Donnelly holds his nerve to see Con Magee’s into Junior decider

Casement SC Antrim Junior Hurling Championship semi-final

Con Magee’s 0-16-1-12 Lámh Dhearg 

Kevin Herron reports from Randalstown 

An injury-time free from Niall Donnelly saw Con Magee’s edge past Lámh Dhearg and book their place in the Casement Social Club Antrim Junior Hurling final after a 0-16-1-12 win at Randalstown this afternoon. 

The Cargan outfit overcame a slow start to lead slenderly at the break and a spate of James Duffin free’s helped them into a five-point lead approaching the final quarter. 

But Lámh Dhearg themselves showed their powers of recovery and levelled on three occasions going down the home straight- Declan Lynch converting from the spot, but Donnelly finally saw off the plucky Hannahstown outfit after landing a pressure free deep into added time. 

Lámh Dhearg had opened their account early with Daniel Murray getting on the end of an Aidan McGuigan pass and firing high between the posts. but James Duffin swung over a leveller for Glenravel. 

Murray restored his sides lead after converting his first free of the half and extended it with two further efforts to make it 0-04-0-01 early-on. 

Niall Donnelly responded from the same scenario for Con Magee’s who almost took the lead from Conleth O’Loan’s effort that crashed off the post. 

The north-Antrim outfit pulled level with Duffin floating over his second of the half and Michael McDonnell then landing one from range. 

A point from Declan Traynor gave his side the advantage for the first time, however parity was quickly restored when Ronan Fegan intercepted a pass from Padraig Mervyn and conjured up his first score of the afternoon. 

Con Magee’s edged ahead again through a second converted Niall Donnelly free and doubled the lead through an angled Johnny Fyfe effort that sailed over the bar. 

Glenravel were perhaps fortunate to retain their full complement after Conleth O’Loan caught Declan Lynch in the mid-drift off the ball and referee Darren McKeown only saw the offence worthy of a booking. 

Daniel Murray converted his fourth free of the afternoon before the break as a single point separated the sides at the interval with Con Magee’s holding a 0-07-0-06 advantage. 

Con Magee’s made a terrific start to the second period and increased their lead, James Duffin floated over his first free of the afternoon and landed another soon after. 

A third from Duffin was followed by a response from Daniel Murray- converting his fifth free of the afternoon. 

Back-to-back scores from Conleth O’Loan and Cahill Hynds had Glenravel 0-12-0-07 ahead approaching the second-half water break – but Mark Finnegan converted a free to narrow the margin at the short whistle. 

Finnegan swung over his second in quick succession from Pearse Fitzsimons popped pass and with a quarter of an hour remaining the Hannahstown side had the chance to level. 

Declan Lynch floated a high ball into the area and substitute Gerard Smyth was illegally manhandled with McKeown signalling for a penalty. 

Declan Lynch seized advantage and fired it high past Ronan Donnelly in the Con Magee’s goal to make it 1-09-0-12. 

James Duffin nudged his side back in front from a free, but Finnegan was on-hand to land a third point and level for the fifth time in the game. 

The pendulum swung back in favour of Con Magee’s with Declan Traynor notching up his second point of the afternoon and Niall Donnelly converting a free. 

Lámh Dhearg refused to go away though as Finnegan converted his third free of the half and Ryan Diamond then swung over to tie the game at 1-12-0-15. 

In a frantic final five minutes Con Magee’s almost grabbed goal that would have surely downed the Dhearg, Conleth O’Loan steered the ball into the path of James Duffin- who was bravely denied by Francie Dugan in the Lámhs goal. 

Extra-time remained a distinct possibility- but three minutes into added time Niall Donnelly converted his fourth free of the afternoon to make it 0-16-1-12. 

Time was against Lámh Dhearg and a late Declan Lynch effort from range was flicked wide off the stick of Pearse Fitzsimons and time elapsed with Glenravel hanging on for a slender victory to book a place in the Junior decider in two-week’s time against Shane O’Neill’s. 

Con Magee’s: R Donnelly, B O’Neill, S Kerr, M McQuillan, P O’Neill, R Lennon, M McDonnell (0-01), C Henry, J Duffin (0-06, 0-04f), D Traynor (0-02), N Donnelly (0-04f), C Hynds (0-01), C O’Loan (0-01), S McCusker, J Fyfe (0-01). 

Lámh Dhearg: F Dugan, C Nolan, M Lynch, D O’Brien, SP Gibson, P Mervyn, R Diamond (0-01), M Hamill, A McGuigan, F Mervyn, D Lynch (1-00p), D Murray (0-06, 0-05f), R Fegan (0-01), P Fitzsimons, M Finnegan (0-04, 0-03f). Subs: B Rice for D O’Brien (HT), G Smyth for D Murray (44), N McGarry for M Finnegan (60+2’). 

Referee: Darren McKeown (St Galls)

Saints and Davitt’s draw in excellent final game

Casement SC JHC Group 1

All Saints 1-17 Davitt’s 3-11

All Saints and Davitt’s played out a draw in the final game of Group 1 of the Casement SC Junior Hurling Championship at Slemish Park, Ballymena yesterday. Both side gave it everything from the start with the lead changing hands on a number of occasions and in the end a draw was probably a fair result.

The visitors held a narrow one point lead at the first water break with the score standing at 1-4 to 0-6 but at the second water break the home side had increased their total to 0-15 with Ciaran Neeson to the fore in the scoring stakes to move the home side one ahead.

It was end to end stuff throughout and it kept the crowd suitably entertained with All Saints adding 1-2 in the run in to the final whistle but the visitor’s contribution of 1-3 in that nail biting fin’sh was enough to earn the lower Falls’ side a share of the points.

There was a big shock in the other game played in Group 1 with Lamh Dhearg recording an impressive 4-16 to 1-8 win over previously unbeaten St. Mary’s Rasharkin in Hannastown and this win means that Lamh Dhearg finish top of the group with 5 points from 3 starts. Rasharkin qualify for the semi-finals in second place with 4 points from 3 starts while Davitt’s recorded two draws to finish in third.

This was All Saints only point that they gained in the group section but they have had a good season, winning the Junior B Championship and they were competitive in all three games in the A championship.

All Saints: Ciaran Cassley, Dwayne McKee, Chris McAfee, Kevin Brady, Padhraig Magill, Luke O’Rawe, Colum Neeson, Vinny Esler, Cormac Magill, Cormac Lemon, Gary Miskella, Ciaran Neeson, Daire Hasson, Damian Gillan, Eoghan Daly

Lámhs spring surprise to secure top spot

Casement Social Club JHC Group 1 

Lámh Dhearg 4-16-1-08 Rasharkin 

Kevin Herron reports from Hannahstown 

Lámh Dhearg finished top of Group 1 of the Casement Social Club JHC after a 4-16-1-08 win over Rasharkin at Hannahstown on Sunday afternoon. 

Goals from Mark Finnegan and Ronan Fegan had the hosts in the early ascendency – though a Conor McFerran goal gave Rasharkin a lifeline before the break. 

Two further strikes in the second half from Pearse Fitzsimons and Ryan Diamond ensured that the Lámhs pipped their opponents to top-spot in the group. 

It took a while for either side to find range with an opening score coming from a converted Conor McKeever free after five minutes. 

Daniel Murray converted a 65’ to draw the sides level and the same duo traded further scores- both from frees. 

The opening goal arrived just before the first half water-break at Hannahstown. Mark Hamill flicked the ball into the path of Aidan McGuigan who swung the ball high towards the edge of the square, a deft touch from Pearse Fitzsimons allowed Mark Finnegan to run in behind and lash to the net to give his side a 1-02-0-02 lead. 

Rasharkin almost hit back the other side of the short break, Conor McFerran got a sighting of goal but was denied by a smart save from Francie Dugan, Mark Lynch then got in the way of the follow-up shot from Fearghal Kennedy before Conor McKeever stroked the ball over to get a point at the very least at the third time of asking. 

On 18 minutes Lámh Dhearg extended their lead, Daniel Murray floated a high ball which Fitzismons knocked down to Ronan Fegan and the corner-forward rifled to the corner of the net to make it 2-02-0-03. 

Fegan followed up with a point with Aidan McGuigan landing a nice score from range as the Hannahstown men were very much in the driving seat. 

Daniel Murray would add to his earlier two-points from another two converted frees but in-between those efforts Rasharkin found the net to give themselves renewed hope. 

On 24 minutes Shane Hasson’s clearance from defence was flicked forward from the stick of Conor McKeever and Conor McFerran got to the loose ball ahead of Francis Dugan and poked to the net. His side had work to do at the interval however- trailing Lámh Dhearg 2-06-1-03. 

Shane Hasson swung over the opening point of the second period for the visitors, though Ronan Fegan drew a foul and Daniel Murray conjured up his fourth free of the afternoon. 

Three minutes into the half a third goal arrived for Lámh Dhearg after Fionn Mervyn dropped the ball in on top of Pearse Fitzsimons who struck from close range to make it 3-07-1-04. 

Declan Lynch turned over the resulting puck-out and dropped over a further point from range with James Scally responding at the other end. 

Talisman Murray landed his first point from play of the game and on 38 minutes a fourth goal put the game beyond the reach of Rasharkin. 

Ryan Diamond flicked the ball to the path of Ronan Fegan and a quick set of handpasses saw Fegan find Aidan McGuigan and subsequently the run of Diamond whose low shot was spilt by Rasharkin keeper Aidan Darragh into the net as Lámh Dhearg were now 4-09-1-05 to the good. 

Murray landed his fifth free in the aftermath and struck another between goal scorer Conor McFerran adding a point to his earlier strike.

Substitute Niall McGarry slipped in Murray for his second point from play with McFerran adding another for Rasharkin- who at this stage were requiring goals if they were to stage an unlikely comeback. 

Kealan Darragh would add his sides final score as Lámh Dhearg finished strongly. Daniel Murray reached double figures after landing his second 65’ of the afternoon and Aidan McGuigan doubled his tally with a long range free. 

Murray chalked up two further frees to bring his tally from the placed ball to 0-08 as Lámh Dhearg ran out deserving 4-16-1-08 winners to come out on top of the group as both sides advance to next weekend’s semi-finals.

Lámh Dhearg: F Dugan, C Nolan, M Lynch, D O’Brien, SP Gibson, P Mervyn, R Diamond (1-00), M Hamill, A McGuigan (0-02, 0-01f), F Mervyn, D Lynch (0-01), D Murray (0-12, 0-08f, 0-02 65’), R Fegan (1-01), P Fitzsimons (1-00), M Finnegan (1-00). Subs: N McGarry for M Finnegan (41), B Rice for P Fitzsimons (57). 

Rasharkin: A Darragh, L Tunney, A McKeever, C Doherty, J Scally (0-01), S Hasson (0-01), D Hasson, E McFerran, D McKay, T O’Boyle, F Kennedy, R O’Boyle, C McFerran (1-02), D Quigg, C McKeever (0-03, 0-02f). Subs: D Doherty for L Tunney (24), K Darragh (0-01) for A McKeever (HT), T McMullan for F Kennedy (HT), E Kennedy for R O’Boyle (43), C Kennedy for E McFerran (46). 

Referee: Lorenzo McMullan (Bredagh)

Final round should decide semi-final places

Casement SC JHC

Group 1

St. Mary’s Rasharkin top Group 1 with two wins from two starts but face their toughest assignment to date when they travel to Hannastwon tomorrow to take on Lamh Dhearg. Lamh Dhearg opened their JHC campaign with a win over Junior B champions, All Saints, Ballymena but were held to a draw at Davitt’s Park next day out.

Rasharkin have recorded good wins at home to Davitt’s and away to All Saints and a win or even a draw at Lamh Dhearg tomorrow would see them win the group. Lamh Dhearg however could also top the group with a win but a defeat and a win for Davitt’s in Ballymena would see the Belfast sides looking at score difference to decide who would join the Dreen side.

All Saints have turned in a couple of descent performances but have no points to date and they will see tomorrow’s ‘Dead Rubber’ as an opportunity to measure their progress.

Group 2

The two games in Group 2 look a lot easier to predict though, like in life, nothing is certain in hurling. Shane O’Neill’s have been excellent in their two games to date, hammering Loch Mor Dal gCais in Crumlin before edging out Glenravel in a much tighter contest in Feystown on day 2.

St. Teresa’s had five points to spare over a much improved Loch Mor on day 2 but will have to find another step up in performance if they are to trouble Shane O’Neill’s tomorrow  and I expect the Glenarm side to record another win.

Glenravel look favourites to join them when they make the journey to Pairc McRuari but the beaten B finalists Loch Mor Dal gCias, like All Saints, will measure their progress this season and if they can run the Con Magee’s close will surely be satisfied.

JH Plate

In the only game scheduled in the Junior Hurling Plate, Latharna Og, Larne should edge it against St. Brigid’s

5 star performance to win battle of the Glens

Casement SC JHC Group 2

Shane O’Neill’s 5-21 Con Magee’s 2-13

Report and Photographs: Pete Hyndman

A seven goal  thriller at Pairc Uí Fhearsithe today captured everything that championship hurling is all about. Two strong physical sides gave their all with score’s a plenty and some fantastic goals, some great tackling and superb point taking.

Con Magee’s showed early promise when just after forty seconds Declan Traynor goaled for an early lead.

This gave the home side an early kick up the backside as Ciaran Magill struck a point and he followed up with a cracker of a goal, a superb unstoppable effort. Daniel Black also pointed a free before the versatile Darren Hamill sent over a “65”, giving the home team a three point lead.

James Duffin replied from a free for the visitors before Magill for Glenarm struck his second point.

Glenravel’s Rian Lennon hit a point from 40 yards but again back came the Blue’s with Kevin O Boyle rifling the sliotar beyond Ronan O Donnell for a good goal.

After a short water break the hosts hit 1-04 without reply. First effort came from a clearance from defence where Sean O Boyle claimed the ball and took a delightful point. Hamill hit his second point from another”65″ followed by more great attacking play from Glenarm with Kevin O Boyle striking a nice score from the wing.

Dan Black was next to show his intent in this game when he picked the sliotar up and went on one of his trademark runs, evading tackle after tackle before sending a rasper to the net for Glenarm’s third major.

Decky Traynor sent over a point to interrupt the Glenarm dominance and Niall Donnelly followed with another for the visitors with a converted free.

Black replied from a free, but this was cancelled out with Donnelly hitting his second point in as many minutes.

Shane O Neill’s Sean O Boyle hit his second point on twenty eight minute’s and

with the short whistle beckoning Glenravel raised their game somewhat with three points. Traynor got in for his third score followed by two more frees for Donnelly to give the visitors some hope for the second half.

Shane O Neill’s  3-10      Con Magees  1-08

The second half resumed with early pressure from the visitors and Traynor sent a delightful point from a sideline cut and another Donnelly followed from another free.

Daniel Black slotted over a free for the home side with wing forward Dylan McLaughlin adding to the Glenarm scorecard as Glenarm found a response and Sean O Boyle punished a slack clearance with another Glenarm score.

Donnelly for the green and white’s showed his accuracy from two more  frees, with James Duffin also pointing as the Con Magee’s battled hard to keep in touch. 

The home side needed a lift and this arrived with Ciaran “Murph” O Boyle soloing through and stunned Glenravel with an excellent goal. In the next few moments Aidan Scullion sent the ball forward from a lovely sideline cut and Sean O Boyle jumped highest and won the ball before turning his marker and ramming it home for Glenarm’s fifth major.

Just before the last water break Glenravel Donnelly handed the visitors a lifeline when he fired to the Glenarm’s net but they needed a strong finish if they were to overturn a substantial Glenarm lead.

The break came at a good stage for the hosts however as the remaining quarter belonged to the home side. 

Dan Black accurately converted a free with McLaughlin slotting over his second score of the game before the score of the game came from a massive effort from 80 yards from young Aidan Scullion which brought loud applause from the home support.

In a two minute spell, some great work from Glenarm led to Darren Hamill   converting two  “65’s” and another free  by Black was added to with ‘Murph’ O’Boyle taking a point out on the wing. The final effort was from Black with another clinical finish from a free and shortly afterwards the referee called for the ball.

This game had it all, some great point taking, in particular the free-taking from Donnelly for the visitors, and from Hamill and Black for the hosts. Both defences worked well especially Glenarm’s with the Hamill brothers, Decky McDermott, Ben O Boyle and Aidan Scullion all showing promise. 

Best for the visitors where James Duffin, Brian “Twig” O Neill with Declan Traynor and Niall Donnelly taking their score’s well.

For Glenarm the goals came at crucial stages and totally deflated the opposition. The O’Boyle brothers and Murph O Boyle (no relation) took their goals well, with Magill and Black being a constant thorn in Glenravel’s  side. 

Glenarm.  Niall Hamill, Kieran O Boyle,Barry Hamill, Paul Magill, Chrissy Matthews, Darren Hamill 0-06, 5 “65” 1 f,  Declan McDermott, Aidan Scullion 0-01, Ben O Boyle, Dylan Mc Laughlin 0-02, Daniel Black 1-06 6f, Ciaran Magill 1-02, Kevin O Boyle 1-01, Sean O Boyle 1-04, Ciaran O Boyle 1-01.

subs. Liam Mc Loughlin for Chrissy Matthews, Aidan O Neill, Rory Mulvenna, Liam Mulvenna, Darryl Mc Mullan, Ciaran Finnegan, Joe Cunning, Sean O Hare.

Glenravel. Ronoan O Donnell, Brian O Neill, Damien O Hagan, Michael Mc Quillan Padge O Neill, Shanlee Kerr, Micky Mc Donald, Johnny Fyfe, Rian Lennon 0-01, Declan Traynor 1-03, James Duffin 0-02 1f, Rian Mc Quillan, Conleth O Loan, Niall Donnelly 1-08 8f, Chris Burns.

subs. Sean Burns, Charlie Henry, Dean Kerr, Odhran Mc Aleenan, Sean Mc Cusker, Stevie Atcheson.

REFEREE.  Sean Elliott: Lamh Dhearg.