Carey undone by Tyrone champions

Ulster Club IHC Quarter Final

Eire Og, Carrickmore 4-9 Carey Faughs 1-13

Brendan McTaggart reports from McQuillan Park, Ballycastle

Carey’s Ulster campaign ended at the first hurdle in Ballycastle on Sunday when they were beaten by Tyrone champions Carrickmore in the quarter final of the Ulster Intermediate Championship. Coached by former Ballycastle and Antrim star Cormac Donnelly the Tyrone champions were sharper from the start and their ability to get goals at vital times gave them the edge. Carey trailed by eight at half time, but a goal in the first minute of the second half breathed new life into their challenge. They edged their way back into the game but with the gap pared back to a goal they had a player sent off which proved a real game changer. With an extra man Carrickmore used the ball very cleverly and soon regained the upper hand and edged clear again to record a six point win.

Speaking after the game joint manager Cormac Donnelly said he had watched Carey a few times during their Antrim Championship campaign. He felt their strength was their ability to start well in their games and said they were determined not to let them do it this time around. The Tyrone men did just that and the early goals gave them an edge they would not relinquish.

Carrickmore joint manager Cormac Donnelly

In a nip and tuck opening quarter, Carrickmore took control of the game with two goals in the space of barely two minutes with Ruairi Slane and Cormac Murray finding the back of the Faughs net.  It came in the middle of a wonderful purple patch for Eire Og as they held Carey Faughs scoreless for 12 minutes while opening a seven point lead themselves.

Their third major came as the clock went into first half stoppage time with referee Tarlach Conway awarding the Carrickmore men a penalty for an infringement on Bryan McGurk.  Dermot Begley stepped up and while Carey ‘keeper Doug McAuley got his hurl to Begley’s effort, the sliotar deflected into the back of the net.

Despite having opened an eight point lead by the half time whistle and full value for that lead, Eire Og were pushed onto the back foot right from the restart.  The Antrim champions bagging a major with barely 10 seconds of the second half gone.  Shea Hunter sending the ball to the edge of the square and James Black pouncing on the loose sliotar to reignite Carey’s Ulster challenge.

Carey’s Caolan McCaughan reaches up to palm a dropping ball to the Carickmore net, but the score was ruled out because of a ‘square’ infringment.

The Antrim men had the wind at their sails and began to turn the screw, upping their intensity and not giving the Carrickmore men the space they allowed them in the first half.  They had the sliotar in the back of the net with just five points between the sides but Caolan McCaughan was judged to be inside the square with the Derry official calling a square ball.

A point from Slane was all Eire Og could manage before Begley took his tally to 1-2 for the game with his second free but things changed just before the second half water-break with the game in the balance.  John McBride seeing red and Carrickmore controlled the contest in the time that remained. 

Carey pushed and played with the same intensity and vigour but Eire Og’s better use of the sliotar and ability to find a man in space shone in the closing stages to seal a five point victory and their maiden win over the Antrim champions at provincial level.  They now have a date with the winners of Lisbellaw and Newry Shamrock’s in the semi final.

The Scorers

Carey Faughs

Connor McBride 0-8 (5f’s); James Black 1-1; Conlith McKinley 0-2; James McCouaig (1f); Caolan McCaughan 0-1

Carrickmore

Dermot Begley 1-2 (1-00 pen, 2 f’s); Ruairi Slane 1-1; Sean Og Grogan 1-1; Justin Kelly 0-3; Cormac Murray 1-00; Anthony Crossan 0-1; Conor Grogan 0-1

The Teams

Carey Faughs

Cahal McAuley, Daniel Hill, Sean McBride, Eoin Hill; Michael McVeigh, Peadar McVeigh, James McCouaig, Daniel McBride, Patrick Butler, Shea Hunter, John McBride, Caolan McCaughan, Patrick Gillan, James Black, Connor McBride

Subs: Conlith McKinley for D McBride (HT) Daniel McKinley for E Hill (49), Patrick McBride for P Butler (60)

Carrickmore

Conor McElhatton, Jarlath Kerr, Sean Pol Begley, Lochrainn O’Donnaille, Dean Rafferty, Dermot Begley, Anthony Crossan, Ruairi Slane, Justin Kelly, Darragh Grogan, Tony Hughes, Conor Grogan, John McGurk, Sean Og Grogan, Bryan McGurk

Subs: Cormac Murray for J McGurk (14); John McGurk for D Grogan (45); Oran McKee for A Crossan (49); Oisin Daly for T Hughes (57)

Referee: Tarlach Conway (Derry)

Carey Faughs dip their toes in Ulster water

Ulster Intermediate Hurling Club Championship quarter-final

Cathaoir an Ri (Antrim) v Eire Og An Charraig Mhor (Tyrone)

Ballycastle 1-30pm Sunday

Referee: Tarlach Conway

Cathaoir an Ri, the Antrim Intermediate champions, dip their toes into the waters of Ulster for the first time when they take on serial Ulster participants, Eire Og An Charraig Mhor in Ballycastle this Sunday.

The Faughs put a 19 year wait behind them when they defeated Kickham’s Creggan in this year’s Andersonstown SC final at Dunsilly and make a step into the unknown when they face the men from Carrickmore who collected the Tyrone title for the 23d time when they beat Eoghan Ruadh Dungannon in this year’s final.

The Ballyvoy side were excellent in this year’s Intermediate championship and certainly forced people to sit up and take notice when they beat a fancied Emmet’s Cushendun by 11 points in the Antrim semi-final in Armoy.

Their opponent in the final, Kickham’s Creggan had impressed in their semi-final marathon against Cloney Gaels which took extra time to decide with the Kickham’s finishing strongly to win by six points and they would have been regarded as favourites in some quarters going into the final against the Carey men.

The Faughs hadn’t won an Antrim IHC since 2002 when they beat Loughgiel seconds and carried an unenviable record of defeats in the 2009, 2013, 2015, 2017, and 2019 deciders but they put all that behind them this year to produce a strong and polished performance to beat Creggan and get that monkey of their back.

In a tough, uncompromising encounter the Ballyvoy side got off to a great start when Daniel McBride rattled the Creggan net in the second minute after being set up by John McBride.

Caolan McCaughan added a point before Sam Maguire replied with a point from distance for the Kickham’s and a pointed free from Oran McCann left just two between the sides with 8 minutes gone.

The North Antrim side were showing greater hunger and desire however as they hit the next three points on the bounce with Conor McBride (f), Shea Hunter and James ‘Rocket’ Black on target to move them five in front with 13 minutes on the clock.

Carey finished the half superbly as the excellent Conor McBride pointed from play before firing low to the Creggan net to leave his side 2-8 to 0-8 ahead at the break and fully deserving of that lead.

Creggan kept battling to the end but a couple of points from the excellent Conor McBride in reply to one from Oran McCann kept the Ballyvoy men in pole position and there would be no way back for the Kickham’s.

McBride from a free and another from play and a superb effort from James ‘Rocket’ Black saw Cathaoir an Ri move seven clear with two minutes of normal time remaining.

Cathaoir an Ri played with a hunger and intensity that their opponents quite simply couldn’t match. They won the majority of dirty ball over the hour with their defence giving nothing away. Cathal McAuley in goals, Sean McBride, Peadar McVeigh and James McCouaig were best in a rock solid attack who afforded their opponents little time or space.

Daniel McBride and Patrick Butler were on top at mid-field with McBride picking up an early yellow card and being called ashore as a precautionary measure late in the game while their full-forward line of Conor McBride, James ‘Rocket’ Black and Patrick Gillan gave the opposition defence a torrid time

Sunday’s opponents – Eire Og Carrickmore

Carrickmore Eire Óg retained the Tyrone Senior Hurling Championship title thanks to a deserved 0-16 to 0-9 success over Dungannon Eoghan Ruadh.

There was little between the sides throughout the first-half with Cain Ferguson and Dermot Begley among the points for their respective sides before efforts from Sean Óg Grogan and Cormac Munroe helped the winners establish a 0-7 to 0-5 interval advantage.

A Begley brace extended Carrickmore’s lead on the restart before Ferguson and Brannon Molloy responded for Dungannon. Eire Óg finished strongly with points from Ruairi Slane, John McGurk, Brian McGurk and Dean Rafferty to lift the Benburb Cup.

Their opponents in that final and indeed in the majority of Tyrone finals over the years were Dungannon Eoghan Ruadh who have competed in the Antrim leagues for quite a number of years and have proved difficult opponents.

Carey hold their fate in their own hands however and if Catahal McAuley, SeanMcBride, Peadar McVeigh, James McCouaig, Patrick Butler, Patrick Gillan, Caolan McCaughan, James Black and the superb Conor McBride can reproduce the form they have shown throughout this year, then they should be in with a very good chance. The weather forecast for the weekend is giving strong winds and rain on Saturday, but things look more settled for Sunday which is good news for both teams.

Unbridled celebrations as Carey put 19 year wait behind them

Andersonstown SC  IHC Final

Cathaoir an Ri 3-17 Kickham’s Creggan 1-18

Patrick McIlwaine reports from Dunsilly

There were scenes of unbridled celebration and tears of joy as Carey Faughs put a 19 year wait behind them to lift the Andersonstown SC Intermediate Hurling Cup when they overcame the challenge of Kickham’s Creggan in an excellent final today at Dunsilly.

The Ballyvoy side last lifted the trophy back in 2002 when they defeated Loughgiel seconds in the decider but recent finals haven’t been kind to the Carey men, losing deciders in 2009, 2013, 2015, 2017 and 2019 with the 2015 defeat coming at the hands of today’s opponents.

Kickham’s Creggan beat the Carey side in Armoy in that 2015 final and were fancied in some quarters for today’s game after their win over Ahoghill in the semi-final but it was Cathaoir an Ri who grabbed the initiative right from the start and never really looked like being headed.

In a tough, uncompromising encounter the Ballyvoy side got off to a great start when Daniel McBride rattled the Creggan net in the second minute after being set up by John McBride.

Caolan McCaughan added a point before Sam Maguire replied with a point from distance for the Kickham’s and a pointed free from Oran McCann left just two between the sides with 8 minutes gone.

The North Antrim side were showing greater hunger and desire however as they hit the next three points on the bounce with Conor McBride (f), Shea Hunter and James ‘Rocket’ Black on target to move them five in front with 13 minutes on the clock.

The South West men were living on scraps but Oran McCann fired over their third point from a ‘45’ and the same player followed with another from play to cut the deficit to three by the 17th minute as referee Colum Cunning signalled for the first water break.

When play resumed it was Carey who continued to call the shots with the impressive Conor McBride pointing his second free of the afternoon and Paddy Gillan adding another from play to restore their five point advantage.

With the challenges going in hard and fast the free count increased as Oran McCann converted his third of the contest and Tiernan McLarnon added a fine score from play to leave just a goal between the sides after 22 minutes.

Conor McBride and Oran McCann exchanged further frees and when McCann followed with another from play the deficit was down to two with eight minutes of the opening half remaining.

Creggan replaced Tiernan McLarnon with Sean Duffin as their efforts seemed to be gaining some momentum but Carey finished the half superbly as the excellent Conor McBride pointed from play before firing low to the Creggan net to leave his side 2-8 to 0-8 ahead at the break and fully deserving of that lead.

Carey corner forward Conor McBride gets away from Creggan’s Aidan Maguire on his way to adding another point

Liam McCann replaced Danaan O’Hara in the Creggan defence for the second half but Shea Hunter increased the Cathoir an Ri lead to seven with a point on the restart with Conor McCann replying for Creggan.

 The momentum was with the Ballyvoy side however and Caolan McCaughan split the posts from out on the right to move them seven ahead and the Kickham’s were in need of inspiration and for a brief spell it appeared to have arrived.

They looked to be gaining the initiative as they dominated a five minute period that yielded four unanswered points with Oran McCann getting them on their way with a point from play and he followed with another from a free and when Conor McCann and Morgan Nelson added two more the Faughs lead had been reduced to three again with only eight minutes of the new half gone.

It was to prove a false dawn however as Caolan McCaughan squeezed the ball home from close range despite being surrounded by three defenders and when James McCouaig followed with a massive point from 70 yards in the 10th minute the Ballyvoy men were six in front and looking good.

The Kickham’s were still giving it everything and a fine piece of individual play from Conor McCann saw him sell a couple of dummies before blasting the sliotar past Cathal ‘Bart’ McAuley to leaver five in it at the second water break.

The South West side produced a strong finish to beat Cloney Gaels in their semi-final and would have been hoping for a similar finish here and McCann followed with a point before being clattered by a couple of defenders as he attempted to break through on goal.

There was still plenty of time remaining but Oran McCann decided to go for goal and his effort was repelled by a Carey defence who were putting their bodies on the line and cleared to safety. A couple of points from the excellent Conor McBride in reply to one from Oran McCann kept the Ballyvoy men in pole position and there would be no way back for the Kickham’s.

McBride from a free and another from play and a superb effort from James ‘Rocket’ Black saw Cathaoir an Ri move seven clear with two minutes of normal time remaining before Creggan’s Thomas McCann saw Red.

Creggan’s aidan Maguire clears from defence.

To their credit Kickham’s kept battling against the odds and were rewarded with late points from Aidan Maguire and Kealan McCann but these were merely consolation scores at this stage of the game with the men from Ballyvoy running out deserving winners by five points.

Cathaoir an Ri played with a hunger and intensity that their opponents quite simply couldn’t match. They won the majority of dirty ball over the hour with their defence giving nothing away. Cathal ‘Bart’ McAuley in goals, Sean McBride, Peadar McVeigh and James McCouaig were best in a rock solid attack who afforded their opponents little time or space.

Daniel McBride and Patrick Butler were on top at mid-field with McBride picking up an early yellow card and being called ashore as a precautionary measure late in the game while their full-forward line of Conor McBride, James ‘Rocket’ Black and Patrick Gillan gave the opposition defence a torrid time.

With three Creggan defenders surrounding him Caoalan McCaughan drops the ball and connects on it one handed to fire in the Faughs third goal.

Cathaoir an Ri: Cathal McAuley, Daniel Hill, Sean McBride, Zach McCaughan, Michael McVeigh, Peadar McVeigh, James McCouaig, Daniel McBride, Patrick Butler, Shea Hunter, John McBride, Caolan McCaughan, Patrick Gillan, James Black, Conor McBride. Sean McLaughlin for Daniel McBride, Conleith McKinley for Patrick Butler

Kickham’s Creggan: Emmet Long, Aidan Maguire, Declan McCann, Danaan O’Hara, Sam Maguire, Thomas Mccann, Aiden McKeown, Tiarnan McLarnon, Ruairi McCann, Conor McCann, Morgan Nelson, Oran McCann, Jake McAteer, Kealan McCann, Kevin Rice. Subs: Sean Duffin for Tiernan McLarnon, Liam McCann for Danaan O’Hara,

Referee: Colum Cunning (Dunloy)

Carey v Creggan looks too tight to call

Andersonstown SC IHC Final

Kickham’s Creggan v Cathaoir an Ri

Dunsilly 3.00pm Saturday

This Saturday’s Andersonstown SC Intermediate Hurling championship final between Kickham’s Creggan and Cathaoir an Ri at Dunsilly throws together an intriguing pairing but one that few punters would have predicted in the week leading up to the semi-finals.

Predicting winners in this competition is never easy. Neither of Saturday’s finalists topped their group and the Carey side in particular qualified the hard way for the decider but never the less are there on merit and will feel they can complete the job at Dunsilly.

The Ballyvoy men finished second to Cloney Gaels in Group 1, losing to the Ahoghill men in Ballyvoy and then drawing with Glenariffe Oisin at the same venue which left them needing to win by a big margin in their rearranged final game against Gort na Mona.

Carey Faughs proved too strong for a makeshift Gort na Móna when the sides met at the Dub to claim that final berth. Going into the game the North Antrim side had to win by a margin of at least 25 points, if not, it would mean that Glenariffe would qualify for a semi-final meeting with Cushendun.

In the end the North Antrim side had achieved that target by the half way stage as they led 4-17 to 0-2, and a further 3-12 in the second half ensured that the Faughs had reached their semi-final meeting with the Emmet’s with something to spare.

Conor McBride top scored for Cathaoir an Ri with 3-10 with Caolan McCaughan 2-4, James ‘Rocket’ Black 2-1 and Patrick Gillan 0-6 leading the scoring fest. They had little time to celebrate however with their meeting with neighbours Cushendun scheduled for the same weekend.

Despite that big win at the Dub, Carey went into that semi-final with Cushendun as underdogs. The Emmet’s had raced through Group 2 of the qualifiers unbeaten, including a win over Kickham’s Creggan and were expected to progress to the final.

The Ballyvoy side failed to read the scrip however and booked their place in the final when they outplayed and outscored pre match favourites Cushendun in impressive fashion. Fresh from their 43 point hammering of Gort na Móna, the Ballyvoy men gave another faultless display to secure their place in the final.

The Faughs won the toss and elected to play with the aid of the diagonal breeze and their decision was soon justified as they flew from the traps. Conlaoth ‘Loaf’ McNeill got the first score of the game for Cushendun with a fantastic point from inside his own half, but the next ten minutes was all Carey as they hit 1-5 without reply, the goal brilliantly taken by Patrick Gillan while the points all came from different players, James McCouaig, Caolan McCaughan, James Rocket Black, Conor McBride and Gillan to move 1-5 to 0-1 ahead.

Cathaoir an Ri went on to lead 2-12 to 0-6 at half time and despite playing against the wind in the second half they ran out convincing winners by an 11 point margin to set up a final meeting with the Kickham’s.

Carey had scorers all over the field against the Cushendun men with McBride, Gillan, Black and Shea Hunter leading the way and they will be hoping for a similar spread of scores on Saturday in a repeat of the 2015 final.

Like Saturday’s opponents, Kickham’s journey to the final was not straight forward but less dramatic than that of Saturday’s opponents. They recorded a number of excellent results in Group 2 of the qualifiers, scoring freely as they defeating Sarsfield’s 3-19 to 1-15 and St. Brighid’s Cloughmills 1-23 to 1-8 before losing by four points to Emmet’s in Cushendun.

Going into the final round of games we had three teams in contention for the two qualifying places but Cushendun’s win at the Bear Pit left the score difference calculations unnecessary. The Kickham’s were in action against St. Paul’s at the same time as the Sarsfield’s v Emmet’s game and were ensuring that whatever way that result was going they would be masters of their own destiny.

Creggan recorded a facile 5-22 to 0-13 win against a St. Paul’s side who had nothing to play for to qualify for a semi-final place against a Cloney Gaels side, who like Emmet’s had impressed during the Group stages and were slight favourites going into that semi-final at Whitehill.

The Cloney Gaels, Kickham’s semi-final was a much tighter affair and saw fortunes swing to and fro during a compelling game of hurling that went to extra time and had the large crowd on their toes until the final whistle.

Kevin Rice got in for a Creggan goal after 30 seconds and Rice, Morgan Nelson and Oran McCann added points as Creggan trailed 1-6 to 0-10 at half time.

Morgan Nelson and county captain, Conor McCann added second half goals and a fine exhibition of free taking from Oran McCann kept Creggan in touch throughout the second half as fortunes favoured one and then the other side.

The sides couldn’t be separated during an enthralling 60 plus minutes of hurling but when Cloney Gaels hit the first three scores in extra time the Ahoghill side looked to be taking control.

Kickham’s Creggan came from a point down at half time however to hit 8 unanswered second half points with a devastating scoring performance and claim a place in the final and like their opponents, will be looking forward to Saturday’s final at Dunsilly.

Creggan edged out Carey in that 2015 final and the Faughs carry an unwanted record into Saturday’s decider having lost in the 2013, 2015, 2017 and 2019 finals and just how heavily that will weigh on their minds going into Saturday’s decider remains to be seen.

That was Creggan’s last and only Intermediate success and they went on to win Ulster that year though they reached the 2018 decider where they lost to St. Gall’s.

Both sides will be hoping to put that barren spell behind them and both have shown incredible resilience this year to reach Saturday’s final. Both are strong physical sides and we could well be in a far a war of attrition with no quarter asked or given.

Cathaoir an Ri will look to James ‘Rocket’ Black, Conor McBride, Caolan McCaughan and Patrick Gillan for scores while Cathal McAuley, Sean McBride, Peadar McBride and James McCouaig will hope to shut up shop at the other end and contain the Creggan attacking threat.

Aidan Maguire, Thomas McCann, Danaan O’Hara and Teddy McKeown are the men who can make life difficult for the Faughs attack while Ruairi McCann at midfield and Oran McCann, Kevin Rice, Morgan Nelson and Conor McCann carry a serious scoring threat.

I’m going to sit on the fence on this one as my predictions to date haven’t been too good but I expect this to be a full blooded championship clash between two strong and talented sides and the one who wants it most will take the title.

Carey cruise to final

Andersonstown  Social Club Intermediate Hurling Championship

Carey Faughs 2-21 Cushendun Emmet’s 1-13

By John McIlwaine

Carey Faughs booked their place in the final of the Andersonstown Social Club Intermediate Hurling Championship when they outplayed and outscored pre match favourites Cushendun in Sunday’s semi-final at Armoy. Fresh from their 43 point hammering of Gort na Móna on Tuesday evening the Faughs gave another faultless display to secure their place in the final in two weeks’ time.

Their facile win over the Gorts in midweek clearly did not task them too much, and it was clear the game did them a world of good as their first touch, their striking and their score taking was on a different level to the Emmet’s, who had one of those days when simply nothing would go for them. The Cushendun men have been excellent all season, but they could not raise a gallop this time out and were way off the pace.

The Faughs won the toss and elected to play with the aid of the diagonal breeze and their decision was soon justified as they flew from the traps. Conlaoth ‘Loaf’ McNeill got the first score of the game for Cushendun with a fantastic point from inside his own half, but the next ten minutes was all Carey as they hit 1-5 without reply, the goal brilliantly taken by Patrick Gillan while the points all came from different players, James McCouaig, Caolan McCaughan, James Rocket Black, Conor McBride and Gillan to move 1-5 to 0-1 clear.

James Rocket Black breaks clear of two Cushendun opponents

It was clear even at this early stage that Cushendun were in a spot of bother, but when Loaf came back with four points on the trot to close the gap to just four by the first-half water break it looked like they had weathered the worst of the storm. That was far from the case as it turned out for after the short break Carey found their touch again and in the 13 minutes that remained in the opening half they hit a further 1-6, to just one point in reply from Loaf McNeill to open up a a 2-12 to 0-6 half time lead. Their goal five minutes before half time came from Caolan McCaughan who ghosted in behind the Cushenun defence and when John McBride broke from a ‘ruck’ and found him with a pass McCaughan blasted home from close range.

It wasn’t quite clear just how much advantage the diagonal breeze was to the Faughs in the first half but when Cushendun opened the second half with a McNeill point and a goal from substitute Dominic McQuillan it appeared that it might be more beneficial than we thought. However that was a good as it got for the Emmet’s as McNeill continued to plough a lone furrow as far as scoring was concerned. He ended with 0-12 to his name, all from frees.

Carey on the other hand had a range of score takers with McBride, Gillan, Black and Shea Hunter keeping the scoreboard operators busy as they hit scores from all distances and angles to book their place in the final against Creggan in two weeks’ time, a repeat of the of the 2015 decider.

Loaf McNeill who scored 0-12 of his club’s total

CAREY FAUGHS

Cathal McAuley, Daniel Hill, Sean McBride, Zach McCaughan, Michael McVeigh, Peadar McVeigh, James McCouaig, Daniel McBride, Patrick Butler, Shea Hunter, John McBride, Caolan McCaughan, Patrick Gillan, James Black, Conor McBride.

CUSHENDUN EMMET’S

Careth Magee, Eoin McQuillan, Aidan Corbett, Jack McKay, Matthew McCartin, Donal O’Hara, Tom Scally, Conor McHugh, Callum Kilgore, Conrad McDonnell, Harry Kilgore, Conlaoth McNeill, Conor Bannon, Conleth Ryan, David Kilgore.

Subs – Dominic McQuillan, Pierce Bannon

Referee – Mark O’Neill (Armoy)