Oisins storm their way to semi-finals

Andersonstown Social Club Intermediate Hurling Championship

Glenariffe claimed the fourth spot in the Intermediate Hurling Championship semi-finals when they came from five points down midway through the first half to beat Gort na Móna by seventeen at Waterfoot on Wednesday evening. Going into the game the permutations were clear. Glenariffe needed to win by six points to edge ahead of Cloughmills while the Gorts needed to win by two, and when the men from Turf Lodge started well and opened up a five point gap they appeared to be on course to claim a semi-final spot against Tir na nÓg next weekend. However the Oisins fought back with a series of good points before the break to end the half on level terms (0-12 to 1-9) and after the change of ends they really hit their stride and boosted by second half goals from Caolan O’Connor, Paul McDonnell and substitute Michael O’Boyle they coasted to victory.

Oisins full forward Paul McDonnell celebrates after scoring his team’s second goal in their IHC win over Gort na Móna

Dessie McLean put Gort na Móna ahead in the opening minute and though Alex O’Boyle levelled for the home side they were struggling to find any early rhythm in their play. The sides were level on two points apiece in five minutes when the Belfast side started to dominate the play and when points from Dessie McLean (2), Darren Boyd and Padraig McHugh were followed by a goal from Barry McFall they were in control. The first half water break brought a little respite for the home team and as is often the case since this extra break in play has been introduce there was a huge momentum swing on the resumption. Suddenly the Oisins were finding their touch and a series of excellent points from Aaron Cosgrove, Nial Murray, Keiran McKendry, Shane O’Connor and Conor Kerr saw them level matters by the time referee Vincent Boyle sounded his half time whistle (0-12 to 1-9)

When Dessie McLean restored the Gorts lead inside thirty seconds of the restart there was renewed hope for his team, but incredibly they would only score one more point from then until the end. The Oisins levelled with a pointed free from Alex O’Boyle before substitute Dan McKillop gave them back a lead they were never to lose. Kieran McKendry put two between the sides, and though Dessie McLean closed the gap to just one in the 36th minute, that was to be the last time the visitors would trouble the scoreboard operator.  A goal from Caolan O’Connor was followed by four points from Paul McDonnell, Niall Murray, Alex O’Boyle and Kieran McKendry to put them in command, and when full forward Paul McDonnell grabbed his team’s second goal the only thing in question was the size of the winning margin. In the run-in the Oisins added a bit of gloss to the scoreline with some excellent points, and when substitute Michael O’Boyle (on for his older brother Alex) capped his cameo appearance with a third goal the Oisins fans went home happy.

Victory for Creggan but no winners at the Bear Pit

Andersonstown SC IHC Group 1

Sarsfields 2-22 Creggan 4-17

Report and Pics: Joe Rice

Creggan secured victory at the Bear Pit but there were no winners as the Loughshore side went into this game needing to win by 2 points and the Paddies by a few more.  In the dying seconds Creggan seemed to have got over the line but a Niall McKenna 20-metre free that sailed low into Emmet Long’s net put paid to their chances.   The visitors, 1-point ahead, needed 2 points to secure progress in the Championship but they just couldn’t manage to break the Paddies’ defence.

Sarsfields dominated the first 5 minutes and hit a number of wides wide before Creggan opened the scoring with a fine point from play from Sam Maguire but  Kevin McKernan responded to level proceedings with 8 minutes gone.  Seconds later Kevin Rice broke through to get the first of Creggan’s goals hammering the ball low into the net.  It was all Creggan for the next 7 minutes with Liam McCann registering a point from play and Conor McCann scoring 3 frees in succession.  The Paddies’next score came in the 15th minute with a point from play but Creggan replied with a second goal  when Oran McCann broke through Sarsfield’s defence blasting the ball into the net.  Undeterred, the Paddies scored the next 3 points – 2 from Kevin McKernan and 1 from Niall Carson.   With 10 minutes to go to the short whistle, both teams exchanged scores with Conor McCann adding 3 points, 2 from frees, to his tally while Niall McKernan and Kevin McKernan added 3 points from play and Ryan Carson raised the green flag for the homeside. 

At Half Time, the visitors would have been disappointed to be only 1 point ahead while Sarsfields were only starting to find their form.  At the short whistle, Creggan’s confidence must have grew with Gary Lennon seeing a straight ‘red’ for an off-the-ball incident involving Liam McCann.  McCann did follow Lennon minutes later for a high tackle giving both teams 14 players each for the 2nd Half. 

Sarsfields started the 2nd Half converting a 65 to level things while Creggan took the next 2 scores from play from Conor McCann before Niall McKernan and Ryan Carson levelled proceedings with 38 minutes gone.  The Loughshore side then hit a purple patch with scores from Tiernan McLarnon, a 65 from Conor McCann & a 2nd goal from Rice which saw David Ward, the Paddies’s keeper end in the back of the net.    Sarsfields were beginning to turn the screw however and scored the next 3 points through Ryan Carson, Daniel McKernan and Mark Rea to put the City side in front for the 1st time. 

Conor McCann responded for Creggan converting 2 frees in the 59th and 61st minute to put Creggan 1 point ahead and two minutes later Rice got his 3rd goal and with 7 minutes left to play the visitors looked to be home and dry.  It was not to be however as Sarsfields responded with the next 3 points, 2 from Niall McKenna and 1 from Kevin McKernan to keep the homeside in the game.  Kevin Rice and Oran McCann responded with points for the visitors to leave them leading by 5 points and they appeared to have done enough to qualify but  Sarsfield’s replied with a late goal from a 20-metre free from Niall McKernan who found the right had corner of the Creggan net.  The last score of the game was a point from Kevin Rice to leave the minimum between the teams but not enough to send his side into the next stage of the Championship.

Both sides will look back on this game with regret as both had chances to win it and will reflect on those chances and what might have been. It’s a pity that the highest scoring and best game of the championship couldn’t provide a qualifier but in the strangest of times that’s how it turned out. Referee, Kevin Parks, had a tight grip on the game and apart from the 2 red cards he wasn’t troubled that much.

FINAL SCORE:  Creggan 4.17 – Sarsfields 2.22.

Creggan:  No.1 Emmet Long, No.2 Jake McAteer, No.3 Donal Carey, No.4 Aidan Maguire, No.5 Liam McCann (0.1), No.6 Ciaran Rice, No.7 Ethan Carey Small, No.8 Sam Maguire (0.1), No.9 Thomas McCann (0.1), No.10 Conor McCann (0.10), No.11 Kelan McCann, No.12 Kevin Small, No.13 Tiernan McLarnon (0.1), No.14 Kevin Rice (3.2), No.15 Oran McCann (1.2), No.16 Dermot Carey, No.17 James Carey, No.18 Sean Donnelly, No.19 Ollie Duffin, No.20 Lee Johnston, No.21 Michael Maguire, No.22 James Dougan, No.23 Aran Hughes, No.24 Enda Maguire, No.25 Mark McCann, No.26 Dermot Mulholland, No.27 Danan O’Hara, No.28 Niall McAuley.

Sarsfields: No.1 David Ward, No.2 Declan Laverty, No.3 Malachy Campbell, No.4 Kevin Ward, No.5 Jack Daniels, No.6 C. Caldwell, No.7 Jim McKernan (0.), No.8 Kevin McKernan (0.8), No.10 Daniel McKernan (0.1), No.11 Niall McKernan (1.6), No.12 Daniel McKernan Snr, No.13 Ryan Carson (1.4), No.14 Mark Rea (0.1), No.15 Caolan McKernan (0.1), No.16 Paul Carson, No.17 Gary Lennon, No.18 Aaron Stewart, No.19 David Johnston, No.20 Daragh McGuinness, No.22 Niall McAlea, No.23 Tomas Doherty, No.24 James Cunningham.

Duffin stars at Randalstown go through to semi-finals

Andersontown SC IHC Group 2

Tír na nÓg 0.16 (16) Cloughmills 1.9 (12)

Report by Aimee McAtamney

Pics by Dylan McIlwaine

On a miserable day at Whitehill Tír na nÓg emerged as winners to progress to the semi-final of the Intermediate Hurling Championship after a four point win over St. Brigid’s Cloughmills. On an afternoon dominated with heavy rain showers, Sean Duffin stood out as top scorer whilst his two brothers Caoimhin and early substitute Colm held firm in defence ably assisted by the Martin brothers Tony and Daniel and the Sheerin brothers Kevin and Christy. Michael Devlin did well to revive his side on the 40th minute after scoring a goal from a 21m free when they went one point in front.

Goalkeeper Chris McKiernan looked secure between the sticks and set up many attacks from strong puck outs but he was unlucky to have to leave the field of play after 50 minutes due to an injury. Match referee Darren McKeown had a great game in the middle of the field, playing fair for both teams. Apart from a small mellee prior to the second water break, the game was contested in a strong, honest and hard manner.

Steven Smyth got the first score of the game which came after his midfielders Laverty and Dobbin won the throw in but a Kevin Sheerin’s puck out found Sean Duffin who replied immediately for the home side. One minute later Sean Duffin drove out of full forward to collect a ball near the sideline and clipped it over the bar for his second score of the game before Ciaran Logan added the home sides third point with 10 minutes played.

Aaron Smiley and Michael Devlin hit back with points for the visitors to level the game with a free a piece but Aaron McNeilly edged the home side one point in front approaching the first water break.

Tír na nÓg continued to apply the pressure after the short break and Logan popped over his second score of the game. On a wet afternoon, the frees came frequently, Micky Devlin (1) and Sean Duffin (2) traded scores before Duffin got his fifth score of the game to give the Whitehill men a four point lead at the short whistle.

The same trend continued in the second half where scores from frees played a big part with Duffin getting one for the Blues while Duffin, Kearns and Smiley replied for the Biddies.  Ten minutes into the half, Steven Smyth took the game by the scruff of the neck and ran at the Tír na nÓg defence to spilt the posts and with momentum on their side Michael Devlin eyed up a 21 metre free, with only a point the difference he only had one notion on his mind. Despite five Tír na nÓg men on the line Devlin fired the ball to the back of the net to regain the lead for the Cloughmills men. With the game in the melting pot, Sean Duffin’s accuracy and confidence from play and the dead ball swung the advantage back into the home sides favour when he hit 4 points in a row.

After the water break Kearns converted his second free of the game which kept the visitors within touching distance but substitute Shane Donnelly got the next score after excellent play from Tír na nÓg midfielders McNeilly and McKeown. The score of the game came 10 minutes from the end of play when Colm Duffin broke down a Biddies attack, he switched the ball to Christy Sheerin who handed the ball to Tony Martin. Martin played an accurate ball to Logan’s hand out who pointed his third score of the game. Sean Duffin got his eleventh point of the game after a foul on Eamon Óg McAllister and the final score of the game came from James Doherty whose effort sailed over the bar. After this weekend’s results Tír na nÓg, Ahoghill and Carey now progress to the semi finals with Glenariffe and Gort na Mona to play this Wednesday night to determine whether one of them or Cloughmills take the fourth semi final spot.

Tír na nÓg 1. K.Sheerin 2. T. Martin 3. C. Sheerin 4. D. Martin 5. C. Duffin 6. R. O’Neill 7. C. O’Neill 8. A. McNeilly 9. C. McKeown 10. E. Óg McAllister 11. C. Logan 12. N. Devlin 13. K. Kerr 14. S. Duffin 15. E. Martin 17. C. Fitzgerald 18. C. Duffin 19. S. Donnelly 20. P. Sheerin 21. S. McKinley 22. D. Mallon 23. D. Fagan 24. O. McAtamney Subs: C. Duffin for R. O’Neill, S. Donnelly for E. Martin, S. McKinley for N. Devlin Scorers: S. Duffin (0.11- 7 frees), C. Logan (0.3), A. McNeilly (0.1), S. Donnelly (0.1)

Cloughmills 1. C. McKiernan 2. G. Óg Laverty 3. J. McGuckian 4. S. McKendry 5. A. Smiley 6. M. Morrison 7. S. Martin 8. C. Laverty 9. M. Dobbin 10. M. Devlin 11. R. Laverty 12. J. Doherty 13. E. Dobbin 14. L. Kearns 15. S. Smyth 16. A. Mooney 17. A. McGuckian 18. M. Reid 19. R. Dobbin 20. J. Symth 21. J. Duffin 22. B. Martin 23. D. Morrison Subs: A. Mooney for C. McKiernan, D. Morrison for J. McGuckian Scorers: S. Smyth (0.2), A. Smiley (0.2- 2 frees), M. Devlin (1.2- 1 free), L. Kearns (0.2- 2 frees), J. Doherty (0.1)

Gaels hang on to earn semi-final place

Andersonstown SC IHC Group 2

Gort na Mona 1-15 Cloney Gaels 2-14

Cloney Gaels withstood a late rally from Gort na Mona at Enright Park today to book a place in the Andersontown Social Club IHC semi-final. The Ahoghill side looked to have matters well in control when they led 1-9 to 0-5 at the interval but after the break the Gorts began to gain a foothold and a late Padraig McCafferty goal closed the gap to two points but that was as close as they got.

Cloney Gaels travelled to Enright Park today knowing that if they won they would qualify for the semi-finals of the Intermediate championship, having already defeated Oisin’s Glenariffe two weeks ago in the opening game of the group.

They made their intentions clear right from the start as Frankie Neeson split the posts in the first minute and Donal Graham added a second with only three minutes gone. Gort na Mona hit a couple of wides but the play quickly switched to the other end and the visitors struck with the game’s opening goal.

Dan O’Connell started the move with a hanging delivery from out on the right and as Donal Graham challenged Sean Kelly for the dropping ball it fell perfectly for Gerard Graham who drilled it first time to the net.

James O’Connell added a good point before Dessie McLean finally got Gort na Mona on the board with a point from a free in the 7th minute and the Enright Park men stated to enjoy a bit of possession but were guilty of some poor shooting.

James O’Connell was proving a handful for the home defence and he fired over from a free to extend his side’s lead and at the other end Dessie McClean had an opportunity to close the gap from another free but he went for goal and the Cloney defence repelled his effort.

Gort na Mona were creating chances but wasting them while James O’Connell was displaying unerring accuracy at the other end as he converted another free to leave the visitors 1-4 to 0-1 ahead at the first water break.

On the resumption James O’Connell continued where he had left off before Dessie McClean raised his and his side’s second white flag but the same player was having an off day and he shot wide from another free as his side fought to get themselves into the game.

No such problems for the Cloney men as their talisman, James O’Connell fired over to bring his personal tally to 0-5 and at this stage Gort na Mona rang the changes, introducing Padrig McCaffery for Brendan Cousins and Gary Doyle for Martin Ward and it seemed to have an immediate effect as Mark Rea struck an excellent point with five minutes remaining to the break.

This score seemed to lift the home side and Martin Graham in the Cloney Gaels goal pulled off a good save to deny Barry McFall and from the breakaway Thomas McGlone fired over at the other end and Donal Graham followed with another as the visitors restored earlier order to proceedings.

Gort na Mona were still creating but wasting chances as a massive free from keeper, Sean Kelly tailed wide before Darren ‘Diesel’ Boyd fired over an excellent point from play to leave it 1-9 to 0-5 in favour of the visitors from Ahoghill at half-time.

With the slope behind them Gort na Mona started the second half on the front foot and Barry McFall shot wide after 30 seconds before Dessie McClean pointed from a 35 meter free with just a minute gone.

James O’Connell replied from another free but Darren Boyd responded for the Gorts as he sent over a massive point from near the right hand touchline and 55 meters from goal and the home side were starting to play with a bit of belief.

Dessie McClean added another and the momentum appeared to be swinging the way of the Enright Park men but they were rocked back in their tracks as James O’Connell finished to an empty net after Harry O’Donnell took advantage of a bad mix-up in the Gort na Mona defence to set him up.

It was end to end stuff at this stage of the game and from the puck out play swung to the other end and Gort na Mona were given a chance to get back into contention when they were awarded a penalty but Martin Graham pulled off a good save to deny Dessie McClean.

The momentum was now with the Turf Loge side and Dessie McClean looked to be in for a goal but again the visitors defence stood tall to repel the Gort na Mona man who was having a bit of an off day by his usual high standards.

Darren Boyd struck another superb point for Gort na Mona at the start of the final quarter but again the visitors were able to respond and Gerard Graham split the uprights but the home side had the bit between their teeth and Barry McFall took advantage of a slip by Niall O’Connell to point from close range.

Darren Boyd added another fine point and the Gorts number 5 was having an excellent game and he followed with another from a free to leave just four in it before James O’Connell eased the pressure with an Ahoghill point.

The home side went looking for a goal as the clock counted down but Martin Graham was in the right place at the right time with his third great save of the game before being finally beaten as Pardraig McCaffery drilled a close range free through a crowded goalmouth with time almost up.

McCaffery’s goal closed the gap to two but it was to prove the game’s final score and it is Cloney Gaels who advance to the semi-finals while Gort na Mona travel to Waterfoot on Wednesday night hoping for a big win that could see them qualify as best losers but Oisin’s will have similar aspirations.

Gort na Mona: Sean Kelly, Neil Henry, Paul McClelland, James Connolly, Darren Boyd, Connor McCann, Mark Rea, Padraig McHugh, Gavin McKenna, Niall Healey, Martin Ward, Declan Hughes, Brendan Cousins, Barry McFall, Dessie McLean. Padraig McCaffery for Brendan Cousins, Gary Doyle for Martin Ward, P Cournane for G McKenna, P Fryers for D Hughes, R Coleman for N Healey

Cloney Gaels: Martin Graham, Stephen O’Connell, Bernard Graham, James Magee, Harry O’Donnell, Niall O’Connell, Eamon Brady, Francis Neeson, Thomas McGlone, Owen Neeson, Eoin Graham, Gerard Graham, Gerard Graham, Dan O’Neill, Donal Graham, James O’Connell. Subs: Pease Downey for Donal Graham, Colla McDonnell for Eoin Neeson

Referee: Ciaran McCloskey (Loughgiel)

Tir na nOg hold on for useful win

Andersontown Social Club IHC Group 2

Glen Rovers Armoy 1.10 (13) Tír na nÓg 0.16 (16)

 Tír na nÓg held on to record a win over Glen Rovers Armoy in this Intermediate Hurling Championship game in Armoy despite a late rally from the home side. This game was very much in the melting pot for the full 60 minutes. It began tick for tack with both teams registering early scores through free takers Johnny McErlain and Sean Duffin. Tír na nÓg lost their captain Ryan O’Neill early on through injury and were forced to rejig their defence. After the water break Tír na nÓg lifted the tempo and hit five unanswered scores. Armoy fought back and began to turn the Whitehill defence over and did well to leave the margin 2 at half time.

In the second half Armoy keeper Devlin was called upon twice to make a save against Sean Duffin’s pulled effort and Eamon Óg McAllister’s bullet of a shot. 12 minutes into the second half Armoy were reduced to 14 men when Brendan Toland spotted an off the ball strike on Conor Fitzgerald. With 15 minutes remaining and the difference still 2 points, Armoy threw the kitchen sink at Tír na nÓg. With time almost up McErlain gave the home side a glimmer of hope when he rocketed a 21 metre free to the back of the net to narrow the gap back to two points. Sean Duffin duly knocked over his eighth free of the game to increase the visitors lead to three before Rocky got his first of the game. The last score came through Ciaran Logan registering his third score of the game before Toland blew the long whistle.

Tír na nÓg 1. K.Sheerin 2. T. Martin 3. C. Sheerin 4. C. Fitzgerald 5. C. O’Neill 6. R. O’Neill 7. C. Duffin 8. A. McNeilly 9. C. McKeown 10. E. Óg McAllister 11. C. Logan 12. S. Duffin 13. E. Martin 14. P. Sheerin 15. S. McKinley 17. N. Devlin 19. S. Donnelly 20. K. Kerr 21. S. Carey 22. D. Martin 23. D. Mallon 24. D. Fagan 25. O. McAtamney Subs: D. Martin for R. O’Neill (12mins), N. Devlin for S. McKinley (HT), D. Fagan for P. Sheerin (40mins), S. Donnelly for E. Martin (50mins), K. Kerr for C. Logan (63mins) Scorers: S. Duffin (0.9- 7 frees/1 65′), C. Logan (0.3), E. Martin (0.1), C. McKeown (0.1), A. McNeilly (0.1), E. McAllister (0.1)

Armoy 1. C. Devlin 2. A. Devlin 3. S. Devlin 4. J. McFetridge 5. J. McBride 6. T. Burns 7. C. Coyles 8. PJ McBride 9. C. Christie 10. J. McErlain 11. J. Dillon 12. T. McBride 13. C. Watterson 14. E. McCaughan 15. T. Linton 17. D. Connolly 24. T. Burns Scorers: J. McErlain (1.5- 3 frees/1 65′), E. McCaughan (0.2), T. McBride (0.1), T. Linton (0.1), J. Dillon (0.1)

Referee: Brendan Toland (Lamh Dhearg)