Con Magees hurlers win promotion to Division 3

All County Hurling League – Division 3 & 4 Play Off

Con Magees 2-7 Na Magha 2-3

Con Magees Glenravel won promotion to Division 3 of the Antrim Hurling Leagues when they overturned a two point deficit from their first leg against Na Magha by winning Wednesday evening’s second leg by four at Pairc MacUilin, Ballycastle. On a wet and windy evening the Glenravel men played with the wind in the opening half and were 2-6 to 0-2 to the good at the break. When they got the first point of the second half it appeared to be one way traffic for the Division 4 runners up, but they failed to raise another flag for the remaining 29 minutes plus injury time, but their defence held out to see them become the first runners up to win a promotion play-off against higher opposition.

Johnny Fyfe punches the air after Niall Donnelly centre) scores Glenravels opening goal.

Early points from Johnny Fyfe and Niall Donnelly got the Con Magees going but when Alan Grant pulled one back for Na Magha in the tenth minute it was getting a little worrying for the Glenravel men. Two more points from Padge O’Neill and 45 year old veteran Vic McCann had them 0-4 to 0-1 clear at the end of the first quarter but when Grant pulled another one back for the men from Derry city things did not look promising for the Glenravel side. However they really got going in the second quarter and after McCann added a second point they won the puc-out and put together a good flowing move which ended with Niall Donnelly crashing in their opening goal.

That score really got the Glenravel men going and after Donnelly had added a point from a free he dropped a 65 in around the Na Magha square where Brian ‘Twig’ O’Neill connected with the dropping ball to send it flying to the back of the net and give his team a 2-6 to 0-2 lead at the break.

Na Maghas Dairmuid Shiels in action against Glenravels Shane Woulahan and Johnny Fyfe

When Donnelly grabbed another point in the opening minute of the second half the Con Magees were eleven clear, and when they still held that advantage at the end of the third quarter they appeared to have it all wrapped up. However when Alan Grant fired a 20 metre free to the Glenravel net in the 46th minute the game began to change and when he added a point from play on 50 minutes the game was still within the Derry mens’ grasp. It was backs to the wall for the Glenravel men as they battled the Na Magha forwards and the strong wind and, though the Derry men grabbed a late goal to cut the gap back to four it came too late to really make a difference and the Con Magees held out for the win.

CON MAGEES: Ronan Donnelly, Conor Carey, Shanlee Kerr, Caolan Mullan, Damian O’Hagan, James Duffin, Conleth O’Loan, Stephen Acheson, Padge O’Neill, Niall Donnelly, Sean Burns, Shane Woulahan, Brian O’Neill, Neill McCann, Odhran McAleenan.

Subs – Johnny Fyfe.

‘Loaf’ leads the Emmet’s fightback

Antrim Hurling League Division 3

Cushendun Emmet’s 2-20 Bredagh 4-9

Cushendun scored a morale boosting win ahead of Saturday’s Intermediate Hurling Championship game with Sarsfields when they came from nine point down to beat visitors Breadgh in Tuesday evening’s Division 3 League game at the Rigs.                  Last year’s Junior champions have been struggling for form this season and when the fell 3-1 to 0-1 behind after just six minutes their prospects did not look good. However with Conlaoth ‘Loaf’ McNeill leading the charge they fought their way back into the game and boosted by a McNeill goal from a penalty they ended the opening half on top, leading by 1-12 to 3-4.                                                     After the change of ends they pushed on and another Loaf goal on fifty minutes put them in charge, winning in the end by five, despite conceding a last minute goal.

Bredagh flew from the traps at the start of the game and goals from Michael Scullion, Ian Galway and Sean McGourty, plus a point from Costello had them 3-1 to 0-1 ahead, the Emmet’s point coming from Harry Kilgore. The comeback started with three pointed frees from Conor McHugh and when James Morgan and McNeill also grabbed points they were back in business. McNeill was having a bigger influence on the play as the game went on and two points inside a minute were followed by a goal from a penalty on 21 minutes after James Morgan had been hauled down in the large square. The big man was on a roll and he added two more from play to bring his team level by the 22nds minute. A Rory Costello point on 25 minutes briefly put Bredagh back on terms, but Loaf restored the Emmet’s lead with a brilliant point direct from a sideline cut before David Kilgore chipped in with another from play to give the home team a two point cushion at the break.

Another McNeill point early in the second half put three between the teams and two in quick succession by Dominic McQuillan gave them a bit of breathing space. Bredagh kept in touch with a series of points from Ian Galway frees but McNeill’s second goal direct from a free on 49 minutes killed the game off.

The man of the match added two more, while Pearse Bannon and Harry Kilgore chipped in with one apiece to go eight clear, and even though Costello grabbed an injury time goal for Bredagh it was to have no bearing on the overall outcome.

CUSHENDUN: Eoin Magee, Sean Hamilton, Aidan Corbett, Michael Dunne, Gavin McCormick, Donal O’Hara, Niall McAuley, Thomas Scally, Conor McHugh, Dominic Sharkey, Dominic McQuillan, Harry Kilgore, James Morgan, Conlaoth McNeill, David Kilgore

Pearse Bannon for Mickey Dunne.

Gorts wrap it up with win over St Paul’s

Antrim Hurling League Division 3

St Paul’s 2-7 Gort na Móna 1-15

Gort na Móna won the Division 3 Hurling League on Tuesday evening when they travelled down to St Paul’s and beat the Shaw’s Road side by five points. Going into the game St Paul’s were also in contention but they needed to beat their neighbours by at least seven points. However the Gorts got away to a good start and a goal after 18 minutes by Dessie McClean gave them an edge they were never to lose. The visitors continued to press and were 1-12 to 1-4 ahead at half time.

The second half saw St Paul’s battle back, scoring a goal and three points while holding Gort na Móna to just three points. However the Gorts were always in control and they held out comfortably to clinch the league title.

For most of this league campaign Thomas McGilligan’s side have looked odds on to win promotion but a couple of slip ups in recent weeks created the opportunity for them to be caught. On Tuesday evening they showed just why they had won so many games this season as they deservedly wrapped it all up and they will look forward to their Junior Championship campaign with great confidence.  

St Paul’s late push for promotion continues with win over Emmets

All County Hurling League Division 3

Cushendun 0-16 St Paul’s 1-20

St Paul’s amazing comeback in Division 3 of the Antrim Hurling League continued at Cushendun on Wednesday evening when they beat the Emmet’s by seven points to continue a great run of victories. When the Shaw’s Road side lost their first two games of the season their hopes of promotion appeared to be very slim but once Mickey Rooney’s side got going they have lost just one more game and if they beat Gort na Mona in their last game of the season next Tuesday evening then they are champions.

Stephen Rooney was the star of the show in Cushendun on Wednesday evening and after Conor McHugh had given the home team an early lead Rooney started a charge that brought St Paul’s five points on the bounce, two from Rooney, and one each from James Farrell, Colm McLarnon and Gerard Carberry. Pearse Bannon pulled one back for the Emmett’s but four in a row from Rooney pulled his team 0-10 to 0-2 ahead after seventeen minutes.

Conor McHugh replied with a point from a free for Cushendun but a Gerard Carberry goal and a Fintan Gamle point helped St Paul’s to a 1-11 to 0-6 half time lead.

Points from the McHugh brothers Michael and Conor at the start of the second half left six between the teams but Stephen Rooney came back with two for the visitors to restore that eight point cushion. Harry Kilgore and Conor McHugh added points for the Emmet’s to close it to six again but Rooney, Carberry and Doyle replied for the Belfast men to give them a nine point cushion.

In their best spell of the game Cushendun then hit five points without reply through Michael McHugh, James Morgan, Conor McHugh (2) and Harry Kilgore and with St Paul’s now down to 14 men there was just four points between the sides with still five minutes left to play. For a time it was a bit anxious for the visitors but points from Colum McLarnon and Gerard Carberry settled the nerves and Stephen Rooney sealed it with a late point.

Four-midable Gort return to winning ways

ACHL Division Three

Gort na Mona 4-17-0-10 Cushendun

By Kevin Herron from Enright Park

Gort na Mona recovered from their midweek blip at the hands of Bredagh with a comprehensive 4-17-0-10 defeat of county Junior Champions Cushendun at Enright Park on Sunday afternoon.

Three goals inside the opening twenty minutes had the Turf Lodge men firmly in the driving seat as Dessie McClean, Darren Boyd and Mark Rea all found majors to give their side a 3-08-0-05 lead at the break.

Boyd and McClean combined for their sides fourth shortly after the restart and like the opening half and it was very much one way traffic for the majority of the second period.

It took a few minutes for the sides to adapt to the conditions early on in Enright Park as the pounding rain and sandy surface made things extremely difficult.

Cushendun opened the scoring courtesy of Conor McHugh’s third minute free – but Dessie McClean responded from a similar scenario.

The opening goal arrived after five minutes – Dessie McClean let fly with a high shot that Cushendun goalkeeper Eoin Magee thought was going to drop over the bar, only for the ball to drop to the net and embarrass the unfortunate net minder.

Thomas Scally responded with a point from range – but the visitors were spared the concession of a second goal by referee Ciaran McCloskey.

Patrick McCaffrey switched the play with Dessie McClean and the goalscorer fed Christopher McErlean – McErlean turned the ball home, however McCloskey adjudged the full forward to have strayed into the square.

Harry Kilgore shook off heavy pressure and made it a one point game in the aftermath (1-01-0-03) and the sides traded further scores through Patrick McCaffey and Conor McHugh (free).

Gort na Mona opened up a two-point advantage approaching the midday point in the half through points from McErlean and Mark Rea.

The hosts were then gifted the opportunity of a second goal on 17 minutes; Gary Doyle was set to pull the trigger, only to be chopped down and referee McCloskey to signal for a penalty.

Darren Boyd seized responsibility and rifled low past Magee into the bottom right corner to make it 2-04-0-04.

With little over ten minutes to the break the Gort’s had effectively  secured victory with their third goal of the half – under extremely fortunate circumstances.  

Wing-half back Mark Rea advanced forward and let fly with a shot that dropped into the hand of Cushendun goalkeeper Eoin Magee and under pressure from Christopher McErlean; Magee spilled the ball into his own net to ensure Gort na Mona led 3-04-0-04.

The sides traded scores in the aftermath through Dessie McClean and Dominic Sharkey but it was the dominant hosts that ended the half with three successive points.

Chris McErlean popped the ball over the bar, followed by a third McClean point – the last score before the break was one that appeared to be manufactured on the training ground as Gavin McKenna was the recipient of a quick sideline ball and shot over the bar to give his side a 3-08-0-05 advantage at the interval.

Gort na Mona increased their lead upon the resumption with McClean (free) and substitute Brendan Quinn on target.

On 34 minutes the hosts hit their final goal of the afternoon – first half goal scorers Boyd and McClean combined to great effect and McClean lashed the ball to the corner of the net past substitute keeper Michael McHugh to claim his second of the afternoon and in the process make it 4-10-0-05.

Conor McHugh replied with his third converted free of the afternoon – but Niall Healy and Dessie McClean (free) forged further scores.

Darren Boyd could have added a fifth goal in between – a fine move between McClean and Healy saw the ball played into the path of the full-forward whose shot crashed off the post.

The sides traded the next four scores, Cushendun were playing for pride by this stage and twice narrowed the margin through Pierce Bannon and substitute Michael Dunne, though Connor McCann and Brendan Quinn responded in turn.

Cushendun had the chance of a consolation goal with little over ten minutes remaining as Conor McHugh was chopped down after a long foray forward. Referee McCloskey awarded a 21-yard free which McHugh took responsibility for, but his effort was scrambled to safety.

Declan Hughes and Dessie McClean added their sides final scores of the afternoon and at the other end Gort’s keeper Padraig Fryers made himself big to deny Pierce Bannon.

Cushendun would reach double figures thanks to late converted frees from Conor McHugh and Aidan Corbett – it had little bearing on the final outcome as Gort na Mona move a step nearer to the league title and promotion to Division Two Hurling. 

Gort na Mona: P Fryers, J Connolly, G McKenna (0-01), C Devlin, M Rea (1-01), P McHugh, N Henry, P McCaffrey (0-01), D Hughes (0-01), C McCann (0-01), N Doyle, N Healy (0-01), D McClean (2-07, 0-05f), C McErlean (0-02), D Boyd (1-00f). Subs: B Quinn (0-02) for N Doyle (28 mins); P Cournane for C Devlin (48 mins): T McCaffrey for D Hughes (48 mins); C Healy for C McErlean (50 mins); R Coleman for N Healy (53 mins).

Cushendun: E Magee, S Hamilton, A Corbett (0-01f), J McKay, C McKay, T Scally (0-01), N McAuley, C McHugh (0-04f), J Morgan, D Sharkey (0-01), H Kilgore (0-02), P Bannon, A McMullan, E McQuillan, C Bannon. Subs: M McHugh for E Magee (30 mins), R Millar for C Bannon (30 mins), M Dunne for D Sharkey (47 mins).

Referee: Ciaran McCloskey (Loughgiel)