Five-star Dunloy cruise to Corrigan victory

O’Neill’s All-County Hurling League Division One


St John’s and Dunloy line up to mark the 100th anniversay of Gaelic Sunday

St John’s 0-19-5-27 Dunloy

By Kevin Herron at Corrigan Park

Dunloy took a step closer to league success with an empathetic 0-19-5-27 win over St John’s at Corrigan Park this afternoon.

Nigel Elliott’s first half goal helped his side lead 0-11-1-12 at the break but in the final thirteen minutes  the visitors stepped it up a few gears with goals from Conal Cunning, a second from Elliott and the final two from substitutes Deaglan Smyth and Chris McMahon.

St John’s went into the game without an array of star players that have helped them comfortably secure their Division One status – including Ciaran Johnson, Stephen Tierney, Barry McFall and Michael Dudley amongst others.

Despite being under strength the men from the Whiterock Road started the game brightly and hit the opening two scores – Conor Johnston picked out Shea Shannon for the opening point and after a shove in the back close to the sideline Johnston converted the free to give the hosts a 0-02-0-00 lead.

It took Dunloy six minutes to opening their account for the afternoon through a converted 65’ from Paul Shiels but two further scores would give Cuchullians the lead for the first time – Keelan Molloy levelled the scores up after Shane Dooey claimed Ryan Elliott’s puck out and fired over the bar from an acute angle and Shiels hit his second of the afternoon after a fine cut-back from Eoin O’Neill.

St John’s responded and regained the lead through points from Aaron and Michael Bradley – the second a superb effort from distance though the sides were level for the second time on the 10th minute as Sheils converted his second free of the afternoon to make it 0-04 apiece.

The sides were still level pegging by the 20th minute as eight scores were shared equally – Declan Cregan, Conall Carson and Conor Johnston had all edged St John’s in front at one stage during the ten minute spell.

But Dunloy had a response each time though Eoin O’Neill, Sheils and Shane Dooey – taking the lead once through a Conal Cunning point that was quickly cancelled out by Cregan.

Dunloy edged ahead for the third time in the game on the 21st minute and it one they failed to relinquish.

Paul Shiels converted fourth placed ball of the half and after a poor puck from Simon Doherty was claimed by Christopher Brogan; the Dunloy full-forward popped over the bar to double his sides lead.11St John’s Conor Johnston in action against Dunloy’s Conal Cunning. Pic by Bert Trowlen

Lorcan Heenan cut the gap with a fine point before the opening goal of the game arrived with eight minutes of the first half remaining – the St John’s backline failed to clear their lines and the ball broke into the path of Nigel Elliott who rifled past Doherty to give Dunloy a 0-09-1-10 lead.

A second goal almost presented itself after a neat one-two between Brogan and O’Neill but the later saw his shot deflected over rather than under the bar.

Conall Carson replied at the other end and although Brogan conjured up his second point of the half a minute before the break it was Aaron Bradley who ended the first-half scoring as St John’s remained in contention, trailing 0-11-1-12 at the interval.

St John’s cut the deficit on the half’s resumption through Donall Carson but Eoin O’Neill popped up at the other end for Dunloy who went five ahead after a neat exchange between goalscorer Elliott and Keelan Molloy who fired over the black spot.

The energetic Michael Bradley closed the ball down quickly and fashioned St John’s second score of half, however Dunloy responded with three points on the spin through an angled Conal Cunning point, a confident pop over by Brogan and a second score from play by Shiels; despite an opportunity of goal from Molloy’s pass.

St John’s responded with two points – the first from Jude McCurdy before departing in place of Niall McCallin and the second from Declan Cregan.

The sides then traded scores through Shiels and Michael Bradley as five-points separated the sides with thirteen minutes remaining, 0-16-1-18.

Dunloy began to pull away from the hosts with their second of the afternoon as Conal Cunning rifled into the roof of the net with twelve to play to make it 0-16-2-18.

Cunning struck a point in the aftermath and after first-half goalscorer Nigel Elliott burst onto a loose ball – he took off towards Simon Doherty’s goal and surely wrapped up victory for his side rifling home to give Cuchullians a 0-16-3-19 lead with ten minutes remaining.

The Johnnies responded through Lorcan Heenan’s second of the afternoon and another fine long range point from Conor Johnston but Dunloy hit their fourth goal and third in the space of five minutes – Conal Cunning slipped in substitute Deaglan Smyth who dispatched to the net.

Five points on the spin then followed through Smyth, Sheils (free), Kevin Molloy, Dooey and Chris McMahon.

Conor Johnston briefly disrupted the visitor’s momentuem and claimed his sides final score of the afternoon – though Dunloy weren’t finished and tagged on a further 1-03 before the close of play.

Cuchullian’s fifth arrived a minute from time courtesy of a low drive from substitute Chris McMahon – Keelan Molloy then fired high over the bar before two Conal Cunning points brought an end to proceedings as Dunloy ran out comfortable 0-19-5-27 winners on the Whiterock Road.

St John’s: S Doherty, O McKenna, S Wilson, C Hanna, C McKenna, D Moran, A McMahon, M Bradley (0-03), C Johnston (0-04, 0-01f), L Heenan (0-02), J McCurdy (0-01), S Shannon (0-01), A Bradley (0-02), D Cregan (0-04), D Carson (0-02). Subs: N McCallin for J McCurdy (42 mins), B McFall for M Bradley (48 mins).

Dunloy: R Elliott, O Quinn, J McKeague, K O’Kane, E Smyth, K Molloy (0-01), C McKinley, S Dooey (0-02), N McKeague, P Sheils (0-08, 0-03f, 0-02 65’), K Molloy (0-03), N Elliott (2-00), C Cunning (1-05), C Brogan (0-03), E O’Neill (0-03). Subs: P Shivers for E Smyth (40 mins), C Elliott for E O’Neill (40 mins), D Smyth (1-01) for N McKeague (48 mins), C McMahon (1-01) for C Brogan (48 mins).

Referee: Darren McKeown (St Galls)

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Pics by Bert Trowlen











Ruairis overcome slow start to beat Ballycran

O’Neill’s Antrim Senior Hurling League

Ruairi Og 2-17  Ballycran 0-16

Colum Thompson reports from Pairc Mhuire

Cushendall overcame a lethargic first half performance and the sending off of Sean McAfee after fifteen minutes to claim the two league points with a battling win over Ballycran at Pairc Mhuire on Sunday. In a hard fought battle the Ruairis completed the league double over their Down opponents, but just like the reverse fixture on the Ards earlier in the year it was a hard fought win.

The Dall got the first point of the game from a Neil McManus free but it was Ballycran who were the brighter team in the early stages. They hit three points in a row, one from Conor Woods and two from Conor Dorrian frees to take the lead. Paddy McGill, named at full forward but operating as a third midfielder hit points either side of a Liam Savage effort for the Down side. Michael Hughes made his way forward to fire over a point but McManus answered back for the home side with another free. Ballycran were bossing the exchanges with Conor Woods pulling the strings they hit another purple patch with three points in a row again with two Conor Dorrian frees and a Woods effort from play. McManus was keeping Cushendall in touch and a free from the Dall midfielder reduced the deficit to four points. McGill won possession and he fed the onrushing Sean Delargy who strode forward and fired over from seventy yards to leave the gap at three. Dorrian converted another free for the visitors and things looked ominous for Cushendall but they dug deep and finished the half in style. First Neil McManus converted a free, then the impressive Paddy McGill fired over his third of the half. Donal McNaughton found space and he raised the white flag with a tidy finish and that man McManus nipped in to point from play to leave the score at half time Ruairi Og 0-9 Ballycran 0-9.

The Ruairis started the second half like a house on fire. The irrepressible McGill got things going with a long range effort and then came a critical score. Conor Carson’s strong run caused panic in the Cran defence, the ball fell in front of Cormac McClafferty and he lifted the net with an excellent ground stroke from 14 yards to put daylight between the teams. Mc Manus, ever reliable, tapped over a free to put five between the sides. Conor Woods replied with a free of his own but Cushendall really had the bit between their teeth. Conor Carson, who was winning a lot of possession, solo ran forward and fired over a brilliant score from the right wing. Niall Brown stopped the rot for the visitors but again Cushendall went for the jugular. Conor Carson wrestled control in the right corner and headed for goal, despite the best efforts of several defenders he finished one handed for Cushendall’s second goal of the game. Cormac McClafferty got a point with a neat pick up and finish. Niall Torney, on as a sub, got a point for the Ards men but try as they might they couldn’t get closer to Cushendall. Sean Delargy got his second of the game when he was found in space by McManus. Neil then hit another point from a free but Ballycran never gave up. Both Woods and Brown fired over points as Ballycran pushed for an opening for a goal. But on this particular day they found the Burke brothers and Joe McCurry almost impregnable in the Dall full back line. McGill fired over a free from distance, Woods replied for the Ards men but the writing was on the wall at this stage and in the closing minutes McManus traded scores with Torney and when Colm Cunning blew the final whistle it was two more league points for Cushendall. Final Score Ruairi Og 2-17 Ballycran 0-16.

How they played: Ballycran battled from start to finish as they always do. Stephen Keith was solid in goals and further forward Conor Woods and Conor Dorrian gave their all. For Cushendall it was a pleasing display. Having been reduced to 14 men and behind on the scoreboard it was a real hard working performance to get the win. Paddy Burke marshalled the defence well from the edge of the square and he was well supported by Sean Delargy and Martin Burke. Conor Carson made some great catches and Cormac McClafferty always looked dangerous but the winning of this game was in the midfield engine room. Both Neil McManus and man of the match Paddy McGill were superb. It wasn’t just their scoring, they tackled, hassled and worked their socks off for their team.

Cushendall team: E Gillan, M Burke, P Burke, J McCurry, S Delargy(0-2), R McCambridge, S Walsh, N McManus(0-7,5f), E Campbell, C Carson(1-1), D McNaughton(0-1), S McAfee, F McCambridge, P McGill(0-5,1f), C McClafferty(1-1




McCloskey hat-trick sinks Portaferry

O’Neill’s All County Hurling League – Division 1

Loughgiel 5-19 Portaferry 0-121The Loughgiel and Portaferry teams stand to mark the 100th anniversary of Gaelic Sunday before today’s league game at Fr Healy Park

Reigning league champions Loughgiel scored a comprehensive win over Portaferry in Sunday’s league game at Fr Healy Park. The Down men competed fairly well in the opening half and turned around just four points adrift but after the change of ends the Shamrocks were rampant and boosted by an Eddie McCloskey hat-trick they went on to win at a canter.

The sides were level after ten minutes as two early points from Shan McGrath and Dan McCloskey were cancelled out by points from Caolan Taggart and Conor Mageean for the visitors. However Loughgiel steadily gained the upper hand and three points from Eddie McCloskey, Mark McFadden and James McNaughton put them in control. A fine solo score from Caolan Taggart was answered by one from a free from James McNaughton for the home side and after Paul Braniff had again cut the Portaferry deficit to two the Shamrocks came back with scores from Eddie McCloskey from play and James McNaughton from a free to put the gap out to four. Kevin McGarry cut the gap back to three again but just before the half time whistle Declan Gillan soloed up from defence to strike an excellent point and give Loughgiel a 0-9 to 0-5 lead at the break.

11Portaferry’s Kevin McGarry is closed down by the Loughgiel defence.

Portaferry’s Kevin McGarry had the first score of the second half to cut his team’s arrears to three but that was as close at the men from the Ards would come and Loughgiel started to take control. Two James McNaughton points were followed by Eddie McCloskey’s opening goal in the 42nd minute, the ball deflecting off his hand and past Karol Keating in the Portaferry goal. Paul Braniff pulled a couple back for the visitors but Loughgiel were getting up a head of steam and points from Duck McFadden James McNaughton and Shan McGrath were followed by Eddie McCloskey’s second goal. The flood gates opened at this stage as Shay Casey got in the goal scoring act as he turned a rebound home after a good Keating save and two minutes later McCloksey completed his hat trick as he caught a high ball close to goal and swivelled to fire home. Braniff kept the scoreboard ticking at the other end but the gap was ever widening and goal number five arrived from Shan McGrath before referee Alan Nash blew the full time whistle.


DD Quinn, Tiernan Coyle, Cathal McMullan, Ronan McCloskey, Damian Gillan, Damon McMullan, Odhran McFadden, Mark McFaden, Eddie McCloskey, Ryan McKee, James McNaughton, Maol Connolly, Dan McCloskey, Shay Casey, Shan McGrath.

Subs – Aidan McFadden, Callum McKendry and Declan Laverty


Karol Keating, Darragh Mallon, Conor O’Neill, Neil White, Caolan Taggart, Matthew Conlan, tom Murray, Conor Fay, Aaron O’Prey, Kevin McGarry, Conor Mageean, Jason Gilmore, Ronan Blair, Paul Braniff, Owen Taggart.

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Pics by John McIlwaine

Late scoring burst sees Ruairis home

O’Neill’s All County Hurling League – Division 1

Ruairi Og 1-20 St John’s 2-10

A late scoring burst which yielded eight unanswered points gave Cushendall victory over a somewhat understrength St. Johns in Wednesday evening’s All Couny Hurling League Division 1 game at Pairc Mhuire. The Johnnies travelled to the Glens with high hopes of victory having claimed a win over Cushendall in Corrigan Park two weeks ago and they signalled their intent with the first point of the game from Conor Johnson. Sean McAfee, back in the Dall starting 15 after a lengthy injury lay off, got the home side off the mark with a point from his full forward berth. This score was quickly followed by a Neil McManus point as Cushendall took the lead. Donal Nugent replied for St. Johns but his score was cancelled out by the industrious Fergus McCambridge. Johnson and McCambridge traded scores as neither team could wrestle control in the early going. Cushendall pushed their lead out to three points with two frees from McManus but St. Johns were competing for every ball and points from Johnson and McNulty again put the minimum between the teams. Dall midfielder Paddy McGill won possession around 60 yards from goal and fired over a point into the stiff breeze but again Johnson answered back with a free. Cormac McClafferty exchanged fire with Johnson before lady luck shone on the Dall. Neil McManus, who had two 21 yard frees saved on the Johnnies goal line eventually raised a green flag but rather fortuitously for his team it came direct from a 65 which skidded into the bottom corner of St. Johns net to leave 4 between the sides. St. Johns rather than being stung by this sucker punch replied in fine style with two points in a row both from sharpshooter Conor Johnson but it was McManus who got the final point of the half from a free to leave the score at the short whistle Ruairi Og 1-9 St. Johns 0-9.

11St John’s Donal Carson celebrates after scoring his team’s first goal. Pic by John McIlwaine

Neil McManus began the second half in fine style and he sent over three points in a row. One from a free and the others with two booming strikes from 85 and fully 95 yards respectively. However having got themselves into a 6 point lead Cushendall sat back and the Johnnies didn’t need a second invitation to come forward. Michael Dudley hit a point as St. Johns got their purple patch in the game and two goals in the space of five minutes from Dudley and Donal Carson turned the game on its head with St. Johns now a point ahead. Just as St. Johns had a purple patch going behind seemed to shake Cushendall into life and they firmly wrestled back control. In the closing fifteen minutes they held the visitors scoreless and hit 8 unanswered points themselves. Young Niall McCormick, on for Ed McQuillan got the first. Neil McManus hit two points either side of an excellent effort from Paddy McGill. Sean McAfee, who had battled all evening got his second of the game as did McClafferty when he rounded his man and finished from a tight angle. Fergus McCambridge was rewarded for his graft with a point and it was left to ace marksman Neil McManus to put the icing on the cake with the final score of the game.

How they played: St. Johns had star turns from Conor Johnson and Michael Dudley but as the game entered the home straight Cushendall just had another gear. Francis McCurry and Paddy Burke defended well. Paddy McGill put in a big shift at midfield and up front Sean McAfee proved a handful. However man of the match goes to Neil McManus who led from the front from start to finish and gave everything. He also finished the game with 1-10 to his credit.

Ruairi Og: E Gillan, J McCurry, P Burke, S Delargy, F McCurry, E Campbell, Stephen Walsh, P McGill(0-2) N Mc Manus(1-10), D McNaughton, F McCambridge(0-3), C Carson, C McClafferty(0-2), S McAfee(0-2), E McQuillan.

Subs used: M Burke, N McCormick (0-1), E Laverty, E McKillop.

St John’s: Simon Doherty, Odhran McKenna, Conal D Morgan, Jimmy Peoples, Colm McFall, Stephen Tierney, Ryan McNulty, Donal Carson, Barry McFall, Michael Dudley, Domnhail Moran, Ciaran McKenna, Conor Johnston, Declan Creggan, Michael Bradley.

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Pics by John McIlwaine