Dunloy seal Division 1 league title with win over Ballycran

O’Neill’s All County Hurling League Division 1

Dunloy 2-26 Ballycran 0-17

Dunloy added another piece of silverware to their trophy cabinet in Sunday when they beat relegation threatened Ballycran with a power packed performance of skill and scoring power at Pearse Park on Sunday. The Cuchuallains were flying from the start and with Eoin O’Neill, ‘Coby’ Cunning and Keelan Molloy on top form up front they raced to a 0-15 to 0-8 lead by half time. After the break they were even more devastating and with Cunning and substitute Deaglan Smith grabbing goals they were fifteen points to the good at the end.

Conal ‘Coby’ Cunning fires a shot just inches wide of Stephen Keith’s goal in the first half of Sunday’s league game in Dunloy. Pics by Dylan McIlwaine

Two early points by Eoin O’Neill and one by Conal Cunning had them three clear in as many minute and though Conor Woods pulled on back for Ballycran points by Nigel Elliott, Nicky McKeague and Chrissy Brogan put them in control. The Down men came back with two points from Woods and one from Conor Dorrian. Two by Keelan Molloy for the home side brought a response from Ballycran as Conor Woods fired one over and Niall Breen hit three but Dunloy finished the half in control with five points in reply to one from Woods to lead by 0-15 to 0-8 at the break.Dunloy v Bcran - 14Eoin O’Neill crashes a shot off the Ballycran crossbar. Pic by Dylan McIlwaine

Dunloy opened the second half on the offensive and Balycran goalkeeper Stephen Keith did really well to keep out a rasping shot from Eoin O’Neill in the first minute. However there was nothing Keith could do to keep out Coby Cunning’s shot two minutes later as the corner forward, who had shaved the post in the first half, found the bottom right hand corner from twenty metres. Cunning added two points and Keelan Molly cut loose to fire over three more and though Breen, Savage, Woods and Coyle kept battling away for the Ards men Dunloy were soon out of sight. Dunloy substitute Deaglan Smith grabbed his team’s second goal seven minutes from the end and to put the icing on the cake as the home side sealed the league title in style.

Dunloy – Ryan Elliott, Phelim Duffin, James McKeague, Oran Quinn, Ronan Molloy, Kevin Molloy, Conor McKinley, Nickey McKeague, Shane Dooey, Paul Shiels, Keelan Molloy, Nigel Elliott, Eoin O’Neill, Christopher Brogan, Conal Cunning.

Subs – Deaglan Smith, Seaan Elliott, Aaron Crawford.

Balycran – Stephen Keith, Michael Hughes, Padraig Flynn, Andrew Bell, Michael Taylor, Liam Savage, Aaron Dorrian, Scott Nicholson, James Coyle, Conor Dorrian, Conor Woods, Cormac McAlister, Padraig Flynn, Colum McManus, Niall Breen

Referee – Fiontann McCotter

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Pics by Dylan McIlwaine

Rossa relegated by impressive Ruairis

All County Hurling League Division 1

Ruairi Og 6-28  Rossa 0-8

By Colum Thompson

Rossa’s involvement in Division 1 of the All county Hurling League ended at Pairc Mhuire on Sunday when their understrength team were comprehensively beaten by a Cushendall side who turned in an impressive performance. When they started their league campaign with wins over Dunloy and St John’s things looked bright for Paul Close and his charges, but his side was decimated by immigration and injuries as the season progressed and the team that ended the season was a mere shadow of the one that started it.

Ruairi Og were not at full strength either, but they still breezed past the challenge of the west Belfast men to claim another two league points. In truth the game was over as a contest as early as the tenth minute when Donal McNaughton cracked home the home sides first goal. At that stage Cushendall had built themselves a healthy lead of 0-5 to 0-1 with the points coming from McNaughton (0-2), Conor Carson (0-2) and Ryan McCambridge. Rossa brought themselves brief hope of making a game of it with three points in a row from Stephen Beattie (0-2) and Stephen Shannon but Ruairi Og slammed the door shut in ruthless fashion and with an avalanche of points from all angles and two further goals from Fergus McCambridge and Cormac McClafferty and by half time they were out of sight on a score of Cushendall 3-16 Rossa 0-6.

Things didn’t get any better in the second half for the Belfast men as Cushendall took points at will with Paddy McGill, Cormac McClafferty and Ryan McCambridge in particular hitting some excellent scores. They say take your points and the goals will come and this is the way it proved for the home side and in the second half they raised three further green flags with goals from Donal McNaughton, Niall McCormick and Cormac McClafferty. In response Rossa could only manage two points in the second half as Ruairi Og strolled to victory. For the record the final score was Cushendall 6-28 Rossa 0-8.

How they played: This was a walk in the park for Cushendall with Rossa offering only token resistance. The entire defence held firm with Eoghan Campbell playing a quarter back type roll extremely well. In the midfield engine room Paddy McGill was again superb, hitting ten points, seven of them from play. Up front all six forwards registered scores with McClafferty and Donal McNaughton particularly dangerous but my man of the match was Ryan McCambridge who was simply unplayable on the day. His high fielding, strong running and accurate shooting saw him finish the game with eight points all from play in what was a blistering performance.

Ruairi Og team: E Gillan, J McCurry, P Burke, S Delargy, L Gillan, E Campbell, Stephen Walsh, P McGill(0-9, 3fs), F McCurry, C Carson (0-3), F McCambridge (1-3), R McCambridge (0-8), N McCormick (1-0), D McNaughton (2-2), C McClafferty (2-2).

Subs used: Scott Walsh, E McKillop (0-1), D Kearney, D Delargy, E McQuillan. 12BRosssa manager Jim Close who saw his side relegated in Cushendall.








Rossa’s relegation fears deepen

O’Neill’s All-County Hurling League Division One

Rossa 1-20-4-19 Ballygalget

By Kevin Herron at Rossa Park

Rossa’s relegation fears deepened at Rossa Park this afternoon as four first half goals saw Ballygalget prevail in the basement battle at the bottom of Division One.

John McManus popped in the opener within the first three minutes and doubled his account just after  the midway point in the first-half. Tim Prenter matched McManus’s tally with two further strikes before the interval which effectively secured the spoils before a blistering consolation goal from Tiarnan Murphy in the second half hour of play at the Shaws Road.

A depleted Rossa squad went into Sunday’s game knowing that victory against the basement club would be a huge shot in the arm in their struggle to avoid the drop but it was bottom of the table Ballygalget who made a blistering start on a warm afternoon.

Daniel Toner opened the scoring with little over sixty seconds on the clock and with only three minutes on the clock the opening goal of the game arrived.

Down legend Gareth ‘Magic’ Johnston flicked the ball into the path of half-forward John McManus who popped the ball over the advancing Danny Murray and into the net to make it 0-00-1-01.

Toner then supplied Caolan Baillie for Ballygalget’s third score in the opening stages – it took Rossa five minutes to respond as Dominic McEnhill broke the ball down to corner-forward Tiarnan Murphy who popped the ball over the bar.

A delightful turn and strike from Matthew Devlin was then followed by an Oisin McVicker point as Rossa were beginning to grow into the game – though Ballygalget restored their five-point lead with three scores on the spin.

A one-two between Declan McManus and Caolan Bailie saw the later strike his second point of the opening quarter and Tim Prenter then shot high over the bar to make it 0-03-1-04.

Tim Prenter then doubled his account for the afternoon with a simple flick of the wrist, Tiarnan Murphy turned provider for Matthew Devlin who conjured up Rossa’s fourth point of the half.

The sides then traded six points in a five minute spell – Rossa closed the gap to three points on three separate occasions through a wonderfully crafted Murphy strike and a double from influential Thomas Morgan, though Ballygalget responded each time through Declan McManus, a turn and strike from namesake John and a third point of the half from Prenter.

With eighteen minutes on the clock Ballygalget found their second goal of the game – it took a second phase of play after a previous goal chance broke down but scorer of the first John McManus blasted to the net to claim his second of the half and give his side a 0-07-2-08 advantage.

A minute later the Ardsmen had their third goal of the game – the lively Tim Prenter burst onto a loose ball and despite the best efforts of Danny Murray in the Rossa goal Prenter rifled to the net to make it 0-07-3-08.

Stephen Shannon burst forward from half-back to respond with a point and Tiarnan Murphy converted a free in between a fourth Prenter point.

Tiarnan Murphy then shot over the bar from range and Declan McManus popped over at the other end before departing through injury.

Four minutes before the break four-midable Ballygalget had their fourth goal of the half – Gareth Johnston picked out Tim Prenter unmarked the corner-forward shot low to the net to give his side a 0-10-4-10 and surely secure the spoils.

Gareth Johnston was pulling the strings for Ballygalget and he was rewarded with a point before the interval after good work from double goalscorer McManus.

Adam Doran found his sides final score of the half – but credit for that must go to Rossa goalkeeper Danny Murray who made a fantastic block to deny John McManus what appeared to be a certain fifth goal.

Odhran O’Callaghan hit Rossa’s final point of the half but at the break the hosts were four goals and a point in arrears, trailing 0-11-4-12.10

Ballygalget increased their lead from the restart – it was a case of déjà vu as Daniel Toner opened the scoring at the start of the half again, Rossa responded with two successive Dominic McEnhill points after smart work from Stephen Beatty and Tiarnan Murphy and a third point dually followed from Thomas Morgan who brought his afternoon tally to 0-03.

Ballygalget were eleven minutes without a score before Gareth Johnston conjured up a magical point to leave four goals the difference, 0-14-4-14.

Rossa were in desperate need of a goal to give themselves a lifeline and just before the midway point in the half the goal arrived – Tiarnan Murphy played a one-two with Oisin McVicker before unleashing a majestic bullet of a strike which had Ballygalget keeper Jamie Crowe beaten all ends up.

A quick second would be required to apply some pressure – though it was Ballygalget who claimed the next score through Daniel Toner.

Youngster Dominic McEnhill almost had his sides second goal of the game with twelve minutes remaining but his shot was deflected behind and Stephen Beatty pointed from the resulting 65’ to make it 1-15-4-15.

The sides then traded six scores for the second time in the game – Rossa twice brought the deficit down to eight with points from Thomas Morgan and Stephen Beatty (free) however, Mark Fisher and Cormac Coulter responded on both occasions.

Fisher then picked out the run of advancing wing-half back James McGrath whose high shot sailed between the posts – only for Stephen Shannon to convert a free and leave three goals the margin, 1-18-4-18.

Rossa’s final two scores came from frees – substitute Aodhan O’Brien was brought to ground and converted the resulting free, Tiarnan Murphy did likewise after Thomas Morgan was upended.

The final score of the encounter fell to substitute Adam Doran – largely due to team mate Jamie Crowe at the other end.

The Ballygalget shot stopper denied Rossa a second consolation goal after referee Kevin Parke signalled for a late penalty and Tiarnan Murphy watched in frustration as Crowe turned the resulting puck to safety.

In the end Ballygalget ran out convincing eight point winners due to their four first-half goals – the result moves the Ardsmen two-points behind Rossa in the second relegation spot as the Shaws Road men find themselves in a serious predicament.

Rossa: D Murphy, M Smith, E O’Neill, K McDonnell, S Shannon (0-02, 0-01f), C Orchin, S Beatty (0-02, 0-01f, 0-01 65’), E O’Callaghan (0-01), M Devlin (0-02), O McVicker (0-01), A Orchin, T Morgan (0-04), D McEnhill (0-02), T Murphy (1-05, 0-02f). Subs: N Crossan for K McDonnell (30 mins), A O’Brien (0-01f) for A Orchin (38 mins), J Cooley for M McGreevy (53 mins).

Ballygalget: J Crowe, B Byers, E Coulter, P McManus, J McGrath (0-01), B Toner, M Fisher (0-01), E Clarke, D McManus (0-02), D Toner (0-03), J McManus (2-01), C Bailie (0-02), T Prenter (2-04), G Johnston (0-02), C Coulter (0-01). Subs: A Doran (0-02) for J McManus (25 mins), C Coulter for T Prenter.

Referee: Kevin Parke (St Endas)

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Pics by Bert Trowlen










Five-star Dunloy cruise to Corrigan victory

O’Neill’s All-County Hurling League Division One


St John’s and Dunloy line up to mark the 100th anniversay of Gaelic Sunday

St John’s 0-19-5-27 Dunloy

By Kevin Herron at Corrigan Park

Dunloy took a step closer to league success with an empathetic 0-19-5-27 win over St John’s at Corrigan Park this afternoon.

Nigel Elliott’s first half goal helped his side lead 0-11-1-12 at the break but in the final thirteen minutes  the visitors stepped it up a few gears with goals from Conal Cunning, a second from Elliott and the final two from substitutes Deaglan Smyth and Chris McMahon.

St John’s went into the game without an array of star players that have helped them comfortably secure their Division One status – including Ciaran Johnson, Stephen Tierney, Barry McFall and Michael Dudley amongst others.

Despite being under strength the men from the Whiterock Road started the game brightly and hit the opening two scores – Conor Johnston picked out Shea Shannon for the opening point and after a shove in the back close to the sideline Johnston converted the free to give the hosts a 0-02-0-00 lead.

It took Dunloy six minutes to opening their account for the afternoon through a converted 65’ from Paul Shiels but two further scores would give Cuchullians the lead for the first time – Keelan Molloy levelled the scores up after Shane Dooey claimed Ryan Elliott’s puck out and fired over the bar from an acute angle and Shiels hit his second of the afternoon after a fine cut-back from Eoin O’Neill.

St John’s responded and regained the lead through points from Aaron and Michael Bradley – the second a superb effort from distance though the sides were level for the second time on the 10th minute as Sheils converted his second free of the afternoon to make it 0-04 apiece.

The sides were still level pegging by the 20th minute as eight scores were shared equally – Declan Cregan, Conall Carson and Conor Johnston had all edged St John’s in front at one stage during the ten minute spell.

But Dunloy had a response each time though Eoin O’Neill, Sheils and Shane Dooey – taking the lead once through a Conal Cunning point that was quickly cancelled out by Cregan.

Dunloy edged ahead for the third time in the game on the 21st minute and it one they failed to relinquish.

Paul Shiels converted fourth placed ball of the half and after a poor puck from Simon Doherty was claimed by Christopher Brogan; the Dunloy full-forward popped over the bar to double his sides lead.11St John’s Conor Johnston in action against Dunloy’s Conal Cunning. Pic by Bert Trowlen

Lorcan Heenan cut the gap with a fine point before the opening goal of the game arrived with eight minutes of the first half remaining – the St John’s backline failed to clear their lines and the ball broke into the path of Nigel Elliott who rifled past Doherty to give Dunloy a 0-09-1-10 lead.

A second goal almost presented itself after a neat one-two between Brogan and O’Neill but the later saw his shot deflected over rather than under the bar.

Conall Carson replied at the other end and although Brogan conjured up his second point of the half a minute before the break it was Aaron Bradley who ended the first-half scoring as St John’s remained in contention, trailing 0-11-1-12 at the interval.

St John’s cut the deficit on the half’s resumption through Donall Carson but Eoin O’Neill popped up at the other end for Dunloy who went five ahead after a neat exchange between goalscorer Elliott and Keelan Molloy who fired over the black spot.

The energetic Michael Bradley closed the ball down quickly and fashioned St John’s second score of half, however Dunloy responded with three points on the spin through an angled Conal Cunning point, a confident pop over by Brogan and a second score from play by Shiels; despite an opportunity of goal from Molloy’s pass.

St John’s responded with two points – the first from Jude McCurdy before departing in place of Niall McCallin and the second from Declan Cregan.

The sides then traded scores through Shiels and Michael Bradley as five-points separated the sides with thirteen minutes remaining, 0-16-1-18.

Dunloy began to pull away from the hosts with their second of the afternoon as Conal Cunning rifled into the roof of the net with twelve to play to make it 0-16-2-18.

Cunning struck a point in the aftermath and after first-half goalscorer Nigel Elliott burst onto a loose ball – he took off towards Simon Doherty’s goal and surely wrapped up victory for his side rifling home to give Cuchullians a 0-16-3-19 lead with ten minutes remaining.

The Johnnies responded through Lorcan Heenan’s second of the afternoon and another fine long range point from Conor Johnston but Dunloy hit their fourth goal and third in the space of five minutes – Conal Cunning slipped in substitute Deaglan Smyth who dispatched to the net.

Five points on the spin then followed through Smyth, Sheils (free), Kevin Molloy, Dooey and Chris McMahon.

Conor Johnston briefly disrupted the visitor’s momentuem and claimed his sides final score of the afternoon – though Dunloy weren’t finished and tagged on a further 1-03 before the close of play.

Cuchullian’s fifth arrived a minute from time courtesy of a low drive from substitute Chris McMahon – Keelan Molloy then fired high over the bar before two Conal Cunning points brought an end to proceedings as Dunloy ran out comfortable 0-19-5-27 winners on the Whiterock Road.

St John’s: S Doherty, O McKenna, S Wilson, C Hanna, C McKenna, D Moran, A McMahon, M Bradley (0-03), C Johnston (0-04, 0-01f), L Heenan (0-02), J McCurdy (0-01), S Shannon (0-01), A Bradley (0-02), D Cregan (0-04), D Carson (0-02). Subs: N McCallin for J McCurdy (42 mins), B McFall for M Bradley (48 mins).

Dunloy: R Elliott, O Quinn, J McKeague, K O’Kane, E Smyth, K Molloy (0-01), C McKinley, S Dooey (0-02), N McKeague, P Sheils (0-08, 0-03f, 0-02 65’), K Molloy (0-03), N Elliott (2-00), C Cunning (1-05), C Brogan (0-03), E O’Neill (0-03). Subs: P Shivers for E Smyth (40 mins), C Elliott for E O’Neill (40 mins), D Smyth (1-01) for N McKeague (48 mins), C McMahon (1-01) for C Brogan (48 mins).

Referee: Darren McKeown (St Galls)

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Pics by Bert Trowlen











Ruairis overcome slow start to beat Ballycran

O’Neill’s Antrim Senior Hurling League

Ruairi Og 2-17  Ballycran 0-16

Colum Thompson reports from Pairc Mhuire

Cushendall overcame a lethargic first half performance and the sending off of Sean McAfee after fifteen minutes to claim the two league points with a battling win over Ballycran at Pairc Mhuire on Sunday. In a hard fought battle the Ruairis completed the league double over their Down opponents, but just like the reverse fixture on the Ards earlier in the year it was a hard fought win.

The Dall got the first point of the game from a Neil McManus free but it was Ballycran who were the brighter team in the early stages. They hit three points in a row, one from Conor Woods and two from Conor Dorrian frees to take the lead. Paddy McGill, named at full forward but operating as a third midfielder hit points either side of a Liam Savage effort for the Down side. Michael Hughes made his way forward to fire over a point but McManus answered back for the home side with another free. Ballycran were bossing the exchanges with Conor Woods pulling the strings they hit another purple patch with three points in a row again with two Conor Dorrian frees and a Woods effort from play. McManus was keeping Cushendall in touch and a free from the Dall midfielder reduced the deficit to four points. McGill won possession and he fed the onrushing Sean Delargy who strode forward and fired over from seventy yards to leave the gap at three. Dorrian converted another free for the visitors and things looked ominous for Cushendall but they dug deep and finished the half in style. First Neil McManus converted a free, then the impressive Paddy McGill fired over his third of the half. Donal McNaughton found space and he raised the white flag with a tidy finish and that man McManus nipped in to point from play to leave the score at half time Ruairi Og 0-9 Ballycran 0-9.

The Ruairis started the second half like a house on fire. The irrepressible McGill got things going with a long range effort and then came a critical score. Conor Carson’s strong run caused panic in the Cran defence, the ball fell in front of Cormac McClafferty and he lifted the net with an excellent ground stroke from 14 yards to put daylight between the teams. Mc Manus, ever reliable, tapped over a free to put five between the sides. Conor Woods replied with a free of his own but Cushendall really had the bit between their teeth. Conor Carson, who was winning a lot of possession, solo ran forward and fired over a brilliant score from the right wing. Niall Brown stopped the rot for the visitors but again Cushendall went for the jugular. Conor Carson wrestled control in the right corner and headed for goal, despite the best efforts of several defenders he finished one handed for Cushendall’s second goal of the game. Cormac McClafferty got a point with a neat pick up and finish. Niall Torney, on as a sub, got a point for the Ards men but try as they might they couldn’t get closer to Cushendall. Sean Delargy got his second of the game when he was found in space by McManus. Neil then hit another point from a free but Ballycran never gave up. Both Woods and Brown fired over points as Ballycran pushed for an opening for a goal. But on this particular day they found the Burke brothers and Joe McCurry almost impregnable in the Dall full back line. McGill fired over a free from distance, Woods replied for the Ards men but the writing was on the wall at this stage and in the closing minutes McManus traded scores with Torney and when Colm Cunning blew the final whistle it was two more league points for Cushendall. Final Score Ruairi Og 2-17 Ballycran 0-16.

How they played: Ballycran battled from start to finish as they always do. Stephen Keith was solid in goals and further forward Conor Woods and Conor Dorrian gave their all. For Cushendall it was a pleasing display. Having been reduced to 14 men and behind on the scoreboard it was a real hard working performance to get the win. Paddy Burke marshalled the defence well from the edge of the square and he was well supported by Sean Delargy and Martin Burke. Conor Carson made some great catches and Cormac McClafferty always looked dangerous but the winning of this game was in the midfield engine room. Both Neil McManus and man of the match Paddy McGill were superb. It wasn’t just their scoring, they tackled, hassled and worked their socks off for their team.

Cushendall team: E Gillan, M Burke, P Burke, J McCurry, S Delargy(0-2), R McCambridge, S Walsh, N McManus(0-7,5f), E Campbell, C Carson(1-1), D McNaughton(0-1), S McAfee, F McCambridge, P McGill(0-5,1f), C McClafferty(1-1