Con Magees make it two wins out of two

All County Hurling League Division 4

Ardoyne 0-08 Glenravel 2-24

Con Magees notched up their second successive victory in ACHL Div 4 with a fairly straightforward win over Ardoyne at the recently renamed Fennell Park on Cliftonville Road. Ardoyne started brightly and had the first score from Fiachra McVicar but the visitors edged in front through a free from Stevie Acheson and 2 from play delivered by midfielder Padge O’Neill and full forward Caolan Mullan. Ardoyne’s influential free taker Hugh Grieve pulled one back before veteran Vic McCann edged Glenravel further ahead with 2 fine scores from play in the 6th and 7th minute.

Ardoyne stayed in touch through the accurate free taking of Grieve with two more in the 8th and 9th minute but the visitors were now starting to get on top and when Declan Traynor goaled from a tight angle in the 10th minute it started to look very bleak for the locals. Further points from Stevie Acheson (2 x frees), James Duffin ( 1 x 65) and points from play from Neil McCann, Odhran McAleenan and Declan Traynor put Con Magees in front at half time on a 0-05 to 1-12 scoreline. Ardoyne’s cause was severely weakened on the stroke of half time when they lost their influential midfielder, Kealan McCallon to a suspected fracture which saw him taken to hospital straightaway.

The locals started the second half as they did the first with a fine point off a free from Hugh Grieve – who would go on to be their top scorer on the day with a tally of 6 points to his name. But the Glensmen were really putting the screws on their rivals and some excellent fielding by Jonathan Fyfe yielded loads of possession for Glenravel which they duly converted to scores. Stevie Acheson effectively sealed victory with a well taken goal on 37 minutes. At this stage the floodgates opened and Stevie Acheson, Padge O’Neill, Declan Traynor, James Duffin and Jonathan Fyfe getting on the scoresheet as Glenravel started to run riot through a beleaguered Ardoyne defence. The Belfast men worked hard under heavy pressure with Pascal Clarke and High Grieve recording a couple of points in the 48th and 60th minute however Glenravel were scoring at will at this stage. Points from Neil McCann, Declan Traynor and Padge O’Neill stretched the Glensmen’s lead until Odhran McAleenan brought the game to an end with the final point on 63 minutes.

This was a fast flowing game played on the 4G surface at “The Crikkie” but Glenravel had too much class in the end and ran out deserved winners on 0-08 to 2-24 scoreline. Hugh Grieve was the pick of the local men finishing with a personal tally of 6 points whilst Jonathan Fyfe, Declan Traynor and Stevie Acheson impressed most for the Glensmen.

Teams:
Ardoyne: John Paul Agnew, Conor Keenan, Sean McGearty, Paul O’Halloran, David Saunders, Jim Og McAuley, Pascal Clarke (0-01), Kealan McCallan, Martin McLaughlin, Fichar McVicar (0-01), Cahal Clarke, Christopher McShane, Luke Brady, Stephen Hill, Hugh Grieve (0-06, 5f)

Glenravel: Ronan Donelly, Declan Mcauley, Conor Carey, Michael Magee, Dean Kerr, James Duffin (0-03, 3f). Conleth O’Loan, Padge O’Neill (0-03), Jonathon Fyfe (0-01), Stephen Acheson (1-04, 3f), Neil McCann (0-05), Declan Traynor (1-03), Chris McCann, Caolan Mullan (0-02), Odhran McAleenan (0-03)

All Saints Lose Out to Naomh Colm Cille and on form Chris Kearns

ACHL Division 4

All Saints started their 2019 Div 4 league campaign on Sunday when they hosted Naomh Colm Cille  at a cold, wet and blustery Quinn Park. The nearby windmills were in full sail as a gale blew down the pitch and with interspersed showers adding to the difficult conditions any chance of open hurling were curtailed.

Naomh Colm Cille won the toss and opted to play with the wind. Both sides missed chances in the opening quarter as players tried to acclimatise to the conditions; wind assisted shots went wide for Naomh Colm Cille  while at the opposite end balls fell short and dropped invitingly for Eric Kirwan  in the visitors’ nets to collect and clear. Both sets of backs were on top and scores were hard to come by.

Chris Kearns got the visitors off the mark with a point from play. The blustery conditions were far from ideal for taking frees and both sides missed a number of placed balls before Damian Gillan slotted one over from long range to give All Saints there first score of the half. John McGuigan replied for NCC with a point from play before Kearns added another from a placed ball. Kearns launched a speculative ball into the Ballymena square where Daire Hasson seemed to have it well covered only for the ball to catch a gust of wind, change direction, and slip past him into the net.

 At the other end of the field, during a goal mouth scramble All Saints were disappointed when claims for a goal were ruled out as the umpire adjudged that the ball had not crossed the line. The sliotar was eventually cleared by a resolute Naomh Colm Cille defence but there was some consolation for the Saints when the clearance was intercepted and returned over the bar by Niall McGarry.  Late in the half Colum Neeson was quickest to react to a dropping ball on the 45m line and dispatched it over the bar for All Saints third and final score of the half.

At half time Naomh Colm Cille edged the contest by a goal (0:03 : 1:03) but All Saints were probably the happier side as they prepared to play with the wind and a three point deficit seemed far from unassailable.  However the home side’s hopes did not materialise as Naomh Colm Cille started to exert dominance on the game at the restart. They adapted to the headwind by playing a short passing/running game and working the ball up the field to scoring zones. Ballymena found it difficult to counter attacks and as they lost shape at the back Naomh Colm Cille started to pick off scores.  Chris Kearns at number 12 continued to be the main protagonist for Naomh Colm Cille  getting onto a lot of ball and bagging a further five points (four from play and a free) to increase his personal tally for the day to  1:08. John McGuigan (0:01), Ciaran Doris (0:02) and Darragh Coney also added points.

Things just didn’t click for All Saints in the second half; they missed a number of chances as shots and frees were carried by the wind and veered wide of the posts and a mix up in the back line led to the ball hitting a defender and rebounding into the net – some days toast lands with the jammy side down!

The home side added two points in the second half: a free from Damian Gillan and a fine effort from Brendan McDonnell finished off after a bursting run from the half back line. 

Final Score: All Saints 0:05 Naomh Colmcille 2:12

 It’s early days and both teams will have learned a lot from yesterday’s game in terms of where they are with fitness, touch, team play and tactics. The Ballymena pitch has been rested recently and was in great condition – bualadh bos to Hector and Joe but there is no substitute for getting out onto grass, so hopefully with longer evenings and improving weather, pitches will be more readily available for training and with the next round of matches a month away there will be ample time to work on lessons learned.

This was a new look Ballymena side, with a number of regulars from last season unavailable due to retirement, promotion, illness, injury, or writing artistic memoirs. This created opportunities for the newly installed management team of Darren McGinty and Enda Casey to try out some debutants, prodigal sons and recent transfers:

Cormac Magill performed well in his first senior game after stepping up from minor and showed a lot of promise for the future. Kieran Butler made a welcome return to make his presence felt in the forward line as did Paul Scullion and Martin McNally. On St Patrick’s Day a shamrock was plucked from his native parish and relocated to Slemish Park– PJ xxx is a welcome addition to the squad and was formally planted in Ballymena soil in the second half.

Teams

All Saints: Daire Hasson, Anthony Mitchell, Chris McAfee, Terence Diamond, Sean O’Rawe, Luke O’Rawe, Brendan McDonnell (0:01), Damian Gillan (0:02 – frees), Padhraig Magill, Colum Neeson (0:01), Cormac Magill, Niall McGarry (0:01), Kieran Butler, Francis Casey.  Paul Scullion, Martin McNally, Jame Mcdonnell, PJ, Barry Dorrity.

Naomh Colm Cille: Eric Kiran, Shea Devin, Sean key, Liam McIlvenna, Darragh Coney (0:01), Ryan O’Neill Duff, Vincent McCann, John McGuigan (0:02), Irwin Dornelan, Chris Kearns (1:08), Sean Kelly, Oisin O’Neill, Paul Maguire, Gary Mulgrew, Niall O’Neill, Cathal Hughes, Sean Armstrong, Ciaran Doris (0:02), Caolan Devlin, Conor Hagan, Ronan Maguire. Tighernan Daly,

Con Magees too strong, but welcome back Latharna Óg

All County Hurling League Division 4

Con Magees Glenravel 6-15 Latharna Óg 0-02

By Cormac Scullion

On a wet and blustery Fr Maginn Park, Latharna Óg re-entered the All County Leagues for the first time since 2014, a credit to all involved and a heartening sight to see in local GAA. With a squad of 25 to choose from and a new kit sponsored by the Station Bar, which was unveiled at a club fundraiser on St Patrick’s weekend, the Larne men proudly lined up for a team photo before taking up their positions and waiting for referee Gerry Cosgrove to get the match underway.

Con Magees were keen to get started too and with a new management set up in place and a welcome sprinkling of youth through the side, ambitions are high for the season ahead.

The first score of the match was delivered after 2mins by Sean McKay for Con Magees when he was fouled by an over eager Larne defender and dusted himself off to send the ball over the bar from the resultant free. Latharna Óg Goalkeeper, Billy Bell, pucked the ball out only to see it sail straight back over the bar from beyond midfield after Declan Traynor won the dropping ball and fed Padge O’Neill, with the busy midfielder accurate from long range.

Latharna Óg were certainly not standing back in the early stages but another poor tackle on Declan Traynor allowed Sean McKay to step up again and send over a free from close range. A long ball into the square by Jonny Fyfe saw Shane Woulahan’s eyes light up but Latharna Óg’s full back, Barry Petticrew, did enough to put him off and the ball rolled harmlessly over the end line, crisis averted!

A hand injury to Sean McElroy saw Conor Carey introduced to the fray and shortly after that Sean McKay slotted over another free after a foul on Caolan Mullan.

Sean McKay who scored 2-7 for Con Magees on his senior debut.

The first goal of the game came from the stick of Con Magees Declan Traynor when his long speculative effort from 60 meters dropped awkwardly and skidded into the net with Shane Woulahan making his presence felt, they all count!

Philip McKendry won a high ball at midfield for Latharna Óg and when he was fouled, Michael Lismore stepped up to open his account with a well taken free from the left wing on 21 mins. This score seemed to inject some much needed energy into the Latharna Óg veins and they pushed on to force a goalmouth scramble in which Ronan Donnelly did just enough to keep the ball out of the net but was fouled as he went to clear his lines.

Con Magees reacted well however, and kept the scoreboard ticking over hitting 2-02 without reply in the final 5 mins of the half – a pointed Sean McKay free, a point from Brian O’Neill and 2 goals, 1 from Shane Woulahan after good work by Brian O’Neill and Caolan Mullan and an own goal after a free by Sean McKay was driven hard and low across the square taking a wicked deflection to deceive Billy Bell in the Latharna Óg net.

Half time score: Con Magees 3-07 Latharna Óg 0-01

A determined start to the second half by Latharna Óg was stopped in its tracks by a double effort from Shane Woulahan when he collected a low ball by Jonny Fyfe and got the better of Barry Petticrew to find the corner of the net. No sooner was the ball pucked out than it was back in again and Woulahan had it in his possession and over the bar for another Con Magees point.

The evergreen Neil McCann and Dean Kerr were introduced for Caolan Mullan and Shane Woulahan after 37 mins, closely followed by 2 Declan Traynor points either side of a Sean McKay free. Some stout defending by Latharna Óg denied Neil McCann a point but a Dean Kerr effort and one from a James Duffin ‘65 kept Con Magees in control.

The final 10mins saw Con Magees stretch their lead despite a point by the hard working Michael Lismore for Latharna Óg. A long ball in by Padge O’Neill was picked up by Sean McKay who rounded his marker and found the corner of the net. 2 mins later the same player ran onto a smart hand pass by Dean Kerr and rifled the ball into the roof of the net from a tight angle. 2 more points from Sean McKay, one a free the other a penalty, and a Conor Carey point from a McKay pass brought the match to a close and Con Magees ran out convincing winners.

This was a tough opener for Latharna Óg but they can take heart from some hard working performances, especially Barry Petticrew, Conor Matthews, Michael Lismore and Ryan O’Donnell. Despite the score line, the Larne men battled to the final whistle and will certainly have better days.

For Con Magees, James Duffin, Conleth O’Loan, Jonny Fyfe, Declan Traynor and Shane Woulahan all stood out but with a tally of 2-07 on his Senior debut, special mention has to go to Sean McKay. Accurate all day from placed balls and with 2 well taken goals from open play, the young forward is certainly one to look out for in the 2019 season.

Teams and scorers:

Con Magees: Ronan Donnelly; Declan McAuley, Sean Burns, Stephen Atcheson; Michael McDonnell, James Duffin, Conleth O’Loan; Padge O’Neill, Jonny Fyfe; Brian O’Neill, Declan Traynor, Sean McKay; Sean McElroy, Shane Woulahan, Caolan Mullan. Subs: Conor Carey for Sean McElroy, Neil McCann for Caolan Mullan, Dean Kerr for Shane Woulahan.

Scorers: Sean McKay 2-07 (0-07 frees), Shane Woulahan 2-01, Declan Traynor 1-02, James Duffin 0-01, Dean Kerr 0-01, Brian O’Neill 0-01, Conor Carey 0-01, Padge O’Neill 0-01

Latharna Óg: Billy Bell; Anthony O’Neill, Barry Petticrew, Conor Barkley; Darren Martin, Conor Matthews, Caolan Shields; Ryan O’Donnell, Philip McKendry; Gary Bergin, Mark Robinson, Michael Lismore; Chrissy Milliken, Daniel Hegarty, Phil Craig.

Scorers: Michael Lismore 0-02

Referee: Gerry Cosgrove.

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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