Loughgiel took the points in Tuesday evening’s
re-arranged league game against Portaferry at Fr Healy Park, winning in the end
by seven points to maintain second place in the league table. With Liam Watson
pulling the strings for the Shamrocks they led by double scores at half time
1-9 to 0-6. Portaferry made a promising start to the second half and closed to
within two points but when substitute Watson grabbed his second goal in the 44th
minute the Shamrocks were back in control and won in the end with a bit to
The Down men led twice in the early minutes as corner
forward Robert Magee pointed two early frees in reply to one by Liam Watson for
Loughgiel but a run of scores from Shan McGrath (2) , Liam Watson (2) and
Odhran McFadden put the home team four clear by the ninth minute. Portaferry
got two of the next three scores through Ronan Blair (2) and Ronan Smyth in
reply to one from Loughgiel’s ‘Duck’ McFadden to close the gap to a three but
Loughgiel finished the half strongly and after adding two points from frees
Watson got the first of his two goals to give his team a 1-9 to 0-6 interval
Backed by the breeze Portaferry made an impressive
start to the second half and points from Blair, Conor Fay, Shane Conlan and
Kevin McGarry brought them back to within two. It was eleven minutes before
Loughgiel got their first score through Shay Casey and when Watson grabbed his
second goal they were six clear but Ronan Blair brought the gap back to five
again with a pointed free on 47 minutes.
Substitutes Nicholas McNaughton and Callum McKendry showed their worth as
McNaughton added a point from play to open the gap to four before McKendry
grabbed his team’s third goal to put nine between the sides and though Blair
got a couple of late consolation points for Portaferry the destiny of the
points had already been decided.
LOUGHGIEL: Chrissy O’Connell, Declan McCloskey, Ronan
Gillan, Ronan McCloskey, Seamus Dobbin, Tiernan Coyle, Odhran McFadden, Daniel
McCloskey, Mark McFadden, Shay Casey, Eddie McCloskey, Shan McGrath, Michael
McGarry, Liam Watson, Paul Boyle.
Subs – Nicholas McNaughton; Callum McKendry
PORTAFERRY: Patrick McNally, Darragh Mallon, Conor O’Neill,
Emmet O’Neill, Tom Murray, Conor Mageean, Kevin McGarry, Matthew Conlan, Shane
Conlan, Aaron O’Prey, Ronan Smyth, Robert Magee, Ronan Blair, Nial Fitzsimons, Conor
Rossa took a step nearer 1st
Division survival when they travelled to Belfast neighbours St Gall’s on Sunday
and came away with a five point win, a result that leaves their neighbours in
Fresh from their win against Ballycastle
two days previous Rossa started brightly and after briefly falling behind to a Jackson
McGreevy free Thomas Morgan got the first of their four goals when he pulled on
a breaking ball around the St Gall’s ‘square’ and drilled it home. Goal number
two came on ten minutes when Deaglan Murphy picked out Callum McVeigh who
finished neatly from close range and with Murphy in fine form from placed balls
the Shaw’s Road men moved well clear, but a dogged St Gall’s side kept battling
and they were rewarded on 25 minutes when Jackson McGreevey fired a penalty to
the Rossa net to bring his team right back into contention, but Rossa responded
well and were 2-7 to 1-5 clear by the time referee Hugh Torney sounded the half
With weather conditions going from bad
to worse St Gall’s showed great character as they battled back early in the
second half and when Antoin McCaffrey Kieran McGourty and McAreavey added
points they were back in contention. Things looked promising when they drew
level with further points from McCaffrey and Eoghan Farrelly, but they were
dealt a bad blow when a Michael Armstrong shot for a point dipped below the
crossbar and ended up in the net.
That was the boost Rossa needed and when
Tiernan Murphy added a point they had a bit of breathing space. Armstrong
grabbed his second goal five minutes from time to seal the win and though St
Gall’s pulled a late goal back when a McAreavey free ended up in the back of
the net Rossa sealed it with another pointed free by Deaglan Murphy.
ST GALL’S: K McGreevy; L O Ciarain, S
Burke, L McCluskey; R Irvine, N O’Neill (0-1), C McCaffery; K Stewart, J
Hopkins; J McGreevy (1-2, 1-0 penalty, 0-2 frees), K McGourty; S McAreavey
(1-3, 1-0 free); E Mullan (0-1), A McCaffery, E Farrelly (0-1).
ROSSA: C Breathnach; N
Crossan, C McGuinness, M McGreevy; G Walsh, Stephen Shannon, A O’Brien; M
Armstrong (2-1), C Shannon; T Murphy (0-2), C McVeigh (1-0), Seaghan Shannon;
Deaglan Murphy (0-6, all frees), T Morgan (1-0), A Orchin. Subs: P McGreevy for
T Morgan (HT), Daire Murphy for C McVeigh (50).
A man of the match display by centre half forward Ciaran Clarke which yielded a goal and fourteen points steered Ballycastle to victory over Ballycran in Sunday’s Antrim Hurling League Division 1 at Pairc MacUilin. In a game played in atrocious conditions, heavy rain and driving wind, Clarke gave a display of accuracy from frees and play that proved the difference in the end. Ballycastle won the toss and decided to face the elements in the first half and when they turned around with a one point advantage they were favourites to push on to win with a bit to spare. However the Down men fared much better in the third quarter and when Niall Breen got a goal and a point in the opening three minutes of the second half they were a goal clear. Clarke then had a massive slice of luck when he dropped a 65 into the Ballycran ‘square’ and the ball skidded off the hand of the visitors goalkeeper and ended up in the net. Clarke took advantage to add a series of good points and though Ballycran drew level again with a Christoher Egan goal three more Clarke points saw the Town home for a victory that all but guarantees them Division 1 hurling next season.
Clarke had two points on the board in the first three
minutes, both from frees but Christopher Egan had Ballycran level by the fifth,
one from play and the other from a free. It was score for score during the next
fifteen minutes as Clarke and Scott Nicholson had a bit of a shootout but the
men from the Ards appeared to be getting on top when Nicholson (2) and Michael
Ennis added points to go a point ahead on 26 minutes. The lead was short lived
however as Clarke added two more before the break to give his team a 0-9 to 0-8
Niall Breen’s two early second half scores pulled
Ballycran a goal clear within three minutes of the restart before Clarke’s
slice of luck brought him a goal from a 65 and bring his team level. A point from Cormac McAlister edged Ballycran
back ahead but one from Dairmuid McShane and three from Clarke gave the home
team a three point lead by the three quarter stage. A Christopher Egan goal got
Ballycran back into the game but Ballycastle finished strong and Clarke picked
off the points to give his team a three point cushion going into injury time.
Ballycran had a chance to draw level with the last puck of the game when they
were awarded a twenty metre free but ‘Charlie’ McGarry in the Castle goals was
equal to Conor Dorrian’s shot and Francis Traynor sounded the final whistle as
BALLYCASTLE: Ryan McGarry, Sean Kelly, Matthew
Donnelly, Oran Kearney, James McLister, TT Butler, Conor Boyd, Shane McCarry,
KB McShane, Ciaran Butler, Ciaran Clarke, Dairmuid McShane, Oisin McAuley, Owen
Kinney, Saul McCaughan.
BALLYCRAN: Declan Ennis, Michael Hughes, Padraig
Flynn, Padraig Gilmore, Patrick Hughes, Thomas McManus, Brett Nicholson, Scott
Nicholson, Brendan Ennis, James Coyle, Michael Ennis, Niall Breen, Rory Brown,
Cormac McAlister, Colum McManus.
Brendan McTaggart reports from Páirc Naomh Mhuire, Cushendall
Dunloy retained their Division One crown by easing past
Cushendall on Sunday afternoon. Eight
points separated the sides with Dunloy’s Deaglan Smith putting in a superb
display with 1-5 to his name, all coming from open play.
The Ruairi’s were missing a few names from their starting 15
but still managed to cause the Cuchullains problems in the first half. Deaglan Smith’s early major the difference
between the sides at the interval with Dunloy ahead by the minimum. Aidan McNaughton and Scott Walsh showing huge
work rate in the first half with Ryan McCambridge leading the charge in attack.
The heavens opened after the restart and
the conditions deteriorated dramatically but Dunloy tightened their grip on the
game. Chances and scores were hard to
come by but the Cuchullains did enough with Paul Shiels, Shane Dooey and Conor
Eoin Laverty top scored for the home side, Frein finishing
the match with six points – five of those from placed ball. McCambridge with three points from play with Martin
and Paddy Burke along with Niall McCormick hurling well in defence.
The Cuchullains had too much experience all over the pitch
however with their better use of the sliotar telling. Set up to make use of the pace in their
forwards, Dunloy utilised the space to open up the Ruairi’s with just three
points of the 1-18 accumulated coming from placed ball.
In a slow start, the first score of the match was registered
in the fourth minute. Aidan McNaughton
firing over from distance. Coby Cunning
replied for the Cuchullains but the home side were doing all the early
running. Further scores from Walsh,
Eunan McKillop and Laverty had the Ruairi’s three clear after the opening 10
Dunloy weren’t firing in those opening exchanges but the
move to create the only goal of the game was a glimpse of what they’re capable
of. Ronan Molloy collecting the sliotar
before playing an inch perfect pass through the heart of the Cushendall defence
to Deaglan Smith who was making a cross-field run. Smith’s momentum allowed him to round Eoin
Gillan and he despatched the sliotar to the back of the Cushendall net. A quality goal to kick the Cuchullains into
life. A further brace of white flags
from Smith and Chrissy Brogan gave the visitors a two point lead midway through
the first half.
Cushendall responded with McCambridge and Laverty (free) to
get back on terms but Paul Shiels split the uprights from distance to edge the
Cuchullains in front once again. Walsh
and Smith swapped white flags before Cushendall created their first goal chance
of the match. Eunan McKillop collecting
a long poc out from Eoin Gillan but his effort was well save by Gabriel
McTaggart between the sticks for the Cuchullains. Laverty converted the resulting ’65 to bring
the sides level with seven minutes of the half remaining. Neither side really took a stranglehold of
the time that remained but Dunloy edged the scoring with Cunning (free), Shiels
and Kevin Molloy firing over in response to a brace from McCambridge, taking
his tally to three points for the half.
Half time: Cushendall 0-10 Dunloy 1-8
Cushendall’s work rate in rucks and ability to win dirty
ball helped them to win the midfield exchanges for long periods of the first
half. It was a different ball game in
the second half however as Dunloy took charge after the restart.
With the rain pouring bordering something biblical, the
conditions didn’t allow pretty hurling but the Cuchullains upped their work
rate and began to open a gap between the sides on the scoreboard. Smith and Cunning (’65) fired over in the
opening two minutes before Cunning and Keelan Molloy pointed in quick
succession in the 38th minute to open a five point lead.
Cushendall introduced Paddy McGill in an attempt to breathe
fresh life and legs into their attack but they had to wait to the 14th
minute of the second half for their opening score. Laverty with his fourth of the game but
Dunloy continued to dominate. Molloy and
Smith finding the target before Shane Dooey split the posts from distance to
leave seven points between the sides going into the last ten minutes.
The Ruairi’s responded with two frees from Laverty to reduce
the deficit to five once again but Dunloy finished strongly and with further
scores from Cunning (free), Brogan and Molloy they added further gloss to the
score line by the final whistle.
With these two sides playing in the opening round of the
championship round robin in just three weeks time at Pearse Park, it was always
going to be interesting to see how they lined out. It’s fair to say there will be changes with
neither showing a full hand and there’s no doubting it will be a contest with a
bit more spice but it’s the Cuchullains who take the honours for now. An 11th win in succession ensures
they retain the league crown they won last year as they continue their good
form in 2019.
Cushendall: Eoin Gillan; Liam Gillan, Martin Burke,
Stephen Walsh; Francis McCurry, Paddy Burke, Niall McCormick; Aidan McNaughton,
Scott Walsh; Dominic Delargy, Eunan McKillop, Ryan McCambridge; Eoin Laverty,
Alex Delargy, Ed McQuillan.
Subs: Paddy McGill for A McNaughton (36); Ronan
McAteer for D Delargy (39).
Scorers: Eoin Laverty 0-6 (4 f’s, 1 ’65); Ryan
McCambridge 0-3; Scott Walsh 0-2; Aidan McNaughton 0-1; Eunan McKillop 0-1.
Dunloy: Gabriel McTaggart; Phelim Duffin, Conor
McKinley, Conor Kinsella; Kevin McKeague, Eamon Smyth, Kevin Molloy; Paul
Shiels, Shane Dooey; Chrissy Brogan, Keelan Molloy, Ronan Molloy; Nicky
McKeague, Conal Cunning, Deaglan Smith.
Subs: Chrissy McMahon for R Molloy (HT); Aaron
Crawford for D Smith (49); James McKeague for S Dooey (inj).
Scorers: Deaglan Smith 1-5; Conal Cunning 0-4 (2 f’s,
1 ’65); Keelan Molloy 0-3; Chrissy Brogan 0-2; Paul Shiels 0-2; Kevin Molloy
0-1; Shane Dooey 0-1.
Rossa recorded a ten point victory over Ballycastle on
Friday evening in what was a dress rehearsal for their championship encounter
in seven days time. The Shaws Road men
held a five point lead at the short whistle but cruised through the second half
thanks to a 36th minute major from Tiarnan Murphy.
Both side’s were missing plenty of regulars and they won’t
read too much into the outcome of this one looking ahead to their first leg of
the championship play off. Rossa looked
to have more cohesion and had more players prepared to win the dirty ball when
it mattered. They dominated the midfield
exchanges with Cónall Shannon and Michael Armstrong doing the donkey work in
the engine room. Thomas Morgan top
scored with all of his five points coming from play while Deaglan Murphy was
heavily involved throughout. A chief
tormentor in attack during the first half while dropping deeper to help his
defence after the restart, Murphy put in another big shift for the Jeremiah’s. Of the 1-15 they registered, just two points
came from placed ball and eight different players added their names to the list
of scorers. A fact that won’t have gone
unnoticed to the Rossa management team despite their struggles in front of the
The ten point margin of victory probably flattered the home
side by the end of the hour. Rossa had
almost reached double figures with wides in the first half with another seven
after the break and while the McQuillan’s weren’t firing on all cylinders in
front of the target themselves, they couldn’t argue with the margin of victory
by the full time whistle.
Tiernan Butler put in another solid display at centre half
with Matthew Donnelly and Conor Boyd also catching the eye in defence but they
lacked any cutting edge an attack that was second best to the Rossa defence
over the hour. Five points from play
over 60 minutes won’t win many matches with a couple of placed ball frees going
astray as well. It leaves the
Ballycastle management with much to ponder ahead of their next meeting but they
are expected to be back to full strength and have more options available.
The home side made a bright start and the sides were tied on
three points apiece after the opening 10 minutes. Rossa began to make better use of the sliotar
and the quality of ball into the forwards improved immeasurably. This along with speed of thought and smart
play from quick frees allowed the Shaws Road side to open a three point lead by
the 20th minute. Seaghan and
Cónall Shannon, Morgan, Armstrong and Deaglan Murphy with a brace (one free) in
answer to the home sides white flags from Owen Kinney and Kevin Barry McShane
frees along with Ronan McCarry’s 10th minute effort.
Kevin Barry McShane’s second free of the match reduced the
deficit to just two points with 10 minutes of the half remaining but Rossa were
well on top. Morgan (two), Tiarnan and
Deaglan Murphy (free) opening a five point lead that should have been doubled
with the number of wides the visitors recorded.
Lorcan Donnelly and Armstrong swapped scores in injury time
to leave Rossa ahead 0-10 to 0-5 at the short whistle.
Rossa dominated the opening exchanges of the second half
with Michael McGreavey and Morgan splitting the uprights either side of Saul
McCaughan’s 33rd minute point for Ballycastle. Rossa were finding spaces in the Ballycastle
defence and when they scored their major it came as little surprise. Armstrong causing mayhem before passing to
Tiarnan Murphy who fired the sliotar to the back of the net despite the best
efforts of Shane Staunton between the sticks for the home side.
The McQuillan’s responded well with a brace of points from
Butler, the second of which in the 41st minute but that would be the
Town’s last score of the game. With
Deaglan Murphy dropping deeper, Rossa were leaving room for Aidan Orchin and
Thomas Morgan to keep the Ballycastle defence on their toes. Further white flags from Orchin and Morgan
(two) ensured a comfortable victory for the visitors to Páirc MacÚilin.
This was one of those matches that neither really wanted to
have played. Both were missing plenty
with players away on holidays and with their crucial championship encounter
just around the corner, neither would have been keen to show their full
hand. Rossa were worthy of their victory
however and will hope to keep their momentum going when they welcome
Ballycastle to Rossa Park on Friday night for the first leg of their
championship play off.
Ballycastle: Shane Staunton; Ciaran McKeague, Matthew
Donnelly, Ben McQuillan; Oisin McAuley, Tiernan Butler, Conor Boyd; Shane
McCarry, Ronan McCarry; Eamon Elliott, Kevin Barry McShane, Lorcan Donnelly;
Conor McCurdy, Owen Kinney, Saul McCaughan.