All Saints happy with first season back in All County leagues

ACHL Division 4

All Saints 3-10 St. Teresa’s 0-3

While the result of this game didn’t mean a great deal in the greater scheme of things it never the less provided another opportunity for the home side to continue their preparations for the forthcoming Leinster Junior B championship next month.

In truth they were seldom troubled by a weakened St. Teresa’s side who were merely fulfilling a fixture and the Glen Road side had no answer to a home side who have continued to improve in their first season back in the All County league for some years.

The game was as good as over at half time when the Quinn Park side led by 2-7 to 0-2 with Gary Miskella leading the way on the ’40’. Miskella finished top scorer with 1-2 while Damian Gillan added three points from right half back as their defence coped with any threat that the visitors could muster.

While they are likely to face a much stiffer challenge in their first foray into Leinster next month their management will never the less be pleased at the number of players who got their names on the score-sheet with all of the half-backs, both mid-fielders and all the forward line registering scores.

All Saints: Daire Hasson, Vinny Esler, Terence Diamond Anthony Mitchell, Damian Gillan (0-3) Colum Neeson (0-1) Brendan McDonnell Liam Cassley (0-1) Luke O’Rawe (0-1) Niall McGarry (0-1) Gary Miskella (1-2) Ciaran Neeson (0-1) Barry Dorrity (0-1) Chris McAfee (1-0) Frank Casey (1-0)

 

All Saints come-back falls short as Bredagh continue to set the pace

 

67O’Neill’s ACHL Division 4

All Saints 2-8 Bredagh 1-16

Bredagh continue to set the pace at the top of division 4 of the Antrim ACH League but not before being pushed all the way by a battling All Saints side who looked to be on their way to something of a hiding when they trailed 1-8 to 0-4 at the half way stage.

During the opening half the visitors put the home side under pressure in every sector of the field and imposed a strangle hold around mid-field, depriving All Saints star men time on the ball and time and again forcing turn over.

When All Saints did get ball into their forward line the Bredagh full-back line of Mark Patterson, Eoin McAllister and Niall Smyth dealt with everything that came their way and a Sean McGourty goal and a flurry of points from Ian Galway saw the league leader’s move into a comfortable 7 point lead at the short whistle.

After the break it was a different story and All Saints returned for the second half a much more focused and determined side and at one stage had reduced the deficit to four points. However the league leaders had done enough during the opening half but were never the less relieved to hear the full-time whistle.

As the rain came down it was visitors Bredagh who opened on the offensive but Danny Robinson was wide of the target before Ciaran Neeson’s attempt suffered the same fate at the other end. Robinson atoned for his earlier miss as he opened the visitors account in the third minute and points from Michael Woods and Ian Galway had them three ahead with six minutes gone.

All Saints were struggling to gain meaningful possession around the middle third of the field but Liam Cassley got them off the mark with a point in the 8th minute but the visitors response was immediate and Sean McGourty sent over a couple of points to move them four in front.

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Ian Galway pointed an 11th minute free and McGourty added another from play as the Down men’s high press and sharp tackling continued to disrupt the efforts of the Quinn Park side to get any rhythm into their game.

Bredagh struck with a goal in the 16th minute and it was one that might have been prevented but Sean McGourty was allowed to steal in unmarked to bat an Ian Galway long range free to the net from close range and put his side into a commanding 1-6 to 0-1 lead.

Oran McFlynn added a point before Liam Cassley freed himself of the shackles of his marker to send over All Saints second point and the home side were now enjoying much more possession but unfortunately hit a series of wides with the usually deadly Ciaran Neeson off target from a couple of frees.

Neeson redeemed himself with All Saints third point of the night and he appeared to have found his range when he added another in the 22nd minute but the visitors regained the initiative in the closing stages of the half and added points from Sean McGourty, Damian Hanraghan, Oran McFlynn and Ian Galway with Neeson getting the home sides fourth and the league leaders looked in complete control as referee Rab Lappin sounded his half time whistle.

A betting man would have probably torn up his betting slip at this stage had he taken a punt on All Saints before the game but whatever the message from mangers ‘Skinner’ McAllister and Paddy Neeson at half time that same punter might well have been searching through the wet grass for that same betting slip with only minutes remaining.

The Ballymena men came out for the second half much more determined and focused, epitomised by mid-fielder Ciaran McGarry who contested every ball as if his life depended on it. Emmet Trainor extended the Bredagh lead with a point in the 5th minute and normal service appeared to have resumed.

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Damian Gillan replied with an All Saints point and then the same player bundled home a goal from close range as the new found intensity of the All Saints men began to pay dividends. Ciaran Neeson added a point from a 40 meter free off the hand of Bredagh keeper, Aaron Maguire and for the first time we had a game on our hands.

The home side continued to press and a good move saw Neeson fire to the net again but the referee’s whistle had sounded for an earlier infringement, much to the consternation of the Ballymena men but Neeson pointed the resulting free and there were only five between the sides.

Like all good sides Bredagh regrouped and appeared to have weathered the early storm as Ian Galway, Sean McGourty and Galway again split the posts to move the visitors eight ahead again but All Saints quite simply refused to throw in the towel.

Ciaran Neeson, now operating very effectively in the corner came out field to point a 21st minute free and then substitute, Joe Crawford robbed keeper Aaron Maguire to set up Ciaran Cassley and the big mid-fielder made no mistake as he drilled his shot to the net and there was only four in it with six minutes of normal play remaining.

Donal Hughes extended the visitors lead to five from the puck out but All Saints responded and were awarded a close range free in the 26th minute with Neeson deciding to go for goal but his well struck shot was repelled by a packed Bredagh defence and the danger cleared.

The visitors kept their nerve and refused to panic as Ian Galway pointed in the 27th minute and in a hectic close to the game Damian Gillan was wide from a long range free and Ciaran Neeson’s attempt at goal from another free sailed wide of the target.

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In the end the best team won and it isn’t hard to see why Bredagh lead this division and look uncatchable. They were solid throughout the game with Mark Patterson, Niall Smyth, Oran McFlynn, Ian Galway, Danny Robinson and Sean McGourty their outstanding performers on the night.

All Saints went into this game minus a few regulars and looked to be heading for a heavy defeat at half time but when I spoke to ‘Skinner’ McAllister after the game he was very pleased by his side’s second half effort.

The Ballymena defence tightened considerably after the break with Terence Diamond, Padhraig Magill and Colum Neeson to the fore while the insatiable work rate of Ciaran McGarry and the skill of Ciaran Cassley started to have a big influence at mid-field.

The moving of Ciaran Neeson into the corner gave them a lot more punch in attack and young Neeson may be disappointed that a number of his frees were off target in difficult conditions but his overall effort cannot be faulted and he remains one of his side’s best prospects in a season that has been very satisfactory to date.

All Saints: Daire Hasson, Darren McGinty, Terence Diamond, Anthony Mitchell, Padhraig Magill, Colum Neeson, Eoin McGuigan, Ciaran McGarry, Liam Cassley, Ciaran Neeson, Gary Miskella, Damian Gillan, Vinny Esler, Barry Dorrity, Tony Connolly. Subs: Joe Crawford, Michael Dorrity.

Bredagh: Aaron Maguire, Mark Patterson, Eoin McAllister, Niall Smyth, Ryan Curran, Donal Hughes, Oran McFlynn, Ian Galway, Danny Robinson, Michael Woods, Emmet Trainor, Damian Hanrahan, Sean McGourty, Matthew McAffee, Tiarnan Curran, Subs: Vince McCool.

Referee: Rab Lappin (Lamh Dhearg)

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Bredagh go five clear at the top

O’Neill’s All County Hurling League – Division 4

Con Magees    1:11         Bredagh     0:17

By Fergus Miskelly

Division 4 table toppers Bredagh all but wrapped up promotion to Division 3 of the All County Hurling Leagues when they travelled to Glenravel on Wednesday evening and beat second placed Con Magees by 0-17 to 1-11to move five points clear of the pack. Na Magha, who have three games in hand, can still catch them but the rest of the teams are too far back to close the gap at this late stage.
The Down men all but sealed the win in a dominant first half. After two early points by free taker Ian Galway and corner forward Niall McFarland Con Magees got one back through a fine strike from Padge O’Neill. However the visitors then took control as they hit eight points without reply, three of them from Ian Galway, two apiece from Ronan Costello and Emmet Trainor and one from Donal Hughes.A good run from centre forward Neill McCann set up Niall Donnelly for what was Glenravel’s only other score of the half but Bredagh finished with another point from Costello to lead by 010 to 0-2 at half time.

Once again Glenravel proved they are a second half team as their second half display in no way resembled that of the first.
Whatever was said by the management team at half time seemed to work, as the Glenravel team put in a determined and classy second half performance.
With seven minutes of this game remaining Kieran McIntyre’s dogged determination for possession was rewarded with a free which Niall Donnelly converted to leave it a one point game, and the greatest comeback of the season looked on the cards. However the home team had left themselves with too much to do against league leaders Bredagh, and fell short by 3 points in the end.two 2 minutes with a neat point, followed up with a pointed free from Niall Donnelly.
Brian ‘Twig’ O’Neill was playing like a demon possessed, blocking down his opponent, winning the break and firing a diagonal ball into the corner which Dean Kerr won at full stretch, before unleashing a great strike that was well saved by the keeper to knock it over for a point.
Next up Decky Traynor won the ball in the corner, beat his man before laying off to Niall Donnelly who slotted over. Shortly after Donnelly again won the ball wide on the wing and sent over a fine point from 50 yards.

Saffron Gael 23Conleth O’Loan who scored a goal for Con Magees seconds after being introduced.          Pic by Dylan McIlwaine

Bredagh struggled with the intensity of the opening ten minutes of the second half but eventually settled and scored 3 unanswered points.
At this point Conleth O’Loan was brought on for Dean Kerr, and within 30 seconds had the ball in the back of the Bredagh net, winning the ball 50 yards out and going on a solo run before hitting an unstoppable shot from the edge of the penalty area.
The goal reduced the deficit to 4 points, and the intensity rose again. With the game flowing end to end, the tackles were flying in, and our full back line in particular put their bodies on the line several times when goals looked certain.
Glenravel fired over 3 unanswered points via the hurl of Niall Donnelly from frees to reduce the arrears to the minimum and suddenly it was anybody’s game. However Bredagh again upped their game again, hitting three unanswered points before Brian O’Neill got the games’ final score to leave a 3 point margin.
Despite defeat Glenravel put in a good performance against the South Belfast side who have strolled through this league at a canter.

Bredagh – Aaron Maguire, Mark Patterson, Chris Ferry, Danny Robinson, Ryan Curran, Eoin McAllister, Tom McGuckin, Ian Galway, Michael Woods, Cormac Hughes, Emmett Trainor, Joe Hanrahan, Ronan Costello, Donal Hughes, Niall McFarland.

Con Magees: R Donnelly, S Burns, S Kerr, C Mullan, S Atcheson, M Scullion, D O’Hagan, P O’Neill, M McDonnell, B O’Neill, N McCann, D Traynor, K McIntyre, N Donnelly, D Kerr.

Referee – John Carson (Ruairi Og)

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Pics by Dylan McIlwaine

 

Saints continue to improve as they record fifth win of the season

 

45.JPGCiaran Neeson who scored 1-6 for All Saints in their win over St. Agners at Slemish Park today.

O’Neill’s ACHL Division 4

All Saints 3-14 St. Agnes 0-7

All Saints, Ballymena recorded their fifth win of a season where they have returned to All County action after a number of year’s absence and to date they have performed admirably as they attempt to build a team for the future.

A lack of players brought about their withdrawal but an influx of young players has heralded their return and on recent performances the future looks bright for the Ballymena side. After losing to a strong Glenravel team last week but performing well they had St. Agnes as visitors to Slemish Park on Sunday.

The ‘Aggies’ hung in for a time thanks mainly to the excellent free taking of Ronan Carroll but when Ciaran Neeson fired home a 31st minute penalty Paddy Neeson’s side took control. It was the visitors who took the lead when Carroll pointed a long range free but two pointed frees from Damian Gillan and another from Ciaran Neeson had the home side two in front.

St. Agnes were battling hard to stay in contention and an excellent point from Conor Mclean from out on the left closed the gap to the minimum with ten minutes gone. Ciaran Neeson replied immediately with three excellent All Saints points to move his side three in front after 16 minutes.

Another well struck free by Ronan Carroll closed the gap to two but again Neeson relied from a free to edge them three in front again after 20 minutes. Vinny Esler added a good point and Liam Cassley took a pass from Joe Crawford to extend the Ballymena lead to five.

Cormac Flannery struck an excellent point for the visitors to stop the rut but a goal by Ciaran Neeson from the penalty spot in the 31st minute put All Saints in pole position as the half time whistle sounded.

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All Saints Luke O’Rawe wins possession at mid-field.

It wasn’t to get any better for the South Antrim side when play resumed after  the break as Ciaran Cassley extended the home lead with a fine long range point and Luke O’Rawe and Ciaran McGarry both fired wide before the excellent Carroll struck his side’s fifth point from another free with six minutes gone.

All Saints were now on top in most areas of the field and their fitness and movement continued to stretch the opposition as Ciaran McGarry got in for their second goal to move them nine ahead before Ronan Carroll again replied with a point for the ‘Aggies’ who were now struggling to keep in touch.

Damian Gillan responded with another All Saints point in the 20th minute to extend his side’s advantage to 13 and when Sean O’Rawe got in for a third goal in the 27th minute it was over. St. Agnes keeper Kevin Grieve made a great initial save to deny Ciaran McGarry but substitute O’Rawe collected the rebound to fire to the net from an acute angle.

St. Agnes responded with a consolation point from Grieve who had switched his keeper jersey to move outfield with Cassley from a long range free and Ciaran Neeson from play concluding the scoring.

A good win for All Saints and encouraging signs that they can continue to improve in their first season back in division 4. They have unearthed a fine crop of young players in Daire Hasson, Vinny Esler, Brendan McDonnell, Ciaran Neeson, Luke O’Rawe and Sean O’Rawe all enjoying their first season in league action supplemented by the experience of Darren McGinty Chris McAffee, Liam Cassley, Damian Gillan and Ciaran McGarry.

Spare a thought for St. Agnes though. They arrived with only 15 players and lost a player to injury. They had excellent performers in Kevin Grive, Ronan Carroll, Cormac Flannery and Sean McIlhatton and never threw in the towel.

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All Saints: Daire Hasson, Darren McGinty, Christopher McAffee, Francis Casey, Anthony Mitchell Colum Neeson, Brendan McDonnell, Liam Cassley, Luke O’Rawe, Eoin McGuigan, Damian Gillan, Vincent Essler, Joe Crawford, Ciaran McGarry, Ciaran Neeson. Subs: Niall McGarry, Gary Miskella and Sean O’Rawe for Eoin McGuigan, Joe Crawford and Anthony Mitchell

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St. Agnes: Kevin Grieve, Neill Gillespie, Martin Robb, Diarmaid Kelly, Matt Carlin, Ronan Carroll, Fintan McBride, Briondan McLarnon, Cormac Flannery, Joe Robinson, Conor McLean, Declan McLarnon, Sean McIlhatton, Donal Rooney, Conor Pelan

Referee: Ryan O’Reilly (Glenravel)

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Con Magees finish strong to beat All Saints

All County Hurling League Div 4

Con Magees    2.20        All Saints Ballymena    0.13

By Fergus Miskelly

Glenravel recorded a comprehensive 13 point victory over near neighbours Ballymena on Wednesday evening at Fr Maginn Park. In the end it proved decisive but for long periods that was far from the case, with the All Saints centre forward Liam Cassley proving a handful. Aided by his former Cloughmill’s colleague, Damian Gillan who hit 0-11 of his team’s 13 points, seven of them coming from frees while only 2 of Glenravel’s scores from placed balls, hitting an impressive 2.18 from open play, 6 of these coming from Declan Traynor who proved unmarkable throughout the hour.

Kieran McIntyre hit the game’s opening point after 2 minutes quickly followed by Declan Traynor. Ballymena responded with a pointed free before Dean Kerr opened his account with a point after a clever hand pass from Neil ‘Vic’ McCann. McIntyre scored next with a fine effort from 60 yards, and McCann tapped over another after good work from Micky McDonnell. From the resulting puck-out Declan Traynor intercepted with a great pick up at full sprint, soloing through and slotting over. Odhran McAleenan got on the score sheet next with a point from near the corner flag but Ballymena responded with 2 points from distance

Glenravel’s first major came on 22 minutes when Paddy O’Neill fielded a high ball in the middle of the field and fed it into Niall Donnelly who won it cleanly, turned and hit the net. The score at this stage was 1.07 to three points, with all six Glenravel forwards on the score sheet. Micky McDonnell playing at midfield hit another point but Ballymena hit the remaining two scores of the half to leave the score 1.08 to 0.05 at the break.ConMageesBallymenaHurling011

At the start of the second half Ballymena upped their game hitting 4 points without reply, and had it not been for the efforts of Shanlee Kerr and Turbo O’Hagan in defence it could have been more, clearing the ball time and time again. Padge O’Neill got Glenravel going again with a pointed free It was ‘tit for tat’ at this stage with Niall Donnelly pointing then Ballymena pulled two back, as the excellent Cassley kept them well in touch. Second half substitute Conleth OLoan and Declan Traynor tapped over two more scores to pull the home team clear and further good work from O’Loan set up Niall Donnelly for another minor score. Archie Rae Jnr was introduced at this stage for Micky McDonnell who had played a pivotal role at midfield, continually chasing down balls and putting decent passes into the forward line.

Niall Donnelly hit a point from a free and Sean McIlroy scored after good work from James Duffin. Padge O’Neill registered Glenravel’s second goal with only minutes remaining as a result of a high ball in to the box which sailed the whole way to the back of the net. The final score went to Ballymena with a pointed free.

Con Magees: R Donnelly, B O’Neill, S Kerr, C Mullan, D O’Hagan, M Scullion, S Atcheson, P O’Neill, M McDonald, K McIntyre, N McCann, D Traynor, D Kerr, N Donnelly, O McAleenan

.    All Saints. Daire Hasson, Darren McGinty, Chris McAfee, Sean O’Rawe, Vinney Esler, Luke O’Rawe, Eoin McGuigan (0-1), Ciaran McGarry, Gary Miskella, Liam Cassley (0-1), Damian Gillan (0-11 – 9 frees), Damian Kelly, Tony Connolly, Anthony Mitchell, Barry Dorrity. Subs Michael Dorrity, Joe Crawford

 

 

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Pics by Dylan McIlwaine