Dunloy progress to minor hurling final

Under 17A Hurling Championship semi-final

Dunloy 1-15 Glenariffe-Glenravel 0-12

Dunloy Cuchullians advanced to the final of the minor hurling championship for the first time since 2018 with a six point victory over a strong Glenariffe/Glenravel amalgamation. 

Played out in beautiful autumnal sunshine at Pearse Park Dunloy the large crowd in attendance treated to an exciting and close fought game.  The opening quarter was keenly contested, Dunloy opened the scoring with their first attack as Oisin McCallin fired over a point.  McCallin would go on to be a constant threat to the Glensmen throughout the hour.

Glenariffe/Glenravel started with their chief dangermen Orin O’Connor and Peader McDonnell in the full forward line and during the early exchanges this was certainly causing concern for Dunloy with O’Connor landing a monster score from the sideline and 2 further frees to race into a 0-3 to 0-1 lead.

Dunloy then struck for the only goal of the game as Oisin McCamphill found the Glenariffe/Glenravel net after a fantastic team move.  The impressive Ben O’Kane started the move, winning the ball in defence and clearing his lines under considerable pressure.  Paudie Martin picked up the possession and had the vision and accuracy to find Oisin McCallin in space, isolated one on one he turned his man and unselfishly offloaded to the other Oisin to clinically dispatch to the net.

O’Connor was looking lively and forced a smart save from Caolan McFerran in the Dunloy goals, the same player then traded frees with Dunloys Paudie Martin as the pendulum swung from side to side in a frantic opening half.  A sharp Phelim Ward point nudged the Ossians/Con Magees into a lead but Dunloy ensured they would hold the initiative at the short whistle as points from Oisin McCallin and two incredible efforts from midfielder Jack Martin left the half time score Dunloy 1-6 Glenarrife/Glenravel 0:8

The third quarter saw no let up in the pace of the game as both teams defied the heavy underfoot conditions to play some high quality hurling. It was the home side that was threatening to score goals with a combination of resolute defending and some outstanding saves denying Dunloy the major they craved.  Paudie Martin continued to be assassin like from frees with Orin O’Connor equally unerring. 

Defences began to dominate with Callum McIlwaine dropping back to good effect for Glenarrife/Glenravel and the Dunloy centre forward Luke McFerran popping up everywhere to aid the Cuchullains cause.  During this third period both teams found scores hard to come by only for the elusive Jack Martin to pop up with a further 2 points as Dunloy moved into a 4 point lead.  However the boys from the Glens did not throw in the towel and the powerful Niall Hynes roared into the game scoring a great point after a driving run. 

The pacy Peadar McDonnell and Orin O’Connor came further out the field in search of possession and the message seemed to be to run at the Dunloy defence but on each occasion they were met with a Green & Gold wall as Ben O’Kane, Ryan McClements and Charlie Cunning in particular excelled in their defensive responsibilities

Another O’Connor free did close the gap to just that solitary goal with 10 minutes of the game to go, however this was as good as it got for them as Dunloy scored 4 unanswered points.  Paudie Martin would finish the game with 8 points to his credit and McCallin added to his 2 first half points.  While Glenarrife/Glenravel would not score in this period they did throw the kitchen sink at Dunloy to find a stubborn defence led by Sean Og Blaney unwilling to yield.  Dunloy now progress to the County final on the weekend of 14/15 October where they will face Loughgiel

Rossa host Nipper Quinn finals on Sunday afternoon

By Kevin Herron

Rossa Pairc played host to the South Antrim U-13 Nipper Quinn hurling finals on Sunday afternoon. 

The Plate, Shield and Cup finals were ran off on a fine day weather wise, with a healthy crowed in attendance to cheer on the six competitors in their respective show piece deciders. 

Nipper Quinn Plate Final: 

Two late goals from Michael Campbell held off a Lámh Dhearg fightback as Gort na Mona claimed the Nipper Quinn Plate with a 4-06-1-07 win over the Hannahstown side. 

Playing with the first half breeze, Gort forged ahead through an early Conall Fegan point, but fell behind for the only time after eight minutes when Eoghan Herron dropped his 45’ metre free into the net. 

Gort hit back immediately with Oisin Rea firing low to the net after Lámhs keeper Oliver Kelly had done well to repel the initial effort. 

Michael Campbell opened his afternoon account from a converted free and it was the first of five unanswered scores for his side. 

Campbell claimed all of them, landing four placed balls in and in-between he burst forward and fired low to the net to move Gort na Mona 2-05-1-00 ahead. 

A Ronan Downey point before the break narrowed the deficit slightly for Lámh Dhearg, but the Hannahstown outfit were up against it at the break. 

The Lámhs began the second period on the front foot with Dylan Quinn opening their account from a free. 

Quinn dropped over another two placed balls and a further effort from Odhran Agnew had a goal separating the sides (2-05-1-05). 

Momentum was very much with the red hands and a Quinn point from play had the margin at two with less than ten to play. 

Kalen Irvine and Dylan Quinn (free) traded scores to ensure that a grandstand finish was on the cards. 

Gort na Mona would seal the deal in the dying embers as Michael Campbell added to his first half strike with two goals late on to ensure that Gort would run out 4-06-1-07 winners at the end of a fascinating Nipper Quinn Plate Final. 

Nipper Quinn Shield Final: 

Braces from Anthony McCann and Caolan Cosgrove helped Davitt’s clinch the Nipper Quinn Shield after a 4-03-2-05 win over St Johns in Sundays decider.

McCann rifled into the top corner to give his side a dream start, but Dylan Hand converted a free to get the Johnnies up and running and the Corrigan outfit kicked on in the minutes that followed. 

St Johns nudged ahead when Jack Monaghan’s free squirmed to the net. Oran McCann dropped over a point from play and a second free from Hand was followed by a goal that gave his side a 2-03-1-00 advantage midway through the half. 

Caolan Cosgrove and Hand traded scores from the placed ball and Cosgrove would have the final say of the half- firing low to the net to ensure his side trailed three at the interval (2-04-2-01). 

Davitt’s restored parity within a minute of the restart and the half began at the previous one ended with Caolan Cosgrove finding the net, this time from a 45’ that dropped from the sky and over the St Johns keeper to make it 3-01-2-04. 

Cosgrove added to his tally with a second converted free and their lead was doubled when Anthony Corr slipped the ball through to Odhran McGrattan for a super point. 

The Beechmount outfit strengthened their grip on proceedings when Anthony Corr’s low shot was briefly repelled with Anthony McCann on hand to fire the rebound home and give his side a 4-03-2-04 lead. 

Try as they might, St Johns were unable to breach a solid Davitt’s back line in the closing stages and Harry Connolly’s point was mere consolation with the final puck as Davitt’s lifted the Nipper Quinn Shield at the game’s conclusion. 

Nipper Quinn Cup Final: 

St Pauls sealed a league and championship double, defeating their nearest league challengers Rossa 3-12-0-11 in the final of the Nipper Quinn Cup on Sunday afternoon. 

The visitors started brightly with points from Jude Burns and Tomas McCaughey in the early stages, though Cillian Carabine converted a free in response. 

Aidan Johnston converted back-to-back frees for St Pauls, with Gerard Delaney landing a splendid point between times and subsequent Codhran O’Rourke free ensured that just a point separated the sides with almost ten minutes gone. 

The opening goal arrived on the 10th minute Aidan Holbrook did well to deny Tomas McCaughey in the first instance before Jude Burns applied the finish from the rebound to give St Pauls a 1-04-0-03 lead. 

O’Roukre replied with a point from play for Rossa, but St Pauls sent over three unanswered points before the interval. 

Jude Gamble swung over successive points with free-taker Johnston adding another to his personal tally to give their side a 1-07-0-04 lead at the break. 

An early Jude Gamble goal within 60-seconds of the restart gave his side some breathing space. 

Free-takers O’Rourke and Johnston traded placed balls in the aftermath and despite Gabriel Stitt narrowing the margins ever so slightly, a converted Matthew O’Neill point was then followed by a point from play as St Pauls were 2-11-0-06 to the good. 

Rossa rallied briefly and hit three unanswered points, all of which came of Cillan Carabine. The midfielder dropped over two placed ball and pointed from play in between times. 

Talisman Aidan Johnston completed his afternoon’s exploits with a further two frees bringing his personal tally to 0-06. 

St Paul’s made things safe with a third goal five minutes from time, Daire Gault finding time and space to shoot low to the net and make it 3-12-0-09. 

Jacob Bell and Gerard Delaney were only able to steer over late points in response as St Pauls ran out winners of the Nipper Quinn Cup and in the process completed a league and championship double. 

Loughgiel’s drive for five still on course as they beat the ‘Dall in a classic semi-final

Minor Hurling Championship semi-final

Loughgiel 4-23 Cushendall 3-23 AET

Loughgiel’s drive for five continues in the Minor Hurling Championship after an extra time win over Cushendall in Sunday’s semi-final at Fr Healy Park. In an incredible game of hurling Loughgiel’s bid for their fifth title in succession appeared to be coming to an end when they trailed by four points (3-17 to 2-16) with just minutes to play at the end of normal time. However Roan McGarry sent over a point from a free to leave just a goal between them before Ronan Fitzgerald brought the game to extra time with a late goal.

An early point from and a goal from Oran McCambridge gave Cushendall an early lead in the first half, and when McCambridge got his second goal the Ruairis were well on top, but goals from Logan McConville and Danny O’Mullan brought the Shamrocks back into the game, and they finished the half strongly with two points apiece from Liam Glackin and Ronan Fitzgerald to lead by 2-8 to 2-6 at half time.

Early points in the second half from Dillon McNaughton and Thomas McLaughlin brought Cushendall level and for a good part of the second half it was score for score. With the sides level on 2-14 apiece Loughgiel appeared to making a break when points from Liam Glackin and Roan McGarry put them two clear, but Cushendall hit back with three points in a row, two from Oran McCambridge and one from Thomas McLaughlin to edge a point in front. When McCambridge struck for his third goal of the game to put his team four clear, it looked like they had secured a place in the final, but Roan McGarry cut it back to a goal with a pointed free before ‘Rosie’ Fitzgerald fired home the goal that brought the game to extra time.

Loughgiel got the first two points in extra time through Danny O’Mullan and Roan McGarry, but Cushendall levelled matters up once again as Cahir and Oran McCambridge hit back with points apiece. Loughgiel were a point clear at half time in extra time and when Roan McGarry grabbed a goal and a point after the change of ends the Shamrocks were in control. Cushendall never gave up the fight and two more pointed frees from Thomas McLaughlin kept their hopes alive. When Ronan Fitzgerald stretched the home team’s lead to four again they looked secure, and so it proved. Cushendall’s Callagh Mooney brought his team back to within a goal, but that was as close as they would get and the Shamrocks held on to secure a final meeting with Dunloy in two weeks’ time, their ‘drive for five’ dreams still very much alive.

Overall this was a tremendous contest and for these young teams to put up a score of 7 goals and 46 points in such underfoot condition, is a testament to the skill levels on both sides.

Shamrocks on the ‘Boyle’ as they stun Cuchullains

Bathshack Senior Hurling Championship Semi-Final

Loughgiel 1-21 Dunloy 0-13

Sunday 1 October

Brendan McTaggart reports from Pairc Mac Uilin, Ballycastle

When Dunloy were last beaten in the senior hurling championship, it was called a Loughgiel ambush and ‘dug-out gate’.  Fast-forward some five years later and the Shamrocks derailed the Cuchullains drive for five in 60 minutes of skill, intensity and out-hurling the reigning champions. 

Eleven points at the end of the hour, a score line that certainly didn’t flatter Hugh McCann’s side, Loughgiel were superior all over the field.  Indeed, were it not for those in red and white having an off day from placed ball, it could have been a greater margin of victory for the Shamrocks.

They started with a fire in their belly and that fire showed no signs of extinguishing as they played a silky brand of hurling that tore Dunloy apart with the Cuchullains defence chasing shadows. 

On a day where Dunloy couldn’t buy a first touch and struggled in rucks, Loughgiel dominated puck outs and their attacking unit were on fire.  Paul Boyle walked away with the Man of The Match award and rightly so, but it could have easily gone to Rian McMullan, Ryan McKee or Christy McGarry on an afternoon where the young Shamrocks came of age.

Their touch, their ability to round a player and find the yard needed, you see for periods in a game of championship hurling.  Loughgiel produced it from start to finish and never gave Dunloy an inch of space to make any kind of fightback.

It’s fair to say Gregory O’Kane’s men looked lethargic and flat with their play, some will look at the schedule they’ve endured in both hurling and football and while the majority of the Cuchuallins handling errors were of their own doing, the Shamrocks work rate led to a considerable number of turnover ball on a day where they were in the mood to capitalise at every opportunity.

Playing with the wind in the first, while Dunloy and Coby Cunning opened the scoring, it was Loughgiel who was making all the early running.  They had already registered three wides, two from placed ball before Rian McMullan split the posts in the 5th minute.

Cunning was giving the Louhghgiel defence their fill of it in those opening exchanges while Nigel Elliott was a handful in midfield.  Dunloy did mange the next two scores of the game, a brace from Cunning but it was answered from two long ranged efforts from Ryan McKee.

Keelan Molloy and Seaan Elliott fired points either side of Christy McGarry’s opening score of the semi-final before the only goal of the game came midway through the first half.

Collecting the ball down the Loughgiel left, Paul Boyle showed the Dunloy defence a clean pair of heels and unorthodoxly hitting the sliotar beyong the rushing Ryan Elliott.

The Cuchullains responded with the next score of the game, Chrissy McMahon with an instant reply before Coby (free) and Dan McCloskey exchanged scores to leave the minimum between the sides with nine minutes of the half remaining.

Dunloy midfielder Eoin McFerran in action

Cunning’s fourth point of the half would be Dunloy’s last score however as Loughgiel finished the half superbly.  A quite brilliant score from Boyle from wide on the left, punishing another error in the Dunloy defence was followed by scores from James McNaughton and Shan McGrath (2). 

After a recount during the half time interval, referee Mark O’Neill corrected the score to 1-9 to 0-6 for the Shamrocks and while there were plenty thinking in the bumper crowd at Pairc Mac Uilin that it could be a bone of contention, it actually mattered little in the end.  Loughgiel did play into whatever wind was blowing after the restart but it would be a push to say it was a six point wind.

It was far from an insurmountable lead and if anything, the Shamrocks could and probably should have been further ahead at the short whistle.  Dunloy did start the second half with more urgency, twice reducing the Loughgiel lead to four points in the opening ten minutes of the second half.  The introduction of Deaglan Smith and Eoin O’Neill having an instant impact for the Cuchullains but the Shamrocks weren’t going to be denied.

By the time McNaughton fired over his third of the half, first from free and fourth overall, the Loughgiel lead had already reached five points again before Christy McGarry and Shan McGrath split the posts to put daylight between the sides.

Conal Cunning (14) goes for goal from a late Dunloy free but Loughgiel’s last line of defence managed to keep it out

Keelan Molloy did respond for the Cuchullains to leave six between the sides with 14 minutes remaining.  The Cuchullains were going to have to dig deep in the last quarter to revive their championship hopes.

It never materialised as Loughgiel continued to score at will and defend with feverish intensity to nullify the Cuchullains threat.  They kept Dunloy scoreless in a 16 minute period where they hit five points unanswered and Dunloy had Nigel Elliott sent off for a second yellow card.

When the final whistle came, it signalled the end of the Cuchullains reign as county champions and Shamrocks sealing their date in the county show piece final for the first time since 2020 where they’ll face familiar foes Cushendall. 

The Ruairi’s having already defeated Loughgiel earlier this championship campaign will start that one as favourites but on this showing, the Shamrocks will take some stopping.

Young Loughgiel fans jump for joy on the banking behind the Rathlin End goals after Paul Boyle scored his teams’s goal


Loughgiel: Chrissy O’Connell; Tiernan Coyle, Rory McCloskey, Ruairi McCormick; Declan McCloskey, Damon McMullan, Caolan Blair; Enda Og McGarry, Ryan McKee; Dan McCloskey, James McNaughton, Rian McMullan; Shan McGrath, Paul Boyle, Christy McGarry

Subs: Ben McGarry for E McGarry (34); Jack McCloskey for R McKee (inj)

Scorers: P Boyle 1-3; S McGrath 0-5 (2fs); J McNaughton 0-4 (1f); R McKee 0-3; C McGarry 0-3; R McMullan 0-2; D McCloskey 0-1

Dunloy: Ryan Elliott; Oran Quinn, Conor McKinley, Phelim Duffin; Eamon Smyth, Ryan McGarry, Conor Kinsella; Paul Shiels, Eoin McFerran; Seaan Elliott, Ronan Molloy, Keelan Molloy; Nigel Elliott, Conal Cunning, Chrissy McMahon

Subs: Deaglan Smith for C Kinsella (HT); Eoin O’Neill for C McMahon (HT); Aodhan McGarry for R Molloy (42)

Scorers: C Cunning 0-6 (3fs); S Elliott 0-2; K Molloy 0-2; P Shiels 0-2 (1f); C McMahon 0-1; Eoin O’Neill 0-1

Referee: Mark O’Neill (Armoy)

Ardoyne hurlers bring years of famine to an end

Junior B Hurling Final

Ardoyne 0-18 Loch Mor Dal gC ais 1-11

Success may have been a long time coming for the hurlers of Ardoyne Kickhams, but they completed a historic double with a win in the Junior B hurling championship over Loch Mór Dal gCais at Musgrave on Saturday afternoon to build upon their earlier league success.

Last year, the North Belfast side fell to St Brigid’s in the decider and they were in no mood for a repeat, finding a way over the line in a game that was extremely hard going for both teams as the rain poured throughout, cutting up the well prepared pitch as the game progressed.

The previous game between these two sides in the round robin stage and played in similar dismal conditions finished in a draw, so anticipation was high to see if Loch Mór could bring the Ardoyne men’s unbeaten run to an end in the final game of the season.  It was apparent from early on in this highly competitive match though that the men from the north of the city were determined to bring the championship home after several years of near misses.

Conditions were not favourable to the forwards and while the majority of the scores came from placed balls that was a credit to both free-takers who missed very little with Ardoyne’s Aran Stewart finishing with 14 points to his name – 13 from frees – while Loch Mór’s Darragh Turley converted nine of his chances.

Despite the atrocious underfoot conditions, both sides served up a highly entertaining game.

Loch Mór opened well and Bailey Graham put them on the board when pulling on a loose ball that just about cleared the bar.

Stewart replied with his first point from frees and then Oisin MacAnBhiocaire split the posts from a tight angle to put Ardoyne into the lead and went on to have one of his best displays in an Ardoyne jersey that galvanised the Ardoyne team.

Ardoyne led by two points after 12 minutes, but Turley stroked over four frees in succession to put Loch Mór ahead by the same margin. Aran Stewart then stepped up to the mark for Ardoyne and responded with a display of free taking that was inspiring in the atrocious conditions.

At the half time whistle Ardoyne were ahead by 3 points as both teams headed for the shelter of the dressing rooms.

Half Time: Ardoyne 0-11 Loch Mór 0-8

The second half could not have started better for Loch Mór as Turley lined up a free from inside his own half just a minute in but this time it dipped and Ferdia Carson rose to get a deft flick and divert it into the net. However, a subsequent point from play from MacAnBhiocaire left the minimum margin between the two sides.

Stewart and McAuley engaged in their own private sharp shooting duel with Stewart pushing the Ardoyne men ahead anytime Loch Mór looked like pulling back their lead. While Ardoyne exerted increasing pressure on Loch Mór, the conditions were such that their lead was always vulnerable. However, two moments of inspiration put the game beyond any remaining doubt. Substitute Enda Slattery scored an exquisite point from a narrow angle for Ardoyne that was followed by a wonder catch from the inspirational Paul Baker in the Ardoyne full back line.

As the final whistle blew, the years of frustration for the Northenders had come to an end and the celebrations were about to start. “Going into that last quarter, there was no way we were going to lose,” said manager Conor Barnes, “We went down into the trenches there, quite literally because of the state of the pitch, and the players were super right to the end. We’ll enjoy our day today – it’s amazing.”

Man of the Match was a close contest between Stewart and MacAnBhiocaire for Ardoyne. Given the former’s display of free taking along with his inspirational display of skill and commitment the honour narrowly goes to Aran Stewart.

Given the extreme conditions, credit must be given to both teams who gave full commitment and the game was played in a great spirit. The match officials allowed the game to flow and contributed to a great game of hurling. Special thanks to St Brigid’s for having the pitch well prepared to withstand the atrocious conditions for this County Final.

Ardoyne: 1 JP Agnew, 2 Pascal Clarke, 3 Paul Baker, 4 Cathal Clarke, 5 Sean Searle, 6 Caolan Wallace, 7 Micheál McGreevey, 8 Dean Goodall, 9 Paul McGuigan, 10 Oisin Mac An Bhiocaire 0-3, 11 Cahal Keown, 12 Pearse Hull, 13 Matt McKillen, 14 Aran Stewart 0-14 (0-12f), 15 Jim Og McAuley, Cormac Barnes, Paul O’Halloran, Joe McDowell, Conor Flannery, Stephen Hill, Eoghain Mac An tSearraig, Eamon MacLochlainn, Matthew Crommie, Patrick McGreevy, Padraig O Deorain, Cormac Curran, Enda Slattery 0-1

Subs: P McGreevy for C Keown (42), C Barnes for M McKillen (55), E Slattery (0-1) for P Hull (57).

Loch Mór: 1 Cathan O hEireamhoin, 2 Brogan Graham, 3 Sean Burke, 4 Aaron Monaghan, 5 Declan Phillips, 6 Conor Jones, 7 David McAreavey,  8 Martin Branniff, 9 Cormac Dwyer, 10 Cal Burke, 11 Matthew Jones, 12 Darragh Turley 0-10 (0-10f) 13 Bailey Graham 0-1, 14 Ferdia Carson (1-0), 15 Michael McCullough

Subs: M Robb for C Burke (38), R Bannon for A Monaghan (38), P Molloy for D McAreavey (55).

Referee: Chris Brown