Second half goals swing it Armoy’s way

Casement SC JHC Group 1

Armoy 4-12 Lamh Dhearg 3-12

Glen Rovers Armoy overcame the considerable challenge of Lamh Dhearg in this top of the table-winner takes all Casement SC Group Junior Hurling Championship meeting in Armoy on Saturday.

In the proverbial game of two halves, it was the men from Hannastown who looked on their way to victory and a direct spot in the semi-final when they led the local side 3-5 to 0-8

It was a much improved Glen Rovers in the second half however as they scored 4-4 while tightening up considerably at the back to overhaul the Lamh Dhearg lead and win by three in the end.

The early exchanges were fairly even with Turlach McBride 0-2, Eamon McCaughan and Owen Kinney on target for the men from the Glen and Aidan McGuigan, Daire Cunningham, Mick Herron and Patrick Mervyn responding at the other end to leave it 0-4 to 0-4.

The game swung dramatically in favour of the visitors however as they struck with three goals between the 15th and 24th minute to put themselves in a commanding position.

Full-forward Gerard Smyth began the onslaught at the end of the opening quarter and added a second in the 21st minute and another from Daire Cunningham put the Lamh’s in a strong position as they went on to lead 3-5 to 0-8 at the short whistle.

Six of Armoy’s first half points came from the stick of Turlach McBride with Owen Kinney and Eamon McCaughan completed their first half total but the Glen Rovers look to have it all to do in the second half.

The home side started the second half on the front foot and within four minutes they had clawed back the visitors lead with Eamon McCaughan rattling the Lamh Dhearg net after two minutes and Owen Kinney following with a second.

Trevor Linton put Glen Rovers ahead with a point from a free in the 8th minute with Declan Straney, Aidan McGuigan and Mick Herron keeping Lamh Dhearg in touch with points at the other end.

Ciaran McKenna put Armoy in a strong position when he fired home their third goal in the 13th minute and when Trevor Linton added another in the 20th minute the game had swung dramatically in favour of the home side.

Lamh Dhearg fought right to the end with Gerard Smyth, Aidan McGuigan and Finnegan adding points but late points from Eamon McCaughan, Trevor Linton and Turlach McBride sealed the win for Armoy.

Glen Rovers top the group and earn an automatic semi-final place but Lamh Dhearg will not be too despondent as they go forward to a quarter-final meeting with All Saints in a fortnight’s time.

Armoy: 1 Conor Devlin, 2 Callum Coyles, 3 John Dillon, 4 Liam Dillon, 5 Hugh O’Kane, 6 Thomas Burns, 7 Shane Devlin, 8 Ciaran McKenna, 9 Turlach McBride, 10 Eoin O’Boyle, 11 Eamon McCaughan, 12 Joseph McFetridge, 13 Trevor Linton, 14 Owen Kinney, 15 Colin Lordan

Lamh Dhearg: 1 Conor McConville, 2 Sean Paul Gibson, 3 Odhran Waldron, 4 Tiernan McKenna, 5 Daniel Murray, 6 Declan Lynch, 7 Fionn Mervyn, 8 Ciaran Boyd, 9 Padraig Mervyn, 10 Mark Finnegan, 11 Aidan McGuigan, 12 Micheal Herron, 13 Daire Cunningham, 14 Gerard Smyth 15 Michael McGuigan, 19 Declan Straney

Referee: Declan McGarry (Loughgiel)

Loch Mor finish strongly to beat new boys Loughbeg

Junior B Hurling Championship

Loughbeg Harps 4-11 Loch Mor Dal cGais 5-17

New boys, Loughbeg Harps produced their best performance of the season but in the end came up short against a strong Loch Mor Dal gCais side who will contest the final against Kickham’s Ardoyne.

Two goals from full-forward, Brian McManus and one each from Conor McElhinney and Seanchan Duffin in a strong first half performance from Loughbeg kept them in contewntion at the break.

Loch Mor hit four of their own with Bailey Graham, Darragh Turley, Cal Burke and Declan Phillips all on target and five points from the impressive Turley saw them lead 4-9 to 4-5 at the break.

Loughbeg must have fancied their chances of picking up a first win in the competition as the second half got under way and Seanchan Duffin kept the scoreboard moving with a number of well struck frees.

However Loch Mor Dal cGais were always able to keep their noses in front with Darragh Turley continuing to fire over points, six in all to add to his first half total and Bailey Graham finished the scoring with a late goal.

Despite this defeat Loughbeg Harps will take a lot of heart from this performance and it gives them something to build on in the season ahead.

Loch Mor will now play Kickham’s Ardoyne who ran riot against Belfast Saints at Fennell Park to complete their league programme with an 8-12 to 1-12 victory.

Loch Mor Dal gCais: 1 Calthan hEireamhoin, 5 Aaron Monaghan, 3 Sean Burke, 4 James McGorrian, 6 Declan Phillips, 7 Oisin O’Boyle, 8 Cormac Dwyer, 9 Conor Jones, 10 Cal Burke, 22 Michael Morgan, 13 Ferdia Carson, 14 Bailey Graham, 12 Darragh Turley, 18 Aodhan Morgan, 19 Ben Dunlop, 17 Matthew Jones

Loughbeg Harps: 1 Francis Boyd, 2 Gerard Maybin, 3 Diarmuid Scullion, 4 Paul Quinn, 5 Adrian Heggarty, 6 Ronan Devlin, 7 Ruairi Taggart, 8 Callum McStocker, 9 Joseph O’Loughlin, 10 Sean Boyd, 11 Seanchan Duffin, 12 Gary Murray, 13 Ben McLarnon, 14 Brian McManus, 15 Conor McElhinney

Referee: Ryan O’Reilly (Glenravel)

Imperious McKeever points Rasharkin into quarter-final

Casement SC JHC Group 1

St. Mary’s Rasharkin 1-21 Davitt’s 0-10

Rasharkin recovered from two defeats in Group 1 of the Casement JHC to outscore a Michael Davitt’s side, who were in the same position in this winner takes all contest at Dreen on Saturday, and earn themselves a place in the quarter-finals.

Conor McKeever was in imperious form for the home side and would finish the game with 0-11 as St. Mary’s took control of matters from early on despite facing the breeze.

McKeever struck the opening two points, the second from a long range free before Deaglan Mooney replied with Davitt’s opening score with 9 minutes on the clock.

Conor McKeever struck his third of the evening but Marcas Toner replied to leave just one in it after 15 minutes and it was still evenly balanced as James Higgins and Stephen McGivern exchanged further points to leave it 0-4 to 0-3 by the 21st minute.

There seemed to be no stopping that man McKeever as he moved the home side three in front but his side had Liam Tunney to thank for a good save as Davitts threated.

A pointed free from Marcas Toner brought the city side back into contention but McKeever struck the final two points of the half to bring his personal contribution to 0-7 and leave his side four in front at the break.

It was Davitt’s who made the better start to the second half with Jay Maguire closing the gap to three but Donagh Quigg and Ruairi O’Boyle from a great long range effort moved the Dreen side five in front with only three minutes of the new half gone.

Cormac Maguire replied with a point for the Falls Road side but suddenly Rasharkin found another gear to put the game out of sight by the end of the third quarter.

Tiernan O’Boyle and Donagh Quigg split the posts before Cahir Henderson fired to the net in the 10th minute and as the opposition reeled under the pressure, Conor McKeever, Conor McFerran and Emmet McFerran added points.

Marcas Toner, who was Davitt’s best forward on the night, briefly halted the onslaught from a free in the 15th minute but it provided only short respite as the home side came back strongly with two more from McKeever and a great long range effort from Ruairi O’Boyle.

Although well beaten at this stage, Michael Davitt’s fought to the end with Marcas Toner replying with two points but they had keeper, Anton McLaughlin to thank for a great save as St. Mary’s threatened again.

The home side finished strongly with Conor McKeever, Donagh Quigg and Shane Hasson adding points before Stephen McGivern replied with a consolation point for the visitors.

A strong performance from the men from Dreen and last year’s beaten finalists could be hitting a bit of form just at the right time. They now face Gort na Mona in the quarter-finals and face a stiff challenge from a Gort’s side who have put a poor league campaign behind them to provide a championship threat themselves.

Rasharkin: 1 Liam Tunney, 2 Conor Doherty, 3 Daniel Doherty, 4 Conor McKillop, 5 Daniel Hasson, 6 Ruairi O’Boyle, 7 Tiernan O’Boyle, 8 Donagh Quigg, 9 James Higgins, 10 Conor McKeever, 11 Cahir Henderson, 12 Aidan McKeever, 13 Emmet McFerran, 14 Conor McFerran, 15 Shane Hasson

Davitt’s: 1 Anton McLaughlin, 2 Odhran Gorman, 3 Cormac Maguire, 4 Thomas Carson, 5 Chris Gallagher, 6 Stephen McGivern, 7 James McNally, 8 Deaglan Mooney, 9 Peter Carleton, 10 Thomas Toland, 11 Colm McKee, 12 Jay Maguire, 13 Caoimhin Rainey, 14 Gerard Cosgrove, 15 Marcas Toner, 17 Nathan Maginn

Referee: Shane McDonnell

McClean magic swings it Gort na Mona’s way

Casement SC Junior Hurling Championship Group 2

All Saints 1-12 Gort na Mona 1-16

A piece of individual magic from ace marksman, Dessie McClean with six minutes remaining swung this Casement SC JHC Group 2 clash between Gort na Mona and All Saints in Ballymena, very much the way in favour of the men from the Mona Bye-pass.

The visitors were slow to get into their rhythm and it was All Saints who made the early running with Eoin McGuigan pointing from a break away in the opening minute and Ciaran Neeson adding a second with three minutes gone.

A great long range free from mid-fielder, Neill Henry got the visitors off the mark but Neeson replied immediately with an outrageous point from 60 meters and when Cormac Magill fired to the Gort na Mona net with only seven minutes gone, things were looking good for Chris Dornan’s side.

Neeson moved the home side five ahead from another free in response to a Dessie McClean free at the other end with Neill Henry from long range and McClean with his first from play closing the gap to three with seventeen minutes gone.

A great catch by Neeson and a superb finish moved the Quinn Park side four ahead but Neill Henry struck his third of the evening from within his own half and slowly the visitors were getting to grips with their opponents.

Playing with a greater intensity they were denying their opponents time on the ball and double marking Neeson when the ball came his way and a point from Darron ‘Diesel’ Boyd and a couple from Dessie McClean had the sides tied at 1-5 to 0-8 at the short whistle.

It was All Saints who started the second half on the front foot and Ciaran Neeson looked to be in for a goal in their first attack but John Kelly pulled off a superb reflex save to deny the Ballymena marksman.

Damian Gillan edged the home side back ahead with a point in the third minute but again Henry displayed unerring accuracy as he drove a 70 meter free between the uprights to tie matters once more.

The Ballymena side were still edging the exchanges and Eoin McGuigan had an attempt on goal saved at the expense of a ‘65’ which Neeson converted to restore his side’s lead but the same player was wide from another ‘65’, a minute later.

Henry from another long range special and Neeson from a free exchanged further point before Liam Cassley got through for his first point of the evening to move the home side two in front by the 16th minute and at this stage they were looking good.

Slowly though the Turf Lodge men began to stamp their authority on the game as Neill Henry from long range and Darron Boyd from closer to goal brought it all square with 10 minutes remaining.

Henry from a 50 meter free and McClean from close range moved Gort na Mona two ahead with Damian Gillan responding with a point for All Saints to close the gap to the minimum once more.

Darron Boyd replied to open the two point gap once more as the home side struggled to match the intensity of their opponent and when they failed to deal with a long ball into the danger area Dessie McClean sent a cheeky chip over Ciaran Cassley before finishing to the net.

The home side fought to the end and a couple of pointed frees from Ciaran Neeson saw the gap closed to three but the goal they needed never looked like materialising and another Neill Henry special as the game edged into injury time sealed it for the Enright Park side.

This win sees Gort na Mona finish Group 2 in second place to Cloughmills who completed their programme unbeaten with a win over St. Brigid’s Belfast in Cloughmills today  to top the group.

All Saints can take some consolation from the fact that they finished third and will face the second team in Group 1, Lamh Dhearg in the quarter-finals while Gort na Mona will play St. Mary’s Rasharkin in their quarter-final.

All Saints: 1 Ciaran Cassley, 2 Conor O’Rawe, 3 Colum Neeson, 4 Kevin Brady, 5 Dwayne McKee, 6 Luke O’Rawe, 7 Daniel Gray, 8 Padhraig Magill, 9 Damian Gillan, 10 Cormac Magill, 11 Eoin McGuigan, 12 Liam Cassley, 13 Jack Magill, 14 Ciaran Neeson, 15 Joseph O’Rawe

Gort na Mona: 1 John Kelly, 2 Conor Connolly, 3 Gavin McKenna, 4 Conor Healy, 5 Declan Hughes, 6 Padraig McHugh, 7 Nathan Gibson, 8 Neill Henry, 9 Aaron Hicks, 10 David Dixon, 11 Darron Boyd, 12 Nail Healy, 13 Manus McMullan, 28 Joseph Monaghan, 15 Dessie McClean, 18 Christopher Devlin,

Referee: Paul O’Neill (Creggan)

Lámhs maintain winning start in Belfast derby

Casement Social Club Antrim JHC Group 1 

Lámh Dhearg 3-22-1-10 Davitt’s 

Kevin Herron reports from Musgrave Park 

Lámh Dhearg made it two wins from two and set up a winners take all showdown for a direct semi-final spot in the Casement Social Club Antrim JHC with a 3-22-1-10 win over Davitt’s at Musgrave Park on Saturday evening.

The Hannahstown side edged out Rasharkin by a point in their opening encounter and found their scoring touch early on in the Belfast derby. 

Fionn Mervyn swung over their opener and on four minutes they found the opening goal when Odrán Waldron’s clearance from defence was gathered by Gerard Smyth, and he offloaded to Daire Cunningham to fire to the net. 

A long-range Mark Finnegan point extended his sides lead before Marcus Toner got Davitt’s up and running for the evening- converting a free. 

Adam Murray would open his evenings account from the placed ball and followed that with another from play following a nice pass from Padraig Mervyn. 

It looked to be relatively one-way traffic when Mark Finnegan doubled his account from a pinpoint Conor McConville puck-out that picked out the forward to float over and give the Lámhs a 1-05-0-01 lead after 13 minutes. 

Davitt’s responded positively however and three unanswered free’s in succession from Toner had the Beechmount outfit trailing by four with ten minutes until the break. 

Micko Herron dropped over his first point of the half after Padraig Mervyn picked out the experienced forward with a cross field free. 

Talisman Toner landed back-to-back frees in the aftermath to leave Cunningham’s goal the difference going down the home straight. 

Points were traded between Padraig Mervyn and Toner (free) though a long range Fionn Mervyn score and another from Micko Herron saw Lámh Dhearg into a 1-09-0-07 lead at the interval. 

Lámh Dhearg started the second period confidently and extended their lead through points from Mark Finnegan and Adam Murray. 

Half-time substitutes Niall McGarry and Joel Brady added further scores and in-between times Gerard Smyth contested for a dropping ball and won it before offloading to Adam Murray to fizz to the net. 

Adam Murray fires in his sides second goal

It took Davitt’s until the 36th minute to claim their first score from play and it arrived through the familiar source of Marcus Toner. 

Murray replied with his second converted free of the evening and although the Lámhs were pulling into the distance, Davitt’s threw themselves a lifeline with twenty minutes remaining. 

The Beechmount side were frustrated that referee Piarais McCaffrey had blown his whistle and didn’t allow an advantage after Stephen McGivern had fired to the net in the aftermath. McGivern stood over the resulting free and would opt to go low – succeeding in squeezing his shot to the net to make it 2-14-1-08. 

Any prospects of a fightback were short-lived however as Lámh Dhearg racked up another 1-04 unanswered in an eight-minute spell. 

Ciaran Boyd floated over his first score and Adam Murray converted successive frees. Paddy Mervyn linked up with Micko Herron for his third point of the evening and Herron would net within 60-seconds. 

After receiving the ball in a promising position, Herron looked across and spotted Mark Finnegan at the back post and unselfishly handpassed across. Finnegan was unable to steer the ball home and after a further shot was blocked the ball was recycled across to the other post where Herron lined up a shot made no mistake to open up a 3-18-1-08 advantage. 

Stephen McGivern landed a long range free in reply and Adam Murray chalked up his seventh point of the evening. 

Further points were traded between Colm McKee and Mark Finnegan before two late Murray frees completed the games scoring as Lámh Dhearg ran out convincing 3-22-1-10 winners at the conclusion.  

The Lámhs have at the very least secured themselves a quarter final berth but travel to Armoy in a fortnight knowing that victory will see them straight through to the semi-final. 

Davitt’s meanwhile must defeat Rasharkin in their final Group game to have any hope of making it through to the last eight. 

Lámh Dhearg: C McConville, T McKenna, O Waldron, M McGuigan, D Murray, D Lynch, F Mervyn (0-02), C Boyd (0-01), P Mervyn (0-01), A McGuigan, M Herron (1-03), A Murray (1-09, 0-06f), M Finnegan (0-04), G Smyth, D Cunningham (1-00). Subs: J Brady (0-01) for M McGuigan (HT), N McGarry (0-01) for D Cunningham (HT), C Nolan for O Waldon (52), E Stanley for M Finnegan (52), A Ferris for M Herron (60). 

Davitt’s: A McLaughlin, O Gorman, J Park, T Carson, C Gallagher, S McGivern (1-01f), D Mooney, P Carleton, C Heaney, C Maguire, C McKee (0-01), D Whelan, C Rainey, J McNally, M Toner (0-08, 0-07f). Subs: G Cosgrove for C Rainey (48), D Maher for J McNally (48), C Ferran for D Whelan (51). 

Referee: Piarais McCaffrey (St Galls)