Cl;oney Gaels kept the pressure on league leaders, Cathaoir an Ri with a resounding win over visitors St. Paul’s in Ahoghill last night. At the same time as they were handing out a 17 point defeat to the Shaw’s Road side, the league leaders were accounting with the challenge of their nearest rivals, Bredagh in Ballyvoy.
First half goals from Eoin Graham and Donal Graham propelled the Ahoghill side to a 2-8 to 0-6 half time lead against a determined visitor’s side who battled hard to stay in touch. Owen Neeson, Dan O’Neill, Eamon Brady 0-3, James O’Connell 0-3 were the Gaels first half point scorers.
Things didn’t get any better for the visitors during a windswept second half as Cloney Gaels continued to defy the elements with a series of excellent scores as Colla McDonnell and Eamon Brady struck early points and when Brady fired home a third minute goal it looked a long way back for the visitors.
They never gave up but had simply no answer to a slick moving Cloney Gaels with Dan O’Neill, Colla McDonnell, James O’Connell, Eamon Brady, Shea Neeson and Owen Neeson keeping the score board attendant busy as hey added a further ten points.
This win leaves Cloney Gaels one point behind Cathaoir an Ri after five rounds of games but they face a difficult looking assignment next day out, away to third placed Bredagh who suffered their first defeat in Ballyvoy last night and will be keen to get back to winning ways when the Gaels visit Cherryville.
Mid-May and terrible conditions greeted both teams at Whitehill on Wednesday evening. Creggan came out on top, 2-point winners, the contest settled by the accuracy of both teams’ free takers.
A strong cross wind blew into the corner towards the home side’s pavilion as Referee, Ryan O’Reilly, threw the ball in and within seconds Sean Duffin pointed from play to put the home side one up. Conor McCamphill added to the tally 4 minutes later while Duffin converted his first free on the 6th minute.
The visitors struggled with the breeze as their goalkeeper, Prenter’s puck-outs were blown off course and it took 5 minutes before Kealan McCann got the visitors up and running with a point from play. Sean Duffin converted the next 2 frees while his opponent, Oran McCann replied with 3 frees himself and with 17 minutes gone on the clock, Tir Na Nog were 1 point ahead and were edging the contest.
The Hill’s, Ciaran Logan, replied with 2 points from play and their first attempt on goal was dealt with by Creggan’s net minder, Prenter. The visitors, Kealan McCann, increased his tally to 2 with Morgan Nelson getting on the score sheet in the 23 minute and as we approached half time, Oran McCann added 2 points from play as the home side’s, Sean Duffin, did likewise. Ciaran Logan got the final point of the first 30 minutes for the home side putting them 2 point up at thew interval.
HALF TIME SCORE: TIR NA NOG 0.10 v CREGGAN 0.08
As both sides turned around for the second half the slight gradient on the pitch and cross winds gave Creggan a tactical advantage as they rained the ball down on the home side’s back line of Tony Martin, Ryan O’Neill and Nial Shannon as they battled successfully to hold the barrage of Creggan’s attacks.
Likewise, Kickhams’ back line performed with the same intensity – Thomas McCann, Aidan Maguire and Jake McAteer – protected their goalkeeper and cleared their line delivering the ball to Kealan McCann & Nial McAuley who fed Oran McCann time and time again.
The visitor’s free taker Oran McCann, levelled proceedings with 33 minutes gone but two minutes later, the home side’s Sean Duffin blasted the ball into the visitors’ net to put the minimum between the sides. Creggan edged ahead by the 42nd minute through 2 further frees by Oran McCann and one from play.
It was end to end stuff at this stage with Tir na n|Og hitting the next two scores through the impressive Sean Duffin in the 47th and 49th minutes but Creggan replied through Liam McCann and Kealan McCann to edge them one ahead again.
Creggan’s Sean Duffin then went for goal from a 20 metre free at a tight angle and went low with the home defence packing their goal line. The ball was cleared out to McCann who put Creggan one up.
It was the turn of the home side’s Sean Duffin’s who converted another free to level the scores once more but it was to be the home side’s last score of the game. The Kickham’s finished strongly and Oran McCann converted a free from inside his own half and when hius side were awarded a 20 metre free, directly in front of the goal, he opted for the point.
As the game entered the third minute of injury time the home side threw everything at Creggan’s defence but Creggan’s Teddy McKeown came out of the tussle in possession, putting the ball into the clouds as Ryan O’Reilly blew the whistle for full time
To be honest, a draw would have been a fair result for this match as it was down to an epic battle between free takers, Sean Duffin for Tir Na Nog and Creggan’s Oran McCann. Duffin managed to convert 7 frees while McCann converted 9 frees in total. As we neared the end of the contest, at least 3 frees awarded to Duffin, as they gained altitude, were blown off course sailing left of the upright.
TIR NA NOG: No.1 Christy Sheenin, No.2 Tony Martin, No.3 Ryan O’Neill, No.4 Neil Shannon, No.5 Ciaran O’Neill, No.6 Caoimhin Duffin, No.7 Manus Smith, No.8 Aaron McNeilly, No.9 Ciaran McKeown, No.10 Darragh Fegan, No.11 Ciaran Logan (0.03), No.12 Eamon Og McAllister, No.13 Sean Duffin (1.09), No.14 Conor McCampbell (0.02), No.15 Nial Devlin, No.17 Colm Duffin, No.18 Ethan Higgins, No.19 Declan Mallon, No.20 Emmet Martin, No.21 Oliver McAtamney, No.22 Kevin McCann, No.23 Kevin Kerr, No.25 Jude Carey.
CREGGAN: No.1 Brendan Prenter, No.2 Aidan Maguire, No.3 Thomas McCann, No.4 Jake McAteer, No.5 Aidan McKeown, No.6 Liam McCann (0.01), No.7 Dannan O’Hara, No.8 Nial McAuley, No.9 Kealan McCann (0.02), No.10 Dermot Carey, No.11 Oran McCann (0.13), No.12 Corman Rice, No.13 Mick Maguire, No.14 Sean Duffin (0.01), No.15 Morgan Nelson (0.02), No.17 Mark McCann, No.18 Joseph James Smyth, No.19 Callum McCann, No.20 Aaron Hughes, No.22 Oliver Duffin, No.23 Owen Grant, No.24 Kevin Rice, No.25 Brendan Maguire.
Cathaoir an Ri moved two points clear of visitors Bredagh after their five point win over their County Down visitors to Carey tonight. Both sides went into this game on 8 points from 4 starts but a goal from Caolan McCaughan in the third minute sent the home time on their way to an important victory.
There seemed no eminent danger when McCaughan received the sliotar about thirty yards from goal but he took a couple of steps before firing an unstoppable shot to the roof of the net when a point looked like the easier option.
Sean Hughes had opened the scoring from a pointed free for the Down men and he was to play a major part in his side’s effort to take something out of this game but Bredagh were too dependent on their excellent number 15 for scores as over the hour he was responsible for 0-10 of their 0-12 total.
The Ballyvoy side had an equally impressive performer in Conlith McKinley who dictated matters around mid-field and contributed 0-11 over a very efficient hours hurling.
The game itself was played in difficult conditions with a strong swirling wind blowing throughout the game but slightly favouring the home side in the opening half. Cathaoir on Ri made full use of the elements and looked in a strong position when they led 1-7 to 0-4 at the half way stage.
All four of Bredagh’s first half points came from Sean Hughes with only one of those from play while the home side pushed on from McCaughan’s early strike on goal to add points from three Conlith McKinley frees and another from play while Paddy McBride and James Rocket Black were their other first half point scorers.
‘Rocket’ extended his side’s lead to seven on the restart and while the visitors threw everything at the opposition and played some nice hurling during the second half they were never able to find a way through a strong and determined Cathaoir an Ri defence in which Somhairle Mathers, Sean McBride and James McCouaig were outstanding.
Hughes continued to provide the greatest scoring threat as he pointed four from play and another from a free by the 40th minute but the Ballyvoy side were always able to respond with Conlith McKinley hitting three on the bounce to maintain daylight between the sides.
The closing stages became a shootout between the Bredagh number 15 Hughes and the Cathaoir an Ri’s McKinley who finished up with 0-11 in a man of the match performance with Sean McGourty and Ryan Curran hitting a couple of late points for the visitors.
This win moves Cathaoir an Ri onto 10 points from 5 starts, one more than Cloney Gaels who recorded a big win over St. Paul’s tonight and their opponents Bredagh who find themselves another point behind after tonight’s game.
A pointed free from Tomas O’Ciaran in the third minute of time added on earned St. Gall’s a valuable point against previously unbeaten Cloney Gaels at Milltown on Sunday. Colla McDonnell looked to have claimed victory for the visitors when he fired to the net a minute earlier but O’Ciaran held his nerve to point his fifth free of the day and his seventh in all to earn his side a share of the spoils.
Marcus Donnelly got the Milltown side off to a great start with an early goal with James and PJ O’Connell replying with points for Cloney Gaels but O’Ciaran’s first free of the day edged the home side two in front after 9 minutes.
There was little between the sides in the lead up to half time with Mark Napier hitting two points for the home side before making an early exit from the action and Paddy Friel getting their fourth point and James O’Connell replying from two frees and Colla McDonnell pointing from play to leave it 1-4 to 0-5 in favour of the Milltown Row men.
Gregory McGreevey extended the St. Gall’s lead in the opening minute of the second half as he fired over but Cloney replied through Boris O’Connell with a fine long range effort to maintain the status quo.
Another excellent point from mid-fielder Niall O’Neill brought a strong response from James O’Connell who fired to the net in the 5th minute as both sides wrestled to gain the upper hand and even at this early juncture it was obvious that this one could go right down to the wire.
O’Ciaran hit three excellent frees between the third and 17th minute to keep the scoreboard ticking but Cloney Gaels replied through Donal Graham, Ronan Graham and another James O’Connell pointed free to leave just one in it with 12 minutes remaining.
Substitute Niall Fallon looked to have put the home side in a strong position when he got in for his sides second goal to extend the St. Gall’s lead to three and they looked to be heading for their second victory of the present campaign but the visitors had other ideas.
Another great point from centre-half, Niall ‘Boris’ O’Connell and two pointed frees from James O’Connell and an excellent score in reply Niall O’Neill left two in it as we went down the home straight but Colla McDonnell’s goal in injury time looked to have snatched it for the South West men.
The final chapter of this compelling contest was not yet written however and O’Ciaran brought the loudest cheer of the day from the Milltown faithful when he pointed a 33d minute to earn his side a deserved share of the points.
St. Gall’s:1 Kurtis McGreevy 2 Ewan Rush 3 Ruairi Wilson 4 Dubhaltha Wilson 5 Connla McCarthy 6 Ryan Irvine 7 Lorcan OCiaran 8 Niall O’Neill 0-2 9 Jack Hopkins 10 Jackson Mc Greevy 0-1 11 Gregory McGreevy 0-1 12 Tomas OCiaran 0-7 (5 frees) 13 Mark Napier 14 Paddy Friel 0-1 15 Marcus Donnelly 1-00 Subs – Niall Fallon 1-0 for Mark Napier (15 minutes) Fergus Donnelly for Paddy Friel (50 mins)
Division 2 joint League leaders Carey Faughs kept their unbeaten run going on Sunday when they travelled to Shaw’s Road to take on St Paul’s.
A dominant first half display by the Faughs saw them all but wrap up the game by half time, opening up a 2.15 to 0.7 lead. Conor McBride was the man who did most of the damage for the North Antrim side, grabbing both goals and sending over a series of points from frees, while John McBride, Fiachra McVeigh and Patrick McBride also getting their names on the scoresheet.
Despite the first half being filled with free flowing hurling, the game got a little niggly after halftime, which seemed to disrupt the momentum of the match. Scores were a lot harder to come by during a scrappy second half, with the St Paul’s defence restricting the free scoring Faughs forward line to just six points.
However James Black, Conor McBride and Conleth McKinley kept the scoreboard ticking over for the visitors and with the Faughs defence also on top, as they held St Paul’s to just three points themselves.
Another fine win for the joint league leaders who share the top spot with Bredagh, who beat Gort na Móna in Sunday’s league tie at Cherryvale, and just a point ahead of Cloney Gaels who shared the spoils with Chris Dornan’s St Gall’s at the Bog Meadows.
Ballyvoy will be the place to be on Wednesday week when the top two meet in what promises to be a cracking game.