St Galls make it back-to-back wins with comeback victory at Milltown

Andersonstown SC Intermediate Hurling Championship Group 1 

St Galls 2-17-2-13 Creggan Kickhams

Kevin Herron reports from Milltown

St Galls fought back from two-points behind at the break to see off Creggan with a 2-17-2-13 victory at Milltown on Sunday evening. 

The visitors dominated for large spells of the opening half with Kevin Rice’s early strike helping them into a 1-08-0-05 lead. 

But Anton McCaffrey netted before the break and St Galls quickly got back on terms afterwards and hit the front with substitute Sean McAreavey making an impact from the bench and Mark Napier pulling in some vital scores. 

A Morgan Nelson goal helped Creggan eventually restore parity, but they were undone late-on by a Napier goal in injury-time that helped the hosts to victory and a second win in the Group. 

Sean Duffin got Creggan off the mark early-on and things got better when Kevin Rice made an angle for himself and shot low past Kurtis McGreevey and to the net. 

The visitors extended their lead through a point from Oran McCann before Jackson McGreevy initiated a reply for St Galls. 

Duffin floated over his second point of the half and the Staffordstown outfit almost had a second goal when Aidan Maguire picked out Morgan Nelson, the wing-half forward looked to be heading towards the target but opted for a point.

It was largely one-way traffic and Creggan moved 1-05-0-01 ahead after Kevin Rice adjusted his run and steered the ball between the posts.

St Galls were in need of some inspiration and Niall O’Neill produced an excellent effort from range that sailed between the posts. 

The sides traded the next four scores equally, Creggan twice re-established their seven-point lead with points from Sean Duffin and Morgan Nelson. 

On both occasions the hosts produced points of their own at the other end, Fergus Donnelly picked out Jackson McGreevy to swing over his second point and Mark Napier then produced a stunning score from a difficult angle. 

Napier quickly doubled his tally for the evening, but Kevin Rice guided a shot between the sticks to ensure Creggan were in control with a 1-08-0-05 lead. 

Although that lead would be halved before the interval, on 26 minutes a fantastic long ball into the forward-line from Jackson McGreevy was seized by Anton McCaffrey- who turned and sent a low shot to the net past Brendan Prenter. 

Fergus Donnelly would clip over a point in the aftermath and at the break, only two-points separated the sides, and it was all to play for. 

St Galls began the second period on the front-foot with Ryan Irvine converting a free and Jackson McGreevy producing a fine point from range to tie things up at 1-08 apiece. 

McGreevy would nudge the Miltown side ahead for the very first time and Mark Napier fizzed a shot over the crossbar to double their advantage. 

Their lead was halved when Oran McCann converted a free to get Creggan up and running again. 

Napier would bring his tally to four for the evening with a straight-forward placed-ball and substitute Sean McAreavey wasted no time in making an impact from the bench with a point that give his side a 1-12-1-09 lead.

The Galls extended their lead through a further Napier free- though with 12 minutes remaining Creggan salvaged a lifeline. 

Morgan Nelson fires home his sides second goal

Declan McCann hoisted a high ball forward, a flick-on fell invitingly to Morgan Nelson and his low shot flew past Kurtis McGreevy to bring the deficit back to the bare minimum. 

Substitute McAreavey would double his tally, but at the other end Oran McCann picked out namesake Ruairi to float over a reply and bring it back to a one-point game. 

Ruairi McCann then got to the resulting puck-out and laid the ball off to Sean Duffin- who swung over the equaliser to tie the game up a 1-14-2-11. 

Points were again traded in the aftermath with Patrick Friel edging St Galls ahead and Oran McCann restoring parity through a close range free. 

Friel doubled his tally from out wide and gave the hosts an advantage that they wouldn’t let slip in injury-time. 

The crucial score arrived two minutes in after Sean McAreavey chased a lost cause and recycled the ball to Mark Napier to fire to the net and give their side a 2-16-2-12 lead. 

Oran McCann converted a free in the aftermath to ensure that his side would at least have the chance of an equaliser if time allowed it, but they wouldn’t get that chance as Sean McAreavey floated over his third point from his introduction to ensure that St Galls made it two-wins from two at the start of their Championship campaign. 

St Galls: K McGreevy,L O’Ciarain, J McDaniel, D Wilson, N O’Neill (0-01), R Irvine (0-01), C McCarthy, J Hopkins, F Donnelly (0-01), T O’Ciarain, R Wilson, J McGreevy (0-04), P Friel (0-02), A McCaffery (1-00), M Napier (1-05, 0-02f). 

Subs: S McAreavy (0-03) for F Donnelly (43), G McGreevy for R Wilson (43), C McCaffery for R Irvine (57), C Sheehan for A McCaffery (59). 

Creggan Kickhams: B Prenter, A Maguire, A McKeown, J McAteer, D McCann, L McCann, T McLarnon, K McCann, R McCann (0-01), M Nelson (1-02), O McCann (0-04, 0-03f), S Duffin (0-04), D Mulholland, K Rice (1-02), D Carey. 

Subs: B Maguire for D McCann (50). 

Referee: Eamon Hamill (St Teresa’s)

Tir na nOg on top in Whitehill goal fest

 Andersonstown SC IHC Group 2

Tir na nOg 5-24 Gort na Mona 6-12 

Photographs: Bert Trowlen  

Tir na nOg made it 2 wins from 2 starts in the Andersonstown SC IHC Group 2 when they overcame the challenge of a spirited Gort na Mona in a high scoring goal fest at Whitehill today. The Randalstown side led 2-12 to 2-8 at half time with their goals coming from Colm Duffin and Darragh Fagan while Dessie McClean was in superb form for the visitors, getting both Gort na Mona goals before going on to add two more in the second half.

It was McClean who opened the scoring for the visitors with a point in the first minute but Tir na nOg replied with two from Sean Duffin to go ahead with 7 minutes gone. Neil Henry and Patrick Cournane edged the visitors in front once more before Sean Duffin and Eamon Og McAllister replied for the Whitehill side to restore their lead by the11th minute.

It was inspiring end to end hurling with the only sweeper on duty cleaning up the Tir na nOg dressing rooms and the excellent Dessie McLean levelled matters again before getting the final touch to a dropping ball and flicking it to the net as the men from the Mona bypass hit the front once more.

Sean Duffin for Tir na nOg and McClean for the ‘Gorts’ exchanged further points as the thrill a minute action continued and Colm Duffin got in for the home sides opening goal to draw matters all square again by the 19th minute as an appreciative crowd roared their approval.

The game continued at a blistering pace as Sean Duffin and Aaron McNeilly edged the Whitehill side two in front but back came the visitors once again with the superb Dessie McClean hitting three on the bounce.

It was Tir na nOg who finished the half stronger however with full-back Christy Sheerin striking a great individual point and Sean Duffin, Darragh Fagan 0-3, Aaron McNeilly and Michael Higgins splitting the post before Fagan fired to the net to leave his side four ahead at the break.

Within two minutes of the second half Gort na Mona were back on level terms as man of the match McClean fielded a high ball before turning and rifling it to the net and the same player followed with a point to serve notice that the Enright Park side were not there just to make up the numbers.

Sean Duffin replied with a point but McClean was proving almost unmarkable as he repeated his earlier individual fete with his and his side’s 4th goal and when Darren Boyd followed with a point the visitors looked to be gaining the upper hand.

The champions of two years ago are made of sterner stuff however and a superb goal from Eamon Og McAllister got them on their way again when he fired an unstoppable shot to the top corner of the net in the 6th minute to swing the game back in his side’s favour.

Patrick McCaffrey replied with a Gort na Mona point but Sean Duffin responded with three on the bounce and Josh Higgins followed with another before Colm Duffin got in for a goal in the 16th minute.

At this stage the home side looked on their way to victory as Ciaran O’Neill got his name on the score sheet with a point but Gort na Mona were still giving it everything with Dessie McClean leading the way and he fired over three points (1 ‘65’) by the 22nd minute and when Patrick McCaffrey followed with a goal it was back in the melting pot.

As before the home side made quick reply as Darragh Fagan, Colm Duffin, a superb long range effort from Caoimhin Duffin and another from Sean Duffin gave them some breathing space but it wasn’t over yet.

Gort na Mona came back with a scrambled goal in the 29th minute but this time there would be no comeback as Duffin and Higgins replied with points before their best player on view, Sean Duffin made matters secure when he punished a mistake by the visitors defence to fire to the net.

The final point of the game fell to Gort na Mona’s Neill Henry but it was merely a consolation score and it is Tir na nOg who top Group 2 with 4 points from two games closely followed by Cloney Gaels and Cushendun and the two quarter-final places looks like being between these three with Tir na nOg’s visit to Ahoghill on the 21st August looking like one not to be missed.                                                                                                                                                    

Tir na nOg: 1 Kevin Sheerin, 2 Neil Shannon, 3 Christy Sheerin, 4 Connor McCamphill, 5 Ethan Higgins, 6 Caoimhin Duffin, 7 Manus Smith, 8 Ciaran O’Neill, 9 Aaron McNeilly, 10 Eamon Og McAllister, 11 Ciaran Logan, 12 Sean Duffin, 13 Niall Devlin, 14 Colm Duffin, 15 Darragh Fagan,

Gort na Mona: I Niall Healy, 2 Liam Dixon, 3 Gavin McKenna, 4 James Connolly, 5 Neil Henry, 6 Padraig McHugh, 7 Mark Rea, 8 Declan Hughes, 9 Patrick McCaffrey, 10 Patrick Cournane, 11 Darren Boyd, 12 Conor McCann, 13 David Dixon, 14 Gary Doyle, 15 Dessie McClean

Referee: Sean Elliott (Lamh Dhearg)

Oisins get their first win

Andersonstown Social Club Intermediate Hurling Championship

Oisins 0-17 Con Magees 1-9

Glenariffe got their first win of their Intermediate Hurling Championship campaign when the beat neighbours Glenravel by five points on Saturday in Waterfoot. Ten points clear with twenty minutues still to play, the Oisins only hit two more scores for the remainder of the game and had to withstand a fightback from their visitors. The Con Magees pulled the gap back to five at the end with a late Martin Scullion goal, but had they have had a free taker of the calibre of the Oisins Alex O’Boyle then the score could have been much closer.

O’Boyle had the Oisins three clear after just two minutes, two of them from frees and one from play, before Declan McAuley got Glenravel on the scoreboard in the fourth minute.

Points from Michael O’Boyle and Alex O’Boyle were answered by two from the Con Mages Sean McKay and Declan Traynor to keep the gap at three, but five on the trot from the homes side, four of them from Alex O’Boyle and one from David Kearney stretched the lead out to ten by the 25th minute. Sean McKay and Niall Donnelly pulled two back to leave just five between the sides, but Alex O’Boyle came back with another one from a free to give his team a 0-11 to 0-5 gap at the interval.

With the breeze behind them in the second half Glenravel restarted with a lot of hope but four points in a row from Conor Patterson, Alex O’Boyle (2) and Padear McDonnell stretched the home sides lead to ten. Ryan Lennon and Conleth O’Loan got their team’s first scores of the second half but they squandered some good chances of closing the gap. Alex O’Boyle ended a sixteen minutes spell for the Oisins with a pointed free, and though the Glenravel men finished strongly with a point from Sean McKay and a goal from the veteran Martin Scullion, it was too little to late

OISINS

Paul McMullan, Michael Haughey, Niall Murray, Daniel Kearney, Donal Kearney, Conor Patterson, Michael Gettings, Seanie McIntosh, Odhran Gillen, Oliver Kearney, David Kearney, Alex O’Boyle, Caolan O’Connor, Seamus McDonnell, Michael O’Boyle.

CON MAGEES

Ronan Donnelly, Caolan Mullan, Shane Woulahan, Brian O’Neill, Conleth O’Loan, Eoin McCusker, Michael McDonnell, James Duffin, Rian Lennon, Johnny Fyfe, Martin Scullion, Sean McKay, Declan McAuley, Niall Donnelly, Decan Traynor

Referee – Fiontann McCotter

Cloughmills cling on for victory

Casement Social Club Junior Hurling Championship – Group 2

Friday 5th August

Report by Niall Kelly 

Glen Rovers Armoy 1-10      Saint Brigid’s Cloughmills 0-14

Ryan O’Reilly’s final whistle will have prompted significant sighs of relief from the Cloughmills faithful. With ten minutes to go, they seemed to be in cruise control. Six points up, a man to the good and playing some slick hurling, they looked destined to coast home and bolster their lead further. However, as cliché as it may be, Championship is a different animal. An Owen Kinney goal to narrow the gap to three ignited the touch paper for a spirited come-back attempt from Armoy. The ‘Biddies’ though managed to hang on in there and their defence stayed resolute when it mattered most.

This was always going to be a tough one to call. Some may have given the visitors a slight edge on their superior league finish but a ten-point victory for Armoy against the men in orange and black a little over a month ago would suggest that it would be exceptionally tight. That is exactly how it transpired.

The opening quarter of the game would pit Trever Linton and Liam Kearns dead ball abilities against one another. Kearns shot Cloughmills into an early two-point lead before the Glen Rover’s full-forward responded with two of his own. The visitors had the better of the opening exchanges of the half and the ever-dangerous Stevie Smyth was causing havoc in the Armoy defence with his movement and trickery a constant thorn in their side.  As he looked to surge through once more, Smyth was brought down and Kearns duly despatched with ease again from the dead ball before Ciaran McKenna responded for Amoy finding the target from a sixty-five.

The hosts soon began to click in attack themselves. Centre forward Thomas Burns bulldozed his way through a number of challenges on the left flank before blasting over from an acute angle on the 20th minute. Trevor Linton then increased the gap to two with another well-taken free.

Momentum continued to sway to and fro with before Cloughmills talisman Michael Devlin made his presence known. ‘Micky D’ certainly had his scope fixed perfectly as he unleashed two monstrous scores from range to level things up again. Two pinpoint frees from Liam Kearns and yet another long range effort this time from the hurl of Eoin Dobbin saw Cloughmills establish a three-point advantage. With the imminent sounding of the short whistle though, Armoy cut the deficit back to a point with white flags being raised from the hurls of PJ McBride and that man Trever Linton yet again.

Having taken stock and analysed proceedings over the half-time team-talks, it was Cloughmills who emerged with a fire in their bellies. They dominated the first fifteen minutes and it took until the 48th minute for Armoy to register their first score of the half. James Doherty’s blistering pace was a menace to the hosts and he fired home a superb point from range three minutes into the half.

The industry and tenacity of Stevie Smyth continued to be the detriment of Glen Rovers. They couldn’t seem to nullify his threat and his hard work was central to the next few scores for his team. Conor Laverty split the posts from range before the ever-reliant Kearns fired over yet again from a free.

Cloughmills were purring now and a well-deserved score from Smyth himself increased the gap further. Passions spilled over though not long after. There were some rather unsavoury scenes as an altercation off the ball between Liam Dillon and James Doherty escalated into somewhat a melee. Referee Ryan O’Riley had no other option but to brandish the red card to Dillon and it appeared this spelt the end for Armoy’s hopes of an opening win with ten minutes remaining on the clock.

Armoy however were not to follow the script and mounted a serious come back. Trever Linton replied to a Liam Kearns free before substitute Owen Kinney announced his arrival to proceedings in the most emphatic fashion as he latched on to a handpass and steered the ball into the despairing Chrissy McKernan’s net. The hosts now seemed to have wrestled the initiative back and began attacking in waves. Trever Linton despatched one from close range to cut the gap to two.

Cloughmills were struggling to maintain possession or make any penetrative passes and Armoy continued on their offensive.  Thomas Burns was pivotal in their attacks and his catching ability was unrivalled throughout and after plucking yet another ball out of the sky, he found the target from range to reduce the deficit to a single point with three minutes still to go.

The onslaught continued but to no avail as the Cloughmills defence, marshalled well by Aaron Smiley and Séan McKendry, refused to breach further and the ‘Biddies’ held on to stagger over the line.

Make no mistake about it, Championship hurling is all about ‘getting over the line’ and Cloughmills will be delighted to have clung on. It could well be an important two points considering the company of Group Two with league champions Glenarm and Lámh Dhearg also vying for the two semi-final spots. Armoy will no doubt be gutted at the marginal deficit of their defeat. They showed patches of promise and with more consistency in their next games will still fancy their chances of progressing out of the group stages.

Teams:

Glen Rovers Armoy:

C Devlin; C Coyles, S Devlin, E O’Hara; L Dillon, A Devlin, T McBride; J McFetridge, PJ McBride (0-01;) C McKenna (0-01,) T Burns (0-02,) E O’Boyle; C Lordan, T Linton (0-06,) C Watterson

Subs: O Kinney (1-00)

Naomh Bríd Cloughmills

C McKernan; M Dobbin, S McKendry, R Watt; J Duffin, C Laverty (0-01,) J Smyth; R Laverty, G Óg Laverty; J Doherty (0-01,) M Devlin (0-02,) E Dobbin (0-01;) A Smiley, L Kearns (0-07,) S Smyth (0-01)

Referee – Ryan O’Reilly

St Gall’s win well as Con Magees regret missed chances

Andersonstown Social Club Intermediate Hurling Championship

Glenravel 0-07    St Galls 0-14

St Galls emerged victorious in this low scoring game where first touch hurling and accurate score taking were in short supply. To be fair both teams struggled under the heavy grey sky and constant drizzle making fast flowing hurling almost impossible. St Galls victory was largely down to a combination of indiscretion by the home team in the defensive third of the pitch being punished by accurate free taking from the visitors’ corner forward, Mark Napier, who got half his team’s scores, six of which were frees from  relatively easy positions.

The Belfast men would have been strong favourites having ploughed their trade this season a division above Con Magees who were making their Intermediate Championship debut having secured the Junior Championship last year. But a narrow two point lead on the short whistle would have had the city men  a little nervous in the half time changing rooms.

St Galls started the game in full flow with the opening three scores from Patrick Friel and two from Mark Napier. Declan McAuley making a welcome return to the starting lineup after a long layoff got Con Magees off the mark after eight minutes but that was cancelled out one minute later when St Galls’ burly full forward Antoin McCafferty pointed from close range. Glenravel had been playing well in the opening quarter but some wayward shooting found them trailing 0-04 to 0-01 at this stage. That would change over a three minute period when Niall Donnelly, Johnny Fyfe and Connor Deery brought the home side level after fifteen minutes of the first half. The second quarter was a dull affair for the purists with only two points recorded over a fifteen minute spell, both for St Galls from play by Fergus Donnelly and Patrick Friel.

The home support would have been happy enough with the half time scoreline but disappointed Glenravel hadn’t been a little more accurate from open play.

Sean McKay was introduced to the Con Magees forward line at the start of the second half at the expense of Declan McAuley who had done well in his first game back. However defensively the home team were starting to leak frees which Mark Napier and Ryan Irvine converted in the opening two minutes to double St Gall’s lead to four points and put some daylight between the teams for the first time. Connor Deery and Mark Napier traded frees before Declan Traynor picked off the score of the game when his quick thinking lead to a lovely point to reduce the gap to three points. St Galls would stretch the lead to four again when Fergus Donnelly pointed from play so we headed into the final quarter with St Galls ahead by four 0-10 to 0-06 and struggling to kill off Glenravel. However, in the final quarter the Division 2 side’s experience and guile won through. As the light was fading so were the home side’s chances with Con Magees resorting to conceding frees which Mark Napier (3) and Ryan Irvine (1) happily converted. Glenravel’s only response was fine point from play by Johnny Fyfe as the game ticked into added time leaving a final score of 0-14 to 0-07 in favour of St Galls.