Rossa bounce back

Walsh ScaffoldingO’Neill’s All County Hurling League Division 1

Ballygalget 1-13 Rossa 2-20

Rossa bounced back from last week’s defeat by Ballycran when they travelled to Ballygalget and beat the Ards men by 2-20 to 1-13 to regain top spot in Division 1.

Rossa showed good signs that it was going to be their day when they and early Michael Armstrong goal helped them to a 1-9 to 0-9 half time lead, despite playing against the strong breeze. In the second half top scorer Deaglan Murphy grabbed his team’s second goal, on his way to a personal tally of 1-12 and though the side posed plenty of problems the Rossa boys always had an answer to complete a well merited win.


Conal Breathatch, Niall Crossin, Owen O’Neill, Stephen Shannon, Aidan O’Brien, Cricky McGuinness, Gerard Walsh, Stephen Beatty (0-2), Ciaran Orchin, James Connolly, Callum McVeigh (0-1), Matt Devlin (0-1), Deaglan Murphy (1-12-7f), Michael Armstrong (1-2), Thomas Morgan (0-1).

Subs – Tiernan Murphy (0-1), Dominic McEnhill (0-1)

Division 1 table

Cuchullains made to fight all the way by the Johnnies

O’Neill’s All County Hurling League Division One

8Dunloy’s Nigel Elliott who turned in another outstanding display in his team’s win over St John’s at Pears Park. Pic by John McIlwaine

Dunloy Cuchullains 0-19 St John’s 0-15

By Brendan McTaggart reports from Pearse Park, Dunloy

Dunloy followed up their victory over Loughgiel last weekend with a four point win over St John’s at Pearse Park on Sunday afternoon.  When these two sides last met, it was a championship thriller in the sunshine at Cushendall and while the weather didn’t hit the same heights, both teams put on an exhibition of point taking with some outstanding scores throughout the hour despite the strong wind.  Nigel Elliott following up his man of the match performance by once again catching the eye for the Cuchullains while midfielder Micheál Bradley and the superb Conor Johnston impressed for the Corrigan Park side.

Playing with the wind in the first half, the home side opened a nine point lead for the second 30 minutes and it proved to be decisive.  Despite the Johnnies making a blistering start to the second half, Dunloy put in a strong defensive display to nullify the St John’s threat and make it three wins from four.

Showing two changes from last weekend, Keelan Molloy and Shane Dooey coming in for Gabriel McTaggart and the injured Kevin McKeague, the Cuchullains made a slow start to the match.  St John’s were moving the ball well and making light of playing against a substantial wind.

The home side did open the scoring with Paul Shiels sending over a free from long range but a trio of points from the Johnston brothers Ciaran and Conor along with a tidy score from Barry McFall gave the visitors to Pearse Park a deserved two point lead after ten minutes.

McKeague and Conor Johnston swapped frees in the 16th minute as Dunloy began to find their game among a packed St John’s defence.  Keelan Molloy first pointing after a trademark burst of pace before Nicky McKeague pointed from a free to bring the sides level in the 18th minute.  Bradley edged the Johnnies ahead with his first of three points over the hour from midfield moments later, but it was the last score the visitors would register in the first half as the Cuchullains upped the pressure on Simon Doherty’s poc outs and began to turn their pressure into points on the board.

Ten unanswered points in as many minutes from the home side derailed the St John’s challenge, undoing all their hard work in the first 20 minutes as the Cuchullains took advantage of the elements and with some superb skill, ingenuity and opportunism they began to open what would be an insurmountable gap.  Nigel Elliott (three), Nicky McKeague (two frees), Keelan Molloy, a brace from Shiels (one free), Deaglan Smyth and Conal Cunning all registering scores as Dunloy held a 0-14 to 0-5 lead at the short whistle.

7Dunloy’s Paul Shiels plucks a high ball out of the air during Sunday’s win over St John’s

St John’s had no answer to a relentless Dunloy attack in the second quarter of the first half and half time couldn’t come quick enough for the Corrigan Park side.  Dunloy were taking scores at will and St John’s were camped in their own half under huge pressure.  Tempers did flare before the half time break, referee Tarlach Conway calling for the sliotar for half time allowing both sides to use the break to cool heads and it was the Johnnies who made the most of the break.

Now with the wind at their back, they fired three points in the opening two minutes of the second half, Shea Shannon and two frees from Conor Johnston reducing the Dunloy advantage to six points and suddenly it looked like the Dunloy lead would be reeled in by the visitors.  Coby Cunning’s second point of the match got Dunloy firing again in the second half with a tidy score in the 37th minute and while Conor Johnston scored his fourth free of the match soon after, the Johnnies were hurt by wastefulness in possession with a brace of wides in as many minutes.

Points from Elliott, his fourth of the match, and Eoin O’Neill gave the Cuchullains an eight point lead once again in the 42nd minute before Micheál Dudley and Conor Johnston kept St John’s within touching distance.

Nicky McKeague and Micheál Bradley swapped points in the 46th minute to leave six between the sides going into the final quarter but both sides were guilty of squandering chances with tempers threatening to boil over once again before referee Tarlach Conway once again resumed control.

St John’s outscored the Cuchullains three points to one in the closing stages, Shannon, Dudley and Bradley’s third point of the match only answered to by Nicky McKeague’s fifth point of the match, sixth overall but it was another solid performance for the Cuchullains as they go into the league break with optimism for the remainder of the season and while it was St John’s second defeat from four, they showed enough on Sunday that they too have reason for optimism for the months ahead.


Dunloy: Ryan Elliott; Phelim Duffin; James McKeague; Conor Kinsella; Eamon Smyth; Kevin Molloy; Paul Shiels; Shane Dooey; Nicky McKeague; Eoin O’Neill; Nigel Elliott; Deaglan Smyth; Keelan Molloy; Chrissy Brogan; Conal Cunning

St John’s: Simon Doherty; Sean Wilson; Ryan McNulty; Conor Carson; Simon McCrory; Ciaran Johnston; Stephen Tierney; Micheál Bradley; Aidan McMahon; Barry McFall; Conor Johnston; Peter McCallin; Shea Shannon; Dónall Carson; Micheál Dudley


Scorers for Dunloy: Nicky McKeague 0-6 (5 f); Nigel Elliott 0-4; Paul Shiels 0-3 (2 f); Keelan Molloy 0-2; Conal Cunning 0-2; Deaglan Smyth 0-1; Eoin O’Neill 0-1

Scorers for St John’s: Conor Johnston 0-6 (5 f); Micheál Bradley 0-3; Micheál Dudley 0-2; Shea Shannon 0-2; Ciaran Johnston 0-1; Barry McFall 0-1

Referee: Tarlach Conway (Ballinascreen)

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Ballycran end Rossa’s run

O’Neill’s All County Hurling League Division 118Rossa and Ballycran battle for the ball in the dying seconds of Sunday’s league game at Rossa Park. Pic by Dylan McIlwaine

Rossa 2-10  Ballycran 0-18

Rossa’s unbeaten start to their Division 1 campaign came to an end on Sunday when visitors Ballycran left Shaws Road with both points in the bag after a hard fought battle. Rossa had started well with an early goal, and they got a second on sixteen minutes, but the found the points hard to come by, while the men from the Ards kept sending over the points. The home side were ahead by two at the break but Ballycran had the better of things in the second half and dug out their first victory of the season.

Scott Nicholson game Ballycran and early lead with a pointed free but Rossa came back strongly and a brilliantly taken goal by corner forward Thomas Morgan put them 1-0 to 0-1 ahead on five minutes. However the visitors were dominating possession and some great long range points from Michael Hughes, James Coyle and Conor Woods, plus another one from a Nicholson free put them two clear midway through the opening half.4 copyThomas Morgan got Rossa off to a great start with an early goal. Pic by Dylan McIlwaine

Rossa got back in front with only their second score of the game, and once again it was a goal. Good combination play saw full forward Michael Armstrong send Callum McVeigh clear with a well-directed hand-pass and the centre forward finished well to put his team back in front. When Deaglan Murphy got his team’s first point of the game on nineteen minutes things were looked brighter for Rossa and they went on to lead by 2-13 to 0-7 at the break.

With the breeze and the slope in their favour Rossa would have fancied their chances of stretching their lead in the second half but Scott Nicholson kept closing the gap with pointed frees, and though Deaglan Murphy mostly found a response the visitors slowly edged their way back to level matters by the fifty third minute, with Woods and Coyle hitting two top class scores. Nicholson edged the visitors in front with five minutes left for play, and though Deaglan Murphy pulled one back two more from the accurate stick of Nicholson sealed the win.


1 – Connall Breatchnach

2 – Niall Crossan

3 – Eoin O’Neill

4 – Stephen Shannon

5 – Gerard Walsh

6 – Christopher McGuinness

7 – Aodhan O’Brien

8 – Stephen Beatty

9 – Ciaran Orchin

10 – Deaghlan Murphy

11 – Calum McVeigh

12 – James Connolly

13 – Matthew Devlin

14 – Michael Armstrong

15 – Thomas Morgan



1 – Stephen Keith

2 – Patrick Hughes

3 – Andrew Bell

4 – Thomas McManus

5 – Brett Nicholson

6 – Michael Ennis

7 – Michael Hughes

8 – Sean Ennis

9 – Gerard Hughes

10 – James Coyle

11 – Conor Woods

12 – Cormac McAllister

13 – Scott Nicholson

14 – Liam Savage

15 – Niall Breen

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Ruairis made to work hard for the points

O’Neill’s All County Hurling League Division 130411812_1710041295722682_4225480557716307968_oRuairi Og’s Sean Delargy in acton against Portaferry’s O Taggart during Sunday’s league game in Cushendall. Pic by Paddy McLaughlin.

Ruairi Og Cushendall 0-22 v St. Patrick’s Portaferry 1-15

By Colum Thompson

Portaferry made the long journey to The Glens Of Antrim and for long periods looked like they would end Cushendall’s unbeaten record, but the home side gained the upper hand in the second half to record a very hard fought win, a victory which moves them to the top of the Division 1 table.

The visitors started brightly and raced into a 0-3 to 0-1 lead after eight minutes thanks to two points from Paul Braniff and a long range free from Conor O’ Prey. Cushendall’s only point in this period came from centre forward Donal McNaughton following good approach play from Eoin Laverty. Ruairi Og found their rhythm soon after and a pointed free from Eoin Laverty was quickly followed by an Eoghan Campbell effort to draw his side level. However Portaferry were really giving Cushendall their fill of things and another brace of Braniff frees again opened up a two point lead for the Ards men. A loose ball in the Ports defence was claimed by Emmett Laverty who split the uprights from a difficult angle with an excellent score. Despite this Cushendall looked lethargic and Portaferry were taking full advantage. First Daithi Sands hit a point and then Eoghan Sands put clear daylight between the teams with an excellent finish to the Dall net as St. Patrick’s took control.

The Laverty brothers were showing well for Cushendall up front, Eoin tapped over a free, Emmett lashed over another superb effort from his wing forward position and Eoin converted a 65’ and the game ebbed and flowed. However Eoghan Sands showed all his skill and ability as he brilliantly converted a sideline for a superb point and Aaron O’Prey further extended his sides lead with his first point of the game.                Ruairi Og’s ace marksman Eoin Laverty sent over a free but Portaferry were the side in control and they added points through Braniff and Conor O’Prey to lead by 5 as the short whistle approached. The home side were in a spot of bother, but substitute Ed McQuillan, who had replaced the injured Donal McNaughton, got his name on the scoresheet with the final point of the half to cut the deficit back to four by the short whistle.  (Portaferry 1-10 Cushendall 0-9)

Pics by Paddy McLaughlin.

Cushendall needed a good start to the second half and they certainly got it. Ryan McCambridge and David Kearney started dominating proceedings around the half back line and they provided the springboard for their team. Eoin Laverty converted two quickfire frees and Eoghan Campbell lashed over from play and in the twinkling of an eye it was now a one point game. Braniff stopped the rot for the away side with a pointed free but Ruairi Og were now gaining control and attacked in waves. Emmett Laverty got his third point of the game and brother Eoin got another from a free to bring his side level.                                                                                                                                                    The next score would be vital and Ruairi Og’s David Kearney was the man who got it when he dispossessed Arron O’Prey and sent over a superb inspiring score. Braniff and Laverty traded frees as both teams battled for control before Ryan McCambridge then set off on a solo run and finished brilliantly with perhaps the point of the game to widen the gap to two points. Braniff frees were keeping Portaferry in the game and he got another with ten minutes remaining. The hard working Sean McAfee got his name on the scoresheet with a neat finish for The Dall and ace finisher Laverty added two further frees to give Cushendall a four point cushion. Credit to Portaferry, yet again they fought back and two pointed frees, one from Braniff and the other from Conor O’ Prey set up a tense finish but try as they might this was as good as it got for the Ards men as Cushendall finished strongly with two further pointed frees from Eoin Laverty which saw Ruairi Og over the line on a scoreline of Cushendall 0-22 Portaferry 1-15.

How they played: No doubt about it Portaferry were the better side in the first half and were full value for their four point lead. However Cushendall really produced the goods in the second period. Despite the loss Portaferry men Paul Braniff, Eoghan Sands and Conor O’Prey can be proud of their performances. For the home team Sean Delargy and Eunan McKillop were excellent in the full back line, Ryan McCambridge was the pick of the half backs and further forward Conor Carson worked his socks off. Eoin Laverty converted 12 of 13 scorable frees which was a fine return but on this occasion it was his younger brother who really caught the eye. This week’s man of the match was Emmett Laverty who went through a mountain of work. He fought for dirty ball, made some superb tackles and each of his three points were straight out of the top drawer.

CUSHENDALL – C Hayden, A Graffin, E McKillop, S Delargy, R McCambridge(0-1), P Burke, D Kearney(0-1), E Campbell(0-2), F McCambridge, C Carson, D McNaughton(0-1), S McAfee(0-1), Emmett Laverty(0-3), A Delargy, Eoin Laverty(0-12)

Subs used: E McQuillan(0-1)

PORTAFERRY – P McNally, N White, C Taggart, E O’ Neill, C O’Prey(0-3), M Conlan, S Conlan, T Murray, N Fitzsimmons, O Taggart, K McGarry, A O’Prey(0-1), D Sands(0-1), E Sands(1-1), P Braniff (0-9)

Referee – Colum Cunning (Dunloy)

Pics by Paddy McLaughlin


Cuchullains Edge Rivals in thrilling contest

O’Neill’s All County Hurling League Division One – Fr Healy Park, Loughgiel9 copyDunloy’s Gabriel McTaggart is tackled by Loughgiel’s Odhran McFadden during Sunday evening’s ACHL game at Fr Healy Park. Pic by Dylan McIlwaine

Loughgiel 1-15 Dunloy 0-19

By Brendan McTaggart

County champions Dunloy edged out their old rivals on Sunday evening to inflict a first defeat of the season on the Shamrocks.  One point separated the sides at the end of an hour as these two rivals played out an early season classic.  The lead changed hands on four occasions and the sides were tied six times as both teams made little of the weather conditions.  Dunloy were more solid in the second half and did just enough to take the two points but Loughgiel could have stolen it late in the day.  Dan McCloskey putting the sliotar to the wrong side of the post in injury time in what was a difficult chance but the Cuchullains held on in the end.

It was the visitors to Fr Healy Park who made the better start, Nigel Elliott, Chrissy Brogan and Paul Shiels raising the white flag in the opening seven minutes while the home side had a Barney McAuley free to show for their early efforts.

Loughgiel were boosted in the ninth minute referee Mark O’Neill awarded them a penalty for an off the ball incident, McAuley firing to the back of Ryan Elliott’s net to give the Shamrocks the lead and while the Cuchullains replied well with points from the midfield duo of Shiels and Nicky McKeague, Loughgiel dominated and kept their neighbours without a score for 14 minutes.

James McNaughton scored his first of four points during the hour in the 13th minute before Shay Casey, Eddie McCloskey and McNaughton again raised white flags in the space of five minutes.  Shan McGrath split the posts in the 20th minute meaning it was five unanswered for the home side but the Cuchullains finished the half strongly.  Conal Cunning scored his first of the match before Nigel Elliott’s second and Shiels’ fourth free of the match left the sides tied at 1-6 to 0-9 at the short whistle.

As the heavens opened both sides would have been fairly happy with their work in the first half.  Loughgiel were looking more fluent after McAuley’s penalty while Dunloy edged their way back into the contest with four unanswered points before the half time break.

The Cuchullains started the second half well with Shiels and Eoin O’Neill finding the target either side of another point from James McNaughton and while McAuley (free) and Deaglan Smyth swapped scores, Dunloy were starting to win the 50-50’s around the midfield with the pace of Nigel Elliott and Deaglan Smyth hurting the Shamrock’s defence.

Eddie McCloskey scored his second of the match in the 37th minute but the Cuchullains turned the screw once again and fired over four unanswered points thanks to two Paul Shiels frees, Cunning and a monster score from the impressive half back Eamon Smyth to give the visitors a four point lead with 12 minutes remaining.

Loughgiel showed their resilience however and came back once again.  A brace of points from livewire Maol Connolly and McAuley (free) kept their hopes alive once again and while Nigel Elliott scored his third of the match, substitute Donal McKinley and McNaughton’s fourth of the hour left the minimum between the sides in the last minute of normal time.

Paul Shiels’ eighth point of the match gave the Cuchullains that two point cushion once again before a McAuley point kept the Shamrocks in touch.  Elliott’s fourth of the match seemed to have won the match for the visitors before the Shamrocks carved open a golden goal opportunity in the second minute of injury time.  Maol Connolly dancing his way down the Loughgiel left passed inside to Dan McCloskey who’s first time effort went agonisingly to the wrong side of the post with the goal at his mercy.  A difficult chance which McCloskey did well to turn into a goal scoring opportunity but at full stretch, he ended up face down in the Dunloy goal mouth as the Cuchullain’s breathed a sigh of relief.

McAuley fired his fifth point of the match in the fourth minute of additional time but it wasn’t enough as the Cuchullains held on for the victory.

The Cuchullains now face St John’s at Pearse Park on Sunday while the Shamrock’s will look to get back to winning ways with a trip to Portaferry on the same day.

DUNLOY: Ryan Elliott; Phelim Duffin; James McKeague; Conor Kinsella; Eamon Smyth (0-1); Kevin Molloy; Kevin McKeague; Paul Shiels (0-8 7f); Nicky McKeague (0-1); Nigel Elliott (0-4); Gabriel McTaggart; Deaglan Smyth (0-1); Conal Cunning (0-2); Chrissy Brogan (0-1); Eoin O’Neill (0-1)

Subs: Ally Dooey for G McTaggart (HT); Keelan Molloy for Kevin McKeague

LOUGHGIEL: D Quinn; Mark McFadden; Neil McGarry; Tiernan Coyle; Declan Gillan; Tony McCloskey; Odhran McFadden; James McNaughton (0-4); Bernard McAuley (1-5 1-3f); Dan McCloskey; Declan Laverty; Eddie McCloskey (0-2); Shay Casey (0-1); Maol Connolly (0-1); Shan McGrath (0-1)

Subs: Donal McKinley (0-1) for S McGrath; Joey Scullion for D Laverty

Referee: Mark O’Neill (Armoy)

So near but so far away for Loughgiel’s Dan McCloksey as he bats the ball towards the Dunloy goal as his reaction shows in the second photo the ball goes wide of the far post. Pics by Dylan McIlwaine

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