Ruairi’s stay top with win over Cuchullains

Doherty Woodshavings Division One

Dunloy 0-16 Cushendall 0-19

Sunday June 6

Brendan McTaggart reports from Pearse Park, Dunloy

Cushendall recorded a three point win over Dunloy in the burning sunshine at Pearse Park on Sunday afternoon in front of the Pairc TV cameras.  It was a deserving win for the Ruairi’s as they continue their evolution under Brian Delargy’s management.

The Cuchullains started brightly and played some fluent hurling in the opening exchanges, Chrissy McMahon and Kevin Molloy performing well in attack with Conor McKinley and Ronan Molloy catching the eye on the Cuchullains half back line.  Cushendall finally got going however and asserted their style on the game with Ryan McCambridge putting in a top performance in the half back line and Martin Burke not far behind him on the edge of the Cushendall square.  Up front, it was another match where Christy McNaughgton showed glimpses of his best.  The touch was there, the outrageous scores weren’t far behind.  ‘Sambo’s youngest’ is well on the way to putting his injury nightmares behind him.  He was duly assisted in the Ruairi’s attack by Paddy McGill and Fergus McCambridge.  The two men sharing eight points between them with McGill claiming the lions share.

Paddy McGill who top scored with 0-6 for the Ruairi’s

The visitors to Pearse Park showed exemplary work rate in the middle third to turn an early four point Dunloy lead at the first half water-break to a three point lead soon after the interval.  It could have been a greater difference between the sides but for some heroic defending from Phelim Duffin and a top drawer save from Paul Doherty between the sticks for the Cuchullains.  Fergus McCambridge and Dominic Delargy denied certain goals by the Cuchullains.

If Dunloy were on top in the opening quarter, Cushendall dominated until half time with McNaughton, McGill and Dominic Delargy catching the eye.

Dunloy improved in the second half with but trailed by three points by the time Nicky McKeague scored their eighth point of the game and ending a long barren scoring spell for the Cuchullains.  Despite the best efforts of Kevin Molloy who would finish the game with four points from play, the home side couldn’t quite rein the Ruairi’s in as the ‘Dall kept the Cuchullains at arms length for the majority of the second half.

The game became scrappy towards the end of the hour, referee Eamon Hassan let the game flow and the quality of play certainly benefitted from it but as tired limbs and minds set in, frees became more frequent with Shiels and McGill benefitting.

The Cuchullains couldn’t get the sustained momentum needed to pressurise the Cushendall men on the scoreboard however as the Ruairi’s saw out the time that remained with little alarm.The Ruairi’s sit top the table after four wins from their opening five games and welcome Ballygalget to the Glens when they next play, on June 20th while the Cuchullains travel to St Johns on the same afternoon hoping to return to winning ways.


Dunloy: Paul Doherty; Aaron Crawford, Ciaran McQuillan, Phelim Duffin; Ryan McGarry, Conor McKinley, Kevin McKeague; Paul Shiels, Ciaran Elliott; Nicky McKeague, Kevin Molloy, Ronan Molloy; Chrissy McMahon, Gabriel McTaggart, Padraig McGilliagan

Scorers: P Shiels 0-5 (3f); K Molloy 0-4; N McKeague 0-2; C McMahon 0-2; R McGarry 0-1; R Molloy 0-1; P McGilligan 0-1

Cushendall: Eoin Gillan; Shane McKenna, Martin Burke, Liam Gillan; Scott Walsh, Terry McAllister, Ryan McCambridge; Alex Delargy, Francis McCurry; Dominic Delargy, Sean McAfee, Fergus McCambridge; Paddy McGill, Christy McNaughton, Andrew Delargy

Scorers: P McGill 0-6 (4f 1’65); C McNaughton 0-5; F McCambridge 0-2; A Delargy 0-2; Niall McCormick 0-1; F McCurry 0-1; Mark Emerson 0-1

Referee: Eamon Hassan (St Brigids, Cloughmills)

Depleted St. Enda’s no match for rampant Johnnies

ACHL Division 1

St. Enda’s 0-7 St. John’s 4-25

A depleted St. Enda’s proved no match for a rampant St. John’s when the sides met at Hightown today. The visitors raced into an early lead with Aaron Bradley leading the charge both from play and from the placed ball and led 0-5 to 0-1 at the first water break with Bradley scoring three and Peter McCallin and CJ McKenna the other scorers. Cormac Ross got the St. Enda’s point from a well struck 60 meter free.

St. Enda’s opened the second quarter with a great point from Eoin Conlon but it provided only temporary respite for the home side with Bradley sending over a great point to extend their lead, adding another from a free and completing his hat-trick by the 20th minute.

CJ McKenna 0-2 and Bradley 0-2 moved the visitors nine in front by the 30th minute and Conaill Bohill got his name on the Johnnies scoring list before St. Enda’s troubles were compounded when they had a player dismissed for a second yellow card offence.

The one way traffic towards the St. Enda’s goal continued, despite the best efforts of Rian Gillen, Eoin Maguire and Cormac Ross and Bradley brought his personal tally to 0-7 as the Johnnies switched ends with a commanding 0-14 to 0-2 half time lead.

Donal Carson from play and Aaron Bradley from another free moved the visitors further ahead on the resumption of play before Aidan McGowan momentarily stopped the rut with an excellent long range effort for the Hightown men.

The respite was temporary as St. John’s came racing back onto the offensive and Donal Carson fired over before getting in for their opening goal with ten minutes of the second half gone. Substitute Eoin Carelton added a point before substitute John McGoldrick replied from a ‘65’ for the Glengormley side.

McGoldrick then set up Luke O’Connor who brought his side’s total to 0-5 with Carson replying at the other end before Peter McCallin got in for the Johnnies second goal with 20 minutes of the second half gone.

Substitute Eoin Carelton got through for a third goal and Fergal Morgan added a fourth with Aaron Bradley continuing to score points at will and Ciaran Kerr and Niall O’Connor replying with consolation points for the home side.

This was a strong performance from the Whiterock men who were on top all over the field and in Aaron Bradley they had an excellent score taker who punished every indiscretion their opponents made.

St. Enda’s were without quite a number of regulars and will want to put this one behind them but in Rian Gillen, Eoin Maguire, Cormac Ross and substitute John McGoldrick they had players who gave it everything.

St. Enda’s: Martin Curran, Dara Maguire, Rian Gillen, Eoin Maguire, Manus Mullan, Cormac Ross, Matthew O’Hare, Eoin Conlon, Aidan McGowan, Diarmuid Maguire, Philip Curran, Eddie O’Connor, Luke O’Connor, Niall McGivern, Brendan Cormican, Subs: Niall O’Connor, John McGoldrick

St. John’s: Declan Creggan, Aidan McMahon, Ryan McNulty, Conor Carson, Stephen Tierney, Conall Morgan, Conall Bohill (0-1), Andrew McGowan, Ciaran Kerr, C J McKenna (0-4), Oisin Donnelly, Aaron Bradley (0-13 9f), Donall Carson (1-2), Peter McCallin (1-1), Feargal Morgan. Subs: Eoin Carelton (1-1)

Referee: Colin McDonald (St. Gall’s)

Ballygalget power home in final quarter

ACHL Division 1-2 Promotion / Relegation play-off first leg

Ballygalget 3-22-1-13 Sarsfields

By Kevin Herron at Milltown

Ballygalget took a huge step towards survival in the top tier of Antrim hurling as they outscored Sarsfields 3-07-0-02 in the final quarter of this afternoon’s promotion / relegation first-leg at Milltown.

With just a point separating the sides a Jordan Doran goal tilted the game back into the County Down sides balance after Sarsfields had chased a five-point deficit at the start of the second-half.

Tim Prenter added further goals to give his side a 15-point advantage ahead of the second-leg in a few weeks time and only a mammoth overturn would see Sarsfields clinch promotion to Division One.

The Stewartstown men started the brighter of the sides at Milltown Row and hit the opening two scores through Darragh McGuinness and Niall McKenna (free).

Although Adam Doran angled over Ballygalget’s opening point; Kevin McKernan restored his sides two-point advantage.

Doran doubled his account and Owen Clarke floated the ball over the bar to level after ten minutes with a converted Caolan Coulter free edging the County Down side ahead for the first time (0-04-0-03).

Niall McKenna drew the sides level for the second time just after the midway point in the half – converting a free after a foul on Caolan McKernan.

But back to back points from Cathal Coulter and John McManus had Ballygalget two points to the good.

McKenna twice reduced the deficit to the minimum – converting a free and landing a point from play, though points from Jordan Doran and Marc Fisher (long range free) restored their sides advantage.

Gerard Roddy plucked the ball from the air and conjured a magnificent score and a second placed ball of the half from Marc Fisher had Ballygalget in control with a 0-10-0-06 lead.

Sarsfields were thrown a lifeline with four minutes to the break as Jack Daniels launched a high ball forward that wasn’t dealt with by Ballygalget goalkeeper Gareth ‘Magic’ Johnson as Kevin McKernan profited – scooping the ball to the net to make it a one-point game (0-10-1-06).

Successive points from Daniel Toner and Tim Prenter stretched their sides lead – but Gary Lennon squeezed the ball over from a tight angle to ensure that just two-points separated the sides at the end of an enthralling opening half (0-12-1-07).

Ballygalget began the second period on the front foot and quickly opened up a five-point gap with three unanswered points.

Daniel Toner added to his two-points from the opening half with two converted frees, whilst Tim Prenter conjured up his third point of the game in-between.

Niall McKenna landed his fourth placed ball in response and then played a quick free to Caolan McKernan as the midfielder split the posts.

The Stewartstown side had the bit between their teeth and points from Darragh McGuinness and Ryan Carson reduced the deficit to the bare minimum with twenty minutes remaining (0-15-1-11).

Crucially Sarsfields failed to land the leveller that may have saw them kick on with the momentum and on 43 minutes they were dealt a setback they failed to recover from.

Daniel Toner emerged from a ruck with the sliother and fed Jordan Doran who rifled past Brendan McGibbon to give the Down men a 1-15-1-11 advantage.

Sarsfields may have replied instantly as Caolan McKernan released Gary Lennon – but credit to Gareth Johnson who made himself big and denied the wing-half forward a certain goal.

Toner (free) and Tim Prenter increased Galget’s lead with James McKernan floating the ball over at the other end.

With seven minutes remaining the game was up for the Paddies as Adam Doran’s pass across the face of goal was tucked away by Prenter to make it 2-17-1-12.

Niall McKenna (free) conjured up his sides final score in response – though Ballygalaget ended the game strongly, scoring 1-05 unanswered.

Three of the Down sides last five points came courtesy of Daniel Toner- who brought his personal tally to 0-08 (0-05) arriving from the placed ball and 0-02 of those came late-on.

Adam Doran and John McManus both pointed between times to finish their sides point scoring for the afternoon, though they weren’t finished on the score front altogether.

Sarsfields goalkeeper Brendan McGibbon parried excellently from a stinging Caolan Coulter shot, however a scramble ensued and Tim Prenter prodded the ball home to ensure his side ran out comfortable 3-22-1-13 winners at full-time.

It would take a comeback of epic proportions to see Sarsfields claim promotion to Division One as a strong final quarter looks to secured survival for Ballygalget ahead of the second-leg on September 4th.

Ballygalget: G Johnson, P McManus, M Fisher (0-02, 0-01f; 0-01 65’), J Smyth, P McManus, J McManus (0-02), B Toner, Cathal Coulter (0-01), J Doran (1-01), G Roddy (0-01), O Clarke (0-01), Caolan Coulter, T Prenter (2-04), D Toner (0-08, 0-05f), A Doran (0-02). Subs: C Watson for Cathal Coulter (46 mins); J Hughes for J Doran (58 mins).

Sarsfields: B McGibbon, J Daniels, J Cunningham, K Ward, N McAlea, C Caldwell, J McKernan (0-01), C McKernan (0-01), D McGuinness (0-02), G Lennon (0-01), N McKenna (0-06, 0-05f), R Carson (0-01), T Doherty, M Rea, K McKernan (1-01). Subs: A Stewart for T Doherty (40 mins); M Campbell for J Cunningham (48 mins); J Cunningham for M Rea (55 mins); D McKernan for K McKernan (57 mins); N McDonald for R Carson (60 mins).

Referee: Darren McKeown (St Galls)

Murphy magic secures status for another year

ACHL Division 1

Ballygalget 0-12

O’Donovan Rossa 1-15

Rossa retained their division 1 status for another year when they travelled to Ballygalget last night and recorded an impressive win over the Ards’ men and in doing so condemned them to a play-off place for their own survival against Sarsfields.

Deaglan Murphy was the man who led the way for the Shaw’s Road side hitting 1-12 over the hour and his accuracy from the placed ball went a long way in securing the points in a keenly contested game.

Ballygalget now face a two-legged play-off with Sarsfield’s to decide who plays in the top flight next season but they will look back at this one with some regret  as two shots for goal came back off the uprights over the hour.

However, it was Rossa who led all the way and while the home side enjoyed periods of dominance they couldn’t get the necessary scores as Rossa dug deep when necessary with Cricky McGuinness, Stephen Shannon and Míchéal McGreevy in the closing stages standing firm in defence to deny them the goal that might have ignited their challenge.

That goal never arrived and indeed Rossa could have been much further than three ahead at the break as Gareth Johnson in the home goal pulled of a couple of superb saves, while a number of shots tailed wide due to a tricky cross field breeze.

The visitors got off to the perfect start with Murphy tapping over the first of his frees before he got in for what was to prove the only goal of the game to open a 1-1 to 0-0 lead after five minutes.

Danny Toner replied with the first of his nine points overall from a free on the night but Michael Armstrong responded with a fine score after racing clear from midfield.

Toner replied from another free before Murphy converted two from placed balls while Thomas Morgan added a fine score after collecting from Stephen Beatty.

Ballygalget’s might have had a goal at the end of the opening quarter as Tim Prenter found himself in on goal, but his rasping shot came back off the crossbar and into the grateful hand of Stephen Shannon and from the resulting clearance Rossa broke up field themselves but Johnson got his hurl to Morgan’s shot.

Ballygalget began to enjoy a bit of success at this stage with Toner scoring an excellent point from an acute angle and Jordan Doran and Toner again adding two frees to cut the Rossa lead to two points.

Rossa responded as Matt Devlin found McGreevy from a poc-out and he passed to the unmarked Aidan Orchin and the corner back steadied before driving over from his own half.

Free takers,Murphy for Rossa and Toner for the home side exchanged two apiece to leave Rossa 1-8 to 0-8 ahead at the break and they might have had another goal but Johnston got his foot to Stephen Beatty’s shot to deny the Rossa man.

Ballygalget made the better start to the second half with Doran pointing within the opening minute and Prenter adding another from out on the left to bring his side to within a point and a come-back looked on the cards at this stage.

Deaglan Murphy replied from a couple of frees to edge the visitors three in front once more as the second-half settled into another battle of the free-takers.

Toner added two to Murphy’s one as Ballygalget began to look more dangerous in attack but they cursed their luck in the 52nd minute when Toner fielded superbly and his shot beat Devlin in the Rossa goal but ricocheted back of a post and was cleared to safety.

Murphy replied from another  free to extend the Rossa lead to three once more leaving the Ard’s men in need of a goal but as they pushed forward, the Rossa sharp shooter punished  them with three further points to make the game safe.

Ballygalget had one final chance for goal when they were awarded  a 20 meter free in stoppage time and Johnson came forward from goal but he didn’t make a good connection with his shot and it was cleared to safety as the Rossa defence stood tall.  

Rossa have ensured themselves division 1 hurling for another year while Ballygalget face a tricky two leg play-off against a Sarsfield’s side who were pipped to the divison 2 title by St. Enda’s who secured the title with a win over Dungannon Eoghan Ruadh last night.

BALLYGALGET: G Johnson; Paul McManus, M Fisher, J Smith; Peter McManus, J McManus, B Toner; M Toner, J Doran (0-2); G Roddy, Caolan Coulter, A Doran; D Toner (0-9, 7 frees), O Clarke, T Prenter (0-1). Sub: Cathal Coulter for M Toner (43)

ROSSA: M Devlin; N Crossan, C McGuinness, A Orchin (0-1); C Orchin, Stephen Shannon, M McGreevy; C Shannon, M Armstrong (0-1); Seaghan Shannon, C McVeigh, S Beatty; D Murphy (1-12, 0-11 frees), T Morgan (0-1), T Murphy. Subs: M Smith for N Crossan (34), J Connolly for A Orchin (40), N Devlin for T Morgan (60), C O’Neill for T Murphy (60+5).

REFEREE: Mark O’Neill (Armoy)

Shamrocks end league campaign on a high

ACHL Division One

Loughgiel 1-22 Cushendall 0-11

Wednesday July 31

Brendan McTaggart reports from Fr Healy Park, Loughgiel

Loughgiel ended their league campaign with another win on Wednesday night.  They had 14 points to spare over Cushendall by the final whistle but neither side will really be taking anything out of this game with the championship just 11 days away.  Loughgiel looked good and were sharp all over the pitch, Shan McGrath and Callum McKendry catching the eye in attack for the Shamrocks with Mark McFadden pulling the strings in midfield.  Tiarnan Coyle rarely put a foot wrong at centre half while Tony McCloskey was as reliable as ever on the edge of his own square.  James McNaughton grabbed the limelight once again, top scoring with 1-6 over the hour – his goal lighting up what was essentially a phoney war between these two great rivals.

Cushendall struggled to win any form of ball from poc outs and such was the nature of the Loughgiel defence, they couldn’t get any attacking impetus going.  No momentum and a defence under pressure, the Ruairi’s were second best all over the pitch.  Scott Walsh left the pitch with pass marks for his display, the Cushendall midfielder put in a big performance – especially in the first half but he had little support elsewhere.  Paddy McGill had an almighty tussle with Tony McCloskey but the Shamrock’s full back had the upperhand over the hour.  Martin and Paddy Burke were overworked in defence and while they were a match for the Shamrocks, the home side were relentless.  They matched Cushendall’s work rate and pushed on, they had ball winners and of their 22 points score, just eight came from placed ball. 

The Ruairi’s finished the match with 14 men, Francis McCurry seeing red in the 48th minute but the match was over as a contest by that stage.  This one lacked any sort of intensity, slightly surprising with the championship just around the corner but effectively the Shamrocks will keep that winning feeling within the camp when they look ahead to their opener against St John’s.

Despite the Ruairi’s making a bright start, Loughgiel dominated the first half.  The visitors to Fr Healy Park were three points to the good before Duck McFadden opened the Shamrocks account in the fourth minute.  Campbell, Alex Delargy and Scott Walsh with the scores for the Ruairi’s but they wouldn’t trouble the scoreboard for 15 minutes as Loughgiel opened a three point advantage.  Barney McAuley (two), Dan McCloskey and Shan McGrath making it seven points unanswered before Ed McQuillan split the posts for Cushendall.

Dan McCloskey landed his second of three points before Seamus Dobbin score the point of the game.  Chrissy O’Connell picking his half back on the run with a 70 yard poc out that was inch perfect.  Dobbin didn’t have to break stride before catching the sliotar and sending it between the uprights.  One for the Loughgiel management team to enjoy – hours of work on the training ground coming good during a match.  McNaughton’s first free of the night left six between the sides before Walsh landed his second white flag in the 23rd minute.  That was their last score of the half however with a brace of frees from McNaughton in the time that remained giving Loughgiel a seven point half time lead.

Half time: Loughgiel 0-12 Cushendall 0-5

The Ruairi’s had the help of the elements in the second half and went score for score with Loughgiel in the opening exchanges.  Free’s from McAuley and McNaughton were responded by white flags from Eoin ‘Freen’ Laverty but Loughgiel all but made sure of the win in the 39th minute thanks to a piece of brilliance from McNaughton.  Duck McFadden playing a diagonal ball for McNaughton to collect and the Loughgiel man danced around a couple of Cushendall defenders before heading for goal.  Still with a bit of work to do, McNaughton managed to get his shot away to the back of Eoin Gillan’s net to take the Loughgiel lead into double figures.

Loughgiel continued to press home their superiority on the night and had a nine point lead when McCurry saw red for a dangerous tackle on Barney McAuley.  Cushendall rejigged but they only managed points from Paddy McGill and Ed McQuillan in the time that remained while Loughgiel found spaces in the Ruairi’s defence.  McGrath, Eddie McCloskey, McAuley and Dobbin all finding the target while Callum McKendry was unlucky not to add another major.  His drilled effort somehow blocked by Eoghan Campbell in the 52nd minute.

14 points the difference and as Loughgiel now spend the next week and a half finalising their preparations for the championship, last years winners look like they have plenty of work ahead of them.  They round off their league campaign when they welcome St John’s to the Glen’s on Tuesday evening.


Loughgiel: Chrissy O’Connell; Declan Gillan, Tony McCloskey, Ronan McCloskey; Seamus Dobbin, Tiarnan Coyle, Odhran McFadden; Mark McFadden, James McNaughton; Barney McAuley, Declan Laverty, Callum McKendry; Dan McCloskey, Eddie McCloskey, Shan McGrath.


Scorers: James McNaughton 1-6 (5 f’s); Barney McAuley 0-4 (2 f’s, 1 ’65); Shan McGrath 0-3; Dan McCloskey 0-3; Seamus Dobbin 0-2; Mark McFadden 0-1; Declan Laverty 0-1; Callum McKendry 0-1; Eddie McCloskey 0-1.

Cushendall: Eoin Gillan; Liam Gillan, Martin Burke, David Kearney; Francis McCurry, Paddy Burke, Niall McCormick; Eoghan Campbell, Scott Walsh; Fergus McCambridge, Eoin Laverty, Ryan McCambridge; Ed McQuillan, Paddy McGill, Alex Delargy.

Subs: Cormac McClafferty for E Laverty (40); Emmett Laverty for R McCambriduge (56); Joseph McCurry for N McCormick (56).

Scorers: Eoin Laverty 0-2 (2 f’s); Scott Walsh 0-2; Eoghan Campbell 0-1; Fergus McCambridge 0-1; Ryan McCambridge 0-1; Ed McQuillan 0-1; Paddy McGill 0-1; Alex Delargy 0-1.

Referee: Colin Murray