Latharna Og battle back to claim title

Junior B Hurling Championship semi-final

Latharna Og Larne 2-12 All Saints 2-10

Never-say-die, Latharna Og staged a late rally to claim the Junior B Hurling Championship when they defeated All Saints in a bruising encounter in Ahoghill tonight. The Ballymena side looked well on their way to retaining their title when they led by 2-5 to 0-3 at the break but the Larne men came back strongly after the break.

Float like a butterfly. Latharna Og super sub Seamus McNeill jumps for joy after scoring his team’s second goal

Goals from Anthony O’Neill in the 24th minute and a second from Seamus McNeill two minutes later turned the contest on its head and late points from Michael Lismore and Brian Quinn sent the Brustin Braes supporters into wild scenes of celebration as All Saints capitulated under sustained pressure.

It looked all so different in the opening half as Ciaran Neeson and Damian Gillan shot the Slemish Park side into a two point lead before Philip Craig opened the Larne men’s account from a 5th minute free.

Damian Gillan from a free and Ciaran Neeson from play edged All Saints three ahead at the end of the opening quarter as referee Paul O’Neill tried to keep a lid on matters with some of the challenges from both sides not for the faint hearted.

All Saints corner forward Ciaran Neeson celebrates after scoring his team’s opening goal

A great catch followed by a clever sidestep saw Ciaran Neeson burst through for the game’s opening goal in the 18th minute and All Saints looked to be gaining control. Both sides were guilty of poor finishing as the wide count mounted before Conor Matthews got Latharna Og’s second point.

All Saints were enjoying the better of the exchanges however and might have increased their lead when Ciaran Neeson was fouled 20 meters from goal. Neeson decided to go for goal however and his firmly struck shot was stopped on the line and cleared by the Larne defence.

It didn’t seem to matter however when Ciaran Butler was on hand to finish to the net from close range after Liam Cassley was clattered as he bore down on goal. Philip Craig raised the Seasider’s third white flag from a 27th minute free before seeing Red two minutes later.

As matters threatened to get out of hand Craig got his marching orders for a bad pull on Liam Cassley but the All Saints man retaliated by driving the sliotar at the Og’s number ten to accompany him on the way to the dressing room.

Still the momentum was very much with the Junior B holders as the half time whistle sounded and they looked in a fairly comfortable position as they took an eight point lead into the turnover.

Michael Lisomre sends over the point to put Latharna Og ahead

Latharna Og had been strictly second best in the opening half but they began the second with a flurry and an inspirational point by corner back, Conor Barkley from 70 meters got their challenge up and running in the opening minute and Michael Lismore added another from a 30 meter free with three minutes of the new half gone.

Damian Gillan replied from a free at the other end before the influential Lismore pointed his second of the half and a point from play by Conor Matthews cut the deficit to five after seven minutes and slowly the boys from Brustin Braes were gaining a foothold in the game.

The Balymena side were struggling to replicate the fluency of the opening half with many of their passes going astray but Gillan eased them six ahead once more before Niall McGoldrick responded from a long range free for the Larne side to the delight of their noisy travelling support.

The hits were coning thick and fast with referee, Paul O’Neill issuing a number of yellow cards and a number of players still fortunate to be on the field as Damian Gillan moved All Saints six in front once more from a 14th minute free but the Ballymena attack were now struggling to win clean possession.

Still when their top scorer, Gillan increased his side’s lead to seven from another free in the 17th minute and Cormac Magill followed with another from play, following an excellent Luke O’Rawe sideline cut they looked to have weathered the storm.

Latharna Og’s Brian Quinn celebrates after scoring a late point

Their lead had been extended back to eight points and they appeared to have done enough but Latharna Og were having none of it and they threw everything but the kitchen sink at the opposition, producing an intensity that rocked their opponents out of their stride.

Full-forward Anthony O’Neill fielded a high ball before firing home in the 24th minute  and Seamus McNeill followed with another, two minutes later as the All Saints defence crumbled under the pressure.

Conor Matthews and Niall McGoldrick levelled the contest as the Ballymena side’s attempts to play short ball disintegrated and when the usually dependable Gillan was off target from a couple of frees there was a growing feeling that there was only going to be one winner.

Even the dismissal of Darren Martin for a second yellow failed to disrupt the Larne men’s momentum and they hit the front for the first time through Michael Lismore as the game went into time added on with Brian Quinn following with another to make a famous victory secure.

Damian Gillan sends over an All Saints point

The final whistle was greeted by scenes of wild celebrations from the Latharna Og side and their supporters while their opponents could hardly believe what had just happened. Manager Darren McGinty, while obviously disappointed, covered himself in glory as he came forward to congratulate the opposition and it was hand-shakes all round at the end.

CCC Chairman, Seamus McMullan presented the cup to Latharna Og captain Caolan Shields while the first Saffron Gael award of the season for Man of the match went to Michael Lismore.

Latharna Og: Chris Keenan, Niall McGoldrick, Barry Petticrew, Conor Barkley, Darren Martin, Ryan O’Donnell, Thomas Carson, Caolan Shields, Philip McKendry, Philip Craig, Brian Quinn, Michael Lismore, Seamus McNeill, Anthony O’Neill, Conor Matthews. Subs: Caolan Hay, Ciaran McKillion, Declan Regan, Brian Rogan, Cris Rolston

All Saints: Daire Hasson, PJ O’Kane, Chris McAffee, Terry Diamond, Sean O’Rawe, Colum Neeson, Padhraig Magill, Damian Gillan, Vincent Esler, Cormac Magill, Gary Miskella, Luke O’Rawe, Ciaran Neeson, Kieran Butler,Liam Cassley. Subs: Ciaran Cassley, Padraig Magill, Francis Casey, Anthony Mitchell, Barry Dorrity.

Referee: Paul O’Neill (Creggan)

Junior B Final could be a cracker

Junior B Hurling final

Latharna Og Larne v All Saints Ballymena

Friday Ahoghill 7-30

Friday night’s Junior B Hurling final in Ahoghill brings together a novel pairing when Latharna Og, Larne hope to snatch the title from holders, All Saints Ballymena. The Ballymena side made their return to ACHL action last season after a number of years and marked their return with a win over St. Agnes in the Junior B final.

This year Latharna Og returned to league action after a few year’s absence and have aquited themselves extremely well in their first year back in division 4 including a win over All Saints in the league at Slemish Park on the 23d of June.

The Larne men came off the pace with a storming finish to pip Friday nights opponent in that game by the minimum, avenging a defeat in the corresponding fixture back on the 23d April. Ten points separated the sides that day at Brustin Braes so the seasiders would appear to have closed the gap on Friday’s opponents.

Both sides hit massive scores in their respective semi-finals.

Latharna Og booked their place in the final when they recorded an emphatic 7-17 to 2-12 win over Loch Mór Dál gCais in last Friday evening’s semi-final at Feystown, Glenarm. The Larne men, who were making a welcome return to the competition after a four year absence, made a bad start to both halves, conceding early goals in both, but once they got going there was no stopping them and with a big support cheering them on they ran up a massive score.

Full-forward, Anthony O’Neill led the way with three goals and Conor Matthews, Michael Lismore, Brian Quinn and Thomas Carson all scored majors and the All Saints defence will have to keep an eye on O’Neill in particular with full-back Chris McAffee likely to be assigned to that task.

All Saints were in fine scoring form themselves as they out gunned Davitt’s at Whitehill with Ciaran Neeson leading the way with a personal total of 5-5 and proving virtually unmarkable as they ran out 6-14 0-13 winners on the night.

Substitute Francis Casey got the other All Saints goal and there were strong performances from Chris McAffee, Colum Neeson, Vincent Esler, Gary Miskella and Damian Gillan but this was very much a team performance.

All Saints were without the services of Liam Cassley and Brian Butler for that one but both are likely to be available for selection on Friday night leaving mangers Darren McGinty and Enda Casey with a selection headache but one they will relish.

As well as the afore mentioned goal scorers Latharna Og have a wealth of experience in Barry Petticrew, Ryan O’Donnell, Niall McGoldrick, Philip McKendry and Seamus McNeill and with a big support following them this year they will certainly be looking forward to Friday night’s final.

A Junior B Final wouldn’t normally attract a big crowd but the fact that this one has been given a slot of its own on Friday night should attract a good crowd to Cloney and we could be in for a good final with Creggan’s Paul O’Neill the man in charge of keeping order.

Last year’s winners All Saints should start as slight favourites but this one could go either way and if the Larne men can tighten up at the back they are quite capable of taking the title.

LATHARNA OG v LOCK MOR DAL gCAIS: Chris Keenan, Thomas Carson, Barry Petticrew, Conor Barkley, Darren Martin, Ryan O’Donnell, Niall McGoldrick, Caolan Shields, Philip McKendry, Seamus McNeill, Brian Quinn, Philip Craig, Michael Lismore, Anthony O’Neill, Conor Matthews.

Subs – Daniel Heggarty for Matthews (blood sub), Ciaran McKillion for McNeill.

ALL SAINTS V DAVITTS: Daire Hasson, PJ O’Kane, Chris McAffee, Terry Diamond, Sean O’Rawe, Colum Neeson, Brendan McDonnell, Vincent Esler, Luke O’Rawe, Cormac Magill, Gary Miskella, Padraig Magill, Ciaran Cassley, Ciaran Neeson, Damian Gillan. Subs: Francis Casey, Anthony Mitchell, Barry Dorrity.

Latharna Og secure final place

Junior B Hurling Championship semi-final

Latharna Og 7-17 Loch Mór Dál gCais 2-12

Larne booked their place in the final of the Junior B Championship when they recorded an emphatic 7-17 to 2-12 win over Loch Mór Dál gCais in Friday evening’s semi-final at Feystown, Glenarm. The Larne men, who were making a welcome return to the competition after a four year absence, made a bad start to both halves, conceding early goals in both, but once they got going there was no stopping them and with a big support cheering them on they ran up a massive score to set up a final meeting with holders All Saints next Friday evening.

Latharna Ogs Philip Craig in action

Loch Mór Dál gCais started brightly and were a goal to the good after just twenty seconds when Bailey Graham fired a 20 metre free to the net, and when Gary Dunlop added a point on four minutes things looked good. It was eight minutes before Latharna Og got the first score on the board through Conor Matthews, but the point settled them and soon afterwards Phil Craig added another from a free. Gary Dunlop came back with one for Loch Mór, but the tide was begging to turn and when Matthews grabbed his team’s opening goal in the 13th minute the momentum of the game swung in Larne’s favour.

Phil Craig added a point to put his team in front and when Michael Lismore won a race for possession to pull a ground shot past the Loch Mór goalkeeper Gerard Pickering they were in control.

Gary Dunlop steadied the Loch Mór ship with a point on 18 minutes but the Larne men hit five on the bouche through Philip Craig (2), Conor Matthews (2) and Seamus McNeill to open a 2-9 to 1-3 lead, though two late points from Conor McAreavey and Gary Dunlop cut the gap to seven by half time.

Loch Mórs Gary Dunlop solos towards goal .

Just as they had done in opening half Latharnana Og conceded a goal in the opening minute of the new half when a long delivery by Loch Mór’s Ruairi Moran went all the way to the net. Suddenly the gap was back to just four and it remained that way after Matthews and Dunlop exchanged points. As it turned out that was as close as the Loch Mór men would get as Larney hit 3-2 within five minutes. Brian Quinn got the first of the three goals while full forward Anthony O’Neill got the other two in quick succession to all but seal the win.

Dunlop and McAreavey pulled a couple of points back for Loch Mór but the scores were coming thick and fast at the other end and further goals from Thomas Carson and O’Neill, who completed his hat-trick, sealed the decisive win.

Latharna Ogs Conor Matthews sets off on a solo run

LATHARNA OG: Chris Keenan, Thomas Carson, Barry Petticrew, Conor Barkley, Darren Martin, Ryan O’Donnell, Niall McGoldrick, Caolan Shields, Philip McKendry, Seamus McNeill, Brian Quinn, Philip Craig, Michael Lismore, Anthony O’Neill, Conor Matthews.

Subs – Daniel Heggarty for Matthews (blood sub), Ciaran McKillion for McNeill

LOCH MÓR DÁL GCAIS: Gerard Pickering, Michael Morgan, Liam Burke, Michael Braniff, Manus Pickering, Geard Pickering jnr, Daniel Bell, Conor Jones, Ruairi Moran, Bailey Graham, Conor McAreavey, David McAreavey, Gary Dunlop, Edward Fallon, Conor Murray.

Referee – Seamus Burns

Five star Neeson sinks Davitt’s

Well done to All Saints in the Junior B semi-final and all the Best in Friday night’s final from Ashgrove conservatories

Junior B Hurling Championship semi-final

All Saints 6-14 Davitt’s 0-13

Ciaran Neeson struck an impressive 5-5 as All Saints racked up an impressive 6-14 against a Davitt’s side who had no answer to the movement and firepower of the impressive Ballymena number 14. The Falls Road side gave it everything but after a promising opening where they struck the opening two points they were always second best to the Slemish Park men.

Alan Rainey pointed Davitt’s ahead after 20 seconds and when Chris Gallagher struck a second with two minutes on the clock the City side must have fancied their chances. Two minutes later Ciaran Neeson fired home the game’s opening goal to put All Saints ahead and they never looked back.

The same player followed with a point before rising to field the sliotar and turned his marker to fire home his second goal with only 8 minutes gone. He then moved out from the edge of the square to send a 60 yard free between the sticks and it was already looking ominous for the opposition.

Padraig Magill added a point as All Saints started to gain control and Neeson followed with another to move his side seven clear with only 10 minutes gone. Canice Mooney briefly halted the onslaught from a 14th minute free and for a time the All Saints radar deserted them as they shot three wides in quick succession.

Sadly for Davitt’s it wasn’t to last as that man Neeson added a point from another long range free and then set up the hard working Gary Miskella for another from play to move the Ballymena side nine in front with 19 minutes gone.

Davitt’s were still working like Trojans to get back into contention and they hit three unanswered points between the 20th and 23d minute which suggested they might yet make a fight of it. Colm McKee, Gearoid Cosgrove and Canice Mooney were the men on target but it brought another response from their opponents.

Damian Gillan pointed a 24th minute free before the superb Ciaran Neeson completed his hat-trick. The full-forward rose above his marker to deflect the sliotar into his own path before gathering and firing past Joseph McCaffrey in one flowing movement.

McCaffrey got down to make a good save and deny Ciaran Cassley with the 30 minutes of normal time almost up with Damian Gillan returning the resulting ‘65’ between the uprights and Canice Mooney for Davitt’s and Gillan for All Saints exchanged injury time scores to leave All Saints 3-9 to 0-7 ahead at the break.

On the restart Damian Gillan pointed another long range free to extend the Ballymena men’s lead and at the other end Daire Hasson brought off a good save to deny Alan Rainey at the expense of a ‘65’ as Davitt’s tried to respond.

Chris Gallagher sent the resulting ‘65’ over the bar and Canice Mooney added another from play with a few bad challenges starting to creep into the game. Ciaran Neeson went down injured but thankfully for the All Saints management and supporters was able to continue after treatment.

The mercurial Neeson continued where he had left of as he pointed a free and added another from play and he was proving virtually unmarkable with his pace and skill. Damian Gillan added a point before Neeson fired home his and his side’s fourth goal from a difficult angle out to the left of goal as the floodgates opened.

Gary Miskella had been working tirelessly throughout on the ‘40’ and he set up Ciaran Neeson for his fifth goal with 15 minutes still to play. It was Miskella who was the provider again and his high fetch and long delivery paved the way for substitute Francis Casey to steal in for goal number six.

Davitt’s could have thrown in the towel at this stage but to their credit they kept battling away and were rewarded again for their efforts with points from Colm McKee, Chris Gallagher and McKee again but they just couldn’t find their way through a solid All Saints defence for a much needed goal.

Canice Mooney concluded the Davitt’s scoring with a point late in the game and it was fitting that final score of the game fell to the stick of Ciaran Neeson as he directed a free between the uprights after being fouled himself.

A great performance by All Saints with that man Neeson leading the way but he was only one of a host of players who performed well on the night with Chris McAffee, Terence Diamond, Colum Neeson, Vincent Esler, Luke O’Rawe, Gary Miskella and Damian Gillan others to shine in a very solid team performance.

Davitt’s certainly played their part in making this a real championship battle but were unfortunate to encounter a player of Neeson’s ability right at the top of his game. They never the less had their own outstanding performers in Christopher Gallagher, Canice Mooney, Colm McKee and Geordie O’Kane.

All Saints will now play Latharna Og of Larne, who defeated Loch Mor Dal gCais in the other semi-final, in next Friday night’s final and the game is likely to attract a good crowd and has the potential to be a tight contest.

All Saints: Daire Hasson, PJ O’Kane, Chris McAffee, Terry Diamond, Sean O’Rawe, Colum Neeson, Brendan McDonnell, Vincent Esler, Luke O’Rawe, Cormac Magill, Gary Miskella, Padraig Magill, Ciaran Cassley, Ciaran Neeson, Damian Gillan. Subs: Francis Casey, Anthony Mitchell, Barry Dorrity.

Davitt’s: Joseph McCaffrey, Patrick Maguire, Eugene Gallagher, Liam McHugh, Nathan Maginn, Christopher Gallagher, Ruairi McIlroy, Gary Nelson, Peter Og Carleton, Canice Mooney, Colm McKee, Cormac Maguire, Ciaran Rice, Gearoid Cosgrove, Alan Rainey. Subs: Kevin Brady, Geordie O’Kane

Referee: Paul McSparran (Cushendun)

Antrim Hurling Championship Fixtures 2019

Here are the Antrim Hurling Championship fixtures up until the semi-finals stage

AUGUST 2nd

Junior B Hurling Championship semi-finals

Davitts v All Saints at Tir na nOg – Throw-In – 7.30

Loch Mor v Latharna Og at Feystown – Throw-In – 7-30

AUGUST 9th – Junior B Hurling final TBC

AUGUST 10th

Intermediate Hurling Championship Preliminary

Cushendun v Sarsfields at Glenravel/Ballymena TNN – Throw-in 1-30

Cloney Gaels v St Enda’s at Glenravel/Ballymena/TNN – Throw-in 3-00

Senior Hurling Championship Group 2 – Round 1

Loughgiel v St Johns at Healy Park Loughgiel. Throw in 7pm

AUGUST 11th

Senior Hurling Championship Preliminary – 2nd leg

Ballycastle v Rossa at Pairic McUilin, Ballycastle – Throw-in 3pm

Senior Hurling Championship Group 1 – Round 1

Dunloy v Ruairi Og at Pearse Park Dunloy – Throw in 6pm

AUGUST 16th

Senior Hurling Championship: Group 2 – Round 2

St Galls v Loughgiel at Milltown – Throw in 7-15pm

AUGUST 17th

Senior Hurling Championship: Group 1 – Round 2

Rossa/B’castle v Dunloy at Rossa Park or Pairc MacUilin – Throw in 2pm

AUGUST 30th

Junior Hurling Championship Quarter-final

St Pauls v St Teresas at Lamh Dhearg: Throw-in 7 pm

Intermediate Hurling Championship Quarter-final

Creggan v Clooney Gaels or St Endas at Tir na nOg: Throw in 7 pm

Carey v Armoy in Fr Healy Park, Loughgiel: Throw-in at 7pm

AUGUST 31st

Junior Hurling Championship Quarter-finals

Glenravel v Gort na Mona at Ahoghill: Throw-in 1pm

Junior B winner v Rasharkin at Ahoghill: Throw-in 2-30pm

Glenarm v Lamh Dhearg at Creggan: Throw-in 1pm

Intermediate Hurling Championship Quarter final

Sarsfields or Cushendun v Tir na nÓg at Creggan: Throw-in 2-30pm

Senior Hurling Championship Group 2 – Round 3

St Johns v St Galls at Corrigan Park: Throw in 1pm

Senior Hurling Championship-Group 1 – Round 3

Ruairi Og v Rossa/Ballycastle in Cushendall: Throw-in 5-30p

Monday September 2nd

Intermediate Hurling Championship Quarter-final

Cloughmills v Glenariffe at Armoy: Throw-in 7-15