Mark Chernek, Ben McMullan, Conor Dixon, Josh McMullan, Niall Ward Eoin Fay. Subs: Rory Kennedy, Colm Burns, Michael Brannan, Stephen Brannigan, Peter Casey, Dan Cartland, Sean Burns, Peter Ferris, Tomas Fay, Robert Murtagh.

St. Patrick’s scorers: Conor Dixon 0-5, Mark Torbitt 0-2, Ben McMullan 1-2,Ben McMullan 0-4,  Niall Ward 0-1, Tighearnan O’Meallaigh 0-1

Ardoyne see off St Comgall’s threat

The Devenish Antrim Junior Football Championship Quarter-final

Ardoyne 2-12-1-07 St Comgall’s

From Kevin Herron at Woodlands

A late five-minute scoring burst saw Ardoyne take their place in the semi-finals of the Devenish Antrim Junior Football Championship after seeing off the challenge of a tricky St Comgall’s side, 2-12-1-07 at Woodlands this evening.

The North Belfast side didn’t have things their own way and trailed to Dylan Murdock’s goal at the midway point.

Though a Cormac Mullan goal edged his side in front at the beginning of the second period and a second from Kevin Lynch in the final five minutes saw the Kickham’s over the line and into the last four.

It took six minutes for the opening score to arrive on Finaghy Road North and it was Ardoyne who poked their noses in front through an Aidan McNeill point.

The opening goal of the game arrived shortly afterwards and it was St Comgall’s who edged ahead, Oisin Crilly picked up possession and burst inside the six-yard box before finding Dylan Murdock who finished to the net past Patrick McCullough.

The sides traded points through a magnificent Brendan O’Neill effort from play and a converted James McCabe free.

Aidan McNeill (free) and Kevin Lynch hit back to back points to level proceedings with little under ten minutes to the break and Declan McCormick gave his side a 0-05-1-01 lead, splitting the posts after great work from Brendan O’Neill.

A converted Cormac Mullan free doubled his sides lead – but it was St Comgalls who ended the half on the front foot with three successive points to steal a narrow lead at the break.

Miles Devine converted a free to claim his sides first score in almost fifteen minutes, but it lifted the Antrim men as Paddy Quinn (jr) levelled and after a double dummy; Ruairi Griffin landed an incredible point to give his side a 1-04-0-06 lead at the break.

Ardoyne made the perfect beginning to the second-half, finding the net within two minutes of the games resumption.

Joe McNeill and Cormac Mullan interlinked to great affect, Gary McKernan picked up possession and threaded the ball through to Mullan whose low shot squeezed through the legs of Ben Johnston and into the St Comgall’s net to give Ardoyne a 1-06-1-04 lead.

St Comgalls responded immediately through Ruairi Griffin, but three unanswered points gave Paddy Murray’s men a four-point lead heading for home.

Aidan McNeill kicked his second point of the evening and turned provider for Conor McLaughlin. A second McLaughlin point gave the North Belfast men a 1-09-1-05 lead.

Though a converted Conor McAuley free kept the game firmly in the balance with little over five minutes remaining.

For Ardoyne, the next score would prove vital and it was they who would claim it – a fabulous attacking move down the right hand channel saw the ball played into the path of Kevin Lynch and Lynch steered the ball into the roof of the net – giving Ben Johnston no chance and ensuring his side were now 2-09-1-06 ahead.

Three successive points from Conor McLaughlin, Padraig Lynch and Aidan McNeill finished their sides scoring for the evening, Tom Patchett replied for St Comgall’s but Ardoyne’s late-show saw them run out comfortable winners at the end to advance to the semi-final of the junior football championship.

Ardoyne: P McCullough, N Bradley, SJ Rooney, P Marley, P Lynch (0-01), J McNeill, K Lynch (1-01), G McKernan, D McCormick (0-01), C Mullan (1-01, 0-01f), A McNeill (0-04, 0-01f), J Og McAuley, C McDowell, B O’Neill (0-01), C McLaughlin (0-03). Subs: K McCallan for J Og McAuley (HT); C Carter for P Marley (53); C Magee for C Mullan (61).

St Comgalls: B Johnston, D O’Hara, C McCabe, A McGaw, P O’Connor, P Quinn (jr), (0-01), R Griffin (0-02), L Higgins, D McNeill, R McAuley, J McCabe (0-01f), D Murdock (1-00), M Devine (0-01), O Crilly, J Brady. Subs: M McCabe for P O’Connor (HT); C McAuley (0-01f) for J Brady (40); T Patchett (0-01)for M Devine (58).

Referee: Gerard Dougan (Creggan)

Town take the victory to seal semi-final spot

Devenish Antrim Junior Football Championship

Ballycastle 0-10 St Agnes 0-6

Ballycastle 0-10 St Agnes 0-6
A dominant second half display saw Ballycastle book thier place in the semi-finals of the Antrim Junior Football Championship as they recorded a 0-10 to 0-6 victory over St Agnes at Hightown on Friday evening. Trailing by 0-4 to 02 at the break the men from the Town must have fancied their chances when they came out for the second half having restricted the Aggies to just four points after having played against a strong breeze in the first. They were level within three minutes of the restart and went ahead after five and though St Agnes fought back to level on 36 minutes they could only manage one more point from then until the end and Ballycastle added five more to safely secure a semi-final spot.

Playing into the pavilion end of the field, and against the wind, Ballycastle were first to score when left half forward Stephen McIlroy curled over a free from thirty metres but St Agnes hit back with two well taken points from Conor Turley and Cormac McBride in the 5th and 8th minutes. Midfielder Caolan McCaughan brought Ballycastle level on 12 minutes but it was to be their last score of the opening half and while the Aggies were far from proficient they did manage two more scores from Kevin Grieve in the 15th minute and Cormac McBride in the 29th to lead by 0-4 to 0-2 at half time.

When Ballycastle hit the first three points of the new half through Stephen McIlroy and Mark Higgins (2) it looked like plain sailing for the North Antrim men, but a good move by the Aggies saw centre half back Ryan Reilly swing over the equaliser in the 36th minute. Ballycastle responded well and when Marty Jamison found TT Butler clear in front of goal the big centre forward swung over the lead point from thirty metres, and when Stephen McIlroy added another two minutes later they were back in control. McIlroy then dropped a high ball into the Aggies ‘square’ from out on the sideline. At first it appeared to be dropping over the bar but it landed on top of the crossbar and bounced clear where Gabriel McTaggart collected and sent it over to give his team a three point cushion.
The odds were really stacked against the Falls Road men at this stage but to their credit they never gave up the fight and when midfielder Ronan Carroll swung over a free at the end of the third quarter they were just two points in arrears. Ballycastle went three clear again when Marty Jamison pointed from the left corner but that still left just one score in it, and it wasn’t until substitute Dairmuid McShane grabbed a great point to push the lead out to four that they were able to relax a little and see out the game.
BALLYCASTLE: Paud McAuley, Oisin Donnelly, Stephen McGill, Conor Donnelly, Thomas McIlroy, Ronan McCarry, Conor Boyd, Caolan McCaughan, Eamon Elliott, Rory Magee, Tiernan Butler, Stephen McIlroy, Gabriel Crawford, Marty Jamison, Mark Higgins.
Subs – Dairmuid McShane
ST AGNES: Colm Carroll, Patrick Carroll, Briondan McLarnon, Matt Carlin, Cormac Flanerry, Ryan Reilly, Conal Turley, Patrick Mulgrew, Ronan Carroll, Matthew Murdock, Cormac McBride, Conor Pelan, Conor Gilligan, Declan Crummey, Kevin Grieve.
Subs – Declan McLarnon, James Halleron,
Referee – Martin Quinn.

O’Ds crush Mitchell’s to advance to last four

The Devenish Antrim Junior Football Championship Quarter-final

O’Donnells 3-14-0-04 Mitchell’s

From Kevin Herron at Woodlands

O’Donnell’s took their time to settle into the contest – but eventually ran out convincing 3-14-0-04 winners over Mitchell’s in this evenings Devenish Antrim Junior Football Quarter-final clash at Woodlands.

Despite a sluggish start, a converted penalty from Patrick Meenan ensured his side led 1-06-0-03 at the break and 2-07 without reply; including a brace of goals from full-forward Jonathon O’Donnell saw the men from the Whiterock Road take their place in the semi-final.

Mitchell’s claimed the opening score of the contest inside the opening sixty seconds as Francis Dugan converted an early free.

It took O’Donnell’s 12 minutes to reply and level the game up,  but in that time they missed two clear cut opportunities for goal.

Paul Burns popped pass picked out Jonathon O’Donnell whose shot was blocked by Gabriel McIlhatton in the Mitchell’s goal.

McIlhatton had to be alert to turn away a shot from Burns in the 10th minute after a quick Caolian Loughran through ball.

O’Donnells eventually restored parity through a fine Steven Seawright point, following a great link-up with midfielder Padraig McCrory.

Patrick Meenan edged his side in front shortly afterwards and missed the opportunity to find the opening goal of the game just short of the midway point in the first-half.

The Mitchell’s defence were at sixes and sevens; struggling to clear their lines and Meenan let fly with a dipping shot that crashed off the post.

A converted free from Meenan extended his side’s lead and for the second time inside the opening twenty minutes – the woodwork came to the rescue of Mitchell’s.

Padraig McCrory played a neat one-two with Paul Burns and let fly with a shot that rattled the crossbar, the move was kept alive but Conor O’Donnell got his angles wrong.

A sensational Steven Seawright point was immediately responded to by a second converted free from Francis Dugan.

On 23 minutes O’Donnell’s were presented with a fantastic opportunity to claim the opening goal as Padraig McCrory was tripped on route to goal and referee Colin Mallon signalled for a spot-kick.

McCrory would be forced to depart through injury, but not before seeing Patrick Meenan confidently rifle the resulting penalty past Gabriel McIlhatton to give his side a  1-04-0-02 lead.

The large post would assist Meenan’s next score from play and the sides traded frees before the break through Dugan and Meenan as O’Donnell’s held a 1-06-0-03 lead at the interval.

Conor O’Donnell extended his sides lead upon the resumption with James Hetherington (free) replying for Mitchell’s.

Hetherington’s converted free would prove to be his sides final score of the evening as O’Donnell’s ran amok in the remaining 25-minutes – scoring 2-07 without response.

Jonathon O’Donnell slipped in Meenan who opted for a fisted point and within two minutes the Whiterock side had their second goal of the contest.

On 36 minutes Conor O’Donnell played an intelligent pass into the path of Ciaran McKissock who hung the ball up for Jonathon O’Donnell and the full-forward palmed it home to give his side a commanding 2-08-0-04 lead.

O’Donnell and Meenan (free) added further points before substitute Conall Donegan shot into the side netting.

A tremendous Patrick Meenan point was soon followed up by a second score of the evening from Conor O’Donnell and 13-minutes from time O’Donnell’s hit the net for the third time.

Conor O’Donnell combined with Donegan who spotted Jonathon O’Donnell free at the back post and the full-forward slotted the ball past McIlhatton to make it 3-12-0-04.

Meenan (free) would take his personal tally to 1-08 for the evening and the rout was complete through a Patrick Golden point in injury-time.

In the end it was one-way traffic at Woodlands and O’Donnells advanced to the last four with 19-points to spare.

O’Donnell’s: C Walsh, G Diarmuid, J Lavery, J Rafferty, N Garland, C Walsh, C O’Donnell (0-02), P McCrory, S Close, C McKissock, S Seawright (0-02), P Meenan (1-08, 1-04f), C Loughran, J O’Donnell (2-01), P Burns. Subs: L Doyle for P McCrory (26); C Donegan for C Loughran (35); P Golden (0-01) for P Burns (47); S Og McVeigh for J O’Donnell (48); R Rafferty for C O’Donnell (52); K McCloskey for C McKissock (52).

Mitchell’s: G McIlhatton, J Lunney, V Dugan, E Webb, M McGovern, J O’Connell, A McIlhatton, F Dugan (0-03f), J Hetherington (0-01f), S McIlhatton, P O’Hagan, C McIlhatton, A Mac Giolla Cathain, P Smyth, J Beales.

Referee: Colin Mallon (Aghagallon).