Opening day defeat but much to be encouraged about

ACHL DIV 4

Eoghan Rua 4 – 8  St. Brigids 1 – 9

A hard fought away opener for St Brigid’s first competitive league fixture. Early points from Oisin McDonnell and Phelim Lennon saw the teams neck and neck for much of the opening quarter, but Eoghan Rua settled themselves with two goals before half time which left St Brigid’s with a tough hill to climb. Whilst the night didn’t go their way, an extremely confident performance from the full-back line of Murdoch McKibbon, Tom Dunford, and Chris Quinn bodes well for the future, and a classy late goal from Rory Flanagan showed that St Brigid’s also have an eye for goal. A late point from Dee McClarnon completed the scoring. Ferghal Leydon had a captain’s performance in midfield throughout. The final analysis – nobody likes a loss, but there’s a lot to be encouraged about as competitive senior hurling gets underway at St Brigid’s..

Ardoyne make impressive start to this year’s campaign

ACHL Div.4

All Saints 1-5 Ardoyne 3-19

Kickham’s Ardoyne made an impressive start to this year’s division 4 league campaign when they visited Quinn Park, Ballymena and came away with a resounding victory. The North Belfast side are under the management of Ollie Bellew this term and it was clear from the start that the former St. Gall’s and Eoghan Ruadh mentor has his side in good shape.

Right from the first whistle they took the game to All Saints with Oisin McVicker firing over a splendid point from out near the left hand touchline.  Daniel Moore added a second and Enda Slattery followed with a third as the visitors started at breakneck speed.

Oisin McVicker struck a ‘65’ directly between the posts and a couple more from Daniel Moore had the North Belfast men six in front with only 10 minutes gone.

It was all Ardoyne as the home side struggled to put a meaningful attack together with players struggling with their lifting and striking and being afforded no time by a hungry Kickham’s unit.

The home side might have fallen further behind when keeper, Ciaran Cassley was closed down as he attempted to clear his lines with the loose ball breaking to McVicker but his first time ground shot sailed agonisingly wide of the upright. All Saints sent Ciaran Neeson into the fray after 18 minutes in an attempt to get something going in attack but it was the visitors who registered the next score through Hugh Grieves in the 20th minute.

Neeson finally raided the first white flag for the Quinn Park side when he pointed a 24th minute free and his side began to enjoy more possession in the closing stages of the half with Vinny Esler and Ciaran Magill adding further points in reply to a third of the half from the impressive McVicker for the visitors.

Six in arrears and perhaps fortune not to be trailing by more, All Saints needed a good start to the second half but in the event it was Ardoyne who continued to call the tune with Oisin McVicker putting them in a strong position when he fired to the net with only three minutes of the new half gone.

Ryan Thompson (0-2) added points by the 7th minute before Ciaran Neeson replied from a free to momentarily lift the siege but their relief was short lived as Jim McAuley fired home goal number two for the visitors after robbing full-back Christopher McAffee who at times looked to be playing he Ardoyne attack on his own.

To their credit the home side kept battling away but they were cumbersome and hesitant in possession but Luke O’Rawe did lift their spirits as he soloed through for a good point just before the second water break.

After the break it was Ardoyne who continued to impress however and their movement, speed and skill must have been pleasing to new manager Bellew as McVicker, McAuley and McVicker again tagged on points before Ryan Thompson got in for their third goal with five minutes remaining.

They refused to take their foot of the pedal however with McVicker capping a man of the match performance as he fired over a couple more with full-back, Paul Baker getting in on the act as he split the uprights from 50 yards

Jimbo McAuley completed the visitors scoring with Ciaran Neeson getting a consolation goal for the Quinn Park side when his shot deceived Ardoyne keeper JP Agnew before dipping to the net.

A great start for Ardoyne under the guidance of Ollie Bellew and on today’s performance they will be serious contenders in Division 4. They were strong all over the field and have power and pace in abundance with Oisin McVicker, Ryan McVicker, Jim McAuley, Paul Baker, Pascal Clarke, Daniel Moore and Enda Slattery their best on view.

Spare a thought for All Saints. They have lost a number of key players from last year and on today’s performance they look to be short on fitness and confidence and a lot of work needs to be done on the training field if they are to compete against this level of opposition.

Ciaran Cassley did little wrong in goals and Christopher McAffee was a colossus at full-back with Vinny Esler, Luke O’Rawe, Colum Neeson and substitute Ciaran Neeson others who tried hard but in the end could do nothing to turn the Kickham’s tide.

Referee: Rab Lappin (Lamh Dhearg)

Davitt’s dominate opening game

Antrim Hurling League Division 4

Davitts 3-22 Naomh Una 1-3

PICS BY BERT TROWLEN

Davitt’s dominated Wednesday evening’s Division 4 Hurling League game against Belfast rivals St Agnes at Davitt Park, running out winners by 3-22 to 1-3.

On their magnificent new pitch the home side were in control from start to finish and boosted by a goal from Don Whelan they raced to a 1-12 to 1-2 half time lead.

After the break there was not let up for the Aggies as Davitt’s continued to pick off their scores with ease and 1-2 form Cormac Maguire, a goal from Michael Rowntree and five points from Stephen McGivern saw them run out winners by 25 points.

Davitts scorers

Stephen McGivern 0-8, Cormac Maguire 1-3, Peter Carleton 0-1, Don Whelan 2-5 (2fs), Colm McKee 0-3
Michael Rowntree 1-1, Alan Rainey 0-1

Davitt’s

Joseph McCaffrey, Charlie McHenry, Tomas Og Toland, Ruairi McIlroy, Caoimhin Heaney, Thomas Maguire, Christopher Gallagher, Peter Og Carleton, Michael Og Rowntree, Colum McKee, Don  Whelan, Martin Tully, Cormac Maguire, Stephen McGivern, Alan Rainey.

St Agnes

Christopher Fay, Ben Carlin, Martin Robb, Daniel McConnell, Brian Keatings, Ronan Carlin, Matt Carlin, Anthony Mulvenna, Conor Pelan, Adam O’Rourke, Mark  Caldwell, Cormac Flannery, James Halleron, Conor McLean, Kevin Grieve

Loch Mór hit four at Quinn Park

ACHL Div. 4

All Saints 0-12 Loch Mór Dál gCais 4-18

Darragh Turley and Michael McDonnell ran riot as Loch Mor Dal gCais swept aside the challenge of All Saints, Ballymena at Quinn Park tonight. Youngster, Turley struck 2-8 while his colleague McDonnell contributed 2-5 against an All Saints defence who had simply no answer to their pace and movement.

The visitors led 3-10 to 0-7 at the short whistle by which time this game looked well and truly over and when Turley outpaced the home defence for his second and his side’s fourth goal, two minutes into the second half it looked like being a long night for Enda Casey’s side.

To their credit they never gave up but were badly off the pace throughout the game and a poor first touch too often saw them loose possession as a hungry Loch Mor hunted in packs and moved the ball at pace when in possession.

It was the home side who made the better start with Ciaran Neeson pointing after 30 seconds but they hit three wides on the trot as they briefly dominated the opening exchanges. Darragh Turley brought the sides level in the 8th minute and the flying corner forward was to have a massive influence on the game.

Ruairi Bannon edged the visitors ahead and Michael McDonnell added another as the Loch shore side started to get on top with All Saints greatest threat coming from a clearly unfit Ciaran Neeson who was struggling with a recurring hip injury.

A McDonnell goal in the 16th minute put the visitors five in front and they went on to lead 3-10 to 0-7 at the break with Darragh Turley and McDonnell again finding the net and both players regularly splitting the posts.

When Ciaran Neeson pointed in the opening minute of the second half there may have been some hope of a revival from the home side but young Turley raced through the home defence and plant the sliotar in Ciaran Cassley’s net in the second minute to dash those hopes.

Colum Neeson, Vincent Esler Damian Gillan and the clearly struggling Ciaran Neeson battled hard to get their side going but the visitors continued to call the shots.

Ciaran Neeson brought his personal tally to seven before limping off to be replaced by Dwane McKee but not before having a penalty saved by Bailey Graham in the Loch Mor goals after he himself had been brought down as he broke clear on goals.

After that the visitors continued to dominate with Turley and McDonnell adding to their personal totals with some fine points and Ciaran O’Boyle getting a late consolation point for the Ballymena side.

All Saints: Ciaran Cassley, Francis Casey, Christopher McAffee, Patrick Kane, Terence Diamond, Colum Neeson, Sean O’Rawe, Damian Gillan 0-4, Vinny Esler, Cormac Magill, Gary Miskella, Daire Hasson, Kevin Brady, Ciaran Neeson 0-7, Ciaran O’Boyle 0-1, Subs: Ryan McGarry for Francis Casey, Dwane McKee for Ciaran Neeson, Anthony Mitchell for Daire Hasson

Loch Mor Dal gCais: Bailey Graham, Gerard Jim Pickering, Manus Carson, Aaron Monaghan, Conor Jones, Sean Burke, Ruairi Bannon 0-1, Ruairi Moran 0-1, Matthew Jones 0-1, Conor Mulholland, Lorcan Rooney, Darragh Turley 2-8, Michael Pearse McDonnell 2-5, David McAreavey Subs: Paul Molloy 0-1, Martin Braniff, Reece McDonnell, Robert Graham, Gary Dunlop

Referee: Rab Lappin Lamh Dhearg

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.