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.

Junior B Hurling Championship continues tonight

Junior B Hurling Championship semi-final

Davitt’s v All Saints

Whitehill (7-30)

The first of this year’s championships continues tonight with the semi-finals of the Junior B Hurling Championship where holder All Saints face Davitt’s at Tir na nOg at 7-30 while at the same time Latharna Og take on Loch Mor Dal gCais at Feystown.

Holders All Saints reached this year’s  semi-final with a resounding win over Ardoyne at Hightown in the quarter-final but they are likely to face a much stiffer test tonight against Michael Davitt’s who defeated St. Agnes in the other quarter-final.

These sides met in the 2017 decider and on that occasion Davitt’s emerged victorious but an improving All Saints claimed last year’s title and tonight’s game has all the makings of a tight contest.

Davitt’s withstood a second half comeback by St Agnes’ in their  quarter final at St Teresa’s to book a place in tonight’s semi-final. They were five up at half time and had appeared to be comfortable when they stretched their lead to seven during the second half but the Aggies were able to stay in touch by grabbing goals and twice got it back to just two, and even had the chance to snatch it with a Kevin Grieve injury time free.

However Davitt’s were deserving winners and had they have shown a bit more accuracy then they would have had the game wrapped up much earlier and they will need to sharpen up in that department before facing holders All Saints in tonight’s semi-final.

Stephen McGivern with 0-6, Gearoid Cosgrove, 1-2  and Ciaran Rice, 1-1  were the danger men for Davitt’s and will need some watching by the Ballymena defence.

All Saints  weren’t really pushed against Ardoyne in their quarter-final and with a strong wind in their favour they had the contest more or less tied up by half time. Chris McAffee, Damian Gillan, Cormac Magill, Liam Cassley,  Colum Neeson, Luke O’Rawe, Niall McGarry and  Ciaran Neeson  are the men who will carry the greatest threat for the Slemish Park side.

   IMPROVING LATHARNA OG COULD EDGE OTHER SEMI-FINAL

Junior B Hurling Championship B Semi-Final

  (Feystown 7-30)

Latharna Og v Loch Mor Dal gCais

Latharna Og of Larne made their return to ACHL Division 4 action this year and have acquitted themselves well. They meet a Loch Mor Dal gCais side who have struggled for results despite turning in a number of creditable performances in tonight’s semi-final at Feystown.

The sides met in the league at Brustin Braes a number of weeks back and on that occasion Latharna Og came out tops in a high scoring game but Loch Mor showed in glimpses just what they are capable of.

The game finished 4-19 to 1-13 in favour of the home side with Matthews, Lismore, McNeill and Lismore again the Lathara Og goal scorers with the Loch Mor goal coming from McDonnell after good work by Darragh and Drayne.

The Larne men have recorded five wins in their 12 outings in a very competitive division 4 with a win over All Saints in Ballymena perhaps their best result to date and they will start this one as firm favourites against a Loch Mor Dal gCais side who have recorded only one win in the league to date.

Championship and league can be entirely different things and with nothing to lose this one could be closer that you think  but the Larne men should go through to possibly another meeting with All Saints in the final.

Goals pave the way to heaven for Saints

Antrim Hurling League Division 4

St Teresa’s 3-9 Con Magees 0-11

St Teresa’s took a giant step towards clinching the Division 4 Hurling title on Sunday when they defeated previously unbeaten Glenravel. Victory in their final game of the season this Wednesday night at home to All Saints would see them level on league points with Glenravel but the Belfast men would be crowned champions on a head to head basis despite a very much inferior points difference.

The incessant rain was kind enough to switch off for the entire duration of the game but it left very slippery underfoot conditions for the players to cope with and the tight Glen Road pitch seemed to work better for the home team. Glenravel opened the scoring through the normally dependable Niall Donnelly from a free which was quickly cancelled out by the Saint’s free taker Phil Maguire who would go on to record seven points, all from frees; a masterclass given the swirling wind conditions. Robbie Gallagher would extend the home team’s lead but Glenravel were starting to find their range and two points from Niall Donnelly from frees and a well taken score from Stevie Acheson nudged them in front by two. Half way through the first half St Teresa’s struck two goals in a minute from Jordan McAllister and Darren McCann to go into a lead of 2-02 to 0-04 and they would never relinquish that lead to the end of the game. Glenravel’s Shane Woulahan was a real handful for the St Teresa’s defence and he scored from a tight angle to reduce the deficit after twenty minutes. An altercation in the midfield battle saw one yellow card for Glenravel and a red for St Teresa’s reducing their numbers to fourteen. The visitors pounced on that numerical advantage to record a couple of fine points from play from Shane Woulahan and James Duffin but St Teresa’s rallied in the closing minutes with points from Phil Maguire and Colm McGoldrick taking them into the half time break leading 2-04 to 0-07.

Glenravel mentors made a couple of positional switches at half time and they appeared to be working well for them when Conleth O’Loan, now berthed in the half forward line, scored from a tight angle to reduce the deficit to two points. Phil Maguire added one for St Teresa’s in the second minute and then a tight battle ensued for six minutes without a single score. Sean McKay broke the deadlock with a point for Glenravel but that was his final contribution as shortly after he made way for Odhran McAleenan. Patrick O’Neill was also called ashore due to injury and veteran Neil McCann entered the fray. Shuffling the Glenravel deck appeared to work into the home team’s hands as Glenravel struggled to contain St Teresa’s forwards. Two more frees from Phil Maguire would stretch the home team lead and a goal in the 49th minute by Robbie Gallagher sealed the deal for the home team, now leading 3-07 to 0-09. Niall Donnelly did pull one back for the visitors but again Phil Maguire capitalised on indiscipline in Glenravel defence to pop over his sixth and seventh points form frees. With one minute left on the clock, Neil McCann put over the final score of the game but it was too little too late for Glenravel, St Teresa’s running out deserved victors on a 3-09 to -0-11 scoreline.

Though St Teresa’s have now one more match to play, this game was looked upon by many as the “title decider”. Those of us of a particular vintage couldn’t help but hark back to a previous title decider between these two great clubs. That was in a big ball game to decide the winners of 1979 Division 1 Football. The game played in Jan 1980 amid snow and ice in Fr Maginn Park also saw St Teresa’s emerge victorious. Surely none of today’s players will remember that game but they will remember this one for a long time and the impact it had on their bid for divisional glory.

Con Magees go marching on

All COunty Hurling League – Division 1

Latharna Og 1-07 Con Magees 2-20

Photos and report by Brian Quinn

Latharna Og welcomed Con Magees to a blustery Brustin Braes for this ACHL Division 4 fixture, motivated to show their improvement since the opening day fixture against the same side that resulted in a heavy loss of 6-14 to 0-2.

Division 4 high flyers Con Magees have won all league fixtures going into this game and started the game with intent, Sean McKay opening with a point in the first minute against the breeze and quickly followed by a point from McIntyre and a third for Kerr. 

Latharna opened their account in the 6th minute with a 40 yard free from Ryan O’Donnell before McKay did likewise in the 8th minute for the visitors. Further quick scores for McIntyre and that man McKay increased the difference between the sides and it looked like despite the Larne men’s industrious work, a heavy defeat could be on the cards. 

Latharna battled on though and on the 15th minute, Philip Craig was the most alert to a loose ball in the box and pulled home to keep Larne in this game. The scoreboard was kept busy with points for Lismore, O’Donnell and McGoldrick for the Brustin Brae natives and Kerr, McIntyre and McKay did likewise for the vistors to make the half time score, Latharna Og 1-05 Con Magees 1-09.

With the change of sides, Con Magees had the wind on their backs and key man McKay got them up in running with a point in the 31st minute, quickly followed by a goal from the impressive McIntyre who fired past the helpless Keenan and from then on Con Magees hit another 0-8 unanswered to ensure the scoreboard matched their dominance on the field. 

The home side had battled hard but in the second half Con Magees had too much and showed why they are the league leaders. There were good performances from McIntyre and Kerr but the stand out performer was Sean McKay, scoring 0-8 and looking dangerous everytime the ball was near. 

For Latharna, there will be better days but they should take heart from the improvements from that first game with a poor second half the difference here today. Ryan O’Donnell was the home teams’ best performer, working hard and scoring 0-4.

LATHARNA OG

Keenan,O’Neill, Petticrew, Barkley, Carson, Matthews, Martin, O’Donnell (0-4), McKendry (Inj 22), Lismore (0-2), McGoldrick (0-1), Hegarty, Martin,  Craig (1-0),  Stewart

Subs Milliken Bergin McKillion Regan Rolston Rogan

CON MAGEES

Donnelly, McAuley, Carey, Atcheson (0-1), McDonnell, Duffin, O’Loan,O’Neill, Fyfe (0-2),McIntyre (1-5), Burns, Donnelly, McElroy, Kerr (1-2), McKay (0-8), Subs O’Hagan, McCann (0-1), McAleenan (0-1)

Referee Ciaran Mc Closkey (Loughgiel Shamrocks)

St. Teresa’s get back to winning ways

ACHL Division 4

All Saints 2-9 St. Teresa’s 4-12

After suffering a first league defeat away to Glenravel on Monday night St. Teresa’s got back to winning ways when they made another trip to the South West on Wednesday evening to play All Saints.

St Teresa’s pointed after 30 seconds to give them the perfect start at a sunny Slemish Park. The home side took a while to settle into the game with the Belfast men making all the early running. Another point and goal gave them a five point lead before Damian Gillan and Padhraig Magill replied for the Saints. Growing in confidence the home side were dealt another blow when St Teresa’s star man Phil Maguire ran through and despite being put under pressure finished to the corner of the net with a one handed swing. The sides then traded points with a pointed free for Gillan and one from Vinney Esler keeping the Ballymena men in touch. St Teresa’s stretched their lead with 5 points with Maguire again punishing the Saints although they kept battling for every ball and got their reward when Niall McGarry finished to the net just before the half time whistle.

The second half started in similar fashion as the first with St Teresa’s making all the early running. A long delivery was misjudged and ended up in the back of the Saints net to extend the gap to double figures. Back to back frees from Gillan and a long range point from Esler reduced the gap before St Teresa’s cancelled it out at the other end with another goal. Late scores from Gillan, Padhraig Magill and a goal from his brother Cormac kept the scoreboard ticking over but it was the Belfast men, led by top scorer Maguire who ran out eventual 9 point winners

All Saints: Anthony Mitchell, PJ O’Kane, Chris McAfee, Frank Casey, Sean O’Rawe, Colum Neeson, Marty McNally, Brendan McDonnell, Vinney Esler (0-2), Paul Scullion, Padhraig Magill (0-2), Cormac Magill (1-0), Niall McGarry (1-0), Barry Dorrity, Damian Gillan (0-5)

Subs. Terence Diamond for Marty McNally