Ardoyne proved too strong for St. Brigid’s in this Junior B Hurling championship Group 1 encounter on Sunday and on this form they will be one of the favourites to lift the title. The Kickham’s led 2-6 to 1-4 at the half way stage and at this stage the Musgrave park side still looked in with a shout.
After the break the visitors stepped it up another gear and pulled away to win convincingly. Goals from Oisin McVicker in the 5th minute and another from Hugh Grieve with ten minutes on the clock gave them early control of the game but St. Brigid’s got in for a goal of their own from Oliver Lennon after 22 minutes to give them some hope for the second half.
It was nip and tuck for a time during the second half with Phelim Lennon leading the charge for St. Brigid’s with three points in the opening quarter and Fearghal Leyden getting another and Jim Og McAuley, Aran Stewart and Peter McShane on target for the North Belfast side but a couple of quick goals after the water break put Ardoyne in complete control.
They finished strongly with Daniel Moore hitting 0-3 with Oisin McDonald, Phelim Lennon and Fearghal Leyden getting consolation points for the home side and it is Ardoyne who now go through to the semi-final along with All Saints and tomorrow night’s meeting with the Ballymena men at the Crickey merely decides who will finish first and second in Group 1.
St. Brigid’s 1 Damien McLarnon 2. Tom McCarney 3. Peter Heaney 4. Chris Quinn 5. Gerard Henvey 6. Joe McCarney 7. Ruben Carlton 8. Fearghal Leyden 9. Rory Flanaghan 10. Chris Lundy 11. Phelim Lennon 12. Oisin McDonald 13. Conor McAlister 14. Paul McCrudden 15. Oliver Lennon 17. Tony McEwan
Ardoyne: 1) John Paul Agnew, 2) Sean McGearty, 3) Paul Baker, 4) Aran Stewart, 5) Pascal Clarke, 6) Kealan McCallan, 7) Maher McShane, 8) Pearse Hull, 9) Paul McGuigan, 10) Daniel Moore, 11) Oisin McVicker, 12) Martin McLaughlin, 13) Enda Slattery, 14) Jim Og McAuley, 15) Hugh Grieve,
Lámh Dhearg gained promotion at the first time of asking after defeating All Saint’s Ballymena 1-21-0-07 at Hightown on Sunday afternoon.
Two years after suffering relegation to the bottom tier and with no league to contest last season – this season provided the first opportunity for the Hannahstown club to plot their way out the Division 4 and they did that unbeaten.
Their trickiest test came in the form of the reverse meeting in Ballymena last month, which saw Lámh Dhearg maintain their unbeaten run with a hard fought 1-14-1-12 win at Quinn Park – so expectations were that Sunday’s clash could possibly go to the wire at Naomh Éanna.
It was the league leaders who opened up fastest with Paddy Mervyn taking a cross-field ball from Eamon Murray and swinging the ball between the posts.
Mervyn was involved in the next score- picking out Ronan Fegan who saw off the attention of Kevin Brady and floated the ball over.
Ciaran Neeson opened his account for the afternoon in reply, seizing upon a loose side-line ball and bending a shot over the bar.
Neeson- an influential figure for his side this season scored 1-11 of his sides scores in the meeting last month but was tightly kept under wraps for long periods by Sean-Paul Gibson as the Lámhs extended their lead.
Daniel Murray took a pass from Fionn Mervyn and angled over a nice point and followed that up with a converted free a few minutes later.
All Saint’s replied with a fine Damian Gillan score, though Murray converted his second free of the first quarter.
The opening goal almost arrived when Declan Lynch popped a high ball into the path of Fionn Mervyn who burst towards goal, his shot was destined for the net, but Ciaran Cassley batted his effort to partial safety- Eamonn Murray would ensure a point was forthcoming however and his side were 0-06-0-02 to the good.
A first point of the afternoon followed from Declan Lynch before the water-break and a third converted Murray free extended the advantage further.
Ciaran Neeson landed his second score of the half from a long-range free and scored another shortly after from closer to the goal.
All Saint’s momentum was short lived though as Eamonn Murray combined with Ronan Fegan whose low pass found Declan Lynch for his second point of the half.
Damian Gillan went down close to goal giving his side the opportunity for a response and their cause was helped further when referee Ciaran McCloskey was called by one of his umpires who cited Mark Lynch for an off the ball incident which led to a red-card for the full-back.
Neeson cut the gap from the free, but despite having a numerical advantage for the remaining minutes of the half and the whole second period All Saint’s suffered a blow of their own with almost the last action of the first half.
Paddy Mervyn went short to Declan Lynch with a free and Lynch floated an effort which dropped and was batted clear by Ciaran Cassley- though his clearance fell into the path of Gerard Smyth who turned his man and shot low to the corner of the net as Lámh Dhearg held a 1-09-0-05 lead at the break.
Smyth extended his sides lead with a point upon the resumption of play and a side-line puck from Mark Hamill was flicked up by Declan Lynch who floated over his third point of the afternoon.
Lynch was involved in the next score after robbing Vincent Esler and drawing a foul that led to Murray converting.
Their strong start continued with Murray swinging over his second point from play and he added two further frees to his ever increasing tally to make it 1-15-0-05.
All Saints were struggling to keep the score board ticking over and met a resilient and determined Lámh Dhearg defensive rear-guard head on.
Chirs Nolan and Tiarnan McKenna were ably assisted by Ronan Fegan who dropped back to add protection after Mark Lynch’s red-card and the half-back line of Sean-Paul Gibson, Paddy Mervyn and Ryan Diamond were equally as efficient.
A fantastic example of the Lámhs dogged work-rate was a fine Paddy Mervyn block down being followed by another two in succession by Mark Hamill and then drawing a turnover.
Gerard Smyth notched up his second point before the water-break after a nice side-line cut went cross-field from Fionn Mervyn.
The Hannahstown side made it nine on the spin thanks to an eighth Daniel Murray point and his third from play after a nice, flicked pass from Declan Lynch.
It took 20 minutes for All Saints to come up with a reply through a Luke O’Rawe point and they almost had a goal soon after.
Francis Dugan misjudged his puck out and sent it straight in the direction of Brendan McDonnell who moved in on the target, though Dugan atoned for his error with a low block after Tiarnan McKenna had applied some pressure and the ball was eventually scrambled behind and wide with the opportunity gone.
Ciaran Neeson converted a free a few minutes later for what would only be his fifth point of the contest – testament to the hard work of Sean-Paul Gibson who had the task of keeping tabs of the talisman.
Lámh Dhearg ended the game with the final four scores, Fionn Mervyn did fantastically well to win back possession and pop it over to Daniel Murray who angled over a point. Another Murray score ensured he would end the afternoon on 0-11.
Substitute’s Ciaran Boyd and Niall McGarry then combined with McGarry swinging the ball between the sticks and Declan Lynch matched his midweek scoring tally with a late point to ensure his side ran out 1-21-0-07 winners and, in the process, ensure an immediate return to Division 3 at the first time of asking.
Lámh Dhearg: F Dugan, C Nolan, M Lynch, T McKenna, SP Gibson, P Mervyn (0-01), R Diamond, A McGuigan, M Hamill, F Mervyn, D Lynch (0-04), D Murray (0-11, 0-06f), R Fegan (0-01), G Smyth (1-02), E Murray (0-01). Subs: C Boyd for G Smyth (47), N McGarry (0-01) for E Murray (50), A Ferris for F Mervyn (54).
All Saints, Ballymena: C Cassley, D McKee, C McAfee, K Brady, T Diamond, L O’Rawe (0-01), C Neeson, P Magill, V Eslar, J Magill, D Gillan (0-01), B McDonnell, D Hasson, C Neeson, (0-05, 0-04f), C Little. Subs: C Magill for C Little (43), A Mitchell for B McDonnell (54).
Lámh Dhearg progressed to Sunday’s league final and kept their promotion dreams alive with a comeback win over Ardoyne in Wednesday evenings league semi-final at Rossa Park.
The table-toppers looked in trouble at the break, trailing 0-08-0-04 but showed desire and determination to outscore Ardoyne 0-14-0-02 in the second half-hour.
Ardoyne almost made the perfect start when a clearance from defence fell nicely for Martin McLaughlin whose low drive was turned to safety by Francis Dugan.
It was Lámh Dhearg who drew first blood when Niall McGarry was fouled, and Daniel Murray converted the resulting free.
The North Belfast side levelled through Pearse Tully- who read the flick on from Jim Og McAuley and popped the ball over.
Sean-Paul Gibson restored Lámh Dhearg’s lead, floating the ball over after a nice layoff from Aidan Mcguigan and then after seeing his shot charged down- Ronan Fegan fed Daniel Murray with a cross-field pass and Murray sent his shot high between the posts.
Oisin McVicker pulled a score back from a converted free and robbed Paddy Mervyn in possession before steering over the equalising score a few minutes later.
Lámh Dhearg were ahead again after Fionn Mervyn found Daniel Murray and he directed his shot between the posts, it was to be his sides last score of the half as Ardoyne took over.
A foul on Pascal Clarke led to Oisin McVicker notching his third score of the evening and second from a free.
A third converted free would follow as his side edged ahead for the first time and an angled score from Daniel Moore ensured they were two to the good.
Daniel Murray almost found the game’s opening goal, though his shot was deflected over the bar by Paul Baker and the resulting 65’ drifted wide against the strong breeze on the Shaws Road.
McVicker was on hand to convert another free after Aidan McGuigan was adjudged to have clipped Christopher McShane and Ardoyne were 0-07-0-04 to the good.
Ardoyne increased their lead before the break as Cormac Curran swung over a terrific score as an upset was on the cards at Pairc Rossa.
Oisin McVicker converted his fifth free of the evening to extend his sides lead upon the resumption.
After a succession of misses against the swirling elements, Daniel Murray was finally back in luck- converting his second free of the evening after Fionn Mervyn was chopped down on route to goal.
Murray sent over his third from play in the aftermath and then converted his third free of the evening to reduce the deficit to two-points as momentum was in the Lámhs favour.
Declan Lynch was sprung from the bench at the break in place of Niall McGarry and he conjured up his first point since his introduction.
Parity was eventually restored on 45 minutes as Daniel Murray closed in on Oisin McVicker’s five points from free with another conversation to make it 0-09 apiece.
Lynch nudged side ahead shortly afterwards with a simple point from in-front of the posts after holding off the challenge of Oisin McVicker and their lead was doubled after Fionn Mervyn was taken out and Murray converted the free to make it 0-11-0-09 at the second-half water break.
Substitute Hugh Grieves converted a free to make it a one-point game upon the resumption of play.
The two-point gap was restored courtesy of Paddy Mervyn- who swung over from a nice Ryan Diamond pass.
Kealan McCallan’s chop down on Tiernan McKenna saw Daniel Murray overtake Oisin McVicker in the free taking contest and Declan Lynch hit back-to-back points- the second of which came after a flick-on from fellow substitute Ciaran Boyd.
The game was slowly drifting away from Ardoyne’s grasp with Murray converting his last two points of the contest, in-between a fine Paddy Mervyn point from range as the Hannahstown side progressed to Sunday’s final with eight points to spare.
Lámh Dhearg: F Dugan, C Nolan, M Lynch, T McKenna, SP Gibson (0-01), P Mervyn (0-02), P Fitzsimons, M Hamill, R Diamond, F Mervyn, A McGuigan, D Murray (0-11, 0-08f), R Fegan, E Murray, N McGarry. Subs: D Lynch (0-04) for N McGarry (HT), C Boyd for E Murray (52), A Ferris for A McGuigan (56).
Ardoyne: JP Agnew, S McGearty, P Baker, A Stewart, K McCallan, P Clarke, C McShane, C Curran (0-01), P McGuigan, D Saunders, D Moore (0-01), J Og McAuley, M McLaughlin, O McVicker (0-06, 0-05f), P Tully (0-01). Subs: H Grieve (0-01f) for M McLaughlin (41), E Slattery for J Og McAuley (41), S Searle for C Curran (54).
All Saints, Ballymena continued their recent good run of results when they travelled to Falls Park on Sunday and came out winners by two points in a high scoring thriller against Loch Mor Dal gCais.
Loch Mor made the running during the opening half and looked well placed at half-time when they led by 2-9 to 1-9 but the Ballymena men were beginning to find a bit of form and they stepped matters up after the break.
In an end to end contest the scores continued to come thick and fast with All Saints Ciaran Neeson proving almost un-markable and he was the difference between the sides in the end.
At the second water break the teams could not be separated and went into the final quarter locked at 2-13 apiece.
The Slemish Park side turned the screw during that closing period with the superb Neeson finishing the game as top scorer with an impressive tally of 2-14 over the hour and Cory Lyttle proving to be a useful addition to the side this year getting the other goal.
All Saints: Ciaran Cassley, Dwayne McKee, Chris McAfee, Kevin Brady, Sean O’Rawe, Colum Neeson, Terrence Diamond, Padhraig Magill, Vincent Esler, Cormac Magill, Gary Miskella, Daire Hasson, Cory Lyttle, Damian Gillan, Ciaran Neeson. Subs: Luke O’Rawe for Daire Hasson (half-time)
After losing their opening two games, All Saints Ballymena have got their act together and their facile win over a weakened Eoghan Ruadh of Dungannon at Quinn Park on Sunday was their third on the trot and things appear to be progressing in the right direction for the Ballymena side.
All Saints led by 1-13 to 0-1 at half time by which stage it was well and truly over but the home side refused to take their foot off the pedal on the restart and continued to amass an impressive total throughout the second half.
Ciaran Neeson was the man on fire as All Saints ran riot against the Tyrone side’s second string and the visitors were unable to deal with his skill and pace as he fired over points from every angle. Cormac Magill was another in fine scoring form as he sent over 0-07 of his side’s total with youngsters Cory Little and Daire Hasson weighing in with 1-1 apiece.
Jack Magill and Gary Miskella also made useful contributions in a good all round All Saints performance as they look forward with some confidence to a visit to Loch Mor Dal gCais at Falls Park on Sunday week
All Saints: Ciaran Cassley PJ O’Kane Chris McAfee Dwayne McKee Colum Neeson Luke O’Rawe Terence Diamond Vincent Esler Padhraig Magill Cormac Magill Gary Miskella Jack Magill Kevin Brady Ciaran Neeson Daire Hasson