Gort na Móna v Glenarm – The captains views

Huntinglodge(57) copyGorts looking forward to Ulster campaign

By Brendan McTaggart

After being put to the sword in the closing stages of the decider, Gort na Móna Captain Padraig McHugh was a relieved man when we caught up with him on the Armoy pitch: “They put it up to us so they did but the lads dug in and battled hard in defence.  The conditions there are awful, they may not seem too bad on the side line but there’s parts of the pitch that are seriously cut up, slippery and mucky but we got over the line and we’re back into the Intermediate and I believe that’s where we belong.”

McHugh paid tribute to the Gort defence for their defiance in the face of the Glenarm onslaught during the dying moments of the junior final: “The lads showed a bit of character towards the end and the defence was immense.  We were defending for our lives in there and there was people putting their bodies on the line so fair play to the lads for showing that commitment to the Gort shirt.”

Some had questioned the Gorts for dropping into the junior championship but as McHugh told us, the Turf Lodge side have been struggling: “We’ve had a lot of guys that have left through immigration with work and stuff.  We’re a small dual club and we’re battling against the tide in west Belfast.  We’ve got St John’s and Rossa around us and there’s some players that we’ve brought up that have ended up at St John’s or Rossa which is a bit hard to take for a small club with those two right beside us but that’s us back where we belong.

“We definitely needed this.  Hurling was struggling, down in numbers and hopefully this gives the young lads the belief that they can be part of something special at Gort na Móna.”

The conditions played a major role in the outcome of the final and the Gorts Captain told us that they are capable of more but they have their eyes fixed on a run in the Ulster championship: “We never really got out of second gear to be honest.  We’re a lot better than that but not making excuses, the conditions were terrible but we’re over the line and it’s all about Ulster now.

“It’s nine years since we had an Ulster campaign, we won the Ulster Intermediate nine years ago and that’s a long time for a lot of those lads out there.  We’ve been battling against the tide with the clubs around us and being a small club, alternating between the codes on a Wednesday and Sunday.  If you pick up injuries you’re in trouble so it’s good to have some reward for all the years of work that these lads have put in.”

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Gort na Móna captain Padriag McHugh (right) and his Glenarm counterpart Benny McDermott with match referee Colm McDonald before Saturday’s Junior Hurling Championship final in Armoy. Pic by John McIlwaine

McDermott hopeful for the future

By Brendan McTaggart

Team Captain Brendan McDermott was the picture of devastation as he left the Armoy pitch on Saturday afternoon.  No-one likes doing the interview after a defeat and after a final loss it’s more sickening but the Glenarm man gave us his thoughts before leading his team back to the changing rooms.

The Glenarm half forward bemoaned his sides slow start to the match: “It seems to be our way.  We don’t get out of the blocks in the first half.  We didn’t even get out of the blocks until the last ten minutes of the match and everyone seemed to want it that wee bit more.”

His side almost completely a remarkable comeback in the closing stages, getting to within two points of the Gorts after trailing by ten points but McDermott paid tribute to the Turf Lodge men when he added: “We just ran out of time and fair play to Gort na Mona for holding out in the end.”

Despite playing second fiddle to the Gorts for large periods of the first half, only three points separated the sides at the interval with the elements in Glenarm’s favour in the second half.  McDermott told us that the occasion may have gotten to his side in the second half: “We weren’t even thinking on the breeze at half time.  To be honest, it’s a really young side we have there and nerves played a major part for a lot of these lads.  It seemed to be that it took over some of the young boys but look, it is what it is and I wish Gort na Móna all the best in Ulster but I wish it was us.”

Glenarm’s search and wait for junior honours continues but McDermott told us that Saturday will hopefully be used as a stepping stone for this young side: “It’s all about stepping blocks for us.  This is a very young side and even next year there should be a crop coming up from the minors into the seniors next year and that’s something to look forward to.”

Gorts withstand late Glenarm goal rush to claim junior title

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Gort na Móna celebrate their win over Glenarm in Saturday’s Junior Hurling Championshio final in Armoy. Pic by John McIlwaine

Junior Hurling Championship Final

Gort na Móna 3-12 Shane O’Neill’s, Glenarm 3-10

By Brendan McTaggart

With a little over 10 minutes to go in the junior final on Saturday, the result looked a foregone conclusion.  Gort na Mona were 10 points ahead and despite misfiring in front of the target, the Turf Lodge men were dominant and looked like they would see out the remaining minutes at a canter.  The Glenarm challenge had seemingly faltered but as the heavens opened again, the Glenarm men were planning the perfect storm.  They laid siege on the Gort na Mona defence in search for goals.  An aerial bombardment and all-out attack.  It was like the Glenarm version of the Alamo and the Shane O’Neills were winning but time was not their friend.

The Gort’s hung on to see out the win to claim the junior crown and on the evidence of the hour, deservedly so.  Two points was the margin of victory in the end as the Gort’s celebrated their first hurling crown in nine years.

Glenarm made a bright start to the final with Darren Hamill in particular causing the Gorts huge problems.  The former county star scored four points in the first half with three of those coming in the first ten minutes.  Gort were struggling to settle into their game and with the normally reliable Desi McClean misfiring from placed ball, they couldn’t get any form of footing in the game.  Sean Doyle, McClean and the impressive Padraig McCaffrey all registered scores for the Turf Lodge men in the opening quarter but Daniel Black and Captain Brendan McDermott split the posts to give the north Antrim side a two point lead mid-way through the first half.

Glenarm were looking lively all over the pitch and strong in defence.  McClean and Darren Boyd weren’t getting much change from their markers but it was a moment of brilliance that produced the opening goal of the final in the 18th minute.  Centre half Mark Rea sent a long ball into the heart of the Glenarm defence and for once former minor star Hugh-Pat McNeill didn’t claim the sliotar.  McClean rose highest but his shot was superbly blocked with some last ditch Glenarm defending.  The lose sliotar fell to Dermott McVeigh and he pulled first time to the back of Patrick Abraham’s net to give the Gort’s the lead and one that they wouldn’t relinquish for the remainder of the final.

A brace of points from Patrick McCaffrey and McClean (’65) was answered by Hamill’s fourth point of the match in the 25th minute before the Gorts found the net once again.  Boyd’s effort for a point fell short but Abraham between the sticks failed to clear his lines.  Doyle gathered and punished the Glenarm defence with a drilled shot to the back of the net to open a five point lead for his side.

Glenarm finished the half well with a Black free and a Liam Mulvenna point, Mulvenna’s pulled effort just going over the bar with ‘keeper Connor McCann routed to the spot to leave three points between the sides at the short whistle.

The three point advantage was the minimum that the Gorts deserved from the opening 30 minutes.  11 wides, four from placed ball and passing up on two further goal chances meant that Glenarm were still in the game at the interval.  Glenarm had their own chances for goal, Mulvenna’s effort in first half injury time looked destined for the back of the net while Darren Hamill’s fourth point was ‘unlucky’ to not find the back of McCann’s net.

A trio of Gort points after the restart reaffirmed their position, Patrick and Thomas McCaffrey along with ‘Diesel’ Boyd.  It could have been better for the Gorts but McClean’s goal bound effort was blocked by the Glenarm defence.

Dylan McLaughlin and Padraig McDermott split the posts to keep the Glenarm men in touch but the Gorts found the back of Abraham’s net in the 43rd minute to all but secure the junior crown.  Thomas McCaffrey latching onto a lose sliotar, pulling first time and putting a Gort hand on the junior crown.  Martin Ward, Patrick McCaffrey (free) and Thomas McCaffrey all registered white flags in the space of four minutes to open a ten point lead in the 49th minute and Glenarm looked a beaten side.

The Shane O’Neill’s found a second wind to launch an attempt at the mother of all comebacks.  They had chances to score from frees and begin to chip away at the Gort na Mona lead but decided to look for majors.  With hindsight, the Glenarm men will rue their lack of composure in the closing stages with a series of missed chances in the space of five minutes.  Going for goal when electing for point may have been a better option.  They finally breached the Gort defence in the 55th minute when Barry Hamill fired home from close range but it brought a muted applause from the Glenarm support who looked consigned to defeat.

A point from McVeigh moments later did little to derail the new found Glenarm momentum as they probed for more openings in the Gort defence.  Their second goal came after McLaughlin latched onto a long ball from Blair McDermott in the last minute of normal time and left the Glenarm bench frantically looking at their watches to see how long was left.  More Glenarm pressure followed and again they found the net in the second minute of injury time.  Barry Hamill with his second and the Glenarm bench were asking how long was left.  The answer?  Not enough.  Gort na Mona hung on in the end to finish two points clear at the end of a dramatic final ten minutes.

Gort na Mona: Connor McCann; Christopher Devlin; Gavin McKenna; Brendan Cousins; Padraig McHugh; Mark Rea; Gary Doyle; Patrick McCaffrey; Declan Hughes; Sean Doyle; Martin Ward; Dermott McVeigh; Thomas McCaffrey; Desi McClean; Darren Boyd

Subs: Nathan Gibson for S Doyle (45 mins); Padraig Fryers for D Boys (58 mins)

Scorers: Thomas McCaffrey 1-2; Patrick McCaffrey 0-4 (1 free, 1 ’65); Sean Doyle 1-1; Dermott McVeigh 1-1; Desi McClean 0-2 (1 free, 1 ’65); Martin Ward 0-1; Darren Boyd 0-1

Glenarm: Patrick Abraham; Jake Hamilton; Hugh-Pat McNeill; Sean Moran; Patrick McAuley; Blain McDermott; Liam Mulvenna; Padraig McDermott; Shane Magill; David Black; Dylan McLaughlin; Brendan McDermott; Darren Hamill; Conal Ward; Barry Hamill

Scorers: Barry Hamill 2-00; Darren Hamill 0-4; Dylan McLaughlin 1-1; Daniel Black 0-2 (2 frees); Liam Mulvenna 0-1; Padraig McDermott 0-1; Brendan McDermott 0-1

Subs: Connor McNeill for L Mulvenna (38 mins)

Referee: Colm McDonald (St Galls)

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Little to choose between Glenarm and Gort na Mona

Junior Hurling Championship Final preview

Glenarm v Gort na Mona at Armoy

Saturday September 16th at 2pm

By John McIlwaine

Shane O’Neill’s Glenarm bid to bridge a fifty year gap when they take on Gort na Mona in Saturday’s Junior Hurling Championship final in Armoy. 1957 was the last year the club, then known as St Joseph’s Glenarm, last captured the Junior trohy and though they have a won a few at Intermediate level since then the Junior has eluded them. Strange at it may seem they did win the Ulster Junior title in 2004 though. That year the men from Feystown were beaten in the Antrim final by Loughgiel’s 2nds, but because the Shamrocks are a senior club they were not allowed to compete in Ulster at Junior leavel and so Glenarm went through as Antrim’s representatives.  The Feystown side took full advantage of their reprieve and they actually went on to win the Ulster title by beating Armagh champions Portadown in the final at Casement Park.

Standing in their way on Saturday is the formidable challenge of Gort na Móna, a team who not too long ago were capturing Intermediate titles at Ulster level

Glenarm started this year’s campaign with a comprehensive win over St Teresa’s at Quinn Park, Ballymena back on August 5th. The Feystown side were slow to start that day and actually trailed by 0-8 to 0-5 after twenty five minutes, but a strong finish to the half saw them hit five points without reply to lead by 0-10 to 0-8 at the break. After the change of ends there was no stopping them and early points from Benny McDermott and Daniel Black, followed by a Sean O’Hare goal saw gain complete control and they played some top class hurling to run out winners by 4-23 to 1-11.


Glenarm’s Daniel Black

In their semi-final in Armoy they were slow to start once again as Con Magees Glenravel had the better of things in the first half. Playing against the stiff breeze Glenravel looked well placed to cause an upset when a Declan Traynor goal helped them to a 1-8 to 0-6 lead by the twenty fifth minute. Glenarm were up against it but the brilliant free taking of Daniel Black steadied the ship and a point from a Black free and one from play by Darren Hamill cut the gap to just a goal at the break. When the teams emerged for the second half Glenarm were a team transformed and boosted by a goal from county minor star Shane Magill they turned the game around in that second half to run five point winners on a scoreline of 1-17 to 1-12.

Gort na Mona’s path to the final

Gort na Mona faced Cushendun in their opening game and after an epic struggle they got home with a point to spare. Cushendun led early on thanks to a goal from Eoin McQuillan but the Belfast boys fought back and goals from Mark Ward and Thomas McCaffrey saw them open a 2-6 to 1-4 lead by half time. An early second half point saw them go six clear and though Cushendun made a real fight of it Gort na Mona were always able to keep a little daylight between the sides.  The Emmets produced a strong finish to get the gap down to a single point but the Gorts never panicked and held on to book a semi-final place.

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Gort na Mona’s Dessie McClean

It was a close battle once again in that semi-final as they faced near neighbours St Paul’s on the 3G pitch at Woodlands. With Dessie McClean pulling the strings for the Turf Lodge men they opened up a three point lead midway through the first half, but a Niall Peoples goal brought St Paul’s back on level terms. Darren Boyd and Dessie McClean put them two clear with half time fast approaching before St Paul’s hit a late point to leave the minimum between the sides at the break. Midway through the second half the sides were level for the seventh time in the game, but three unanswered points from Thomas McCaffrey, Declan Hughes and Darren Boyd gave them a bit of breathing space. However St Paul’s fought to the very end and closed the gap to a single point entering injury time, but just as in the quarter final the Turf Lodge side held on for victory.

This could go either way

A betting man wouldn’t know just what way to call this game. The teams form during the championship had been pretty similar and when they met each other in the league in July it ended level on 1-13 to 0-16. Glenarm’s defence have looked a little suspect at times this season and they will need to be at their best on Saturday to deal with the threat of Dessie McClean who can win a game of his own hurl.  However they have some fine hurlers at the back with the likes of Blain McDermott and Hugh Pat McNeill, and the way they snuffed out the Glenravel forwards in the second half of their semi-final must give them confidence. At midfield county minor Shane Magill had his best display of the season in the semi-final and after missing much of the club season because of his county commitment he will be champing at the bit on Saturday. Up front Daniel Black is a key man and his free taking will have a big bearing on the outcome of this game. Darren Hamill has been back to his best this season after a long lay-off through injury and though he was unusually quiet in the win over Glenravel he has the ability to control matters in the half forward line. Another key man is Dylan McLaughlin who has played well all season and his contribution will be vital.

Gort na Mona is a team with loads of talent in their ranks and the likes of Dessie McClean, Darren Boyd, Thomas McCaffrey and Sean Doyle will be formidable opponents. It is only two years since this Gort na Mona side took Creggan to extra time in the Intermediate semi-final, a Creggan team who went to win the Antrim and Ulster titles. Their form dipped the following season when Dessie McClean immigrated to America but the former county star is back and showing good form once again.

As I said in my introduction this is a hard one to call. The sides finished level in the league though Glenarm are four points better off in the league table, with a game in hand. There won’t be a lot between them in the end but I give a tentative nod in the direction of Glenarm……………..if they can stifle the threat of Dessie McClean.



Strong second half sees Glenarm book final place

Antrim Junior A hurling championship in Armoy


Glenram’s Shane Magill (8) gets a pat on the back from team mate Conor McNeill after scoring his team’s goal during the second half of his team’s JHC semi-final win over Glenravel in Armoy. Pic by John McIlwaine

Shane O’Neill’s 1-17 Con Magee’s 1-12

By Seamus McAleenan

At half-time in this Antrim Junior A hurling championship tie in Armoy, a shock looked on the cards when Con Magee’s held a 1-8 to 0-8 lead over Shane O’Neill’s after having played into the slight breeze. During that period Glenarm had hit six wides to Glenravel’s two and generally didn’t look like breaching their defence, relying on the accuracy of Daniel Black from frees to keep them in touch.

However the game changed in the third minute after the re-start when Darren Hamill slipped his marker and brought a brilliant save from Chris McCann only for Shane Magill to sweep the rebound to the net. That score put them ahead 1-9 to 1-8 and Glenarm were to pull away over the course of the remaining 27+ minutes with Daniel Black’s free-taking a huge impact on the scoreboard.

Glenravel conceded far too many frees, while the winners were that bit more disciplined in their tackling. Black hit a total of 11 points, nine of which came from placed balls and many from around the midfield area. He did put a couple astray before the break, but overall his contribution probably saw Shane O’Neill’s over the line.

Glenravel only had six scoreable frees over the hour and managed to put just two away and in the end frees made the difference.

However credit to the Green and Whites for taking the game to Glenarm particularly during the opening half. After 15 minutes the game was tied on 0-5 each with Black contributing four points and veteran Neil “Vic” McCann shooting three for Glenravel.

Black edged Glenarm ahead with another pointed free, but over the next ten minutes Glenravel moved into a four points’ lead. Initially Patrick O’Neill punished a loose clearance by shooting his third point and Vic McCann gave them a lead with a point in the 20th minute.

The short poc out was turned over by Glenravel and Jonathan Fyfe got a run on the goal. His shot was blocked but Declan Traynor forced the sliotar over the line. With ‘Vic’ adding a point in the 25th minute, his side were 1-8 to 0-6 ahead, but late points from Black and Darren Hamill left a gap of a goal at the break.

Halfway_houseGlenarm regained the lead early in the second half, and with Black continuing to punish fouls, they moved into a 1-15 to 1-10 lead at the end of the third quarter. Points from sub Niall Donnelly and Patrick O’Neill closed the gap for a short period, but Black and Brendan McDermott made sure there was going to be no late slip-ups from Glenarm.

Shane O’Neill’s : Patrick Abram, Sean Moran, Bliain McDermott, Paddy McAuley, Jake Hamilton, Hugh Pat McNeill, Declan McDermott, Padraig McDermott 0-1, Shane Magill 1-1, Daniel Black 0-11, 0-9 frees, Darren Hamill 0-1, Brendan McDermott 0-2, Sean O’Hare, Declan McLaughlin, Barry Hamill.

Sub : Conor McNeill for S O’Hare (HT)

Con Magee’s : Chris McCann, Sean Burns, Shanlee Kerr, Steven Atcheson, Declan McBride, Martin Scullion, Cormac Scullion, Brian O’Neill 0-1, Padge O’Neill 0-4, Barry McCann, Conor McNeill 0-1 free, Conor Carey, Neil McCann 0-5, 0-1 free, Declan Traynor 1-0, Jonathon Fyfe.

Subs : Niall Donnelly 0-1 for B McCann (HT), Shane Woulahan for J Fyfe (HT), Ronan McCann for C Carey (48), Damian O’Hagan for C McNeill (59).

Referee: Paul O’Neill (Creggan)

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Shaney ping

Gort na Mona Edge Out St. Paul’s in Excellent Semi-Final


Antrim Junior Hurling Championship semi-final

Gort na Móna 0-21

St Paul’s 2-14

The 3G surface at Woodlands provided the venue for this hard fought and times tempestuous Antrim Junior Hurling Championship semi-final where Gort na Mona held off the spirited challenge of St. Paul’s to advance to this year’s final.

The sliotar fairly flew on the fast plastic surface where a good support from both clubs gathered to cheer on their sides and they weren’t to be disappointed as Gort na Mona, led by the impressive Dessie McClean threatened to take control right from the throw in.

McClean made a couple of spectacular catches under pressure and came in for some heavy challenges as the Turf Lodge side threatened early on as he set up Nathan Gibson for their opening score in the second minute.

Ruaidhri O Muiri levelled for the Shaw’s Road side with the sides level on four occasions in the opening ten minutes with Dessie McClean, Darren Boyd and Thomas McCafferty on target for the Turf Lodge side and James Farrell, Patrick Doyle and the impressive Niall Peoples replying for St. Paul’s

McClean continued to look dangerous and his marker Kevin Gamble became the first player to be shown a yellow card for a dangerous pull on the Gort’s number 14 and at this stage St. Paul’s pulled Stephen Rooney back to man the square in an effort to contain the Gort na Mona danger man.

It seemed to be having little effect as the former county man struck the next three points to edge his side 0-7 to 0-4 ahead at the end of the opening quarter but St. Paul’s came back with points from Naoise O Caireallan to close the gap to the minimum.

Back came Gort na Mona with Sean Doyle increasing their lead to two but Niall Peoples, who was proving to be the Shaw’s Road side’s most dangerous forward responded with a goal after a mix-up in the Gort’s defence to put his side ahead for the first time with five minutes remaining to the break. Gort Na Mona responded with Thomas McCaffrey levelling matters once more before Darren Boyd and McClean raised white to put them back into the lead.

A long free from St. Paul’s Frankie Sewell left just one in it at the break with Gort na Móna leading 0-11 to 1-7 after a very entertaining half.

The Turf Lodge side opened the second half strongly with Sean Doyle increasing their lead but St. Paul’s kept battling away as play swung from end to end and a point from play by Niall Peoples and another from a free by Colm McLarnon tied the contest before Peoples edged them ahead for the second time.

It was all-square for the seventh time with Boyd raising another white flag as the game entered the final quarter before Gort na Móna regained control once again with Thomas McCaffrey scoring an excellent, over-the-shoulder point and Declan Hughes and Boyd added scores to send them into a 0-16 to 1-10 lead.

Patrick Doyle pulled one back at the other end, but a pair of fine Sean Doyle scores gave the Turf Lodge outfit a bit of breathing space as they led by four approaching the closing stages.

St Paul’s responded well with Ruaidhri O Muiri racing through but his goal bound shot sailed just over the bar and a couple of converted frees from Niall Peoples left just one in it as the clock ticked down.

As St. Paul’s pushed hard for an equaliser Gort na Móna found one last response with Doyle hitting his fifth of the evening before goalkeeper, Connor McCann stepped up to send two long range frees between the sticks and edge his side into what looked a safe four point advantage.

St Paul’s pushed hard as the game went into injury time with Peoples having a close range goal attempt diverted for a ‘65’ and as they pressed again referee Darren McKeown awarded them a close range free. This time Niall Peoples made no mistake as he drilled his shot to the Gort ha Mona net.

It was too little too late as the full-time whistle sounded to bring a pulsating contest to an end and St. Paul’s deserve massive credit for their never say die attitude but in the end Gort na Mona deserved the verdict and a place in the final against either Shane O’Neill’s, Glenarm or Con Magee’s Glenravel who meet in the other semi-final on Sunday.


GORT NA MÓNA: C McCann (0-2 frees); C Connolly, G McKenna, C Devlin; B Cousins, M Rea, G Doyle; D Hughes (0-1), S Doyle (0-5); D McVeigh, T McGoran, D Boyle (0-4); T McCaffrey (0-3), D McClean (0-5, 4 frees), N Gibson (0-1). Subs: P Fryers for N Gibson (44), K Valliday for C Connolly (60+3).


ST PAUL’S: J Gillen; C O’Carroll, K Gamble, D Gamble; F Gamble, S Bradley, F Sewell (0-1 free); R O Muiri (0-2), N Ó Cairealláin (0-1); C McLarnon (0-1), S O’Carroll, J Farrell (0-1); P Doyle (0-2), S Rooney, N Peoples (2-6, 1-5 frees). Subs: C Murray for K Gamble (45), C McVeigh for S O’Carroll (60+2).

Referee: Darren McKeown (St. Gall’s)