Nail your colours to the mast!

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The Saffron Gael is offering its readers a unique opportunity to come on board and support our website while also backing their team in the forthcoming Antrim SFC Final between Cargin and Creggan in what we believe is the first ever Senior final between two South West sides.

We are running a competition and offering followers of both teams the chance to win a unique, one-off framed photograph of the winning team, carrying the Saffrron Gael logo and signed by all players on the winning side. The prize will also include a photograph of the winner of the competition with the cup and the winning captain as well as an O’Neill’s football top of your team.

The competition will also have ten runners up prizes of a mounted 8 x 6 photograph of the winning side.

Here’s all you have to do to enter the competition. Send us your photograph, either and individual or a family group, wearing your club colours, and your message supporting your side (e.g. I’m backing Erin’s Own or I’m backing Kickham’s Creggan)

The cost of the competition is £10-00 per entry and all profits will go towards maintaining the Saffron Gael website for the immediate future. Your entry will be posted on a page dedicated to this competition with your photograph appearing on that page alongside a photograph of your team.

Cargin of course are no strangers at the SFC final table and were champions as recently as 2015 and 2016 but for Creggan it’s been 41 years since they played in a final and 64 years since they won the title.

As our regular readers will know we have followed the fortunes of both sides on their way to this truly unique final, between parish rivals in the South West and it may or may not happen again for quite a while.

Since our launch we have covered every championship game that has been played in Antrim and will be carrying previews, reviews, interviews and indeed our own personal views of who will win on the day. Such high level of coverage comes at a cost and we are deeply indebted to our sponsors and advertisers who’s generosity has enabled 99% of our readers to read these reports free.

At present we are heading towards 2,000,000 views on the sight and are likely to reach that figure by Christmas. The Cargin v St. Gall’s semi-final with a unique video of Tomas McCann’s winning goal has attracted over 2,000 visits since being posted on Saturday night while the Creggan v St. John’s report and pics has already reached 1,800 visits.

Here’s how to enter the competition and get behind your team and our website and add to what looks like being a memorable final and one you can play your part in. Simply email your photo to and donate the £10 through the PayPal button on the site. If you are not on PayPal just send your cheque with your message to John McIlwaine, 5 Benvore Park, Cargan, Ballymena. BT43 6QX

Creggan bridge 41-year gap to make senior final

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Northern Switchgear Antrim Senior Football Semi-final

St John’s 1-10-2-09 Creegan Kickhams

By Kevin Herron at Chapel Hill Glenavy

Creggan made it to their first senior football final since 1977 after defeating St John’s 2-09-1-10 in a tight and tense semi-final at Glenavy on Sunday afternoon.

By coincidence the last time the South-West club played in a senior decider was the day before current team manager Kevin Madden was born. On Sunday the Portlenone man made a wee bit of histroy by guiding the Kickhams back to a final, something that will surely add to his 41st birthday celebrations tomorrow. A first-half goal from Sam Maguire and a Conor Small penalty late in the game were the scores that really sunk St John’s to set up an intriguing final against parish neighbours Cargin in two weeks time.

The Johnnies were down to 14-men after the dismissal of Ciaran Garland to a second yellow-card minutes before Small converted from the spot – but Ryan McNulty set-up a grandstand finish, stabbing to the net after a scramble inside the Creggan area. St John’s couldn’t find a decisive score in injury-time however as Kevin Madden’s men hung on for a famous win at Chapel Hill.

HCreggan’s Sam Maguire (5) celebrates after scoring his team’s opening goal.

There was no clear favourite prior to the semi-final clash with many predicting a tense affair for the right to meet Cargin in the final.

Fintan Burke got Creggan off to the perfect start with a fine shot that sailed between the posts within the opening sixty-seconds – though Brian ‘Bam’ Neeson responded for St John’s at the other end with a trademark converted free into a difficult wind.

Tommy McCann restored Creggan’s lead from a converted free – the outcome was hotly disputed however after appearing to sail wide in the breeze, but St John’s hit back again from a converted free – this time through Patrick McBride in front of the posts.

David McGuckin edged Creggan 0-03-0-02 ahead on eight minutes with a fisted point and it was a lead the Staffordstown Road side wouldn’t relinquish. The men in green and gold doubled their lead through Tommy McCann – who atoned for a missed free a minute previous after collecting a pass from Fintan Burke.

Bam Neeson cut the deficit with a second converted free, midway through the first-half – but Creggan hit the game’s opening goal within sixty seconds.

On 16 minutes Odhran McLarnon darted forward and slipped in David McGuckin who was fouled – McGuckin was able to offload to Sam Maguire however and though the Creggan number five’s shot was partially blocked by St John’s ‘keeper Lambert, the ball trickled underneath his grasp and into the St John’s net despite the frantic efforts of defender Micheal Dudley.

Patrick McBride responded with his second free of the half for St John’s with ten minutes remaining, but Creggan were on the front foot and a converted free from Kevin Small was followed by a 45’ by Ruairi McCann.

Matthew Fitzpatrick conjured up a point in response for the Johnnies after a tough battle to break though the Creggan rearguard, which left the Corrigan Park side trailing 0-05-1-06 at the midway point.

OCreggan’s Conor McCann gets past the challenge of St John’s Andy McGowan.

Playing with a strong breeze in the second period the Johnnies quickly opened their account through an excellent curling effort by Matt Fitzpatrick, but Creggan responded in turn through Thomas McCann.

Creggan goalkeeper Oisin Kerr had to be alert on 36 minutes as Patrick McBride fed Bam Neeson whose shot took a heavy bounce before Kerr gathered under pressure.

The sides traded scores through converted frees by Neeson and Ruairi McCann – a 47th minute free from Neeson, his fourth of the game reduced the deficit to a goal once again but St John’s suffered a set-back in the 48th minute.

Already on a booking for a challenge earlier in the second-half Ciaran Garland was shown a second yellow-card by referee Brendan Toland for bringing down David McGuckin and the Johnnies would be forced into a reshuffle to combat their numerical disadvantage.

Patrick McBride made it a two point game with a wonderful point ten minutes from time, but when David McGuckin was taken out by St John’s defender Conor McEvoy, referee Toland showed McEvoy a black card and signalled for a penalty.

Conor Small assumed responsibility and confidently rifled low past Lambert to give Creggan a 2-08-0-09 lead and in the process surely set-up a final date with close rivals Cargin in the county final.

St John’s weren’t about to fold however and last year’s beaten finalists provided a grandstand finish and kept their hopes of a second successive appearance in the decider alive.  With three minutes left Patrick McBride hoisted a high ball into a congested Creggan penalty area, a scramble ensued and black-card substitute Ryan McNulty stabbed past Oisin Kerr and into the net to make it a two-point game, 2-08-1-09.

Creggan were suddenly under pressure, but substitute Matthew Rodgers eased the nerves when he found room on the right and raced through to shoot between the posts and put a goal between the sides. When a converted McBride free reduced arrears to two again and in a frantic finish Conor Johnston burst forward in a late solo run and went for glory with a shot that was deflected and looped into the arms of Oisin Kerr under heavy pressure.

Creggan ran the clock down in the aftermath and were overcome with joy when referee Brendan Toland sounded his final whistle after four additional minutes had elapsed.

Kevin Madden’s side will now take on near rivals Cargin in the county decider in two-weeks time – hoping to end 64-year wait for the Padraig McNamee cup.

NSt John’s Patrick McBride is hauled back by Creggan’s Sam Maguire.

Creggan Kickhams: O Kerr, A Maguire, R Johnston, C McCann, S Maguire (1-00), T McCann (0-03, 0-02f), R McCann (0-02, 0-01f, 0-01 45’), C McCann, K Rice, O McLarnon, K Small (0-01f), F Burke (0-01), D McGuckin (0-01), C Small (1-00f), L Quinn. Subs: M Rodgers (0-01) for O McLarnon (43 mins), A McAteer for T McCann (60 mins).

St John’s: ER Lambert, C Garland, M Dudley, L Laverty, J Hannigan, C Johnston, C McEvoy, M Fitzpatrick (0-02), R McCafferty, M Bradley, C Johnston, A McGowan, S Tierney, B Neeson (0-04f), P McBride (0-04, 0-03f). Subs: R McNulty (1-00) for M Dudley (black-card sub: 41 mins), P Gribbin for R McCafferty (42 mins), A Douglas for L Laverty (black card sub: 43 mins), L Pedan for A McGowan (52 mins), R Hannigan for C McEvoy (black card sub: 55 mins), C McGlade for S Tierney (60 mins)

Referee: Brendan Toland (Lámh Dhearg)

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McCann’s magical strike seals Cargin victory

Northern Switchgear Antrim Senior Football Championship (semi-final)

Erin’s Own Cargin 2-17 St Gall’s 4-10

Geordie McGuckin reports from Creggan

With his team facing the prospect of leaving the stage as he stood over the ball deep in added time at the end of what had been a truly dramatic and absorbing semi-final, Tomas Mc Cann considered his options with his team a couple of points in arrears.

Some may well have guessed that the hugely talented individual would opt for the simple tap over to add to his considerable personal tally, but that was not an option as referee Sean Laverty had indicated that this was to be the ‘last kick’ of the game. It was do or die for Mc Cann as he picked up the leather knowing that anything less than a goal would bring the curtain down on his team’s championship campaign. Cometh the hour, cometh the man and McCann stood up to the mark as he let fly with the proverbial bullet over the hands of the St Gall’s defenders on the goal line to set the green flag waving and book his team a place in yet another final. It was a truly fantastic finish to a memorable game, in which two teams who have dominated Antrim football for most part of the last two decades, went toe to toe. Two first half goals had given St Gall’s a great start, but Cargin clawed their way back to restore parity by half time. When St Gall’s started the second half in similar fashion with quick goals from Kevin Niblock and Kieran McGourty it looked like they had regained control, but Cargin would not give up the fight and they battled back to level with just minutes remaining. When St Gall’s responded with two quick points to wrestle back the initiative with time almost up it appeared they had done enough, but Cargin kept plugging away. When McCann was denied a goal by a brilliant save by St Gall’s keeper Chris Kerr the signs were they would hold on, but Cargin were thrown a lifeline when they were awarded a 13 metre free  and McCann produced his moment of magic to spark scenes of celebration among the Cargin faithful.mgm copy-Cargin

7CJ McGourty celebrates with his brother Kieran after scoring his team’s second goalcompany Logo T Scullion Contracts copy-Cargin

A huge crowd had gathered at the Staffordstown Road grounds, the home of Kickham’s Creggan, on Saturday afternoon, and indeed the thrown-in time had to be held back for fifteen minutes to ensure entrance to those gaining admittance.

Those who came arrived in expectation and indeed they were not to be disappointed as Cargin and St Gall’s were to serve up a treat in a superb 60 minutes plus, and indeed one individual was heard to pass remark leaving the ground that he had long since been more an admirer of hurling but he went on “By God if football would follow in such manner as this one I may well change my opinion.”

A treat in store for the attendance and the Cargin men were first to make a mark on the board in excellent conditions not at all spoiled by the stiff cross field north westerly breeze as Tomas McCann despatched a 30 metre free between the posts.

CJ McGourty ensured the men from the Lower Falls were abreast when he clipped a free between the posts at the other end a few minutes later and although a foul on the advancing Ciaran Bradley enabled the ever accurate McCann to raise a second white flag in reply, this was to be the only occasion that the Toome men were in front until the dramatic conclusion.

A precision based Chris Kerr kick out in the 8th minute saw Sean Kelly and Mickey Pollock create an opening for Michael Pollock to find the net, and although the excellent Tony Scullion made quick reply with a point at the other end another accurate delivery from the resultant kick out saw CJ McGourty pounce to add a second goal.

Cargin having started with promise had endured gut wrenching setbacks and St Gall’s had earned a 2-01 to 0-03 advantage.

Cargin regained their composure and as they got to grips with the well-rehearsed St Gall’s kick-outs they regained a foot hold in the game and three white flags raised without reply saw them just a point in arrears by the end of the opening quarter.FB_IMG_1537129526505 copy-text9m gribben magnetics1(1) copy

Jamie Gribbin who looks better with every outing nipped away through the middle to split the posts in the 11th minute and well served by a Tomas McCann pass after Michael Magill claimed another Tony Scullion delivery the former added another, a couple of minutes later.

Tomas McCann added another point splitting the posts in the 15th minute but after being on the back foot for a term and having to rethink the kick out strategies the Milltown men got back in the groove as CJ McGourty delivered another free kick between the posts before Eoghan McCabe added one from play to see them go 2-03 to 0-06 clear.

However despite trailing, Cargin were controlling a lot of the play during the opening period, with Gerard McCann and Kevin McShane in charge in the vital central zone. A Jamie Gribbin point following a James Laverty, Michael Mc Cann approach, saw Cargin pull one back and with the ever accurate Tomas McCann adding four excellent points from frees they were keeping St Gall’s in their sights, despite CJ McGourty claiming a couple at the other end, and by the time Sean Laverty had sounded the short whistle, they were back on terms at 0-11 to 2-05.

20St Gall’s Kevin Niblock who was brilliant at full forward for the Belfast men.

A thrilling opening period well filled with all the ingredients required to make a classic ensured the packed attendance anticipated some of the same in part two, and as events were to proceed they were not to be disappointed,

A place in the senior decider looked up for grabs but if some may well have fancied the chances of the Toome men judged on their dominance of the latter stages of the first half the second period was still in its infancy when many would have changed their minds.

In fact only a few minutes had progressed when the men from the Milltown Row added back to back goals as the Cargin defence were left rooted to the spot as a well contrived movement opened the way for the brilliant Kevin Niblock to blast to the net before his cute flick sent Kieran McGourty in to add another.

Niblock was in tremendous form throughout as was his opposite number at the other end Michael Magill, as both occupied the attentions of several markers throughout, none of whom were able to quell the pairs brilliance.

The former All Ireland champs looked firmly in charge but just as in the first half Cargin soon showed the double blow may have shaken them, but they still carried a mighty punch of their own.  With Tony Scullion, James Laverty, Justin Crozier and the like driving from the back and Gerard McCann and Kevin McShane prominent in the middle of the park, they got themselves back into contention.

Tomas McCann raised white after another foul on the dominant Michael Magill and although CJ McGourty replied in kind at the other end drilling between the posts, despite facing an acute angle, further points from Tomas McCann following good approach work by Justin Crozier and his brother Michael ensured only a score divided the sides, St Gall’s at 4-06 to 0-15.

11Cargin veteran Tony Scullion rolled back the years with a fantastic display.

St Galls looked to pull away again as CJ McGourty despatched another free between the posts but the eye catching efforts of Jamie Gribbin sent Ciaran Bradley in to reply at the other end. Michael Pollock sent another free between the Cargin posts, but a gut busting Tony Scullion approach, and a blasted finish, which whizzed jut over the crossbar ensured the Toome men remained within range.

The last minutes saw  Gall’s retain possession in well organised formation but Cargin remained in focus awaiting their opportunity and indeed that moment arrived as Michael Magill rose to knock the high delivery back into the danger zone where Jamie Gribbin seized to opportunity with both hands and planted the leather to the back of the net to bring the Toome men level.

Having been reeled in St Gall’s were briefly shaken, but calling on all the experience gathered in those positive successful campaigns they soon regained composure and back to back points by Eoghan McCabe and Michael Pollock gave them a two point cushion as the clock ticked past the sixty minute mark.

The 2010 All Ireland champions must have felt they had done enough this time, but Cargin were unrelenting and a defence splitting move gave McCann the goal opportunity, which Kerr brilliantly turned away. The Cargin fans must have thought their chance was gone but when the men in green were awarded a 13 metre free Tomas McCann wrote his name in bright lights with a finish that will live long in the memory.

27Tomas McCann fires the ball to the St Gall’s net with the last kick of the game.



David John Mc Nabb, Donnach Mc Keever, Kevin O’ Boyle, James Laverty, Tony Scullion (0-01), Justin Crozier, Michael Clarke, Gerard Mc Cann, Kevin Mc Shane, Ciaran Bradley (0-01), Michael Mc Cann, Jamie Gribbin (1-03), Tomas Mc Cann (1-09), Michael Magill (0-03), Enda Mc Grogan


Gerard Mc Corley for K O’ Boyle

John Carron for M Clarke

Kieran Close for E Mc Grogan

David Johnston for D Mc Keever

St Gall’s

Chris Kerr, Tomas O’ Ciaran, Andrew Mc Clean, Colin Brady, Jackson Mc Greevey, Conor Burke, Sean Kelly, Aodhan Gallagher, Michael Pollock (1-02), Niall O’ Neill, Ciaran Mc Gourty (1-00), Eoghan Mc Cabe (0-02), Terry O’ Neill, CJ Mc Gourty (1-06), Kevin Niblock (1-00)


Conor Stinton for T O’ Neill

Brendan Bradley for S Kelly

Referee S Laverty (St Ergnat’s)




Senior Football Championship semi-finals top the bill in Antrim

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The Senior football championship semi-finals top the bill in Antrim this weekend with the semi-finals of the Intermediate and the Junior final also down for decision.

Three of last year’s four semi-finalists have reached this years semi-finals with holders Lamh Dhearg missing from this weekend’s shake up following defeat to Cargin last weekend

The senior competition will take centre stage as old rivals Cargin and St Gall’s cross swords at Creggan on Saturday with St John’s and Creggan contesting the other semi-final in Glenavy.

Cargin and St Gall’s had originally been fixed for Corrigan but after a time issue intervened the CCC decided to reschedule to the Staffordstown road ground.

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Sat 6th October

Senior Football Championship (semi-final) at Creggan 4.30pm

Erin’s Own Cargin v St Gall’s

This opening semi-final brings together old rivals as Cargin line out against St Gall’s in what looks an intriguing contest which is certain to attract a big attendance to the pristine Staffordstown Road arena.

St Gall’s who are on the trail of their 20th domestic title have only been interrupted in their domination of the Antrim title since the start of the new millennium by the intervention of the Toome men in 2006 and it was another eight years as champions before they gave way to Cargin again.

Three years have passed since St Gall’s have ascended the championship podium and indeed some have passed opinion that the former All Ireland club champions were on the wane but more than a few have paused to reconsider such this term with form to date.

Sean Kelly, having assumed the role of player manager has seen resurgence within the ranks and having impressed in a positive league campaign St Gall’s disposed of the challenge posed by Casement’s in the championship quarter final.

Michael Pollock was the star of the show in that 3-11 to 1-08 victory march over the Bannsider’s but such as Andrew Mc Clean, Jackson Mc Greevey, Kevin Niblock, Aodhan Gallagher, Niall O’ Neill and player manager Kelly, who have gained experience aplenty, had shoulders firmly to the wheel while new kids on the block, Eoghan Mc Cabe and Conor Stinton played their part.

Cargin, under the guiding hand of Damien Cassidy  have took a time to settle this term although up there in contention for the league for most of the season. The Toome men have failed to recapture the league title and have lost out twice to St Gall’s home, and away in the campaign to date.

The Erin’s Own men have hinted at improvement in the championship however and after a draw with reigning champions Lamh Dhearg in the quarter final they came good in the replay to secure a six point win, 0-11 to 0-05 despite being reduced in number in the second period.

Cargin have struggled with a lengthy long term injury list this season but word from the Toome camp would suggest that a full complement is back in harness and available for selection for Saturday’s semi-final.

Michael McCann has impressed this term with ‘old hands’ Tony Scullion, Justin Crozier, Tomas McCann, James Laverty, Gerard McCann and Michael Magill continuing to do the business while youngsters like Jamie Gribbin, Michael Clarke, Ciaran Bradley and Kevin Mc Shane have added fresh legs and they look to be hitting a bit of form just at the right time. Cargin will welcome the return of Marty Kane, John Carron, and Kevin ‘Kobo’ O’ Boyle back after injury and manager Cassidy may have a welcome selection headache.People1st


Sunday 7th October

Senior Football Championship (semi-final) at Glenavy 4.30pm

St John’s v Kickham’s Creggan

Creggan are no doubt the form team of the season and following an excellent league campaign with the division one title all but assured to sit alongside the O’Cahan Cup as well as the reserve title the Kickham’s men will travel up to Glenavy for this latest assignment, as they attempt to add a Senior Championship.

Kevin Madden’s charges will be attempting to bridge a 64 year gap and some would suggest that they may well be on the way to achieve such aspirations.

Ahoghill, who made the Creggan men work hard in last year’s championship proved no match for Madden’s men in their opening game but Sunday is certainly a much bigger challenge as they take on St John’s.

The return to action of the long term injured Martin Johnston will most certainly be welcomed within the ranks of a Creggan side in which his sibling Ricki, the McCanns, Thomas, Conor, Ruairi, Odhran Mc Larnon, Fintan Burke, Liam Quinn, and the Small brothers, Kevin and Conor will figure prominently.

The Creggan squad may well be short on championship ‘know how’ but this year they look well equipped to make an impact.

St John’s are seasoned championship campaigners having won the MacNamee Cup on 24 occasions, but despite coming close on a few occasions they have not won it the since defeating Cargin in the 1998 final.

The Johnnies came mighty close to ending that long gap last year but despite a titanic effort they lost out to Lamh Dhearg in last year’s final.

Gearoid Adams has picked up the reins again at Corrigan this term and although they did fare well in the league, championship was the focus as they sought to erase the painful memories of that 2017 reversal.

Patrick McBride and Matt Fitzpatrick are likely to lead the Johnnies charge with Brian ‘Bam’ Neeson, Michael Dudley, Aaron Douglas, Simon McCrory, and the Johnston brothers, Conor and Ciaran, as well as the Hannigans, Ross and Jack to the fore.

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Champions bow out as 14 man Cargin advance to the semi-final


Northern Switchgear Senior Football Championship quarter-final replay

Lamh Dhearg (holders) 0-05 Erin’s Own Cargin 0-11

When Michael McCann was shown a second yellow card, followed by red early in the second half of this SFC quarter-final replay against Lamh Dhearg at Corrigan today there must have been those amongst the large attendance who felt the chances of the Erin’s Own men went with him, given the influence he had asserted on the drawn game a week earlier.

It took a pointed free from his brother Tomas to earn the Toome men a draw on that occasion despite an awesome performance from former county man, Michael and despite holding a slender lead today at the time of their talisman’s dismissal the Cargin side looked in trouble.

McCann had stood tallest in the initial drawn affair and very influential in the outcome but those Cargin people who feared the worst had no need to be concerned for when the call to arms was sounded Damien Cassidy’s charges rose to the challenge.

Although Cargin were first out of the start traps in game one it was the men from Hannahstown who were away the better in this one as Paddy Cunningham defied the swirling breeze to point an early free. Cunningham, who had proved most potent in his finishing in the initial encounter had the ball between the posts in the 4th minute, judging distance and the breeze to perfection from a right sided position, 40 meters from the posts following a foul on Aaron McAulfield.

Cargin had spurned a couple of chances in the opening minutes and they had cause to rue those misses when an unforced error within their defence and an ‘off the ground’ decision opened the way for marksman Cunningham to dispatch a 50 meter free over the black spot.


The reigning champions were away to an excellent start on a day in which it was obvious that scores would be hard earned in the conditions but the Toome men were just about to set light to the blue touch paper and back to back scores from Tomas McCann and the lively Enda McGrogan ensured parity on the scoreboard by the 12th minute.

Tomas McCann was unerring again in this one and when halted illegally in pursuit of the posts he recovered to send the resultant 35 meter free between the posts before Kevin McShane and Jamie Gribbin combined to place Enda McGrogan to add another.

Cargin had settled well to the task on hand with Justin Crozier leading by example in defence and the half forward and mid-field dropping back to frustrate Lamh Dhearg who were having trouble finding passage to the posts.

Centre back Declan Lynch did make his way into the ‘shooting zone’ but fired wide and strong defending and quick counter strikes aided the Toome men to a 21st minute 0-05 to 0-02 advantage.

Tomas McCann had raised white flags to penalize indiscretions on Enda McGrogan and Ciaran Bradley in either side of a sumptuous Kevin McShane strike which yielded a brilliant 17th minute point.

Having found it hard to make inroads in the opening third of the game Lamh Dhearg did have some success in the closing stages as firstly Kevin Quinn raised white and then Paddy Cunningham added another.

Mid fielder Quinn followed his Cargin counterpart Kevin McShane’s example a few minutes previous as he delivered a stylish 25th minute score before Paddy Cunningham ended the opening period as he had started with a pointed free as his 29th minute effort from 35 metres saw the gap closed to the minimum with Cargin at 0-05 to 0-04 when the referee sounded respite.


Cargin looked to add to their slender advantage on the restart but the Toome men were about to be delivered what looked a serious blow as Michael McCann picked up a second yellow in the 32nd minute following an over-zealous challenge on Mark McGarry.

Damien Cassidy’s men refused to panic however as they closed ranks on the opposition with their defence soaking up everything that came their way and their ability to keep possession continually frustrated the opposition.

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A strong Tony Scullion approach and a foul on the advancing Enda McGrogan opened the way for Tomas McCann to drill the resultant free kick between the posts. James Laverty then fielded superbly on the ‘40’ he found Jamie Gribbin who sent Enda Mc Grogan in to add another point as the Cargin support began to find their voice.

Lamh Dhearg tried to respond but they looked a side sadly lacking in ideas and confidence and despite the honest endeavours of Ciaran O’ Flaherty, Eoin Mc Keown and the hard grafting Declan Lynch they could find no way through a well-organized Cargin defence.

At the other end Jamie Gribbin was well employed in the role of ‘fetch and carry’ and after Cargin net minder John McNabb found Ciaran Bradley the youngster sent over a great point with the outside of his boot in the 45th minute to make it 0-08 to 0-04.

The reigning champions looked in serious trouble as the game entered the final quarter but the Hannahstown men were not to go down without a fight and it took a smart interception by Justin Crozier to halt Marc McGarry in his tracks as he bore down on goal.

Declan Lynch finally raised their first white flag of the half in the 48th minute but it was to be their only one as Cargin responded through Enda McGrogan with a point at the other end.

Cargin were four ahead as the clock ticked down as their defence continued to frustrate everything the opposition could throw at them and they countered once more as Justin Crozier, Gerard Mc Cann and David Johnston combined to set up the lively Ciaran Bradley who fired over an excellent 55th minute point and the die looked cast.

Lamh Dhearg were still battling hard but were totally inept in their shooting as Cunningham and Murray saw efforts sail well wide of the target while high delivery in search of goal was easily dealt with by ta solid Cargin defence.

A Gerard McCorley interception sent Tony Scullion away and he combined with Jimmy Gribbin to place Ciaran Bradley who was unceremoniously brought down straight in front of posts.

The late free was easy meat for the ever accurate Tomas Mc Cann to deliver between the posts and usher Cargin into another semi-final and a meeting up with old foes St Gall’s in a repeat of the 2016 decider.

Cargin: John McNabb, Donnach McKeever, Gerard McCorley, Kevin O’ Boyle, James Laverty, Justin Crozier, Tony Scullion, Kevin McShane (0-01), Gerard McCann, Ciaran Bradley (0-02), Michael McCann, Tomas McCann (0-04), Jamie Gribbin, Michael Magill, Enda Mc Grogan (0-03)


David Johnston for M Magill

Michael Clarke for E Mc Grogan

Lamh Dhearg: John Finnucane, Christopher Nolan, Paddy Mervyn, Marc McGarry, Aaron McAulfield, Declan Lynch (0-01), Brendan McComb, Pearce Fitzsimmons, Kevin Quinn (0-01), Eoin Mc Keown, Ciaran O’ Flaherty, Ryan Murray, Paddy Cunningham (0-03), Michael Herron, Terry Mc Crudden


Ben Rice for T McCrudden

Danny Bellew for A McAulfield

Gerard Slane for K Quinn

Referee Karol Doherty (Rasharkin)

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