Ardoyne move above Loch Mor with MacRory Park victory

ACHL Division 4

Loch Mór 0-16

Ciceam Ard Eoin 0-22

Loch Mór suffered a tough defeat at the hands of Ardoyne on Sunday afternoon with victory seeing gthe Kickham’s climb above them into third place and the league for the title looks wide open following All Saints first defeat of the season to Cushendall on Sunday. 

The match, which was played at Cardinal O’Donnell’s pitch on the Whiterock Road, was a feisty affair with both teams aware of the importance of every match now we are into the second half of the season. 

An injury hit Loch Mór side started the match sheepishly and found it difficult to get a foothold in the game as Ardoyne raced into an early lead. This continued for much of the first quarter until Loch Mór started to put things together in a bid to stem the flow. Some great points from play from Darragh Turley, Declan Phillips and Ruairi Bannon got Loch Mór off the mark and into the game. Trading scores for the remainder of the first half it just didn’t seem to be enough and Loch Mór could not eat into the lead Ardoyne had built up, the sides going in at the break with 9 points between them.

Loch Mór started the second half much brighter and with intent. Pressing Ardoyne better and getting more turn overs they put a string of scores together from Mathew Jones, Conor Jones and Darragh Turley once again. This passage of play inspired a real comeback and a delightful point by Marty Braniff and a long range free from ‘keeper Bailey Graham reduced the deficit to 4 points with 15 minutes remaining. Ardoyne fought back and nullified any ball going into the Loch Mór full forward line, which seemed to be the theme of the second half, and that push for a decisive goal was now Loch Mór’s focus as time was running out.

Loch Mor made a change in full forward as Aodhan Morgan came on with 10 minutes to go but it wasn’t enough as Ardoyne pulled away and finished the match with 6 to spare. 

This defeat was a setback for Loch Mór, who failed to produce the performance of recent games, while Ardoyne were on top of their game and will feel they can push hard for promotion as the season progresses.

With a congested fixture list ahead and championship starting this Saturday both sides will turn their attention in that direction for now and both will have ambitions of championship success.

Loch Mor Scorers

Darragh Turley 0-9

Declan Phillips 0-1

Mathew Jones 0-1

Ruairi Bannon 0-2 

Bailey Graham 0-1

Marty Braniff 0-1 

Ruairi Og withstand second half comeback to close the gap on All Saints

ACHL Division 4

All Saints 2-16 Cushendall 4-12

League leaders, All Saints Ballymena suffered their first defeat in this year’s division 4 ACHL when they lost in an exciting encounter to Ruairi Og, Cushendall at Quinn Park today. The Ballymena side looked on their way to a hammering when they trailed by 4-7 to 0-8 at half time but staged a remarkable second half rally and will be disappointed that they didn’t take something from the game.

First Half goals from Donal ‘Natty’ McNaughton, Mark Emerson, McNaughton again and Chris McGrath left the home side with a mountain to climb and their defending during the opening 30 minutes was abysmal as they gave the opposition far too much time and space.

Their only threat in the opening half came from Ciaran Neeson who seemed to score every time the sliothar came his way and the excellent number 10 accounted for 0-7 of his side’s first half total with the other point coming from Cormac Magill.

Whatever was said at the interval certainly worked and All Saints tightened up considerably at the back for the second half but faced a mountain which their first half performance didn’t suggest they were capable of climbing.

When Colm McKeegan pointed a second minute free to extend the visitors lead to 12 it certainly wasn’t looking good for the home side but slowly but surely they began to get on top all over the field with their defence getting in important tackles and forcing turn over’s.

Damian Gillan got his name on the score sheet and Ciaran Cassley in the home goal brought off a superb save to deny Colm McKeegan before Ciaran Neeson began to impose his considerable talent on the game.

Neeson fired over five points in the opening 15 minutes of the second half and brought a superb reflex save from Ruiri Sharpe but a Conall McAteer point at the other end kept the visitors eight ahead and seemingly in control.

The gaps were starting to open however and Neeson added another point and then brought off another great save from Ruairi Sharpe but substitute Conrad Duffin forced the sliothar over the line in the scramble that followed.

Neeson then hammered a close range free to the Cushendall net in the 20th minute and when he fired over the equaliser with nine minutes remaining the come-back of all come-backs looked on the cards.

Colm McKeegan restored Cushendall’s lead from a pointed free, their first score for 15 minutes with Ciaran Neeson levelling the contest once more with time almost up.

Conall McAteer looked to have sealed it for the Ruairi Og as the game edged into time added on but the Ballymena men had one last chance to level matters again when they were awarded a free 20 meters from goal and straight in front of the posts.

You would have put your house on Ciaran Neeson sending it over but the All Saints talisman misread the score and mishit his shot as he went for goal and from the resulting break away Colm McKeegan made the points secure for the Ruairi Og as he converted a free at the other end to close the gap at the top of the table to two points on today’s opponents.

All Saints: 1 Ciaran Cassley, 2 Dwayne McKee, 3 Colm Neeson, 4 Kevin Brady, 5 Daniel Gray, 6 Luke O’Rawe, 7 Padraig Magill, 8 Vinny Esler, 9 Cormac Lemon, 10 Ciaran Neeson, 11 Damian Gillan, 12 Cormac Magill, 13 Eoin Magee, 14 Gary Miskella, 15 James O’Boyle.

Subs 18 Cathaoir Cunning for Dwane McKee, 20 Conrad Duffin for James O’Boyle, Darra Hasson for Cormac Magill

Ruairi Og: 1 Ruairi Sharpe, 2 Ruairi McAuley, 3 Damian Bergin, 4 Kevin McKillop, 5 Mark Emerson, 6 Eoin McAllister, 7 Pierce McKeegan, 8 Conan Brown, 9 Paddy Sharpe, 10 Eunan McKillop, 11 Colm McKeegan, 12 Finlay Walker, 13 Conall McAteer, 14 Donal McNaughton, 15 Christopher McGrath. Subs: Darren McLaughlin, James Mooney, Patrick Mooney, James McAuley

Referee: Paul McSparren (Cushendun)

All Saints keep their foot on the accelerator

ACHL Division 4

All Saints 3-16 St. Brigid’s 1-9

All Saints kept their foot on the accelerator in the race for the division 4 title with a second comprehensive win in three days when they overcame a spirited challenge from St. Brigid’s in Ballymena on Wednesday night.

Once again the deadly duo of Damian Gillan and Ciaran Neeson led the way in the scoring stakes but it was a solid defensive display from the home side that provided the platform from which this 9th win of the season was achieved.

The hard working Gary Miskella and Vinny Esler worked tirelessly in mid-field, helping out in defence when required and supplying plentiful ball to their attack.

All Saints led 1-5 to 0-2 at half time with both St. Brigid’s points coming from frees and at this stage the Musgrave Park side must have felt they were in with a shout but the league leaders really opened up in the second half.

Damian Gillan who was in fine form in All Saints win over St. Brigid’s on Wednesday night

Conrad Duffin was the All Saints first half goal scorer while Damian Gillan 0-2, Cormac Lemon, Ciaran Neeson and Luke O’Rawe were all on target for the home side during the opening half.

Gillan added 0-5 to his first half total, all but one coming from play while Neeson, who had been well marshalled during the opening 30 minutes cut loose in the second with 2-3 to put his side in complete control.

The game marked the return to action of Liam Cassley from the substitute’s bench and he got his name on the scorecard and if the former Intermediate Championship winner with Cloughmills commits to the cause then he would prove a useful addition to an All Saints side who have gone from strength to strength this year.

All Saints: Ciaran Cassley, Daniel Gray, Colum Neeson, Kevin Brady, Padraig Magill, Luke O’Rawe 0-2, Cathair Cunning, Gary Miskella, Vinny Esler, Ciaran Neeson 2-4, Damian Gillan 0-7, Cormac Lemon 0-1, James O’Boyle 0-1, Conrad Duffin 1-0, Terence Diamond. Subs: Eoin Magee, PJ O’Kane, Liam Cassley, Sean O’Rawe, Daniel McCoy, Daire Hasson,  

Loch Mor on top in hard fought encounter  

ACHL DIVISION 4

Loch Mór 1-15  Latharna Óg 1-7

Loch Mor Dal gCais  had to grind out a hard fought win in a match that won’t win any awards for free flowing, champagne hurling. With the league splitting after the next two rounds of matches this game was huge in the context of their season and securing a top half of the table finish. An achievement which was surely on the agenda of today’s opposition so it really was all to play for. This set the tone for what was, on the whole, a cagey affair.

Loch Mór started well with some really great pockets of inter play between the middle 8, leading to some early points which really settled the lads into the game. One of note was Ruairi Moran’s long range strike from right half back, sailing inside the right upright. 

The game had a real stop/start feel to it which was difficult to build momentum but the lads stuck to the task. In a game littered with throw-ins and frees this was a game you needed your free taker on top form and Darragh Turley did not disappoint. Deadly accurate as ever he racked up a personal tally of 1-8 which was massive in swinging the game Loch Mór’s way.  Some early injuries forced a few changes but that didn’t dent the lad’s grit and determination to take everything from this game. 

A real thorn in Latharna’s side was Cormac Dwyer with his trademark Ox-like runs from the middle of the field, eventually drawing the fouls with several yellow shirts hanging off him but unable to stop his run. That seemed to be the theme of the day with Latharna unable to cope with Loch Mór running at them and forcing the foul or laying it off to the man in space to tap over the bar.

Having gone in at the break ahead, the lads stated the second half bright enough but a goal by the away side caused them to gain a bit of traction. The defence stood strong and kept the attacks out, turning them over and quickly breaking up the pitch. One such break had Darragh Turley on the end of it and a quick low drive to the keepers left really was the nail in the coffin for Latharna. It sucked all momentum out them and a few more points from play, Marty Braniff delightfully pinging one from the left wing, made it a comfortable win in the end. 

This win leaves Loch Mor Dal gCais in second place in the league and on this form they are sure to be strong contenders for the title. 

Scorers 

Cormac Dwyer 0-1

Darragh Turley 1-8

Ruairi Moran 0-1

Ruairi Bannon 0-2 

Conor Jones 0-1

Mathew Jones 0-1

Marty Braniff 0-1

Loch Mor’s final game before the split is on Wednesday night against St’Paul’s.

Saints make it 8 from 8

ACHL Division 4

All Saints 7-19 Henry Joy’s 3-4

All Saints made it 8 wins from 8 starts when they proved too strong for new boys Anrai Seoighe at Quinn Park today. The Falls Road side arrived in Ballymena with only 15 men but shocked the home side when a long range free from Joe McQuillan travelled all the way to the All Saints net through a pack area.

All Saints had opened with the game’s opening point from James O’Boyle and replied through a Ciaran Neeson free and a ‘65’ from the same player to leave matters all square by the 7th minute as the league leaders settled into the game.

The visitors hit the front once more when McQuillan pointed another free in the 8th minute but when the excellent Damian Gillan replied with a goal at the other end the Quinn Park side started to dominate.

Damian Gillan and  Daniel Gray, added points before Ciaran Neeson rifled the sliotar to the Henry Joy’s net in the 14th minute to move his side 25 to 1-12 ahead and the pace and movement of the home side was starting to open up a hard working visitors defence.

Joe McQuillan replied from a pointed free to bring his side’s total to 1-2 but All Saints finished strongly and points from Ciaran Neeson 0-2, Damian Gillan, John Magill and Cormac Lemon had them 3-11 to 1-3 ahead at the break, the visitors other point coming from the excellent McQuillan.

It didn’t get any better for the Belfast men on the restart with Neeson pointing in the 3d minute and Gillan adding a 4th minute goal and when Neeson pointed a 50 meter free the All Saints lead had moved to 16 points and the result looked sewn up even at this early juncture.

Anrai Seoighe could have been forgiven for throwing in the towel but they continued to battle for every ball and received a boost when Joe McQuillan’s long range free ended in the home net with the towering Connor O’Neill possible getting the final touch.

Straight from the puck out play switched to the other end and Terence Diamond fired past Stiofen Murphy to restore the home side’s 16 point advantage as the flood gates opened with Ciaran Neeson hitting three points in succession and Vinny Esler and Kevin Brady adding further goals as the opposition began to tire.

To their credit Henry Joy’s kept battling to the end and were rewarded when Joe McQuillan got through for their third goal in the 26th minute to add to an Eoin O’Neill point but the final score of the game fell to top scorer Neeson who netted with time almost up to bring his personal tally to 3-9.

This win keeps All Saints in top place, four points ahead of Loch Mor Dal gCais who recorded a fine 1-15 to 1-7 win over Latharna Og today and Kickham’s Ardoyne who sit in third place after their win over St. Gall’s but have a game in hand.

All Saints: Ciaran Cassley, 2 Dwayne McKee, 3 Chris McAffee, 4 Kevin Brady, 5 Cathaoir Cunning, 6 Colum Neeson, 7 Daniel Gray, 8 Cormac Magill, 9 Vinny Esler, 10 Cormac Lemon, 11 Damian Gillan, 12 Ciaran Neeson 13 James O’Boyle, 14 Jack Magill, 15 Terence Diamond.

Anrai Seoighe: 1 Stiofen Murphy, 2 Shane O’Reilly, 3 Matthew Carlin, 4 James Jacobson, 5 Kurtis Maguire, 6 Pol O’Hagan, 7 Rian McCreight, 8 Joe McQuillan, 9 Adam O’Rourke, 10 Raymond Burns, 11 Stephen McIlhatton, 12 Sean McIlhatton, 13 Colum Lowry, 26 Connor O’Neill, 15 Eoin O’Neill

Referee: Brendan Toland Lamh Dhearg