Emmet’s show improvement but Portaferry still too strong

Antim Hurling League – Division 1

Cushendun 2-15 Portaferry 2-27

It was an early start for league leaders Portaferry who made it all the way from the Ards to Cushendun for an 11-30 start, but their 81 mile journey was well rewarded as they continued their unbeaten run, and headed home with the points yet again.

Having said that Cushendun will be happier with their performance, for although they were beaten by 12 points in the end, they showed a marked improvement from their recent performances.

Cushendun fared well in the opening half and trailed by just four at the break, 1-8 to 1-12, their goal coming from corner forward John V Morgan, while Tom Grattan hit the net for the visitors. Portaferry’s  corner-forward Ronan Blair continued his good form this season hitting 0-9 overall during the hour, six of them from frees.

The second half saw the Down men begin to pull away as Blair, centre forward Conor Mageean and right half forward Conor O’Prey hit some great scores.

Cushenun kept battling and Conor McHugh, who was playing at centre forward, grabbed a goal and six points, one of them from a sideline cut. Conlaoth McNeill was also in fine form from placed balls for the home side hit six from seven attempts, but the league leaders packed just too much punch and in the end had 12 points to spare. They have now moved three points ahead of their nearest rivals Loughgiel in the league race, with a game less played.

Portaferry’s next outing is on June 19th when they host third place St John’s, while the Emmet’s are not in action again until Wednesday June 22nd when they take on second placed Loughiel in Cushendun.

CUSHENDUN

  1. Gareth Magee
    2 – Oisin McMahon
    3 – Aidan Corbett
    4 – Aidan McSparron
    5 – Thomas Scally
    6 – Donald O’Hara
    7 – Jack McKay
    8 – Pearse Bannon
    9 – Callum Kilgore
    10 – David Kilgore
    11- Conor McHugh (Smiley)
    12 – Harry Kilgore
    13 – Conor Bannon
    14 – Conleth McNeill (Loaf)
    15 – John V Morgan

PORTAFERRY

  1. Paddy McNally
  2. Ciaran Savage
  3. Calum Smyth
  4. Ryan Convery
  5. Deaglan Mallon
  6. Caolan Taggart
  7. Barry Trainor
  8. Matthew Conlon
  9. Eoin Magee
  10. Conor O’Prey
  11. Conor Mageean
  12. Conor Faye
  13. Ronan Blair
  14. Conor McGrattan
  15. Eoin Sands

All Square at Corrigan

ACHL Division 1

St. John’s 3-13 Ballycastle 1-19

St. John’s and Ballycastrle served up an entertaining draw at Corrigan Park last night with the teams level on a number of occasions over the hour and a draw was probably a fair result though visitors Ballycastle will rue a missed penalty.

A feature of the game was the free taking from both sides with Oisin McManus landing a number of fine efforts for the ‘Johnnies’ and James Bakewell equally impressive for the visitors in conditions that were far from ideal.

McManus struck a couple of early frees for the Corrigan Park side but a point from Ronan McCarry and a well worked goal from Fergal McKiernan saw the ‘Castle’ hit the front after six minutes. James Bakewell and Ciaran McKeague stretched the visitors lead to four and at this stage the momentum was with the visitors.

Another long range effort from McManus got the home side going again and Ruairi Galbraith and McManus with a free from his own half closed the gap to one as two well matched sides fought tooth and nail for every ball.

Bakewell from a ‘65’ for the visitors and Ciaran Kerr exchanged further points but further points from Seamus McAuley and Ronan McCarry had ‘McQuillan’s’ three ahead after 20 minutes and they looked to be getting on top.

Michael Dudley swung the game back in favour of St. John’s with two points in the period leading up to the break however and he put his side ahead with a goal in the 30th minute, getting on the end of a good build up to leave the home side 1-9 to 1-7 ahead at the break.

Ballycastle were first to register as the second half got under way with James Bakewell striking an impressive long range point and following with another from a free from just inside his own half and the sides were level again with only three minutes of the new half gone.

Play swung to the other end of the field however and Ruairi Galbraith was on hand to return the sliotar to the net after Benny Connor in the visitors goal had brought off an excellent save but the Ballycastle net minder was helpless to deny Galbraith’s follow up.

It got even better for the Whiterock side when the Impressive Oisin McManus got in for a third goal after getting on the end of a long delivery in the 5th minute to put his side six in front and the momentum had swung in the ‘Johnnies’ favour.

Ballycastle refused to panic however and Seamus McAuley, Bakewell 0-2 and Diarmaid McShane fired over points in response to a fine long range effort from Padraig Nugent for the home side and the momentum was very much back with the North Antrim men as they picked off their points going down the home straight.

Seamus McAuley, substitutes Ronan Laverty and Lorcan Donnelly and the superb Conor Boyd were all on target for a strong finishing Ballycastle with Padraig Nugent replying from a long range free for St. John’s to leave the sides tied at the end of a pulsating contest that was a credit to both sides given the difficult conditions on the night.

St. John’s: 1 Simon Donnelly, 2 Louis Boyd, 3 Jack Bohill, 4 Phillip Martin, 5 Aidan McMahon, 6 Padraig Nugent, 7 Ciaran McKenna, 8 Andy McGowan, 9 Conor Hand, 10 Ruairi Galbraith, 11 Ciaran Kerr, 12 Oisin McManus, 13 Michael Dudley, 14 Niall McCallin, 15 Declan Creggan, 18 Luke Loughlin, 19 David Robinson, 20 Colm McFall, 21 Fearghal McManus, 22 Matthew Mallon

Ballycastle: 1 Benny Connor, 2 Oran Kearney, 3 Niall McAuley, 4 Mark McClean, 5 Jack McGowan, 6 Conor Boyd, 7 Ciaran McKeague, 8 Ronan McCarry, 9 James Bakewell, 10 Joe McToal, 11 Seamus McAuley, 12 Eoin McAlonan, 13 Tiernan Smyth, 14 Diarmid McShane, 15 Fergal McKiernan, 17 Lorcan Donnelly, 22 Ronan Laverty

Blair’s accuracy give Portaferry the edge in Ards derby

Antrim All County Hurling League Division 1

Ballycran 0-19 Portaferry 1-19

Paul McIntyre reports from McKenna Park.

An early goal from Daithi Sands proved to be the difference as Portaferry saw off neighbours Ballycran with three points to spare in Wednesday evening’s league clash at McKenna Park.

Sands pounced for the game’s only major in the second minute.

The home defence failed to deal with Conor O’Prey’s surging run along the endline, and when he picked out Sands in the square, the Portaferry marksman fired past Stephen Keith in the home goal.

Try as hard as Ballycran did to reel them in, the accuracy of Ronan Blair was enough to ensure that Portaferry left McKenna Park with six wins from as many matches.

Blair registered a tally of 0-11 over the hour but they also had to thank a watertight defence that was superbly marshalled by Callum Smyth and Ciaran Savage, which goalkeeper Pearce Smyth also looked very assured when called upon.

Conor Woods did his best to help drag his team over the line and finished the contest with 0-9, but Ballycran were unable to create any clear-cut goal chances over the hour and ultimately had to settle for scores from deep or from frees.

Sands early goal made the scoreline 1-1 to 0-0 as the visitors threatened to pull away but efforts from Liam Savage, Michael Hughes and Stuart Martin meant that just one point separated the sides after fifteen minutes with Portaferry leading 1-3 to 0-5.

But the second quarter belonged to Portaferry and four frees from Blair and an effort from play from Matthew Conlon helped the Ports to a five-point advantage at the break, 1-9 to 0-7.

Blair claimed the first two points of the second half to extend Portaferry’s lead to seven but Michael Hughes and Niall Breen helped to kick-start a revival.

Four points from Woods and another effort from Hughes cut the lead to two points with nine minutes to go as the momentum seemed to be swinging in favour of the homeside.

But the introduction of Tom McGrattan gave Portaferry another scoring option and the Ulster Colleges All-Star showed all his class with a wonderfully taken point in the 54th minute.

Woods replied with two ‘65’s but points from Blair and McGrattan wrapped up Portaferry’s sixth win of the season, and a win that sees them leapfrog Loughgiel at the top of Antrim division 1.

Teams and Scorers:

Ballycran:  Stephen Keith, James Clarke, Sean Ennis, Lukas Boyd, Brett Nicholson, Gerard Hughes, Cormac McAlister, Michael Hughes (0-3), Liam Savage (0-2), Conor Woods (0-9 4f 2 ‘65’), Stuart Martin (0-2), Niall Breen (0-1), Scott Nicholson (0-2f), Ayrton Gleeson, Conor Dorrian.

Replacements: Christopher Egan for Dorrian (HT), Phelim Savage for Gleeson (47).

Portaferry: Pearce Smyth, Ciaran Savage, Callum Smyth, Ryan Convery, Deaglan Mallon (0-1), Caolan Taggart, Barry Trainor, Matthew Conlon (0-1), Padraig Doran (0-1), Conor Fay, Conor O’Prey (0-2), Conor Mageean, Daithi Sands (1-1), Ronan Blair (0-11 10f), Eoghan Sands.

Replacements: Tom McGrattan (0-2) for Fay (49), Sean Milligan for Blair (61).

Referee: Mr Kevin Parke (Naomh Éanna)

Coulter shines as Ballygalget defeat Cuchullains

Antrim Hurling League Division One

Dunloy 1-23 Ballygalget 2-27

Wednesday June 8

Brendan McTaggart reports from Pearse Park, Dunloy

Seven points separated these sides at the end of 60 minutes at Pearse Park as Ballygalget put in a strong performance to see off the Cuchullains.  A goal in either half from Caolan and Cormac Coulter laid the foundations for the ‘Galget’ but it was a man of the match performance from Oisin Coulter that caught the eye.

Oisin Coulter in action against Dunloy. He would finish with 0-8 from play and man of the match.

The Ballygalget forward finished the hour with eight points beside his name, all from play.  A magnificent performance where he tested the Cuchllains defence to its fullest.  Marc Fisher top scored for the Ards men with 0-9, five of those from placed ball but the most significant stat of the evening belonged to the number of scores from play.  Of their 2-27, Ballygalget amassed 2-22 from open play.  A healthy turnaround to go back down the road with the evening closing in.

The Cuchullains struggled in the first half but the introduction of Eoin McFerran and Nigel Elliott at half time gave them another dimension in the second half.  The visitors already held a 10 point lead at the half way mark but between them, the half time substitutes scored 1-5, Elliott with the goal in another match on his return to the Dunloy squad.

Chrissy McMahon top scored with seven points at the end of the hour while Nicky McKeague finished with 0-6, five of those coming from placed ball.

During that second half, Dunloy hit 1-7 to just one white flag from the visitors.  Really turning the screw and looking like they could salvage something from the game but that momentum was gone after Barry Scott was red carded with 11 minutes remaining.

Despite the damp and murky conditions, this turned out to be a score-fest with both sides taking some wonderful scored throughout.

The first goal came in the seventh minute with the home side leading by the minimum.  Michael Og Doran with the precise assist to Caolan Coulter and the ‘Galget inside forward cut inside before giving Callum Mullan no chance.

Dunloy’s response was typically confident.  Three scores inside five minutes cancelled out the Ballygalget goal but the visitors dominated the second quarter scoring 13 points in a devastating 15 minute spell, punctuated by two brilliant points from side line cuts by Fisher.  Ballygalget taking a 1-16 to 0-9 lead at the interval.

The visitors scored their second major eight minutes after the restart having already extended their lead to 13 points.  Michael Og Doran’s initial shot was well saved by Mullan in the Dunloy goals but Cormac Coulter was first to the rebound.

Chrissy McMahon was in fine form on Wednesday evening with 0-7 at the end of the hour

The Cuchullains responded superbly however with Nigel Elliott and Eoin McFerran’s influence telling.  Their goal came in the 41st minute after McFerran broke from midfield, passing to Anton McGrath who laid the sliotar to Elliott.  He made no mistake to give the home side hope of getting something out of the game.

The Cuchullains had upped their intensity but the red mist descended on Scott after tangling with James McGrath off the ball.  Referee Tarlach Conway had no option but to issue a red card, reducing the Cuchullains to 14 men for the time that remained.

In the following five minutes, Ballygalget took their lead to 12 points once more with Oisin Coulter in superb form.  Dunloy pushed in the time that remained and had a number of half goal chances but a run of five points unanswered meant Ballygalget took the league points on offer with seven points to spare.

TEAMS

Dunloy: Callum Mullan; Eamon Smyth, Karl O’Kane, Cahir McCloskey; Kevin McKeague (0-1), Dara McMullan (0-1), Paudie McGilligan; Nicky McKeague (0-6 3f, 2’65), Anton McGrath; Gabriel McTaggart (0-2), Kevin Molloy, Ryan Mort; Ciaran Elliott, Barry Scott (0-1), Chrissy McMahon (0-7)

Subs: Eoin McFerran (0-4) for K Molloy (HT); Nigel Elliott (1-1) for R Mort (HT)

Ballygalget: Eoin Clarke; Joseph Smyth, James Higgins, Michael Toner; John McManus (0-2), Conall Fay, John Hughes; Jordan Doran, Paul McManus; Oisin Coulter (0-8), Marc Fisher (0-9 4f, 1 ‘65, Ciaran Watson (0-2); Caolan Coulter (1-1), Michael Og Doran (0-3), Cormac Coulter (1-1)

Subs: James McGrath for J Higgins (23); Eoin McDermott (0-1) for Caolan Coulter (54); Eoin Pucci for Cormac Coulter (54); Ryan Watson for J Doran (56); Daniel Doran for C Watson (56)

Referee: Tarlach Conway (Ballinascreen)

Shamrocks come strong in second half

Antrim Hurling League – Division 1

Loughgiel 3-22 Rossa 1-17

Loughgiel kept their league title hopes alive when they beat Rossa at Fr Healy Park on Sunday. There was little between the sides in the opening half and just a point separated them at half time, but after the break the Shamrocks began to get the upper hand and they pushed on to win by eleven points.

Early points from Eddie McCloskey and Ciaran McKay gave Loughgiel the lead but Rossa came back with points from Stephen Beatty, Jamesie Connolly and Conal McPartland to edge ahead.

Shan McGrath then got the first of Loughgiel’s three goals when he fired home on seven minutes, and when Eddie McCloskey and Rian McMullan added points a bit of gap began to appear. However the Belfast men hit back with a goal of their own from Rian O’Neill to keep themselves in touch, and though Bubbles McMullan came back with two for the home side, two from Beatty and one from Connolly brought the sides level by the 20th minute.

As half time approached Rossa edged a point ahead, but and Eddie McCloskey goal on 25 minutes put Loughgiel two ahead again, and it took an injury time point from Thomas Morgan to cut the gap to a single point at the break.

A run of unanswered points from Shan McGrath, Dan McCloskey (2) Christy McGarry and Rian McMullan stretched the Loughgiel lead to six early in the second half and from that stage on Rossa were chasing the game. However the visitors hit four of the next five points through Jim Connolly, Stephen Shannon and Stephen Beatty to bring themselves back into contention.

A Christy McGarry goal on 47 minutes steered the game back in Loughgiel’s favour, and when Paul Boyle and Shan McGrath added points the gap was out to eight. Thomas Morgan and James Connolly kept their team’s hopes alive with two quick points, but Loughgiel finished with a flourish to wrap up the points.

ROSSA

Phil Crean, Conor Boyle, Christopher McGuinness, Andy McLean, Stephen Shannon, Eoin Trainor, Pearse Short, Chris Boyle, Owen May, Conor McPartland, Stephen Beatty, Thomas Morgan, Dairmaid Rogan, Rian O’Nell, James Connolly.

LOUGHGIEL

1 Chrissy 2. Tiernan Coyle 3 Rory McCloskey, 4. Ronan McCloskey.  5. Enda Og McGarry  6. Declan McCloskey. 7 Ruairi McCormick  8 Shan McGrath. 9 Dan McCloskey. 10 Paul Boyle 11 Ciaran McKay 12 Donal McKinley 13 Rian McMullan 14 Eddie McCloskey 15 Shay Casey

16 Odhran McGrath 17 Maol Connolly 18 Ryan McKee 19 Caolan Blair 20 Mick McGarry 21 Christy McGarry