With the league title already residing in Fr Healy Park, Dunloy out-scored visitors Ballycastle in a high scoring encounter at Pearse Park on Sunday.
With their county players back on board the Cuchullian’s had too much fire power in the end for a Ballycastle team who produced some excellent spells of hurling themselves with both sides probably using this game as preparation for the forthcoming championship.
Eoin O’Neill was in great form for the home side and netted within 10 seconds to give his side a lead they would not lose over the hour.
Points from O’Neill and Ryan McGarry for Dunloy in response to similar scores from Seamus and Neal McAuley for Ballycastle kept the score board ticking before O’Neill got in for his second goal with 7 minutes on the clock.
It was the Cuchullian’s who continued to call the shots as Chrissie McMahon, Keelan Molloy 0-2 and Phelim Duffin with a massive point from inside his own half moved the home side 2-4 to 0-3 ahead after 13 minutes, the Ballycastle point coming from Neal McAuley.
Dunloy continued to press forward with points from Keelan Molloy and Kevin McKeague before the visitors replied through Aaron Mooney and James McLister with Coby Cunning and Ciaran Butler exchanging further minors.
The ‘Castle’ were battling hard and were rewarded for their efforts when Neal McAuley finished a well worked attack with a goal in the 20th minute and the same player added a pointed free and another from play by the 25th minute.
It was the Pearse Park side who finished the half on the front foot however as Keelan Molloy, Nigel Elliott, Coby Cunning and Molloy again add unanswered points to leave the home side 2-12 to 1-8 ahead at the break.
Dunloy started the second half as they had the first with Coby Cunning firing home their third goal in the opening minute and Keelan Molloy, Cunning and Seann Elliott added points in quick succession.
Lorcan Donnelly replied with a goal for Ballycastle in the 4th minute and followed with a point to raise the visitor’s hopes but three on the bounce from Deaglan Smyth, Seann Elliott and Keelan Molloy moved the championship holders 12 ahead by the 13th minute.
It was as good as over at this stage but to their credit Ballycastle never gave up and out-scored the home side 6 to 2 in the final quarter with Seamus McAuley leading the way.
McAuley added 0-3 to his side’s total with Ciaran Butler 0-2 and Conor Boyd on target for the visitors while Chrissie McMahon replied for a Dunloy side who could just be running into form with the championship looming on the horizon.
Loughgiel ended their Senior Hurling League campaign with a win over St Enda’s at Fr Healy Park on Sunday, the Shamrocks in control for most of the game. Going into the match they knew they had already wrapped up the league title, but with both teams meeting in the first round of the championship in three weeks’ time it was important for them to lay down a marker.
The home side led by six at half time 1-11 to 0-8, their goal coming from Paul Boyle who finished off a good three man move with an excellent finish. Though they stretched that lead out to nine midway through the second half, Naomh Eanna fought back well and a goal from full forward Ruairi Donaghy helped them close the gap to four with ten minutes left for play. That was as good as it got for the visitors however and when Bubbles McMullan won a long poc-out for the Shamrocks, and weaved his way through the Naomh Eanna defence to slam home a goal, there was no way back for the Glengormley men.
There was little between the sides in the opening quarter, most of the Loughgiel scores coming from James McNaughton frees, while Michael McGivern, Ruairi Donaghy and centre back Cormac Ross replied for St Enda’s. A superbly taken goal by Paul Boyle just before half time gave the home team a definite edge, and it could have been worse for the visitors had it not been a fantastic save by goalkeeper Martin Curran two minutes after Boyle’s strike.
Damon McMullan added to Loughgiel’s total early in the second half and with midfielder Ben McGarry adding two top class scores it appeared to be all plain sailing. However St Enda’s kept battling and when full forward Ruairi Donaghy worked his way in along the endline and fired home from a narrow angle it gave them hope. Luke and Eddie O’Connor added points to keep them in touch, but when Rian McMullan got in for a goal there was no way back.
After the final whistle North Antrim chairman Martin Magee presented the league trophy to Loughgiel captain Declan McCloskey and many of their young fans joined in the celebration pic, but there are bigger days ahead for both teams, starting with that meeting between the two of them on August 5th at Hightown.
The throw-in in this game was delayed for five minutes to allow county treasurer, Donal Murphy to make his way to Toome with the division 1 trophy should Casement’s slip up in their final game against Creggan.
In the event it wasn’t necessary and Murphy, who doubles as his clubs treasurer was able to join in the celebrations at Kelly Park as his Portglenone side defeated Creggan to collect their first division 1 title.
Cargin completed their league programme with a win over the visiting Ahoghill and although events elsewhere made the result irrelevant, both sides served up a very entertaining game of football.
‘It is a case of very well done to the Portglenone team said Kevin Doyle, part of management structure at Cargin, consistency is the key to success in the league and Casements started the season well, and continued in the positive until conclusion for what was a deserved success.
Cargin started this last league game of the season in the knowledge that only victory over the Clooney men would keep their league aspirations alive but in the event it was the visitors who were to start very much on the front foot.
Aided by the fresh southerly breeze, Chris Mc Glone’s charges were quickly out of the start traps and Patrick Graham fired between the posts with Paul McCann replying at the other end to tie the contest.
The visitors went into this game as rank outsiders but that was far from apparent in a positive start to proceedings and by the 10th minute they had nipped into a 1-03 to 0-01 lead.
Colla Mc Donald fetched a high delivery from Fionnbar O’ Neill to finish to the back of the net in the 10th minute following back to back points by the excellent James O’ Connell and another from net minder Noel Crossey as he despatched a ‘45’ firmly between the posts.
The home side returned fire in the 12th minute as Sean Og O’ Neill fired over but Ahoghill replied as Colla McDonald added a point to ensure a 1-04 to 0-02 lead for the visitors at the end of the first quarter.
Having trailed in a poor opening quarter the home side upped the ante in the second and points from the Shivers brothers, Pat and Tom brought them back into contention.
The visitors replied through a superb long range point from Danny O’ Neill but the home side were quick to reply and a smart interchange between David Johnston and Cahir Donnelly opened to way for Sean Og O’ Neill to drill his shot low to the net.
O’Neill’s goal seemed to lift the Toome side and the Shivers brothers added points to see them hit the front for the first time but Gerard Graham replied from a free at the other end to leave it all square at the break.
Cargin had the breeze at their backs at the start of the second half and they were quick to pick up the pace.
A first minute point from centre back Paul McCann saw them hit the front for the second time and a smart interchange by Jamie Gribbin opened the way for David Johnston to add another.
Erin’s Own attacked again as Pat Shivers added a point with James O’ Connell replying at the other end but Tom Shivers and Tomas Mc Cann added points apiece before Eunan Quinn and Gerard McCann combined for the latter to fire to the net.
McCann’s goal moved Cargin 2-11 to 1-07 ahead at the end of the third quarter and the Clooney side looked in trouble as the game moved into the final quarter but they were not about to accept defeat without a fight.
They came back strongly and the superb Danny O’ Neill fired to the back of the net, following a strong solo, to signal a possible comeback as they continued to move the ball around confidently.
Cargin replied through a 50th minute Eunan Quinn point and only a smart save from net minder Noel Crossey prevented the full forward finding the net as the big net minder got his foot to divert Quinn’s goal bound effort away.
A further point from replacement Tomas McCann nudged Cargin nearer to the winning line but James O’ Connell replied at the other end before replacement McCann despatched a 60 metre free firmly between the posts in the 57th minute.
McCann, returning from a long term injury, was then denied by St. Mary’s keeper Crossey but the visitors were still giving it everything and James O’Connell pointed in the 59th minute.
The visitors pressed again and looked in for a goal but Gerard Graham was denied by a foot block with the man in the middle immediately spreading his arms to indicate a penalty.
Noel Crossey, who had been excellent in his goalkeeping role, stepped forward to despatch the award firmly into the corner of the net.
A positive finish from the visitors but at the completion it was the home side who had earned the points on a final score of 2-15 to 3-09.
Celebrations were understandably muted with the news already filtering through from up the road that Portglenone had beaten Creggan to claim the league title.
Both sides will have benefited from the game however and will see it as useful preparation for the forthcoming senior championship and holders Cargin look to be running into a bit of form just at the right time.
The holders will be amongst the fancied sides as the championship gets under way next month and on the evidence of what I have seen this year, Ahoghill look capable of causing a few upsets when the premier competition kicks off.
Cargin: Shea Laverty, Sean og Quinn, Kevin Mc Shane, Kevin O’ Boyle, Justin Crozier, Paul Mc Cann (0-02), Cahir Donnelly, Gerard Mc Cann (1-00), John Carron, Pat David Johnston (0-01),Pat Shivers (0-03), Sean og O’ Neill (1-01), Tom Shivers (1-03), Eunan Quinn (0-02), Jamie Gribbin
Subs:Tomas Mc Cann (0-03), Ben Mc Larnon
Ahoghill: Noel Crossey (1-01), Seamus Mc Keever, James Magee, Shea Neeson, Fionnbar O’ Neill, Gerard Graham (0-01), Diarmuid Graham, Patrick Graham (0-01), Tom Mc Glone, Danny O’ Neill (1-01), James O’ Connell (0-03), Bernard Graham (0-01), Conor P Crossey, Donal Graham, Colla Mc Donnell (1-02)
Subs: Harry O’Donnell, Shay Madden, Ryan McPeake, Connor McGarry
A real exhibition of scoring by Loughgiel Shamrocks saw them seal the Division one title at Ballygalget on Sunday and with one game left to play they cannot be caught. Their nearest opponents Ballycran came unstuck when they visited Dunloy, and though they have two games left to play and could theoretically match Loughgiel on points, should they win their last two games against Ballycastle and Ballygalget (and Loughgiel lose their home game with St Enda’s), the Shamrocks still would still win it on the head to head between the two sides.
The first half was well contested with Ballygalget matching their visitors for most of it, but goals from James McNaughton on six minutes and Cathal Hargan on nineteen helped the Shamrocks to a 2-9 to 0-11 lead at the break.
Things took a dramatic turn after the change of ends when the wind assisted Shamrocks started to pull away. The scores were coming thick and fast and early goals from corner forward Rian McMullan and midfielder Paul Boyle saw the gap widening.
Tim Prenter pulled a goal back for the Ards men on 36 minutes but Loughgiel centre back Damon McMullan got in on the scoring act when a long delivery deceived the Ballygalget defence and ended in the net.
Michael Dorian added another goal for the men in green but Loughgiel were picking off the scores and further goals came from Rian McMullan and Shan McGrath as they stretched their lead minute by minute By the time Mark O’Neill sounded the final whistle they were 25 to the good.
Overall their forward line were the stars of the show, five of the six sharing 6-22 between them in a memorable display. The new league champions will be presented with the league trophy on Sunday 16th of July when they host Naomh Eanna in their final league game.
Ballygalget proved too strong for Naomh Eanna at Hightown on Wednesday night in this ACHL Division 1 clash. The home side played their best hurling during the opening half and looked to be in with a shout when they trailed by 1-7 to 2-9 at half time.
They only flattered to deceive however as the visitors from the Ards’ peninsula found another gear during the second half, outscoring the Glengormley men by 1-7 to 0-2 to win comfortably in the end.
There wasn’t much between the sides during the opening exchanges with Luke O’Connor striking a couple of early points for St. Enda’s before a goal from Tim Prenter gave the visitors the lead.
Niall O’Connor, Luke O’Connor, Cormac Jennings and Brendan Cormican were all on target for the home side with Marc Fisher, Jordan Doran, Paul McManus, Eoin Pucci and Ciaran Watson replying with points at the other end to keep the Ballygalet noses ahead.
Niall O’Connor gave St. Enda’s a major boost when he fired to the Ballygalet net early in the second quarter and further points from O’Connor and Ruairi Donaghy in reply to points from Jordan Doran, Ciaran Watson and Michael Og Dorrian left it in the balance as half time approached.
However a second Ballygalget goal late in the half by the impressive Jordan Doran put a bit of daylight between the sides with the visitors heading into the second half with a four point advantage.
That goal seemed to lift the Down men as the second half got underway as they tightened up at the back and slowly began to put more distance between the sides.
Marc Fisher at centre half led the way as he added four second half points and further points from Eoin Pucci, Paul McManus and Michael Og Dorrian and a late goal from Owen McDermott in reply to points from Eddie O’Connor and Ruairi Donaghy saw the visitors home comfortably.
St. Enda’s: 1 Martin Curran, 2 Dara Maguire, 3 Ryan Bogue, 4 Malachi McGibbon, 5 Eoin Conlon, 6 Joe Maskey, 7 Diarmuid Maguire, 8 Owen Kennedy, 9 Brendan Cormican, 10 Luke O’Connor, 11 Niall O’Connor, 12 Eddie O’Connor, 13 Ruairi Donaghy, 14 Phillip Curran,15 Cormac Jennings.
Ballygalget: 1 Eopin Clarke, 2 Michael Toner, 3 James McGrath, 4 Joseph Smyth, 5 Caolan Coulter, 6 Marc Fisher, 7 Peter McManus, 8 Jordan Doran, 9 Eoin Coulter, 10 Michael Og Dorrian, 11 Paul McManus, 12 Eoin Pucci, 13 Owen McDermott, 14 Ciaran Watson, 15 Tim Prenter