Ballycastle join Pearses in semi-finals


St Agnes 0-3 McQuillans 1-5.

McQuillan’s, Ballycastle jopined Pearse as qualifiers from Group 1 for a place in the semi-finals of the Junior Football Championship following this five point win over St. Agnes in Belfast last night.

On a night where conditions were poor, St. Agnes Junior Championship hopes ended, the football was sub-standard as both teams failed to produce their best football in the atrocious conditions.It was the visitors however who showed the greater accuracy and produced the scores that mattered.

At the first water break both side had failed to register a score and the second quarter wasn’t much better. The first score for the Aggies came from a free by Conor Gilligan and didn’t come until the 23rd minute. Mark Higgins from a free two minutes later equalised for the visitors and the home side shot two wides and dropped 4 short while McQuillan’s recorded five wides as players fought to master the difficult conditions leaving the half time score 0-1 each.

The second half continued in much the same vein with the home side dropping four short including a free kick whilst the visitors chalked up four wides. The Aggies cause wasn’t helped with the sending off on a second yellow for Briondan McLarnon.and the score at the 2nd half water break was 2-1 for McQuillan’s and it still looked anyone’s game. .Ballycastle gained the initiative during the closing quarter and edged further in front with two points with a solitary point reply from Ronan Carroll leaving the score 0-3 to 0-2 for the away side with  five minutes to go. The Aggies had a chance to go in front with a goal chance which went agonisingly wide. Two points from ‘The Town’ edged them further in front with ‘Slim’ McLean replying with the Aggies final score. A goal from Ronan McCarry sealed it for the North Antrim men as St. Agnes continued to waste chances and it is Ballycastle who go forward to the semi-final draw while Naomh Una will reflect on what might have been.

Scorers: St Agnes: Conor Gilligan 0-1(free),Ronan Carroll 0-1, Conor McLean 0-1.

McQuillans: Ronan McCarry 1-0,Mark Higgins 0-2(0-1free),Ciaran Butler 0-1,Conleth McCaughan 0-1,Stephen McGill.

Naomh Comgall’s almost there


Naomh Comhghall 3-19 Eire Og 1-03

The feeling going into last night’s GYMCO JFC game at Dunsilly was that a win for Naomh Comhghall would almost certainly give them a place in the JFC quarter-finals but O’Donnell’s amazing result in defeating Ardoyne means that the Antrim men are not quite there yet.

Naomh Comhghall went into last night’s game knowing that nothing less than a win would suffice if they were to maintain their qualification hopes and the team produced the performance and the result that they required with a comprehensive victory over visitors Eire Og.

The home side raced into a 1-3 to 0-0 score after ten minutes courtesy of scores from Miles Devine and Tom Patchett. The visitors replied with a great goal from their corner forward after a great mark taken by their number 11 who traded passes on the way up the field and finished to the top corner of the net.

This score sprung Naomh Comhghall to life and Dylan Murdock fired to the net as the home side went on to dominate the opening half to leave the score at half time 2-7 to 1-2 in favour of Naomh Comhghall.

The second half saw the Antrim town side continue to press forward at will to run out convincing winners and but for some great saves from the Eire Og goalkeeper and staunch defending by the full back line it could have been a lot worse for the visitors.

Naomh Comhghall: Ben Johnstone, John Brady, Stephen Webb, Kian Walker, Dylan Murdock, Ryan McAuley, Paddy Cooke, Arron Megraw, Caolan McKeown, Joseph Webb, Ruairi Griffen, Paddy O’Connor, Tom Patchett, Miles Devine, Peter McAuley, Subs: 16 Colm Logue 17 Callum McCabe 18 Michael McCabe 19 Eoin Lynott 20 Shaun McLarnon 21Danaan OHara 22Niall Taggart

Scorers: Miles Devine 1-5 Tom Patchett 1-2 Dylan Murdock 1-4 Paddy O’Connor 0-3 Kain Walker 0-2 Joe Webb 0-1 Peter McAuley 0-1 Paddy Cooke 0-1

A week ago Ardoyne looked odds on favourites, not just to win the group but to win the championship and they might well do that yet. The Kickham’s have a massive score difference advantage over both Naomh Comghgall and O’Donnell’s but have played all four of their games and sit top of the table on six points with both Naomh Comghall and the McRory Park side on 4 points from three starts.

O’Donnell’s are away to Eire Og in their final game while Naom Comhghall visit Mitchells where they are certain to improve their score difference. It’s my understanding that when two or more sides finish with the same points then head to head results decide who goes through but Ardoyne have defeated Naomh Comhghall but lost to O’Donnell’s while Naomh Comhghall have defeated O’Donnell’s but lost to Ardoyne. In that scenario I believe score difference will come into play so both sides will be looking for a big win on the final day while listening anxiously for their rivals result.

Aggies record first championship win


Group 1

StAgnes 0-17 Lachra Loch Lae1-8

In near perfect conditions at Pairc Naomh Una the home side started brightly with two fine points from Cormac McBride and Kevin Grieve. .Laochra Loch Lao replied with a long distance point from Sean MacCorraidh.The Aggies we’re stamping their authority on the game at this stage and forged into an 0-8 to 0-4 lead but Laochra got a fortuitous goal when a speculative shot came back if the bar and was finished to the net by Aaron Strain. Declan McLarnon completed a fine penetrating move with a nice point to leave the half time score

StAgnes 0-9 Laochra Loch Lao 1-4.The third quarter started with the Andytown  men rattling of six points to Laochra’s two.The home side ran the bench making five substitutions with both sides scoring 0-2 each in the closing stages.

StAgnes ran out comfortable winners on a final score line of 0-17 to 1-8. The home team know that harder and more challenging tasks lie ahead but good to get the win in this novel championship.

Scorers: C.McBride 0-6 (0-1free) C.Turley 0-3, B.Crossan 0-2, R.Carroll 0-2, K.Grieve 0-1,J .Campbell 0-1, D.McLarnon 0-1, C.Gilligan 0-1 (free)

For Laochra Loch Lao scorers: Aaron Strain 1-3,Sean MacCorraidh 0-2, D.MacPilib 0-2, N.ohAodha 0-1(45)

Favourites Ardoyne remain unbeaten


Group 2

Ciceam Ard Eoin 2-16 Naomh Comhghall 2-5

Ciceam Artd Eoin went into this game as firm favourites to retain their unbeaten run in the GYMCO Junior Football Championship and on this performance remain the team that others will have to beat if they are to take the title.

Naomh comhghall started this match as underdogs and played like it for most of the first half, displaying a lack of belief and inviting the opposition onto them. It started well enough for the Antrim men with Miles Devine converting a third minute free minutes but that was as good as it got. Ardoyne, with Aidan McNeill prominent took control and the scores came thick and fast.

By half time they had matters more or less sorted as they struck some excellent points from play and from the placed ball and a somewhat fortune goal saw them lead by 1-10 to 0-1 at the short whistle.

Ardoyne got the first score of the second half and this seemed to finally waken Naomh Comhghall from their slumber and for the next 20 minutes it was the Antrim side who dominated with Miles Devine adding to their solitary first half point with two well taken goals. Joe Webb 0-2, Tom Patchett, C McCabe K Walker and C Griffen all got their name on the scoresheet for the Antrim town side as they outscored their hosts scoring 2.07 to 1.03 in the second half

The damage had all been done however in the opening half and while Ardoyne were good value for the win Naomh Comhghall will be thinking what it would have been like if they had played the opening 40 minutes like they did the last 20.

Kicking 14 wides in a match won’t win them games.but hopefully Naomh Comhghall will have learned a lot from this game and will still be hoping to qualify in second place in their group.

Scorers M.Devine 2.02 Joe Webb 0.02 Tom Patchett 0.01, C.McCabe 0.01, K.Walker 0.01, C.Griffen 0.01

GYMCO JFC Round-up

Following their win over Naomh Comghall, Ardoyne are top of Group 2 on 6 points with O’Donnell’s, Eire Og and Naomh Comghall sitting behind them on two points each from two games and all three will be hoping to gain second spot in the group. The meeting of Naomh Comhgall and Eire Og at Dunsilly on Wednesday the 12th August could decide second place with O’Donnell’s facing Ardoyne on the same night. Eire Og certainly improved their score difference yesterday with 7-27 to 0-1 win over Mitchell’s

Results Group 2

Ardoyne 2-16 Naomh Comghall 2-5

Eire Og 7-27 Mitchell’s 0-1.

St. Agnes got their first win in Group one when the defeated Laochra Loch Lao while Pearses had a good win over St. Malachy’s and top the group with 4 points from 2 starts. Naomh Una, St. Malachy’s, Ballycastle and Laochra Loch Lao have 2 points each from two start so its all to play for yet in this group

Group 1 Results

Naomh Una 0-16 Laochra Loch Lao 1-6

St. Malachy’s 3-6 Pearses 0-21

Na Piarsaigh make their point

GYMCO JFC – Group 1

St. Malachy’s 3-6 Na Piarsaigh 0-21

A fine exhibition of point taking saw Na Piarsaigh outscore St. Malachy’s to go top of the GYMCO Group 1 yesterday and on this form they look likely to qualify for the play-offs.

The North Belfast men made the short trip across the city today for a Belfast derby against St Malachys at Cherryvale. Coach Conor Henry made 2 changes to his starting line up from last week with Stephen Fitzsimons and Luca Gianetto both doing enough when they came on against Ballycastle to earn a starting place this week.

Pearses started quickly running at speed at the Malachy’s defence which gave them no option but to foul leading to Liam Deegan raising the first white flag of the day with a great strike from the floor. The open start presented St Malachy’s with opportunities and they pointed a good long range score soon after to level up. Pearses kept their composure though and continued to work the ball through the hands to find openings with full forward Daniel Magee putting them back in front. Penalty hero from last time Fionn Grew was having a lot of joy in the top left corner and soon looked like he was certain to score a goal after great work from Dan Magee but instead of punching into an empty net he tried to meet it with and acrobatic volley that looked better than the result with the keeper making an easy save. Two minutes later he looked certain to make amends as he bore down on goal only to be crowded out by the keeper and 2 defenders. This was to be his last involvement as a late challenge from one of the defenders left a lasting mark that led to him being substituted for his older brother Oisín.

This led to Pearses taking their eye of the ball for a moment and a long hopeful ball into the box by St Malachy’s led to confusion between Eamon McKenna & James Smith and Malachy’s were able to tap into an open net. Pearses struck back with another Deegan free and 2 points from Oisín Grew putting them back in front before lightning struck for a second time with another hopeful ball into the square causing panic again and another poor goal given away. Both teams struck 2 more points before the break with Deegan scoring 1 free and 1 from play for Pearses. The away side had been the better side in the first half but despite scoring 7 times they had kicked 6 wides and were 2 behind.

HT St Malachy’s 2-03 Na Piarsaigh 0-07

Henry made one change at half time bringing on Frankie Davison for his first game of the season trying to bring a more calming influence to his defence.

The second half started well for the North Belfast men with Dan Magee and Sean Moreland scoring quick points to level the game up. Momentum was in their favour but this quickly disappeared when a penalty was conceded and converted giving St Malachy’s a 3pt lead.

Pearses captain Piaras Donaghy started to exert more influence in the middle of the park as he started to run the hand passing game as Pearses tried to keep possession and work their openings Deegan scored another from play and a free to cut the deficit to 1 before Malachy’s raised 2,white flags themselves. Pearses did not panic though and stuck to their game. Oisín Grew and Sean Morland scored great points before Luca Gianetto finished a great team play with the corner back scoring a fine point from 40 yards for the score of the day to level the game again.

With 15 minutes left Pearses stuck to their guns and moved the b all around with St Malachy’s chasing shadows at times. Oisín Grew pointed again to give Pearses the lead before Phil Davison was brought on for Stephen Fitzsimons. Davison nearly scored with his first touch kicking narrowly wide but made up for it straight away to give his side the lead. This was a lead Pearses were not again to lose as they scored 9 of the last 10 points with the last 6 points coming 3 a piece from Deegan and Davison.

This was an excellent win for the North Belfast men and at half way in the group stage puts them 2 points clear at the top. The coaching team will be pleased to see only 1 wide kicked in the 2nd half but the soft goals will have to be stopped if they are to contend at the business end of the season. Next up is the visit of St Agnes to the Cricky on the 12th August

1) E McKenna 2) L Gianetto (0-01) 3) J Smyth 4) A McCavana 5) D O’Neill 6) A Bannon 7) P Nolan 8) C O’Neill 9) T McFarlane 10) S Moreland (0-02) 11) P Donaghy 12) L Deegan (0-09 7f) 13) F Grew 14) D Magee (0-02) 15) S Fitzsimons

Subs O Grew (0-04) for F Grew. F Davison for J Smith. P Davison (0-03) for S Fitzsimons