Late points gives Ports a share of the spoils

All County Hurling League Division 1 (Played in Cushendun)

Cushendall 3-13 Portaferry 1-19

When Cushendall substitute Christy McNaughton fired in a goal to put his side two points clear with just two minutes of normal time remaining it looked like Portaferry’s long journey down into the Glens of Antrim for this Antrim Senior Hurling League Division 1 game was going to go unrewarded. However the Ards men battled back in the time remaining and late points from Jason Gilmour and Daithi Sands gave them a deserved share of the spoils which surely made the 82 mile journey home a little more pleasant.

A trip to Cushendall on as wet Wednesday evening is never the most appealing but when you find the length of the journey is even longer because the Ruairis are using Cushendun’s pitch, it makes it a little more arduous, though the splendour of the Rigs must surely have been  some consolation. 

Alex Delargy hits and early point

Cushendall started with an Alex Delargy point inside thirty seconds but Portaferry came back with points from Daithi and Eogan Sands to edge ahead by the third minute. Cushendall appeared to have taken a grip of the game when goals in the fifth and seventh minutes from corner forwards Ed McQuillan and Alex Delargy pushed them  four clear and when McQuillan  added two points  the a gap was stating to open up. However the visitors rallied and two points from Daithi  Sands, one from Eoghan  and another from Ronan Blair cut the gap back to two.

A period of dominance by Cushendall saw them stretch the lead to seven as David Kearney, Ryan McCambridge, Paddy McGill (2) and Eoghan Campbell fired over points. Daithi Sands pulled one back for Portaferry but the Ruairis were on a roll and points from David Kearney, Alex Delargy and Eoghan Campbell had the gap out to nine,  though two points from Brendan Coleman just before the break cut the deficit  to seven at the short whistle. (2-11 to 0-10)

The Ruairis must have been pleased with their display in their new surroundings in the first half but all was to change as Portaferry sprung from the traps at the start of the second half to draw level with points from Conor O’Prey, Daithi Sands (2) and Ronan Blair, plus a goal from Eoghan Sands. During the third quarter Cushendall failed to raise a flag but a point from Alex Delargy in the 47th minute got them going again and when Eogan Campbell added another a minute later they were two clear and apparently settled again. However Portaferry hit back with points from Daithi Sands Eogan Sands and Jason Gilmour to edge ahead again with just two and a half minute of normal time remaining.

Christy McNaughton’s goal ended a fourteen minute scoreless spell for the ‘Dall and they must have thought they had sealed the win, but Portaferry found a way back and after Jason Gilmour cut the gap to the minimum with a point from  play, Daithi Sands knocked over the equaliser from a free.

CUSHENDALL: Eoghan Gillan, Terry McAllister, Martin Burke, Liam Gillan, Francis McCurry, Paddy Burke, David Kearney,  Emmet Laverty, Eoghan Campbell, Patrick McGill, Fergus McCambridge, Ryan McCambridge, Ed McQuillan, Stephen Walsh, Alex Delargy.

Subs – Christy McNaughon and Dominic Delargy.

PORTAFERRY:  Patrick McNally, Darragh Mallon, Caolan Taggart, Eoghan Savage, Matthew Conlon, Conor O’Neill, Barry Trainor, Conor Fay, Michael Doran, Brendan Coleman, Conor O’Prey, Conor Mageean, Ronan Blair, Daithi Sands, Eoghan Sands.

Shamrocks hit their stride in second half

All County Hurling League Division 1

St Gall’s 0-11 Loughgiel 4-17

A strong second half performance gave Loughgiel a convincing win over St Gall’s in Wednesday evening’s Division 1 game at Milltown Row.  On a dark and wet evening in the Bog Meadows the home side held their own with the visitors and trailed by just a point at the break but after the change of ends the Shamrocks hit their stride and fired in four goals to record a big win.

The Shamrocks started strongly with two Odhran McMullan points and one from Shan McGrath but St Gall’s hit back with three of their own through Karl Stewart, Mark Napier and Jackson McGreevey to level matters by the ninth minute. It was score for score for a period but Loughgiel began to get on top and a series of pointed frees by James McNaughton had them five ahead by the 21st minute. St Gall’s battled back and four on the trot from Jackson McGreevey frees and a brilliant effort from out on the sideline from Mark Napier brought them back to within a point, though a late McNaughton point gave the visitors a 0-10 to 0-8 lead at the interval.

St Gall’s Gregory McGreevy in action against Loughgiel’s Odhran McFaddena and Declan McCloskey.

Points by McNaughton and Barney McAuley early in the second  half stretched the Shamrocks lead to four but a well worked score by the home side, which was finished by Anto Healey left just three between the sides. However Loughgiel were beginning to hit their stride and points from Eddie McCloskey and James McNaughton, and an excellently taken goal form a narrow angle by Dan McCloskey put the men in red in control. Mark Napier pulled a point back for St Gall’s but three  goals from Shan McGrath in a ten minute spell ended the contest. St Gall’s had a late goal chance themselves when they were awarded a penalty but Karl Stewart’s shot was well saved by Chrissy O’Connell in the Loughgiel goals.

ST GALL – Kurtis McGreevey, Stephen Morrison, Joe McDaniel, Liam McCluskey, Aodhan Gallagher,  Conor McGourty, Ciaran McCaffrey, Jack Hopkins, Anto Healey, Jackson McGreevey, Karl  Stewart, Tomas O’Ciaran, Mark Napier, Anton McCaffrey, Gregory McGreevy

LOUGHGIEL: Chrissy O’Connell, Declan McCloskey, Tony McCloskey, Odhran McFadden, Seamus Dobbin, Cathal McMullan, Tiernan Coyle, Eddie McCloskey, Mark McFadden, Barney McAuley, James McNaughton, Odhran McMullan, Shan McGrath, Dan McCloskey, Shay Casey. SUBS – Liam Watson for McMullan; Paul Boyle for McAuely.

Referee – Paul Hughes

Coby points Cuchullains to victory

ACHL Division One

McQuillan’s, Ballycastle 2-15 Cuchullains, Dunloy 1-22

Wednesday June 12

Brendan McTaggart reports from Páirc Mac Uilín

Dunloy held off a spirited performance from Ballycastle to maintain their unbeaten league campaign.  Four points separated the sides after an entertaining hour of hurling in difficult conditions and despite first half goals from Saul McCaughan and Eamon Elliott, the Cuchullains were deserving of their winning margin.

Still missing their county contingent, Dunloy had a spread of nine different scorers with Conal Cunning top of the charts with 0-10 for his hours work, just four of his tally coming from placed ball.  Their major came from the hurl of the once again, impressive Paul Shiels.  Shorty bagging a second half penalty to put daylight between the sides while finishing the match with 1-3.

After a bright start and a strong first half where they trailed by just a point, the home side would have been confident going into the second half with the wind picking up and in their favour.  Ciaran Clarke, Saul McCaughan and Dairmuid McShane were asking plenty of questions of the Dunloy defence but the Cuchullains went up a level in the second 30 minutes and as the wind picked up and the rain began to lash, Coby Cunning and Paul Shiels shone and orchestrated their seventh win of the campaign.

Ballycastle corner back Colum Butler battles with Dunloy’s Conal Cunning and Deaglan Smith during Wednesday evening’s league gae at Pairc MacUilin.

Referee Tarlach Conway had barely got proceedings under way before awarding a free for the visitors.  Coby Cunning splitting the uprights from close to half way and when Ronan Molloy followed suit soon after, Dunloy had settled well into the game.  Ballycastle were testing the Dunloy full back line with long ball landing on top of their forwards and Clarke had gone close to scoring the opening goal after four minutes but it served as a mere warning for the Cuchullains as Saul McCaughan managed to breach Ger Dixon’s goal line in the sixth minute.  Collecting a long ball from Tiernan Butler, McCaughan got the half yard needed before firing to the back of the net.  Diarmuid McShane’s first of five points followed as both sides looked to hit the ground running in the opening exchanges despite the break in league games.

Dunloy recovered well from McCaughan’s early major and after 20 minutes the minimum separated the sides with Eamon Smyth, Liam McCann, Shiels and Cunning (two) finding their range with Clarke (three), Dairmuid and Kevin Barry McShane responding for the home side.

Dunloy’s Deaglan Smith in action against Ballycastle’s Colum Butler

Ballycastle scored their second goal of the match though to take a four point lead and it came under similar circumstances.  Tiernan Butler with the delivery but this time Eamonn Elliott was the predator in front of goal, giving Dixon no chance between the sticks.

Elliott’s goal was the last score Ballycastle would manage in the first half though as Dunloy began to make better use of the sliotar.  Ronan Molloy and Seaan Elliott split the uprights in quick succession before Cunning took his first half tally to 0-7 with a brace of frees and one from play to leave the Cuchullains ahead by the minimum at the break.

Half Time: Ballycastle 2-6 Dunloy 0-13

Ballycastle edged the first half and would have been content to trail by just a point at the short whistle.  Dunloy weren’t at their fluent best in the opening 30 minutes but they made a fast start to the second half and build momentum.  Deáglán Smyth, Cunning (free) and Ronan Molloy’s third of the match stretching their lead to four points before Lorcan Donnelly opened Ballycastle’s account for the second half.  Cunning and Dairmuid McShane exchanged scores as the rain began to worsen conditions and while Shiels and Kevin Molloy landed scores either side of a Clarke ’65, the Cuchullains were making light of the conditions and held a four point lead midway through the second half.

That four points became seven when Tarlach Conway awarded the visitors a penalty.  Ronan Molloy felled inside the parallelogram and Shiels dispatching the sliotar with a drilled effort to give Ryan McGarry little or no chance of saving his effort.

Kevin Barry McShane and Cunning swapped scores before a run of four unanswered points from Clarke (free), and the McShane brothers Kevin Barry and Dairmuid (two) brought the home side to within touching distance going into injury time but the Cuchullains finished well and kept Ballycastle at bay.  Points from Shiels and substitute Anton McGrath were answered to by Lorcan Donnelly’s second of the hour before Tarlach Conway called time.

The Cuchullains will be pleased with their second half performance in difficult conditions.  They produced when they had to and welcome Portaferry to Pearse Park next Wednesday night and while Ballycastle tasted defeat, their hunger, desire and attitude couldn’t be faulted.  They pushed Dunloy for the full 70 minutes and will be hoping for a better return for their efforts when they travel to Rossa Park in their next league encounter.


Dunloy: Ger Dixon; Conor Kinsella, Conor McKinley, Aaron Crawford; Eamon Smyth, Ryan McGarry, Kevin Molloy; Paul Shiels, Liam McCann; Gabriel McTaggart, Ronan Molloy, Chrissy McMahon; Seaan Elliott, Deáglán Smyth, Conal Cunning.

Scorers: Conal Cunning 0-10 (4 f’s); Paul Shiels 1-3 (1-00 pen); Ronan Molloy 0-3; Eamon Smyth 0-1; Liam McCann 0-1; Seaan Elliott 0-1; Deáglán Smyth 0-1; Kevin Molloy 0-1; Anton McGrath 0-1

Ballycastle: Ryan McGarry; Sean Kelly, Matthew Donnelly, Colum Butler; James McLister, Tiernan Butler, Conor Boyd; Kevin-Barry McShane, Ronan McCarry; Dairmuid McShane, Ciaran Clarke, Shane McCarry; Lorcan Donnelly, Saul McCaughan, Eamon Elliott.

Scorers: Ciaran Clarke 0-5 (4 f’s, 1 ’65); Dairmuid McShane 0-5; Kevin-Barry McShane 0-3; Saul McCaughan 1-00; Eamon Elliott 1-00; Lorcan Donnelly 0-2

Referee: Turlach Conway (Ballinascreen)

McClafferty goal decisive as Ruairis beat Rossa

All County Hurling League Division 1

Ruairi Og Cushendall 1-22 O’Donovan Rossa 0-19

Alex Emerson reports from Pairc Mhuire

Played in perfect conditions, with both teams missing key players, this was a game of the highest quality that kept the relatively small attendance enthralled from the first whistle to the last.  The outcome of the game was probably decided by two key moments in the second half: Rossa wing forward Seaghan Shannon being sent off and the only goal of the game supremely converted by Ruairí Óg forward Cormac Mc Clafferty who would finish with a personal tally of 1.3.  Reduced to fourteen men, Rossa fought to the end but after the sending-off, they rarely looked like getting that vital goal which could have had a major bearing on the outcome of such a tight encounter.  Rossa will be pleased with the fluency of their hurling and the virtuoso free-taking performance of roving corner forward Deaglan Murphy who scored fourteen points in total, twelve of them from the dead-ball situation.  Equally, Ruairí Óg will have been encouraged by the way they won this match particularly the displays of forwards Dom Delargy, Christy Mc Naughton, Cormac Mc Clafferty and Ryan Mc Cambridge who fired over scores from all angles and distances.

The game began with Deaglan Murphy converting the first of his many free-taking opportunities in the second minute.  Then Cushendall midfielder, David Kearney made an incisive run through the middle of the Rossa defence only to see his rasping shot brilliantly saved by Rossa netminder, Matt Devlin.  Unfortunately, Christy Mc Naughton missed the resultant 65’ but would make amends soon after with the first of his five scores from frees and a further two points from play.  During the next ten minutes, the teams went almost score for score and by the 14th minute it was Cushendall in the lead by just one point, 0.6 to 0.5.  Then, in a three-minute period, Ruairí Óg hit a purple patch and a barrage of scores from open play by Ryan Mc Cambridge and Christy Mc Naughton as well as a free from Cormac Mc Clafferty put Cushendall in the ascendancy at 9pts to 6pts.  Remarkably that would be the maroon boys last score of the half and as their defence began to concede scoreable frees due to undisciplined tackling, Deaglan Murphy was on hand to make them pay with three successful conversions and a splendid effort from open play to leave the score at half-time, Ruairí Óg 0.09 v Rossa 0.10 `

Both teams emerged for the second half and almost from the off, made it clear there would be no let-up in terms of intensity or desire to win the game.  Dangerous forward, Deaglan Murphy tore through the heart of the Cushendall defence and unleashed what looked like an unstoppable shot towards the home side’s goal but the Ruairí Óg custodian, Eoin Gillan was equal to the task and pulled off a brilliant save.  Further points from Murphy and Armstrong extended the Rossa lead to three points but Emmet Laverty’s exquisite score in the 35th minute reduced the arrears to two.  Paddy Burke, playing as full forward, showed he was quite comfortable in that role by converting a very nice point in the 39th minute after some very good support play by his fellow forwards.  Morgan converted an equally impressive minor for the Shaw’s Rd men and so it was nip and tuck with both teams looking possible winners at this stage.  But then events in the next five minutes would have a significant bearing on the outcome of this absorbing encounter.  The Cushendall forwards, prompted by the high fielding of Dom Delargy and the direct running of Ryan Mc Cambridge, would register five unanswered scores, the most significant being a decisive goal in the 42nd minute.  After some clever approach play, Ryan Mc Cambridge found himself in a favourable position and struck for goal but the Rossa keeper, Devlin made a fantastic save only to find corner forward, Cormac Mc Clafferty doubling sweetly on the rebound and sending the sliotar to the back of the net.  In the meantime, Rossa were dealt another hammer blow when wing forward Seaghan Shannon was sent off by referee Mark O’ Neill which somewhat blunted the blue and yellows’ attack thereafter.  

Eoghan Campbell who line out at centre back against Rossa.

 With substitute Neil Mc Manus having been added to the Cushendall attack, the boys in maroon sensed victory and went in for the kill.  Points rained over the Rossa crossbar with Dom Delargy, Christy Mc Naughton and a brace from Mc Manus all getting in on the act.  Though further points from Mc Veigh and Murphy kept Rossa in touch, by the 56th minute, the home team held a seven-point advantage and seemed to be closing the game out.   However, the Rossa players had not read that script and an encouraging point from Armstrong was enhanced by a further two from the pinpoint free-taking of Deaglan Murphy which left just four points between the two teams.   But to their credit, the Cushendall defence, superbly marshalled by Eoghan Campbell were much more disciplined and effective in the second half, and they snuffed out any remaining threats from a Rossa attack which had no option but to go for goals.  Add to that, further insurance points from the ever-improving Christy Mc Naughton and late substitute Donal Mc Naughton ensured a very welcome six-point victory for the home team at the final whistle. 

Deaglan Murphy who scored 0-14 against Cushendall

Ruairí Óg: Eoin Gillan, Rory Mc Collam, Martin Burke, Liam Gillan, Terry Mc Alister, Eoghan Campbell, Joe Mc Curry, David Kearney, Emmet Laverty, Dominic Delargy (0.4), Eamon Laverty, Ryan Mc Cambridge (0.3), Cormac Mc Clafferty (1.3, 0.2f), Paddy Burke (0.1), Christy Mc Naughton (0.7, 0.5f)
Subs: Fred Mc Curry, Neil Mc Manus (0.2) Donal Mc Naughton (0.1)

Rossa: M Devlin, M Smith, C Orchin, N Devlin, E O’ Neill, Stephen Shannon, J Cooley, M Mc Greevy,  C Shannon, C Mc Veigh (0.1), C Mc Guinness, Seaghan Shannon, T Morgan (0.2), M Armstrong (0.2), D Murphy (0.14, 12f)

Johnnies win moves them up to second place

All County Hurling League Division 2

St. Johns 2:19 – Portaferry 1.19

St. Johns came from a four point half-time deficit to claim the points at a glorious Corrigan Park on Wednesday evening, a win that moves them up to second place in the league table.  In an evening perfect for hurling with the sun shining, a gentle breeze and the pitch in fine order the scene was set for a great game.  Both teams didn’t disappoint with some fine interplay, individual scores, tough tackling, high fielding, goalline clearances and near misses caught the imagination of a fairly healthy crowd in West Belfast.  Both sides were missing some big names and regular starters, with St. Johns in particular missing Ryan McNulty and Padraig Nugent who will be on duty for the county footballers on Saturday night against Tyrone.

Portaferry got off to a quick start with Ronan Blair slotting a long range free from almost halfway, the first of his 9 points, he was unerring all night with some great points from all over the park.  The first twenty minutes were nip and tuck with both sides trading scores, St. Johns briefly hit the front 0-7 to 0-6 after a couple of Domnhall Nugent frees and two great scores from play from Conor Johnston.  This lead was short lived as Portaferry in the last ten minutes played some fine hurling and opened up a 0-12 to 0-8 gap with Blair and the Sands brothers picking off some top class scores.  Portaferry headed into half time good value for their four point lead.

On the resumption St. Johns had introduced Michael Bradley for the injured Peter McCallin, the impact was immediate as he opened up the Ports defence only for Karol Keating to make a fine save, but young Dannan McKeogh, on his first full start on the senior team, slammed the loose ball into the Portaferry goal to reduce the deficit to just one.  Unfortunately for Portaferry they also lost influential full back Connor O’Neil in this passage of play but they hit the next score though Blair to extend the lead to two.  St. Johns hit back with a Conor Johnston goal, after he pulled on a loose ball 14 yards out after great work by Nugent on the edge of the square.  This score seemed to unsettle Portaferry as St. Johns upped the pace and a flurry of points followed from corner back Aidan McMahon, Michael Bradley, Domhnall Nugent and Dannan McKeogh, the pick of them coming from debutant McKeogh as he rounded his man, and fired over from a tight angle.  Portaferry did hit back with a goal from Eoghan Sands but St. Johns always manged to keep the lead between 3 and 4 points as they saw out time.

This was an entertaining game played in fine conditions well referreed by Colm McDonald

Portaferry were best served by Karol Keating in goals who made 3 great saves and could do nothing about the two St. Johns goals, Kevin McGarry in midfield, full back O’Neill until injury forced him off, Ronan Blair never missed a free all night and Eoghan and Daithi Sands looked lively up front along with Connor Mageean.

Simon Doherty in goals for St. Johns was safe under the dropping ball and made one great goalline clearance in the first half, his defence was steady enough with Aidan McMahon being the pick of them and the experienced Barry McFall always in the think of the action.  At midfield Moran and Nugent battled well and covered a lot of ground.  Nugent’s free taking was a bit off for the first time this year but his work rate and overall contribution was a major factor in St. Johns win.  The forward line clicked into gear in the second half with Conall Bohill and in particular Colm McFall making some fine catches and setting up scores.  Conor Johnston had a great second half with some wonderful scores but the performance of the night came from 18 year old McKeogh who hit 1-3 from play in the second half.  His accuracy and pace was too hot to handle for the Ports defence.  Both sides will welcome the break to give those lads out injured time to get back fit as we head towards the break in the league.


St. Johns: Simon Doherty, Aidan McMahon, Conal Morgan, Jack Bohill, Óisin Donnelly, Stephen Tierney, Barry McFall, Domhnall Moran, Domhnall Nugent, Colm McFall, Ciaran Johnston, Conall Bohill, Dannan McKeogh, Conor Johnston, Peter McCallin.

Subs: Michael Bradley for Peter McCallin, Niall McCallin for Ciaran Johnston, Lorcán Heenan for Óisin Donnelly, Declan Creggan for Conall Bohill.

Scorers: Conor Johnston 1.4, Dannan McKeogh 1.3, Domhnall Nugent 0-6, Michael Bradley 0-3, Peter McCallin 0-1, Aidan McMahon 0-1, Colm McFall 0-1

Portaferry: Karol Keating , Eoin Sands, Connor O’Neil, Tom Murray, Barry Trainor, Caolan Taggart, Shane Conlan, Connor Fay, Kevin McGarry, Brendan Coleman, Eoghan Sands, Connor Mageean, Dathi Sands, Connor O’Prey, Ronan Blair

Subs David Coffey for Connor O’Neil, Owen Taggart for David Coffey, Jason Gilmore for Connor Fay

Scorers: Ronan Blair 0-9, Eoghan Sands 1-2, Connor Mageean 0-3, Dathi Sands 0.2, Connor O’Prey 0-3