Shane O’Neill’s gain revenge at Whitehill

ACHL Division 2

Tir na nOg 1-15 Shane O’Neill’s 2-18

Both sides fielded without a number of regular starters, but both showed their class in fielding, blocking and score taking, making for an entertaining watch for the supporters. With championship a matter of weeks away both managers will have benefited from what they saw today with Ciaran Logan hitting 1-06 (3 frees) for the Tir na nOg and for the visitors Dylan Mc Laughlin and Darren Hamill hitting 5 points each.

Early wides from both teams led to a frustrating few minutes but on the fourth minute Sean O’Hare popped up and sent the sliotar into the onion bag beyond Kevin Sheerin in the Randalstown nets before Ciaran Magill added a further point. 

Ciaran Logan got his first of the day for the Whitehill side before Glenarm’s  Magill added another fine point and Logan replied for the hosts but this score was cancelled out by a great point off the stick of Dylan Mc Laughlin.

The travelling support soon found their voice when Darren Hamill stood over a free from deep in his own half and with pin point accuracy split the Randalstown posts.

Sean O’Hare was enjoying his corner forward berth and he collected a block down from keeper Sheerin and he side stepped his marker and drove another rasper to the net!

This shook the home team and they upped the ante, hitting a purple patch scoring 1-04 without reply.

First on target was Kevin Mc Cann hitting a score from 40 yards, with Eamon Og Mc Allister and Logan following with converted free’s and Emmet Martin added to their tally before Logan followed with a goal for the home side.

Glenarm at this stage needed a lift and it was their captain who sent a stinging effort over the bar. A three man combination with O Hare passing to Hamill who cutely evaded his marker and fed the ball to Dylan Mc Laughlin who added another score before Niall Mc Garel followed with a point to give the sky blue’s a 4 point  lead. 

Logan reduced the arrears with a well struck point before Hamill replied from another free for the visitors.

Tir na nOg finished the half the stronger with Logan pointing a free to leave three between the teams at the interval and all still to play for in the second half.

HT Tir na nOg 1-08    Shane Uí Neill  2-08

After the interval Daniel Black swung over a point for the visitors with Eamon Og replying for the home team and Black returned the favour in this tight tussle with  his second of the match. Benny Mc Dermott who came on late in the first period as a blood sub for Ben O Boyle, showed early promise as he sent a superb sideline cut over the home side’s bar, for an inspirational score.

Eamon Og Mc Allister replied again for the Whitehill men but this was cancelled with Hamill stroking over a “65”, and Mc Laughlin added another point from deep out on the wing.

Emmet Martin and Aaron Mc Neilly replied to eat into Glenarm’s four point lead but Glenarm’s talisman, Hamill showed his scoring ability with a perfect effort from halfway and out near the sideline, firing over the black spot. Mc Laughlin joined him with a mirror image score from 45 yards and substitute Liam Mulvenna gathered a loose sliotar and lofted over a fine individual effort.

Randalstown replied with Daniel Martin and a Sean Duffin (free) as they tried to cut the gap with time almost up before Glenarm’s wing forward Dylan Mc Laughlin took his personal tally to 5 points with a fine effort.

Daniel Martin pointed for the host’s but the final score of the game fell to Glenarm’s Ciaran Magill who rifled over a point to seal victory for the visitors.

Its been a fine season for Glenarm in their first back in division 2 for a number of years and they can now look forward to the Intermediate championship with some confidence while Tir na nOg will recover from today’s defeat to give the championship a real bash.

St Paul’s leave it late to seal victory

ACHL Division Two

St Pauls 0-20-1-16 Bredagh

Kevin Herron reports from Shaws Road

Declan Chapman ensured that St Pauls will carry their long unbeaten run into the Championship in a few weeks time- despite playing over half the game with 14-men- as his point with the last action of an exciting encounter saw the hosts run out 0-20-1-16 winners over Bredagh at the Shaws Road on Sunday afternoon.

Mark Munce’s deflected shot had St Pauls off the mark first, but Mel Lavery clipped an angled shot off the large post and over to restore parity.

A brace of Daire Stevenson frees moved his side ahead again and he then popped over from play after Declan Chapman’s cut-back.

Sean Hughes replied with a free for Bredagh, though Aaron Carey dropped a shot over to restore his sides three-point lead.

That advantage would be wiped out at Bredagh levelled midway though the half, Joseph Hanrahan floated a shot over from range, Tiarnan Sheehan converted a 65′ and a second free from Hughes ensured the sides were tied for the second time at 0-05 apiece.

Bredagh moved ahead for the first time through a second placed ball from Tiarnan Sheehan- though Daire Stevenson levelled and then edged his side ahead again- both scores coming from the placed ball.

Two minutes before the break the hosts were reduced to 14-men when referee Niall Clifford dismissed Liam Walsh for a second bookable offence.

Sean Hughes would level from the resulting free, but Conall Finnegan took a pass from Caoimhin Killyleagh and shot between the posts to give his side a 0-08-0-07 lead at the interval.

Daire Stevenson doubled his sides lead with his fifth converted free of the afternoon upon the games resumption.

Rory McCamphill did enough to squeeze his angled shot between the posts and Ben Christie then dropped a shot over to ensure that it was level pegging for the fifth time.

The next four scores were equally traded, St Pauls twice regained the lead through a point from Mark Munce after the half-forward steadied himself and shot over, Daire Stevenson then conjured up his sixth free.

In-between times Mark Patterson took a lay-off from Sean Hughes and popped over with Hughes then powering through and scoring his first from play.

Declan Chapman squeezed a shot over from an acute angle to edge his side in front again and Daire Stevenson converted two further frees to move his side 0-14-0-11 ahead and give them some slight breathing space for the first time in the half.

Rory McCamphill and Stevenson (free) traded scores before Aaron Carey landed a magnificent score from range to open up a four-point advantage for the 14-men.

Sean Hughes landed his fourth free of the contest to keep his side in touch and the visitors pulled level again with little under five minutes remaining.

Tiarnan Sheehan dropped an angled free into the square and Liam Hogan’s flick on found the net via the underside of the bar to ensure parity for the eighth time over the course of the fascinating contest.

The sides would cancel each-other out on three further occasions before the games conclusion. Daire Stevenson completed his afternoons scoring with two further frees, but Joseph Hanrahan and Sean Hughes (free) came up with the reply each time.

Bredagh hit the front for just the second time when goal-scorer Hogan dropped an effort over Chris Murray’s crossbar to edge his side 1-16-0-18 ahead with time elapsing quickly.

St Pauls didn’t panic though and Stephen Rooney’s long range free dropped for substitute Paul Donnelly and he flicked over to tie things up as a share of the spoils were on the cards.

The duo shared the spoils in their first encounter this season, there wouldn’t be a repeat though as the hosts clinched victory with the final action of the afternoon.

Stephen Rooney again played his part, sending a high pass deep into Bredagh territory and Declan Chapman was there to gather, compose himself and steer over the winning score that was immediately followed by Niall Clifford’s full-time whistle as St Pauls ensured they would finish at the top of Division 2b.

The Shaws Road outfit haven’t tasted defeat since Clooney Gaels visited on May 14th and can take that momentum into their Intermediate Championship opener against Con Magee’s on August 6th.

Bredagh meanwhile will refocus and turn their attention to the Down Senior Hurling Championship and their opener against last seasons Ulster Intermediate winners Liatroim Fontenoys in a few weeks time.

St Paul’s: C Murray, C O’Carroll, T Auld, B Burns, L Walsh, S Rooney, T Duff, A Carey (0-02), C Finnegan (0-01), D Stevenson (0-12, 0-11f), M Munce (0-02), D Chapman (0-02), D McGreevy, L Philips, C Killyleagh. Subs: D Quinn for D McGreevy (36), Paul Donnelly jnr (0-01) for C Killyleagh (44), C Murray for C O’Carroll (45).

Bredagh: A Maguire, E Maguire, L Smyth, L Hogan (1-01), N McFarland, O McFlynn, T Sheehan (0-02, 0-01f, 0-01 65′), M Patterson (0-01), N Smyth, J Hanrahan (0-02), M Lavery (0-01), S Hughes (0-06, 0-05f), B Christie (0-01), R Curran, R McCamphill (0-02). Subs: M Doran for R Curran (52).

Referee: Niall Clifford (Cú Chulainn)

Antrim Division Two hurling title climax at The Riggs

Cushendun Emmet’s 1-24 St Gall’s 0-16

Report by Denis O’Hara

Pics by Micky Morgan

CONLAOTH ‘Loaf’ McNEILL produced a master class in sharpshooting to make sure the Emmet’s closed out their Division Two title-winning campaign on a top note from this stormy tussle at The Riggs..

The supremely talented forward bagged 1-10, his first half goal significantly turning the action firmly in favour of the Emmet’s when playing into a stiff breeze..

Loaf’s almost leisurely ability to pick off scores, the excellence of teenage centre half Sean McKay and the bravery of young deputy goalkeeper Eoin ‘Cubby’ Magee helped the Emmet’s to dig deep – and celebrate the clinching of the Division Two title.

“We knew it would be a tough test against St Gall’s, but the boys rose to the challenge to prove they are worthy league champions. Now the target is the Championship,” said Emmet’s manager Rory McQuillan, after the trophy was presented to home skipper Jack McKay by, ironically a St Gall’s club member, Sinead Mullan – the County Assistant Secretary,

St Gall’s came with mean intent to make sure the Antrim Coast side would earn their trophy success, even though the title race ended 24 hours earlier when Glenariffe surprisingly lost at home to Ahoghill’s Clooney Gaels.

There was nothing meaningless about the end fixture as St Gall’s came smartly out of the traps and with wind advantage the home heroes had to grind out an early spell when second best for much of the opening quarter.

The accuracy of Jackson McGreevy and Cushendun natvice Leo Morgan had the city side moving nicely until the Emmet’s upped the ante in the 16th minute.

An exceptional save by St Gall’s Kurtis McGreevy, who had an outstanding game, from Harry Kilgore, hinted at better things to come for the locals as Colm McKeegan angled over a superb point.

Indeed, after his exceptional bravery to halt James Morgan and a Harry Kilgore follow-up from entering the net, the Emmet’s took the lead for the first time in the 23rd minute.

‘Loaf’ McNeill cutely palmed home a lengthy lob from the rapidly maturing centre half Sean McKay.

Seconds later, St Gall’s tried to remedy the situation but home ‘keeper Eoin ‘Cubby’ Magee, standing in for the unavailable Gareth McGhee, blocked a Mark Napier effort with his forehead and required treatment.

Generally, Cubby had the comfort of a stubborn wall in front of him – Jack McKay, Aidan Corbett and Sean Hamilton.

This little cameo of crucial events turned the game in favour of the high energy Emmet’s, who bagged 1-5 before turning 1-9 to 0-8 clear.

The second half belonged to the stunning accuracy of Loaf McNeill, plonking over long-distance frees from all angles. Not far behind in the scoring spree were 24-year-old winger James Morgan, the ever ready wing half Callum Kilgore, midfielder Conor Bannon, leggy winger Harry Kilgore, crafty corner man Colm McKeegan and centre forward, Fintan McQuillan.

One player rose above all the tension, the impressively athletic centre back Sean McKay, a 17 year old schoolboy full-back rugby star for Ballymena Academy.

McKay, an outstanding hurling prospect, took over the pivital role at number six, for the injured Donal O’Hara.

St Gall’s hugely talented Jackson McGreevy, was a constant thorn in the Cushendun sides. He had superb support from goalkeeper Kurtis McGreevy, centre half Jeff Frampton, midfielder Jack Hopkins and livewire corner forward Napier.

CUSHENDUN Emmet’s: E Magee; J McKay (c), A Corbett, S Hamilton; T Scally, S McKay, C Kilgore; D McQuillan and C Bannon; H Kilgore, F McQuillan, J Morgan; C McKeegan, C McHugh, C McNeill.

Subs used-D Sharkey, O McMahon, D Kilgore, C McDonnell.

Scorers: C McNeill 1-10 (nine frees) J Morgan 0-3, C McKeegan, H Kilgore, F McQuillan 0-2 each, C Kilgore C Bannon, D Sharkey, C McHugh, D Kilgore 0-1 each.

BELFAST St Gall’s: K McGreevy; D Churchill, C McCartan, E Flush; G MacAdian, J Frampton, D MacLiam; J Hopkins and S McGreevy; J McGreevy, C Sheehan, D Delaney; F Donnelly, L Morgan, M Napier. Subs used-O Kelly,T McAleenan.

Scorers: J McGreevy 0-10 (nine frees), M Napier, L Morgan, D MacLiam, J Frampton, F Donnelly, S McGreevy 0-1 each.

Ref-Terence Mulvenna (Bredagh)

Cushendun captain Jack McKay receives the Antrim Hurling League Division 2 trophy from county assistnat secretary Sinead Mullan after his team’s final game of the season on Sunday. Pic by Mickey Morgan

Cloney Gaels win hands Cushendun the league title

Antrim Hurling League Division 2

Glenariffe Oisins 0-18 Cloney Gaels 2-17

Cloney Gael’s win over Glenariffe Oisins in Saturday’s final Division 2 Hurling game handed the league title to Cushendun who were not due to play St Gall’s in their final game until Sunday. The Oisins win over the Emmet’s two weeks ago delayed the Cushendun celebrations for a couple of weeks, but Saturday result means that regardless of the outcome of Sunday’s game the Cushendun men cannot be caught. As things stood Cushendun just needed a point in their final game to seal the title, but a win for the Oisins over Cloney on Saturday, and a St Gall’s win on the Sunday, would have meant the Oisins took the title.

Oisins David Kearney dives in to deny Cloney’s Patrick Graham scoring what would have been his team’s third goal

The game was played a day early because of the death of the father of Cloney Gaels manager Hugh Dobbin. Hugh senior, who had played his hurling with his native Glenarm and with Con Magees Glenarvel, had passed away in the early hours of Saturday morning and the Oisins sportingly agreed to play the game at 4pm on Saturday so that the Ahoghill men could attend the funeral on Sunday.

When you are playing a must win game Cloney Gaels are probably the last team you want to be facing, for though the Ahoghill men had really nothing to play for they are always competitive when the ball is thrown in.

Oisins Kieran McKendry and Cloney Gaels Dan O’Neill battle for a high ball

It started well for the Oisins, and though Cloney were the first to raise a flag through PJ O’Connell the home side bounced back and went 0-6 to 0-2 ahead after ten minutes, four of the points coming from Alex O’Boyle. Things were building nicely for the home team but two goals inside a minute from Colla McDonnell and PJ O’Connell turned the game on its head, and with James O’Connell leading the line for the Cloney men they went on to lead by 2-10 to 0-12 at the break.

Two more points from James O’Connell at the start of the second half stretched the lead to six and the Oisins had a mountain to climb. The cut the gap to three when Conor Patterson, Seanie McIntosh and Alex O’Boyle all hit the target but the Ahoghill men were always able to find an answer when the pressure built.

Come rain, hail or shine Cloney’s James O’Connell always seems to deliver the goods

The gap was down to three again midway through the second half, but they never looked likely to get the goal their recovery really needed and in the end Cloney Gaels had five to spare. League winners Cushendun will receive the trophy after their home game with St Gall’s tomorrow.

McGhee stars in Emmet’s win over Cloney Gaels

Antrim Senior Hurling Division Two


Goalkeeper Garth McGhee produced an astonishing exhibition during the second half of this rumbustious Division Two top of the table showdown at The Riggs, on Saturday afternoon.

From the 90th second of the restart to the seventh minute of time added on veteran McGee nervelessly placed not only his caman on the line to halt shots but also his entire frame.

The former Antrim netminder made sure the Emmet’s squeezed out a superb five-points victory over their title chasing rivals from Ahoghill and remain top of the table.

Adding to the elation of this win was the celebration of top player Donal O’Hara’s wedding day.

The towering centre half was absent from the team, also his best man – Conrad McDonnell.

Cushendun looked lightweight with the further setback of losing ex-county forward Conor ‘Smiley’ McHugh with ankle damage, yet turned a negative into a tale of the unexpected.

During the first session Cloney players searched for goals but many attempts blocked by the rock steady Aidan Corbett, Sean Hamilton and Thomas Scally – and the super catching and clearing by Jack McKay.

Against the odds the Emmets created great openings and a lob from Loaf McNeill was rifled home by Dominic McQuillan in the third minute.

Loaf, playing his best hurling, set up classy corner forward Colm McKeegan who first timed a laser-like finish to the net.

After eleven minutes the home boys led by 2-1 to 0-1.

Clooney’s first point from play arrived in the 18th minute by Ronan Graham.

Now it was 2-2 to 0-4.

E Graham makes a spectacular attempt to block down a shot by Emmet’s Dominic McQuillan during Saturday’s league clash at CushLig an Airgid

The 29-year-old full back Corbett twice denied Clooney a sniff at the net.

At the other end hare-paced Harry Kilgore and the inimitable Loaf McNeill plundered great points.

After 26 minutes it was 2-7 to 0-8, but Gaels were now firing on all cylinders, now opening up the Emmets – mainly through the speed of livewire Eamonn Brady. Gaels goaled in the 27th minute through P J O’Connell. Loaf replied, and in front of the Clooney bench by clipping a fabulous sideline cut over the bar.

At the interval Cushendun, playing inland, led 2-9 to 1-9.

The second session proved a nail biting affair, a but more physical play – spikey to say the least.

This is where veteran goalie McGhee rose to the occasion super save waist high from P J O’Connell.

Cushendun retaliated with David Kilgore picking the long puck out and driving along angled ball into the paw of the impressive Loaf and a short range blast past Francis Neeson.

Harry Kilgore plonked an angled shot over the bar in the 34th minute to give his team a seven-points lead at 3-10 to1-9.

PJ O’Connell hit the Emmet’s net one minute later, and end to end fireworks.

Then ,just to frustrate the visiting side, and immediate reply through a cracking major score by home number14 Dominic McQuillan, after bouncing the ball on the hard surface let fly a rocket shot to the net.

Clooney pushed hard but all hands to the pumps with home full forward McQuillan reverting to help the half back line.

The Gaels piled on the pressure to plunder five points inside nine minutes.

It became hot and heavy with players booked for tough challenges.

Garth McGhee hooked away a close range piledriver. To ease the pressure Loaf McNeill clattered a long-range free over the crossbar.

Cloney’s ever dangerous James O’Connell, in the 56th minute, scampered clear, beat McGhee but his angled shot crashed off a post.

During this period Emmet’s Jack McKay was devastating in the defence and up front James Morgan powered over a great point.

Then it was McGhee at the double, super reaction saves – to prevent PJ O’Connell and Ronan Graham from scoring two minutes into stoppage time.

Classy corner forward Colm McKeegan opted for a safe point and at the death McGee, down on his knees at the base of post to deny PJ O’Connell. Overall a thrilling contest as the Emmet’s put themselves in prime position to collect the league title. They won’t be counting their chickes just yet, but no doubt the result would have added to the celebrations at Donal and Maria’s celebration in the Tullyglass Hotel.

CUSHENDUN EMMET’S: G McGhee; J McKay, A Corbett, S Hamilton;

C Kilgore, S McKay, T Scally; C Bannon and O McMahon; H Kilgore, J Morgan, C McNeill;

C McKeegan, D McQuillan, D Kilgore.

Scorers-C McNeill 1-7, D McQuillan 2-0, C McKeegan 1-1, H Kilgore 0-4, J Morgan D Kilgore 0-1 each.

CLOONEY GAELS: F Neeson; H O’Donnell, J Magee, Diarmaid Graham;

F O’Neill, B Graham, D O ‘Neill; E Brady and C McDonnell; R Graham, E Graham, P Graham;

P J O’Connell, Donal Graham,

J O’Connell.

Scorers-J O’Connell 0-9, PJ O’Connell 2-0, R Graham 0-2 P Graham, E Brady, F O’Neill 0-1 each.

Referee-Ray Matthews (Rossa).