Portglenone win Breslin Cup for the first time

Breslin Cup Final

Casement’s 2-7 St. Enda’s 0-5

The Breslin Cup rests in the clubrooms of Roger Casements for the first time after a good win over St. Enda’s in a sometimes bad tempered final at Whitehill on Sunday.

The trophy was named after former Portglenone player, Alastair Breslin who tragically passed away 19 years ago and it was fitting that his sister, Ciara Kearney was there to present it to captain, Tom Duffin after the game.

As the rain came down in Randalstown it was St. Enda’s Darragh Mooney who shot the Hightown side ahead with a point from a mark after 30 seconds but it would be another 10 minutes before Conor Burns would hit the equaliser for the Portglenone lads.

St. Enda’s were enjoying the better of the play during the opening exchanges but were being frustrated by a strong Portglenone defence who gave an exhibition of blocking over the hour.

Both sides created and wasted further chances before Cathaoir McKenna restored the St. Enda’s advantage with a good point in the 20th minute but a great point in response from Frank McAleese suddenly brought the Casement’s to life.

Towering mid-fielder, Odhran Doherty struck two excellent pointed frees and another from Conor Burns moved the Bannsiders 0-5 to 0-2 ahead at the break.

It was St. Enda’s who started the second half as they had the first and Darragh Rooney fired over in the opening minute to close the gap to two. Cahair McKenna and Thomas Mooney followed with two more in quick succession and it looked like the Glengormley side were gaining control.

Portglenone had other ideas and they recovered from a slow start to put an excellent move together with Conor McKeever soloing through for a well taken goal in the 6th minute and suddenly there was four between the sides.

The opposition tried to respond and Darragh Mooney was just wide following a strong run from just inside the Portglenone half and as his side continued to press, Ruiri Scullion had his shot charged down by another excellent block.

Odhran Doherty extended the Casement’s lead with a point in the 15th minute as St. Enda’s began to ring the changes in an attempt to get their game going again but their opponents would strike a telling blow soon after.

Once again they built methodically before opening up the St. Enda’s defence and Conor Burns palmed an astute fisted pass from Conor McKeever to the St. Enda’s net.

Layden O’Neill pulled one back for St. Enda’s in the 26th minute as they fought in vain to get back into the game but it would be their final score and it was impressive Port’s mid-fielder, Odhran Doherty who would conclude the scoring with an injury time point.

An excellent performance from the young Casements and after a slow start they always had the edge in a game that was littered by petty fouls and squabbles.

Portglenone were strong and organised in defence with Conall Morgan, Christy McDonnell and Tom Convery dominant in a unit whose ability to block was a feature of the game.

At mid-field Odhran Doherty led by example while Conor Burns, Conor McKeever and Phelim McCloskey impressed in a lively attacking unit.

St. Enda’s gave it everything on the day with the final score-line was a bit unkind to them but they just couldn’t turn good possession into enough scores and that would prove their downfall in the end.

Darragh Mooney, Cahaoir McKenna, Ryan Donaldson, Layden O’Neill, Conaire Smith and Ruairi Scullion were their best performers on the day.

Champions dazzle in the Dunsilly deluge

Northern Switchgear Antrim SFC semi-final

Cargin 2-6 St Brigid’s 0-6 

By John McIlwaine

Main picture – Cargin’s Kevin O’Boyle dances with delight after scoring his team’s second goal

County champions Cargin took a step nearer retaining their Senior Football title when they came from three points down ten minutes into the second half to beat St Brigid’s by six in Sunday’s semi-final at Dunsilly. The champions in the early part of a low scoring opening half, were pegged back in the run in to half time as St Brigid’s went in two to the good at the break. (0-5 to 0-3)

When the south Belfast side got the first score of the second half to go three up it began to look like we could be in for a major upset, but team captain James Laverty settled things down with a well taken point from play and when it was followed with a goal minutes later the tide had turned and the men from Toome were in control from then on.

St Brigid’s Ronan Boyle and Cargin’s Tomas McCann in action during the second half

Conditions were good as the game got underway, but that soon changed as the rain fell heavily from the fifth minute on. Enda Downey gave St Brigid’s an early lead as they played wind assisted in the first half. However they retreated back into their own half and let Cargin run at them and it was from one of those runs that Tomas McCann was presented with the opportunity to send over the equaliser. ‘Mossy’ then set up big Pat Shivers to send over the lead point, Michael McCann coming on for the injured Shivers soon afterwards. With conditions worsening as the game progressed free flowing football was at a premium and with Cargin holding the upper hand St Brigid’s appeared to be in deep trouble. However they finished the half strongly and after Jack Dowling landed a fine long range effort they pushed ahead when John Morgan found the target.  

Points at either end from St Brigid’s Enda Downey and Cargin’s Tomas McCann tied things up at 0-3 apiece, but two late points for the Musgrave Park men sent them in out of the rain at half time with a 0-5 to 0-3 lead.

Conhuir Johnston celebrates after scoring Cargin’s opening goal

A deluge of biblical proportions greeted the sides as they came back from under the railway tunnel, but St Brigid’s looked more assured and when Enda Downey put them three clear you began to wonder if and upset was on the cards. They did have other chances for a while with no success but when James Laverty drove over a Cargin point you could sense the tide was turning.

The score that really turned the game came soon afterwards when St Brigid’s defender Ronan Boyle was dispossessed by Thomas McCann, a clever tug of the shoulder by Mossy while sending the ball spinning from Boyle’s grasp and breaking to centre forward Conhuir Johnston who soloed clear to fire to the net, the St Brigid’s protests waved away by match referee Conal Roberts.

It was a blow that left the Musgrave Park men reeling on the ropes and before they could find their feet the game was gone from them. The peerless Mick McCann added a point before a long delivery from substitute John Carron dropped in around the square and ended up in the back of the net, Kevin O’Boyle seemingly getting a touch.

When Tomas McCann added one from a free the gap was out to six and it was clear it would take something incredible for St Brigid’s to turn the game around, especially considering the conditions. To their credit they never gave up the fight and when a great palmed effort from Jack Downing stuck in the flooded ‘square’ it was clear their hopes were gone. A goal at that stage might well have swung the momentum and set up an exciting finish, but Cargin were already making plans for their trip to Corrigan to take on Dunloy in a unique final in two weeks’ time… and they wouldn’t be troubled again.

CARGIN: J McNabb; K O’Boyle 1-0, R Gribbin, S O’Neill; J Crozier, J Laverty 0-1, P McCann; K McShane, G McCann; D Johnston, C Johnston 1-0, E Quinn; P Shivers 0-1, T McCann 0-3 (0-2fs), J Gribbin.
Subs: M McCann 0-1 for P Shivers (16), B Kelly for D Johnston (36), J Carron for G McCann (41), C Donnelly for O’Neill (57), Conan Johnston for R Gribbin (57).

ST BRIGID’S: D Heery; F McKernan, J Finnegan, P King; R Carleton, J Morgan 0-1, R Boyle; F Meenagh, J Dowling 0-1; S Downey, O Downey, J Smith; E Downey 0-3 (0-1f), M Downey 0-1, P Bradley. 

REFERE: C Roberts (St John’s). 

St Brigid’s full back Jack Finnegan in challenged by Cargin’s Tomas McCann and Sean O’Neill

Double still on for Rasharkin

Graham Tarmac JFC Semi-Final

Rasharkin  2-13(19)  St Malachys  0-5(5)

St. Mary’s Rasharkin overcame the challenge of a fighting St. Malachy’s in terrible conditions at Dreen on Sunday to book their place in the Graham Tarmac Junior Football championship final and keep their hopes of the double alive.

On a heavy pitch, worsened by the downpour that fell in the hours leading up to the game and a Junior Camogie quarter-final, that preceded this encounter, both sides deserve tremendous credit for the fare they served up over the hour.

The visitors started this game as massive underdogs but managed to frustrate Rasharkin during the opening exchanges with their short passing game denying the opposition of possession.

The Market’s side actually took the lead when Ciaran Vernon pointed them ahead from a free in the 4th minute before Sean Turley in the Mal’s goal brought off a splendid save to deny Eammon McNeill what looked a certain goal.

Rasharkin equalised through Cathal Mooney and a Ryan Lynch goal in the 11th minute helped to settle those early jitters. Donagh Quigg added a good point but St. Malachy’s were moving the ball well and Vernon pointed his second free at the end of the opening quarter.

Slowly though the Dreen side were starting to exert control with Thomas McMullan and Ruairi O’Boyle driving them forward from mid-field and Ryan Lynch kicked his second point of the game with Shane Hasson adding another before Lynch made it three for the evening.

St. Malachy’s continued to battle and were rewarded when Cathal Jordan fired over a great score and David Casey added another to close the gap to four at the halfway stage and remind the league winners that they were still in a game.

Half time score: Rasharkin  1-5(8)  St Malachys  0-4(4)

With the wind and rain now in their favour St. Mary’s stepped up their game on the restart as Ryan Lynch pointed an early free from 40 meters and Eammon McNeill and Tiernan O’Boyle, with a great point, moved the home side 1-8 to 0-4 ahead by the 12th minute.

Lynch was in great form for the League winners and he punished another indiscretion to move his side 8 ahead at the end of the third quarter and another from Cormac McMullan saw the home side in total control.

St. Malachy’s hadn’t raised a flag but produced a well organised attack and looked in for a goal in the 19th minute with Gavin McManus just failing to get the vital touch and the danger was averted.

Ciaran Vernon finally opened their second half account with another pointed free in the 20th minute but the Rasharklin pressure was now incessant and Oisin Casey and Donagh Quigg replied at the other end before Thomas ‘Tucker’ McMullan got their second goal after playing a smart 1-2 with Eammon McNeill.

Oran McMullan concluded the scoring for St. Mary’s with a point as the game entered time added on and Rasharkin are now just one game away from a famous double as they look forward to a final meeting with O’Donnell’s in two weeks-time.

Rasharkin: 1 – Andrew Hasson, 2 – Pearce Kelly, 3 – Emmet McFerran, 4 – Fergus Quigg, 5 – Cormac McMullan, 6 – Conor Hasson, 7 – Tiernan O’Boyle, 8 – Thomas McMullan, 9 – Ruairi OBoyle, 10 – Donagh Quigg, 11 – Cathal Mooney, 12 – Oran McMullan, 13 – Shane Hasson, 14 – Eammon McNeill, 15 – Ryan Lynch

St. Malachy’s: 1 Sean Turley, 2 Colin Connolly, 26 Caoimhin Corr, 4 Sean O’Neill, 5 David Casey, 6 Daniel Quinn, 7 Pearse Hanna, 8 Anthony Dobbin, 9 Ciaran Vernon, 10 Cathal Jordan, 12 Ronan Maneely, 13 Paul Carlisle, 15 Mark Connolly, 17 Fintan McBride, 18 Gavin McManus, 20 Thomas Rice

Referee: Mark O’Neill (Armoy)

O’Donnell’s ‘rain’ supreme in dogged semi-final clash

Graham Tarmac Junior Football Championship Semi-Final

Sunday 24th September

Report by Niall Kelly 

Cardinal O’Donnells 2-13    Éire Óg 1-13

For the second consecutive year, O’Donnell’s successfully navigated their way through a tough and testing semi-final meeting with familiar foes, Éire Óg, to progress to yet another Junior decider. The semi between the two last year was somewhat abrasive but this year’s duel was a much more pulsating and absorbing contest with inclement conditions playing a central role in a helter-skelter hour of football. Penalties, crunching tackles, fleet-footed soloing and a few scintillating scores made for a fantastic advertisement for Antrim Junior Football in a packed McCroary Park.

A theme that has been somewhat a constant in recent battles between these two, is the nip and tuck nature of their meetings with the teams drawing level on seven separate occasions throughout the game.  With five minutes remaining on the clock, the hosts had established a six-point lead though, thanks to majors from Richard McAvoy and PJ Meenan and looked to be cantering toward the finish line. In the end, they had to dig deep to secure the win after withstanding a late barrage of attack from the Derriaghy natives.

The teams couldn’t be separated in the first quarter as trying conditions coupled with a greasy surface made for a real ding-dong tussle to attain the ascendancy. Éire Óg talisman, Kevin Clarke opened the scoring for the visitors before O’Donnell’s replied through Marc McKenna and acquired the lead moments later as Ferghal McNerney added the gloss to a well-orchestrated move. The visitors though responded from the familiar prowess of Clarke.

Momentum continued to sway with a stiff, swirling breeze now exacerbating conditions further. PJ Meenan, who was a constant thorn in the side of the men in red and white, took matters into his own hands as he drove forty yards up the pitch, rampaging through the visitors rear-guard before curling over from an acute angle. Yet again though, that man Clarke was on hand to draw the sides level for a third time after being threaded through thanks to a pinpoint ball from Conor Erskine.

McKenna and Clarke once again traded scores before O’Donnell’s kicked on with a fine score from Meenan after another marauding run and a trademark Sean Pat Donnelly free from the deck to establish a bit of daylight between the two. With the half approaching its climax, it seemed as though O’Donnell’s had found their groove with a greater intensity and purpose to their attacking play but in what was a recurring theme of the game, back came Éire Óg.

Points from Conall Smyth and Daniel Campbell levelled proceedings as both teams now foraged to claim a slender lead at the short whistle. O’D’s number 12, Scott Thompson would be the man to step forward as he curled over from range from a tight angle despite losing his footing to leave the scores 0-07 to 0-06 in favour of the hosts at the interval.

The opening fifteen minutes of the second period mirrored the first as O’Donnell’s couldn’t quite shake off their opponents. Sean Pat Donnelly pointed early in the half from a placed ball before Éire Óg rallied once more. Two absolute stunning scores from full forward PJ Toal brought a deadlock to proceedings again and with their tails up, the visitors took the lead thanks to well-worked score from captain, Conor McKenna on the fortieth minute.  The hosts were in desperate need of a score to settle themselves back into the game and their wishes were granted through the trusty right boot of Marc McKenna before retaking the lead thanks to Richard McAvoy’s effort from range.

O’D’s were clicking nicely now and were dovetailing well in attack with the twin threat of McKenna and Meenan asking questions of their opponents. A black card for the visitors only served to further bolster the host’s charge with Donnelly pointing again before they dealt their opponents a hammer blow. A high press from the forward line helped turnover possession from the resulting kick-out and PJ Meenan’s quick thinking paved the way for Richard McAvoy to coolly slot home to the despairing Mark Hamill’s net to send the sea of umbrellas dotted across the fence into raptures.

However, Éire Óg’s resiliency simply wouldn’t waiver as they continued to search for penetrative avenues of attack. O’Donnell’s shot-stopper Conor Murphy was called into immediate action as he pulled off a stunning save to deny Clarke as the visitors had to settle for a point from PJ Toal.  The lead was extended to six with only ten minutes remaining as O’D’s flexed their muscles thanks to points from Thompson and Donnelly as it now looked as if the game was out of reach for the battling Ógs. Wrong.

With seven minutes left to play, the Derriaghy men were granted a lifeline with a penalty. PJ Toal assumed responsibility and his rasping drive arrowed to the roof of Murphy’s net and suddenly it was game on once more.

In what was a manic three minutes, O’Donnell’s were then granted a spot kick of their own as their talented attacking arsenal responded to the set-back in style. It seemed fitting that man of the match, PJ Meenan was to be the man to grab the crucial score as he blasted low to Hamill’s net to all but seal victory with the full-time whistle fast approaching.

However, a late rally from the men in red and white had a few home fans’ hearts pounding as they cut the gap to three deep into added time thanks to points from Toal (2) and Conall Smyth. A final ariel bombardment was launched as they frantically plundered for that elusive goal which just wouldn’t come as the O’D’s defence, marshalled well by Conor Walsh and Kevin Kennedy, dug their heels and stood strong.

An excellent game which the visitors can certainly take solace from. Their progression in the past few years has been evident and they will seek to use this game as yet another foundation to greater success down the line. For O’Donnell’s, their minds will now solely be fixed on going one better than last year and taking the Junior crown. Littered with an array of dynamic weaponry in their attack, they will feel quietly confident that they can do just that. A mouth-watering tussle against favourites Rasharkin awaits.



C Murphy; K Loughran, S Smylie, J McKenna; G McKernan, C Walsh, K Kennedy; J Rafferty, F McNerney (0-01;) R McAvoy (1-01,) SP Donnelly (0-04,) S Thompson (0-02;) PJ Meenan (1-02,) C McKissock,  M McKenna (0-03)

Éire Óg:

M Hamill; D Murray, P Loughran, J Devine; C Rice, A McKnight, D Campbell (0-01;) C McKenna (0-01,) C Daykin; G Donnelly, S Erskine, C Smyth (0-02;) C Erskine, PJ Toal (1-05,) K Clarke (0-04)

Fyfe’s super block keeps Sarsfields at bay

OB Construction Intermediate Football Championship (semi final)

Con Magee’s Glenravel 0-14 Patrick Sarsfield’s 0-10

Con Magees Glenravel qualified  for the intermediate football championship final for the second year in succession, where they will meet near neighbours All Saint’s in two weeks’ time. Although there is no disputing the fact that they fully deserved their semi-final success over Patrick Sarsfield’s at the Toome venue on Saturday, they depended on their defensive qualities to get them over the line on a sodden Toome sod.

Joe Cassidy’s men appeared to be home and hosed as the match clock ticked close to conclusion with a three point cushion, but a Garry Lennon inspired Paddies were not about to settle for second best.

Sarsfields Garry Lennon who gave a man of the match display, scoring eight of his team’s ten points

Lennon, who had impressed throughout, appeared to be in for a goal in the 54th minute only to be denied by the Glenravel net minder Jonathan Fyfe who came out to make a smashing intervention, and when the ‘Bear Pit’ residents were back on the goal trail a few minutes later it was the turn of centre back Sean Higgins to make a superb blocking tackle to deny replacement Daniel Smith.

Both sides had impressed in their respective trips to the last four of the competition and when they crossed swords in Toome on Saturday last a good crowd gathered in anticipation. Despite the gloomy forecast.

the Sarsfield’s men had the favours of the stiff southerly based breeze for the first period but despite the strong elements in their favour they were on par at 0-02 apiece at the end of the opening ten minutes.

Glenravel opened their account in the second minute via a point from corner forward Eamon Fyfe, who was to impress throughout, while back to back white flags raised by Kevin McKernan, who also impressed in the green and black and an Eoinn Hynds point for the Glensmen, ensure level parity 0-02 apiece after ten minutes.

Despite the strength of the elements little was to separate the sides in the early stages, but as the Glensmen were on top in the central zone where Cathal Higgins was dominant with Rian Lennon ever ready to nip forward, back to back points from Eamon Fyfe ensured a 0-04 to 0-02 advantage at the end of the opening quarter.

The Sarsfields men came back as the short blast approached and it was to be the city lads who were to finish the stronger with their ‘go to’ receiver Kevin Mc Kernan busy in providing openings.

A few exellent points fom the Con Magees saw them open a gap, but Brian Healey and Niall McKenna hit points apiece to cut the gap to the minimum at the end of the first period, and after having faced the stiff breeze the Glenravel men went in at the break with a 0-07 to 0-06 lead.

With the breeze at their backs Glenravel nipped quickly out of the starting blocks in the second half as Daniel McQuillan, David Higgins and Cormac McKeown extended their advantage to four points. When that gap was stretched to five the Con Magees fans in the good sized attendance must have felt they were well on track for a final spot. However the Paddies came back with three unanswered points via the excellent Garry Lennon, and just two points separated the sides with less than ten minutes on the clock.

The free flowing moves of the early part of the half were now gone for the Glenravel men and the Paddies upped the ante as they went in search of the scores that would bring them right back into contention. When they cut the gap back to just two it looked like anyone’s game and when corner forward Brian Healy got in on goal the Glenravel fans held their breath. Any connection seemed certain to finish in the net, but Healy’s shot was blocked by the knee of the Con Magees custodian Johnny Fyfe who turned the ball around the post for a 45.  

Still the pressure was on the Glenravel men as they struggled to end a long scoreless spell, but the impressive Eamon Fyfe settled the nerves with a well taken point from a 45 and they added the insurance point in added time to set up a final meeting with Ballymena in two weeks’ time.


Jonathan Fyfe, Charlie, Henry, Sean Higgins, Conor Carey, Rian Lennon (0-01), Niall Swann, Declan Traynor, Cathal Hynds, Callum Higgins (0-01), Cormac Mc Keown, Eoin Hynds (0-02), Daniel Mc Quillan, Aidan O’ Donnell (0-01), David Higgins (0-01), Eamon Fyfe (0-06)

Subs – Conleth O’ Loan, Senan Black, Eamon Ward, Conor McNeill, Eoin Mc Cusker


Michael Brady, Caolan Mc Donnell, Joe Mc Nally, Martin Mc Polin, Philip McPeake, Daniel Mc Kernan, Liam Mitchell, Caolan Mc Kernan, Cormac Murray, Sam Walsh (0-01), Niall Mc Kenna (0-01), Conor Glenholmes, Kevin Mc Kernan, Garry Lennon (0-08), Brian Healey

Referee – Sean Laverty (Moneyglass)