McDonnell’s dropshot goal seals the win for Emmet’s

Antrim SHL Division Two at The Riggs


CONRAD McDonnell’s dynamic dropshot goal in injury time was the insurance hit to help the Emmet’s over the line and into top spot in the Division Two table. The Emmet’s had to conjure a late fighting finish from this evening sunshine shoot-out at the seaside.

The outcome to a fascinating battle of wits against a highly competent Carryduff. followed a recent one-point victory at the County Down venue.

McDonnell proved to be the super sub as he made sure the hard pressed Cushendun kept collective resolve to shake off a very impressive opponent.

What was truly eye-catching was the manner of McDonnell’s goal, from a swivel, turn and drop shot to give Carryduff goalkeeper Conor McLornan no mission.

The excellent late action reminded hurling followers of a past time when county stars such as the late Seamus ‘Stout’ McDonnell of Rossa, Antrim and Ireland preferred the dropshot on the hoof, when in shooting range. It is a special art.

Conrad McDonnell probably drew on some family hurling background when he drifted in behind Carryduff backs to first time a long lob from Thomas Scally and bury the ball to the ‘onion basket’.

Carryduff players were undine, visibly deflated just when it seemed their outstanding player, Gareth Lynch might lead them to victory from their second trip to the Antrim coast venue.

Nine minutes from time in tense tussle Carryduff led by the minimum margin of 2-11 to 1-13.

The turnaround was basically down to will o’ the wisp lightweight Lynch.

He started in the midfield and his accuracy from dead ball kept his team in the game.

In the second half Lynch drifted to a more forward role while the midfield area control was snaffled by the tackling and hooking of Sean O’ Callaghan, Donal Teague and Donal Rooney.

Cushendun, looking confused for a spell midway through the second session needed inspiration from somewhere.

It came in the form of power player Aidan Corbett.

The 24 year old started in his customary fullback berth, suddenly popped up at full forward to score a first half point and then the vital contribution when it was backs to the wall.

Corbett, a player capable of running through a brick wall, turned the tide on the hard-rock beach ground to take over midfield and donate two dramatic points from forty yards, including one over the shoulder shot when under severe pressure.

Now all was well for Rory McQuillan’s team.absent ace sharp shooter Conlaoth ‘Loaf’ McNeill.

Still, even in the dying seconds, the visitor’s ‘Pimpernel’ playmaker Lynch tried desperately to nick his second goal, but his ground shot from15 yards flew inches over the crossbar/

It was the class of Lynch that carried Carryduff into the tempo of the game, after both teams missed a number chances during a slow burner start.

Emmet’s tearaway corner back Sean Hamilton helped to urge his colleagues. Home halfbacks Sean McKay, Thomas Scally and the majestic Donal O’Hara, an early point scorer, eased the host team into a 5-0 lead. Points there included the fine finishing of Conor ‘Smiley’ McHugh, David Kilgore and Dominic McQuillan.

Carryduff’s halfback blocking kept them in touch until Lynch broke their duck in the 18th minute with a sublime side line cut that sailed over the black spot.

Right on cue, Lynch cleverly set up Eoin Rooney to net from close range and square the tie in the 30th minute. Seconds later David Kilgore regained the home lead for the halftime tally of 0-9 to 1-5.

This intriguing encounter had a series of twists and turns, and many players of individual excellence during the absorbing combat..

It seemed the well organised and tight marking Carryduff team, inspired by outstanding will o’ the wisp Lynch. was on course for victory ten minutes from time.

One minute earlier Emmet’s young winger Coim McKeegan importantly plundered the score that halted Carryfduff spell of dominance.

Home goalie Gareth McGhee lumped a huge free into the Carryduff square.

The ball was kept in play and McKeegan pounced to cut inside two defenders and drill the ball low and home.

This gave Cushendun a three-points lead (1-13 to 1-10) – the advantage lasting merely sixty seconds.

Before home fans stopped cheering the brilliant Lynch lashed the ball past McGhee. – and one minute later sturdy substitude.Conal Earley hammered over to take Carryduff into the lead for a first time.

An unlikely source settled the Emmet’s nerves.

Regular fullback Aidan Corbett displayed his versatility when roving all over the show – including a period at full forward,

won some vital ball in the midfield to bring the home side level at 1-14 to 2-11.

Six minutes from time the 24 year old Corbett fired a classy over-the-shoulder point from fifty yards

Conor’ Smiley’ McHugh wisely did not go for goal from a 21 yards free, took his point – and the lead inched out to three points.

McKeegan and McDonnell tanged on points and it seemed the Emmet’s were home and dry.

However, in a heart-stopping finale, before McDonnell’s delightful strike, the Immensely talented Lynch tried his best to raise another green flag and toss another spanner in the works, but his ground first time shot from close range zipped over McGhee’s crossbar.

Harry Kilgore settled home nerves with a fine angled point and McDonnell delivered the coup-de-grace with his stunning goal.

Donal O’Hara, Cushendun’s majestic centre half, back from injury the previous week away to Sarsfields, was mightily relieved to get the result, five days before his weekend wedding.

The 28-year old quantity surveyor and Glendun farmer, who bagged an exceptional score in the first half, said: “It was hard work against a very good team. We knew it would not be easy, after managing a one-point win at their ground. Carryduff is a very well set up team and their top scorer Lynch a very difficult man to mark. Again it took a strong finish to get the win.”

EMMET’S: G McGhee; J McKay, A Corbett, S Hamilton; Sean McKay, Donal O’Hara, T Scally; D McQuillan and C Kilgore; J Morgan, M McSparran, H Kilgore; C McKeegan, C McHugh, D Kilgore. Subs used- C McDonnell, D Sharkey

Scorers-C McKeegan 1-2. C McDonnell 1-1, H Kilgore 0-4, C McHugh 0-4, D Kilgore 0-3, A Corbett 0-3, C Kilgore, D O’Hara, D McQuillan 0-1 each.

CARRYDUFF:C McLornan; F Casey, J Leneghan, L Cooney; D Teague, C Beatie, A Downey; S O’Callaghan and G Lynch; C O’Neill, J Wood, E Rooney; P Loughran, L McCaughey, O Teague. Subs used-C Cassidy, D Rooney. C Earley.

Scorers:- G Lynch 1- 8, E Rooney 1-0, C Earley , D Rooney,S O’Callaghan J Woods 0-1 each.

Ref- D McGarry (Loughguile).

Ahoghill get back in the winning habit

ACHL Division 2

Clooney Gaels 1-20 St. Gall’s 1-12

Following a couple of recent draws, Clooney Gaels got back into the winning habit when they recorded an eight point win over visitors St. Gall’s at Clooney on Wednesday evening.The home side certainly didn’t get it all their own way but were on top for most of the game and a goal from Donal Graham with 8 minutes remaining proved the killer score and put an end to a fight-back from the Milltown men.

Only a point separated the sides at the halfway stage after St. Gall’s scored the final three points of the half to trail 0-9 to 0-8 but Clooney Gaels opened the second period strongly with four unanswered points of their own to put a bit of daylight between the sides.

A Niall Fallon goal after 16 minute of the new half cut the gap back to three and we looked set for a grandstand finish but Donal Graham replied with a goal for the Ahoghill side and they pulled clear to win fairly convincingly in the end.

The open stages were nip and tuck with Ahoghill one ahead at 0-5 to 0-4 after 19 minute with James O’Connell 0-3, Eoin Graham and a massive point from Dan O’Neill contributing to the Ahoghill scores and Ryan Irvine, Patrick Friel, Cormac Sheehan and Leo Morgan the St. Gall’s marksmen

Dan O’Neill with another monster effort and PJ O’Connell moved the home side three in front by the 25th minute before Mark Napier replied with a point for the Milltown side.

The free taking of James O’Connell continued to contribute handsomely to the Ahoghill total as he and Eoin Graham moved the Clooney men three ahead once more but St. Gall’s finished the half strongly with Mark Napier and Ryan Irvine on target to close the gap to the minimum at half time.

The scene looked set for a tight second half but it was Clooney Gaels who came flying out of the second half starting blocks and James O’Connell 0-3 (2f’s 1 ‘65’), PJ O’Connell and Eoin Graham struck five unanswered points in the opening 6 minutes to put a bit of daylight between the sides.

Patrick Friel and Mark Napier replied for the visitors but further points from James O’Connell and  Ronan Graham moved the home side six in front before Niall Fallen replied with a goal for the Milltown side to put them right back into the game with 16 minutes gone.

Gerard Graham for the Ahoghill side and Mark Napier for the visitors exchanged further points but when Donal Graham collected a loose ball to turn and fire past Kurtis McGreevey in the 22nd minute it was all over.

Clooney Gaels pressed home their advantage in the closing stages with Gerard Graham, Donal Graham and James O’Connell adding points with the visitors unable to find a reply.

This win keeps Hugh Dobbin’s side in second place, two points behind Robert Emmet’s who defeated Carryduff and Glenariffe joining them on 18 points after a good away win at sarsfields. St. Gall’s remain in 4th place on 15 points with Carryduff and Sarsfields making up the top six.

Clooney Gaels: 1 Francis Neeson, 2 Harry O’Donnell, James Magee, 4 Diarmaid Graham, 5 Fionnbar O’Neill, 6 Bernard Graham, 7 Daniel O’Neill, 8 Eamonn Brady, 19 Owen Neeson, 10 Ronan Graham, 11 Eoin Graham, 21 Matthew Mullan, 13 PJ O’Connell, 14 Donal Graham, 15 James O’ConnellSubs: Gerard Graham for Matthew Mullan

St. Gall’s: 1 Kurtis McGreevey, 2 Ciaran McCaffery, 3 Connla McCarthy, 4 Ewan Rush, 5 Jeff Frampton, 6 Ryan Irvine, 7 Barra O’Ciarain, 8 Jack Hopkins, 9 Patrick Friel, 10 Gregory McGreevey, 11 Cormac Sheehan, 12 Dara Delaney, 13 Fewrgus Donnelly, 33 Leo Morgan, 15 Mark Napier. Subs: Niall Fallon, Adam O’HareReferee: Ray Matthews (Rossa)

Glenarm secure victory at Creggan

ACHL Division 2

Creggan 0-13 Glenarm 0-16

Report & Pics: Joe Rice

 A much larger crowd than usual was in attendance at Staffordstown to enjoy the good weather and some fine hurling.  Before proceedings got underway, Referee Padraig MacGafiaidh, sounded his whistle for the Creggan Players to line in memory of a much valued, long-term member of the Club, Danny Dougan, who was buried on Sunday morning. 

Danny’s inspiration was critical to re-establishing hurling within the club from the 90s’ to the present day.  As the two teams entered the field, Creggan seemed to be the more confident while Shane O’Neill’s looked nervous but impatient to get the game underway. 

Four minutes in, the visitors were the first to score and Creggan responded almost immediately.  From then to the second half, Glenarm dominated, going in 5 points ahead at the break.  Creggan 0.05 v Glenarm 0.10. 

Five points down the home side didn’t seem too bothered as they chipped away at the visitors’ lead.  A determined Glenarm held firm as Creggan upped their game for the last 10 minutes but left it too late.

Niall McGarel raised the visitors’ first white flag 4 minutes into the game before  Creggan responded with a free from Morgan Nelson.  Two more points for Glenarm, a second from Niall McGarel and one from Ben O’Boyle, had the visitors 2 points up but Creggan then responded with 2 points, one from Liam McCann and one from Morgan Nelson. 

Five more unanswered points from Glenarm – Sean O’Boyle, Daniel Black, Dylan McLaughlin, Ciaran Magill and a further point from Niall McGarel had the Feystown club in the driving seat. 

The home side struggled for possession and this was not helped by their wayward passes with several plucked out of the air by Glenarm in Creggan’s half forward line, and dispatched over the bar with ease. 

Niall McGarel got his 4th and 5th point on the 26th and 27th minute to give Glenarm the upper hand as half time approached.  Creggan rallied somewhat in the closing stages with Sean Duffin and Oran McCann pointing, leaving 5 points between the sides at half time.


It didn’t get any cooler in the second half and the lack of sunshine gave Creggan’s keeper, Thomas McCann, and the opposing keeper, Michael Abram, good visibility to protect their goal, both repelling several attempts throughout the match. 

 Creggan scored first in the second half – a free from Morgan Nelson but  McGarel cancelled this out within 2 minutes before pointing the next free to put 6 between the sides. 

Dylan McLaughlin added a second point to his tally as Glenarm put some distance between the sides.  Three frees from Liam McCann reduced the deficit to four but the visitors were still looking comfortable. 

The visitors pressed again and Sean O’Boyle and Ciaran Magill popped 2 over, raising a roar from the travelling supporters. 

The Staffordstown Road lads’ purple patch came in the last 15 minutes with Cormac Rice, Sam Maguire, Liam McCann,Oran McCann all on target to close the gap to 3 points but despite throwing everything at the visitors, the Glenarm defence stood firm.

This win sees Shane O’Neill move away from the bottom of the table and they now sit on 7 points from 10 starts, 3 above Bredagh, who have played a game more while Creggan find themselves in trouble at the bottom of the table with only one win from 11 starts.

Creggan:  No.1 Thomas McCann, No.2 Aidan Maguire, No.3 Aidan McKeown, No.4 Peadar McGuckian, No.5 Senan O’Boyle, No.6 Liam McCann (0.04), No. 7 Jake McAteer, No.8 Sam Maguire, No.9 Kealan McCann, No.10 Morgan Nelson (0.04), No.11 Oran McCann (0.03), No.12 Sean Duffin, No.13 Michael Maguire, No.14 Cormac Rice (0.01), No.15 Tiernan McLarnon, No.17 Michael Carey Small, No.18 Brendan Maguire, No.19 Danaan O’Hara, No.20 Joseph James Smyth, No.22 Callum McCann.

Shane O’Neills:    No.1 Michael Abram, No.2 Liam Og McLoughlin, No.3 Barry Hamill, No.4 Aidan O’Boyle, No.5 Ciaran O’Boyle, No.6 Declan McDermott, No.7 Liam O’Boyle, No.8 Ben O’Boyle (0.01), No.9 Brendan McDermott, No.10 Sean O’Boyle (0.03), No.11 Ciaran Magill (0.01), No.12 Dylan McLaughlin (0.02), No.13 Aidan Scullion, No.14 Darren Hamill, No.15 (0.08), No.17 Liam Mulvenna, No.18 Kieran O’Boyle, No.19 Ryan McLoughlin, No.21 Paul Magill, No.22 Sean O’Hare, No.23 Martin Black, No.24 Rory Mulvenna, No.29 Daniel Black (0.01), No.30 Conor O’Boyle.

Referee:  Padraig McGafiaidh.

Cushendun beat Sarsfields to move back to the top of the table

O’Neill’s Sportswear Hurling League Division 2

Patrick Sarsfields 1-8 Cushendun Emmet’s 2-18

Pics by Michael Morgan

Cushendun, who wore their saffron strip because of a colour clash, continued their recent good form with this 13 point win over Sarsfields in their first post-split match in the swealtering heat on Sunday. With the tempratue peaking at 28 degrees it was more like a fire pit than a Bear Pit, and credit must go to both teams for enduring the heat and rock like pitch throughout.

Competing in Saturday’s Poc Fada in Glenarm proved the ideal preparation for Cushendun ‘keeper Gareth McGhee, as he matched Sarsfield’s combined first half score with five huge points from placed balls.

It was Conrad Mc Donnell, however, who grabbed the vital score of the half. Leading 0-05 to 0-03 in the twelfth minute McDonnell showed lightening reflexes when he was first to react after Connloath McNeill had broken down a speculative high ball into the square. Without hesitation, he pulled first time to give an unsighted Gerard McKernan no chance in the Sarsfield net and give the Emmetts the first goal of the game.

Gareth McGhee points a free from distance, one of five the Emmet’s goalkeeper scored in the opening half – Pic by Michael Morgan

Sarsfields replied with their best move of the game, when Gary Lennon pointed from forty yards after they had worked the ball out from a short puck out. Cushendun tagged on another six points, with McGhee landing his fifth point in first half injury time giving the visitors a 1-11 to 0-05  half-time lead.

Sarsfields opened up the second half scoring with a fine point from the stick of Michael Johnston, but two minutes later James Morgan was dragged down as he was bearing down on the Sarsfield’s goal and Darren McKeown had no hesitation in awarding Cushendun a penalty. Up-stepped “Loaf” McNeill, and with pin-point accuracy, he fired the sliother to the corner of McKernan’s net to give Cushendun an eleven point cushion. The visitors out-scored Sarsfields by five points in the next ten minutes, with a point from David Kilgore wide on the right, the pick of the bunch, and the result was never in doubt from here on.

Sarsfields Niall McKenna solos towards the Cushendun goalsPic by Michael Morgan

Sarsfields raised a green flag of their own with seven minutes to go when Daniel Smith rose highest in a crowded 21, to expertly pull on a lobbed in free, but it was too little, too late.

With St Galls’ away win in Glenariffe, this win for Cushendun sees them regain top spot in what is shaping up to be an exciting Division 2 title race.

Late Lynch point earns Carryduff a deserved draw

ACHL Division 2

Clooney Gaels 1-15 Carryduff 1-15

Pics by Ronan McCaughey

Clooney Gaels, missing a few regulars dropped a point for the second game in succession when a late point from a Gareth Lynch free gave Carryduff the draw they deserved in an entertaining game of hurling in Ahoghill on Sunday.

Carryduff’s greater stick work kept their noses in front for most of the match but a great long range free from Fionnbar O’Neill looked to have snatched it for the home side before Lynch replied with his late equaliser.

Patrick Graham shot Clooney Gaels into an early lead but Darragh Goodwin levelled for the visitors before Gareth Lynch rattled the Clooney net in the 4th minute to edge his side three ahead.

Lynch was having an early impact from midfield and he added a point to increase his side’s lead to four in the fifth minute before PJ O’Connell, Patrick Graham with his second of the game and Donal Graham responded with points at the other end to reduce the deficit to the minimum after 13 minutes.

The home side were getting on top at this stage of the game and further points from PJ O’Connell and Donal Graham saw them hit the front for the second time with 20 minutes gone and they were starting to impress.

A Carryduff player wins possession during Sunday’s Division 2 League game in Ahoghill. Pic by Ronan McCaughey

Carryduff hadn’t raised a flag for 17 minutes but Sean O’Callaghan got them going again as he fired over the equaliser and in the period leading up to half time the sides exchanged three points each with Donal Rooney, Gareth Lynch and Ciaran O’Callaghan on target for the Down men and PJ O’Connell, Eamon Brady and Fionnbar O’Neill replying for the ‘Gaels’.

The visitors were playing some excellent hurling and move the ball around confidently and Sean O’Callaghan edged them ahead on the restart with a point after 5 minutes before half time substitute, James O’Connell levelled matters again from an 8th minute free.

Lynch, Donal Rooney and Peter Loughran extended the Carryduff lead to three by the 14th minute as the visitors continued to dictate the exchanges before James O’Connell replied for the home side with only their second point of the half in the 16th minute.

And another one bites the dust! Pic by Ronan McCaughey

Further points from Lorcan McGaughey, Peter Loughran and Eoin Rooney had Carryduff in a strong position as they game enter its final minutes but a James O’Connell goal with two minutes remaining threatened to turn the game on its head.

James O’Connell struck after a great piece of teamwork put the forward into a great position where he had only the keeper to beat to level the scores.

An Eoin Rooney point for the Down men squared the contest once more but

Fionnbar O’Neill scored a great free from deep within his own half to put the home team in front and the |Clooney men looked to have stolen it.

There was still time for one more attack however and the superb Gareth Lynch converted a free deep into injury time to earn his side a draw and it was no more than they deserved.

Clooney Gaels: 1 Francis Neeson, 2 Gerald Graham, 3 Harry O’Donnell, 4 Diarmaid Graham, 5 Conor McGarry, 6 Charlie McCloskey,7 Finbar O’Neill, 8 Eamon Brady, 9 Owen Neeson, 10 Matthew Mullan,  11 Eoin Graham, 12 Patrick Graham, 13  PJ O’Connell, 14 Donal Graham, 15 Patrick Dougan

Subs: James O’Connell for Patrick Dougan 40mins Ronan Graham for Matthew Mullan 41mins.