Castle celebrate Division 2 title success

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Owen Elliott presents the Division 2 title to Ballycastle casptain Matthew Donnelly and his son Caoimhin after the team’s win over Cloughmills at Pairc MacUilin
McQuillans Ballycastle 3-20 St Brigid’s Cloughmills 2-14
McQuillan’s Ballycastle played host to St Brigids Cloughmills on Saturday night in a re-arranged league game. The sides having played out a 0-21 to 2-15 draw in the reverse fixture back in July, the only league points dropped by the Black and Amber men this season to date.
The home side were in no mood for any repeat performance, and raced to an early lead through points from Conor Boyd,and two from Kevin Barry McShane before Diarmuid McShane made no mistake finishing to the net after a neat passing move, to give his side a 1-3 to 0-1 advantage ten minutes in. Another Diarmuid McShane point further extended the lead.
Midway through the half, a huge poc from keeper Ryan McGarry was superbly fielded by Staunton who turned neatly for a classy point. Staunton would add a further two points before half time as would Conor Boyd, with Ciaran Butler, Aaron Mooney and Shane McCarry chipping in with a point each to leave the Town in front 1-13 to 0-7.
Cloughmills looked re-energised and spearheaded by ace marksman Liam Kearns they hit five early second halfpoints. Ballycastle responded with a Ronan ‘Rambo’ McCarry point ,and ‘Castle substitute Cathal Connor  found the net shortly after his introduction.
Two Conor Boyd pointed frees, two Diarmuid McShane pointed frees and a Ciaran Butler point from play, cancelled out the second Cloughmills goal, before the Town signed off with their third goal, a superb solo effort,Shane Staunton accelerating through the Cloughmills defence, beating any attempted tacklers, and having the composure to rifle the sliothar to the net.
Following the game, the Division 2 Cup was presented to Ballycastle captain Matthew Donnelly by Owen Elliott on behalf on the County Board.
McQuillans:Ryan McGarry; Oran Kearney, Sean Kelly, Eamon Elliott; Conor Donnelly, Matthew Donnelly, Shane McCarry (0-1); Conor Boyd,(0-5), Ronan McCarry (0-1); Shane Staunton(1-3), Diarmuid McShane(1-4), Aaron Mooney (0-1); Kevin Barry McShane (0-3) , Ciaran Butler (0-2) , Andrew Lofthouse. Subs: Brendan Connor for R McGarry , Cathal Connor (1-0) for Lofthouse, Ben McQuillan for KB McShane

Pics by Ciara McShane

McKernan Brothers to the fore as Sarsfield’s climb out of the bottom two

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Team captains with referee, Eamon hamill, Rossa before the game. 

Report and Photograph: Aimee McAtamney

O’Neill’s ACHL Div2

Sarsfield’s 1.24 (27)  Tír na nÓg 1.14 (17)

Tir na nOg travelled to Belfast today hoping to keep themselves in touch with second placed St. Gall’s and St. Enda’s but came up against a Sarsfield’s side hungry for points in order to move themselves out of the relegation zone and it was the Stewartstown Road side who emerged victorious.

Tír na nÓg got off to the better start at the noon throw in at the Bear pit through two pointed frees from Kevin Sheerin. Their promising start soon faded however as a hungry Sarsfield’s replied through the McKernan brother who were to have a big influence on the final outcome of this game

They were responsible for the next four scores of the game; as Kevin McKernan struck with three points and Daniel added another to put them in early control.

The Paddies stayed on top and went four points clear through Niall McKenna and Daniel McKernan before Ciaran Logan from play and Kevin Sheerin from a dead ball replied for the visitors to reduce the gap to two but Kevin McKernan responded again as he spilt the posts with his fourth of the game.

Sean Duffin tried to revive the Whitehill men by laying a score on the plate for Ciaran Logan for his second point but Niall McKenna, Kevin McKernan (0-3), including an 80m strike and Daniel McKernan kept the scoreboard ticking for the home side to extend the Sarsfield’s lead.

Kevin Sheerin from a 65 and Caoimhin Duffin hit back for the visitors to leave the score at the short whistle 0-13- 0-07 and even at this stage it looked a long way back for the Whitehill men.

At the start of the second half Kevin Sheerin (0-3) traded scores with the formidable McKernan brothers, Kevin with another free and Daniel with a major. Caolan Caldwell then fieldied well at centre half back before releasing  Owen Rodgers the freedom to go forward and score a fine point to put his side 8 points up and the momentum was very much with the home side.

The McKernan Brothers (Kevin (0-4), Daniel and Niall McKenna added points for the ‘Paddies’ and they looked to be heading out of sight but Kevin Sheerin (0-2) replied for Tir na nOg and then Ciaran Logan rattled the back of the net to give them a glimmer of hope.

Gary Jeffrey replied immediately with a Sarsfield’s point and despite wearing number 13 the roaming Kevin McKernan put the icing on a splendid individual performance as he converted a sideline cut on 58 minutes before splitting the posts from a free for his 15th point and the last point of the game to see his side run out winners by 10 points.

Tír na nÓg

  1. R. Graham 2. M. Higgins 3. K. Kerr 4. B. Kerr 5. S. Carey 6. C. Duffin 7. T. Martin 8. C. Duffin 9. S. Duffin 10. C. McKeown 11. P. Sheerin 12. C. Logan 13. D. Fegan 14. K. Sheerin 15. R. O’Neill 17. E. Heffron 18. E. Martin 19. D. O’Kane 20. S. Donnelly

Subs used: S. Donnelly for M. Higgins (29mins), E. Martin for D. Fegan (40mins), D. O’Kane for R. O’Neill (60mins)

Scorers: K. Sheerin (0.11- 7 frees/1 65), C. Logan (1.2), C. Duffin (0.1)

Sarsfield’s scorers: K. McKernan (0.15- 10 frees), D. McKernan (1.4), N. McKenna (0.3), O. Rodgers (0.1), G. Jeffrey (0.1)

Referee: Eamon Hamill (Rossa)

St. Enda’s still in the promotion race as Tir na nOgs challenge slips

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O’Neill’s ACHL Division 2

Tír na nÓg 1.13   Naomh Éanna 0.17

Report and Photographs: Séamus Mac Domhnaill NaomhÉanna CLG PRO

Wednesday evening at Whitehill saw the renewal of old friendships and the fiercest of rivalries, the battles between near neighbours is worth entrance fee alone and tonight would be no different, having already met in the league, the home team at Páirc Éanna came away with that result and on the night and so it would be again in the return fixture (two from two).

That was round five of the league, since then there has been, breaks, holidays and the resumption of games, this was three in a week for both teams and with the preparation for Championship well on the way, the compression of games can add to management headaches with the increased risk of further injuries, these factors can and does lead to players missing out with injuries and players who missed out earlier in the season have done the rehabilitation and are getting back to match pace, for others in particular the recent injuries are unwelcome, the visitors see Cúl baire – Marty Curran and Captean na Foireanne – Cormac Jennings missing for the rest of the season, both having had a significant influence on the previous meeting.

AS both teams locked horns in this battle, both are in the search to secure Division two hurling for next year, with the winner having the possibility of being in the promotion shakeup; however that could depend on other results in other games and elsewhere too. On Sunday the home side pushed Ballycastle all the way to the end and with the game finishing with a one point difference to Ballycastle, their promotion and return to the top flight seems secure.

Other games in Division two, would see Sarsfield’s (last year’s intermediate winners) looking to secure division two status with a win against Glen Rovers in Armoy and the match between Cloughmills and Glenariffe would be of interest to more than just the participants, a win for Naomh Bríd could jump them to second place and a win for Glenariffe would be crucial for their survival.

It was a beautiful evening for hurling as Mark McNeill took charge of the match, the visitors opted to play with the slight wind advantage, and from the start Tír na nÓg won the throw in and had the first attack, Ciarán Logan with the evenings first score with one minute played.

The second score and first for the visitors side was from a sweetly struck free by John McGoldrick, Killian Jennings looked like he would get the nights first goal, but for the catlike reflexes of Rudi Graham in the Tír na nÓg  goal but from the resulting 65, John McGoldrick pointed, to put his side ahead.

The second 65 of the night would come as a result of save from Cúl Baire Philly Curran and from the free Kevin Sheerin made no mistake to level the contest.

His recovery from injury and inclusion in the full forward line was rewarded in the fifth minute with a fine point from play as Diarmuid Maguire split the uprights and the pressure from the visitors attack was rewarded with a penalty. However the save and clearance was intercepted by McGoldrick and returned for a point to make it, (Tír 0.02, NÉ 0.04)

It was five to two on eight minutes and frees in the scoring zones were going to make the difference and again McGoldrick was the man on target for Naomh Eanna to edge them three in front and they were looking good at this stage of the game.

Things took a dramatic turn however in the 11th minute as the Whitehill men responded with a well taken goal by Darragh Fegan to bring proceedings level and it looked like anyone’s game . A minute later the home side was forced to make a change with Emmet Martin replacing Tony Martin and as the half wore on, the introduction of Joe Maskey for St. Enda’s would pay dividends.

Kevin Sheerin and John McGoldrick swapped scores all the way, a point for Sheerin on nineteen minutes made it (Tír 1.03, NÉ 0.06) then Conor Mc Steen and Ruairí Donaghy pointed on twenty to edge the visitors two in front.

Conor Fitzgerald responded from  a twenty metre free with five minutes remaining to the break but there would be additional time due to stoppages. John McGoldrick marked the period with another pointed free and piling on the pressure and driving at the home side Cormac Ross converted his first and brought his teams score tally to ten, (Tír 1.04, NÉ 0.10),

Two more frees before half time for the visiting side, McGoldrick in the 29th and  again a minute later edged the Hightown side five in front at the break and laid down the challenge to Tír na nÓg for the second half.

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Half Time

Tír na nÓg 1.04 Naomh Éanna 0.12

The second half began with the home side on the defensive, na fhir Éanna won possession from the throw in, winning a free and keeping the pressure on and  Aidan McGowan added his first from play and the first score of the second half to edge the visitors lead to six.

With an uphill battle on their hands, Pearce Sheerin cut the difference back to five, for the home side but as the second half progressed, Naomh Éanna had the opportunity to extend their lead but were wayward in their shooting.

A change in the forward line, saw Eoin Maguire replace Diarmuid Maguire and this brought about improvement to the ranks of the visitors. In the fourteenth minute of the second half, Tír na nÓg won a free from a side-line and from the strike on the forty five, Conor Fitzgerald easily pointed to close the gap to four.

Tír na nÓg had hit a purple patch and another score for Kevin Sheerin closed the gap to three and then two and the pressure was on. The response from the visiting side was instant and clinical as John McGoldrick replied with a point with seventeen minutes played.

Fitzgerald had taken over the free taking responsibilities and added another on nineteen minutes to cancel out McGoldrick’s point but in this tit for tat affair  John McGoldrick answered from another free.

On twenty four minutes a forced change at full forward saw Colm Duffin replace Darragh Fegan, and Conor Fitzgerald was off target from a free as Tir na nOg battled to get back into contention. As the wides tally rose, so did the frustration.

The reintroduction of Michael McNicholl in place of Brendy Cormican added fresh legs to a tired Naomh Eanna defence as free taker Fitzgerald added another to make it, (Tír 1.10, NÉ 0.15) with twenty six minutes of the second half gone.

St. Enda’s responded again as Killian Jennings looked in for a goal but his effort was cleared for a sixty five which John McGoldrick converted to extend his sides lead to three. further changes on the visitors side saw Jack Arthurs replace Conor McSteen.

The introduction of Duffin a full forward paid dividends for the Whitehill side and his point on twenty eight minutes cut the deficit to two once more and the game was still finely balanced. Corner forward Ciarán Logan , who worked tirelessly throughout, closed it to the minimum on twenty nine minutes  and with four minutes of additional time to be played, a free from Kevin Sheerin levelled matters .

Both sides went for broke in the closing stages but Pearce Sheerin was off target for Tir na nOg  and from resulting the puck out Naomh Éanna went on the attack and were awarded a free  which the ever reliable McGoldrick pointed to edge his side ahead once more and it was to prove the winning score.

Naomh Eanna  headed back to Gleann Ghormlaithe with the points safely on the board and this win moves them onto 14 points and into third place while Tir na nOg will reflect and rue a four day period where they lost by a single point to the league leaders Ballycastle and last night’s defeat that sees them drop to fifth.

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Naomh Éanna

Philly Curran

Micheál McGivern

Matthew O’Hare

Michael McNicholl

Eddie O’Connor

Manus Mullan

Brendy Cormican

Cormac Ross

Aidan McGowan

Killian Jennings

Ruairí Donaghy

John McGoldrick (0.12)

Brendan Cormican

Conor McSteen

Diarmuid Maguire

Michael “Eggy” McQuillan

Jack Arthurs

Daniel Lowry

Paddy Crummey

Joe Maskey

Eoin Maguire

 

Tír na nÓg

Rudi Graham

Michael Higgins

Kevin Kerr

Ronan O’Neill

Tony Martin

Colm Duffin

Stephen Carey

Sean Duffin

Conor Fitzgerald

Kevin Sheerin

Pearse Sheerin

Ciarán McKeown

Emmet Martin

Darragh Fegan

Ciarán Logan

Colm Duffin

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Pics by JJ Lawell

 

 

 

Armoy keep survival hopes alive

Johnny McErlain who scored 1-2 in Armoy’s crucial win over Sarsfields.

O’Neill’s All County Hurling League Division 2

Glen Rovers Armoy 3-11 Pádraig Sairséil 0-17

Glen Rovers Armoy took a step towards avoiding relegation to Division 3 when they saw off the challenge of visitors Sarsfields in Wednesday evening’s Division 2 league game in Armoy.

Back at the scene of their Intermediate Championship success last October, Sarsfields opened with a great long range point by Kevin McKernan before Ciaran McErlain replied with one for the home side. This set a trend for top class scores during the game and Sars corner back Jack Daniels chipped in with an even better effort as he broke from defence to send the ball between the Armoy posts from distance

McKernan’s accuracy from frees saw Sarsfields open up an early lead but a goal directly from a 20m free by Johnny McErlain gave the home side the boost they needed and when a somewhat fortunate PJ McBride goal was followed by an Owen Kinney point Armoy were suddenly four clear.

Midfielders Kevin McKernan and Ciaran McErlain then swapped scores before the home side raised the second green flag of the evening, a speculative PJ McBride effort deceiving David Ward in the Sarsfields goal and dropping into the net before Owen Kinney added a point to give the hosts a sudden four-point lead.

The tempo of the game really picked up at this stage and there were top class scores from both teams as Kevin McKeran and Ryan O’Neill closed the gap to two before Armoy’s John Dillon stretched it back to three soon afterwards. McKernan and Armoy’s Martin McErlain exchanged scores to keep the gap at three and after Niall McKenna cut it back to two for the Belfast men. In a frantic finish to the half  Ciaran McErlain, Tommy Burns, Trevor Linton and Johnny McErlain fired over for Armoy while Daniel McKernan and Niall McKenna responded for the Paddies to leave just three between the sides at the short whistle.

After such a frantic first half the second period started in strangely laid-back fashion and it was eight minutes before Niall McKenna troubled the scoreboard operator as he cut the gap back to just two. Armoy hit back with a Joe McBride goal, which was quickly followed by a Johnny McErlain point and suddenly they were five clear.

The visitors needed a lift and Kevin McKernan provided it with a great solo score and when he added a point from a free they were back within one score. Johnny McErlain and McKernan traded points from placed balls to keep the gap at three but with time ticking away McErlain stretched the Armoy lead to four with a point from a free.

Things got a little heated as tensions rose in the final minutes but after a disjointed ending Armoy held on to take the points and keep their chances of survival alive.

Armoy: Timmy Burns, Shane Devlin, Charlie McCormick, Emmet O’Hara, Liam Dillon, John Dillon (0-01), Martin McErlain (0-01), Ciaran McErlain (0-02f, 0-01), PJ McBride (1-00), Trevor Linton (0-01f), Owen Kinney (0-01), Thomas Burns (c) (0-01), Joe McBride (1-00), Johnny McErlain (1-02f, 0-01), Conor Christie.

Pádraig Sairséil: David Ward, Peter Corr, James Cunningham, Jack Daniels (0-01), Niall McAlea, Eoghan Rodgers (c), Caillin Caldwell, Kevin McKernan (0-07f, 0-03), Gary Lennon, Ryan Carson, Niall McKenna (0-03), Daniel McKernan (0-01f, 0-01), James McKernan, Ryan O’Neill (0-01), Tomás Doherty.

Referee: Darren Mullan

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Pics by Frank McCaughan

Ballycastle secure promotion but it was really hard work

O’Neill’s All County Hurling League – Division 2

McQuillan 1-15 Tír na nÓg 1-14

Knowing that any success would put them back into Division 1 of the All County Hurling League, the home side entered this game cautiously optimistic. However Tír na nÓg hadn’t come to join the party, with an early blitz of points gave the visitors a  0-4 to 1-0 lead within the first ten minutes, the Ballycastle goal coming from ‘TT’ Butler, who finished an excellent passing move to the net after an intelligent play from Diarmuid McShane and Ciaran Butler.

Diarmuid McShane and Cathal Connor points put the Town into the lead, a lead which would change three times before half time, brothers Diarmuid and Kevin Barry McShane sharing five points between them meaning that the sides were level at 1-07 to 0-10 at half-time.

‘TT’ Butler opened the second half scoring with a superb point, only to be cancelled out by two points from the visitors, the home side then hit a period of dominance adding 5 unanswered points (Ciaran Butler 0-2, Shane McCarry 0-1, Kevin Barry McShane 0-1 and Shane Staunton 0-1) to open up a 4 point advantage. Despite a series of scoreable chances sent wide, it still looked that the Castle would see out the half comfortably.

However a converted penalty award in the final minutes, put the visitors only a point adrift, the Town’s resolve being tested right to the end.

Kevin Barry McShane scored a good free to extend the lead but again the Randalstown men pointed twice to square the game going into added time.

Cometh the hour cometh the man, and as has been the case throughout the season Diarmuid McShane stepped up to deliver the final score of the game, and the two league points, promotion and the Division 2 title for the McQuillan men.

McQuillan: Ryan McGarry, Oran Kearney, Matthew Donnelly, Oisin McAuley, John McLister, Neal McAuley, Ben McQuillan, Ronan McCarry, Shane McCarry (0-1), Eamon Elliott, Kevin Barry McShane(0-4),Tiarnan Butler(1-1), Diarmuid McShane(0-5), Ciaran Butler(0-2), Cathal Connor (0-1). Subs Shane Staunton (0-1) for E. Elliot, A Mooney for C Connor