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.


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.


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


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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Na Magha continue promotion push

O’Neill’s Antrim Hurling League Division 4

Naomh Colmcille. 4-11 Na Magha. 4-13

By James McQuillan

Na Magha hurlers found themselves on the road again on Wednesday night this time to Naomh Colmcille in Tyrone. Naomh Colmcille opened the scoring on 5 minutes with a goal but the Derry men hit back scoring 2-02 in a three minute spell. It was a first half of goals as the hosts hit back and after hesitancy in the Na Magha defence a free dropped short and was scrambled to the net. The Tyrone men still had time for two more goals before half time to leave an interval score of Naomh Colmcille 4 05. Na Magha 3. 06.

Na Magha were fast out of the blocks in the second half and hit 1. 03 in the opening 4 minutes but didn’t score for the next 14 minutes by which time they had only a one point lead. The next five minutes were laced with some fine point taking by both sides (one from a free by Alan Grant from 85 metres the highlight)                                     The game seemed to be ebbing away from the Derry men but they were given a last chance when they won a 65 and unerringly the Na Magha number 11 put the ball over the black spot, and when the puckout was won by Tim Rankin he fired over from the right wing to secure a hard won two point victory in added time.

Final score. A Grant. 1. 07 T Rankin 1 03. A O’Donnell 1. 01 D. Shields. 1. 00. M Mc Closkey. 0. 01. F Mc Ananey. 0. 01

Con Magees promotion hopes take a big hit as St Teresa’s prosper

O’Neill’s All County Hurling League Div 4

St Teresa’s GAC    0.18    Con Magees    2.07

By Fergus Miskelly

Glenravel hurlers’ hopes for promotion were dealt a serious blow this evening in Belfast when they lost out to St Teresa’s in Belfast.

St Teresa started brightly hitting 5 points without reply before Neil McCann opened the Con Magees account with a pointed free on 7 minutes. Shortly after Micky McDonnell won the ball in the top right corner, beat his man, and slotted over a point from a tight angle. A pointed free from McCann followed before a long puck-out from Ronan Donnelly landed in the full forward line, where again McCann was first to react hitting a good point from play.

St Teresa’s hit another 3 points before half time and Glenravel scored 2 more from frees, one of note from Paddy O’Neill from beyond half way to leave St Teresa’s 8 points to 6 up at half time.

At the restart Neil Mccann and Caolan McIntyre were taken off to make way for Damien O’Hagan and Connor McKeown, however Connor was replaced due to injury by Odhran McAleenan after only 3 minutes action. Glenravel made a dreadful start to the second half, failing to score until the 47th minute from Declan Traynor, by which stage the Glen road side had built up a 15 to 7 point lead. Throughout this period only James Duffin in the forward line looked interested in getting on the ball, while Ronan Donnelly in goals and Sean Burns in defence did not put a foot wrong for the entire hour, clearing ball after ball.
With 8 minutes left Conleth O’Loan picked up the ball 40 yards out before soloing through and finishing to the roof of the net to give the visitors renewed hope. However Glenravel failed to build on this goal and the Belfast side tagged over a further 3 points to put the game beyond doubt. With only minutes remaining Paddy O’Neill hit another goal after a goal-mouth scramble, but it was too little too late, and St Teresa’s ran out 5 point winners.

Team: R Donnelly, S Burns, B O’Neill, C Mullan, S Atcheson, O McCusker, D McBride, P O’Neill, D Traynor, K McIntyre, S McIlroy, J Duffin, C O’Loan, N McCann, M McDonnell