Can the Emmets end their final drought or will Shane O’Neill’s bounce back from last year’s defeat

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Junior Hurling Championship final preview

Last year’s beaten finalists Glenarm are aiming to go one better this time, while Cushendun, who lost out in the final minute of the 2016 final to Lamh Dherag, are glad to get back to a decider and have the chance to erase the memory of that day when the rug was snatched from under them in the final seconds. On September 17th 2016 the Emmet’s were three points to the good going down the home stretch when a free from distance by Michael Herron went all the way to the net and a minute later Donal Nugent fired one over to give the Hannahstown men victory.

Glenarm were 10 points down with as many minutes left to play in last year’s decider before staging a late rally, but despite grabbing three late goals, two from Barry Hamill and one from Dylan McLaughlin, they came up two points short against a Gort na Móna side who had dominated for most of the game.

Both teams impressed in their semi-final wins this season, Glenarm proving too strong for St Teresa’s for the second year in a row at Quinn Park, Ballymena while the Emmet’s caused a bit of an upset when they saw of the challenge of St Paul’s with a bit to spare. Dylan McLaughlin and Barry Hamill were goal scorers once again in that game while Daniel Black chipped in with one as well as the Feystown men won by 3-15 to 2-10, Black ending up top scorer with an impressive 1-10, 1-3 coming from play.Glendun Nursing Home ad copy

Cushendun’s display against St Paul’s was one of their best for a number of years, winning by 1-20 to 1-10 against a St Paul’s side who probably started the game as favourites. There were a few top class individual displays that day but the most pleasing thing for the Cushendun followers was the performance of their younger players like Conor McHugh, Harry Kilgore, Jack McKay and Thomas Scally. There was an edge to their play that day that was exciting, with one of the team’s veterans Sean Hamilton performing well at corner back, Donal O’Hara, who missed a good part of the season through injury, rock solid at centre back and Matthew McCartin pairing well with McHugh in midfield. Another of the team’s experienced players Conlaoth McNeill contributed three points, while substitute Pearse Bannon making a real impact when coming on early in the second half, despite the fact preparation in the lead up to the game had been far from ideal. Under the stewardship of Cushendall man Chris Dornan they have had their ups and down, and near misses. Dorny has had former Ruairi Og stars Skinner McAlister by his side for a season and Aidan Delargy for another, as well as former county championship winning manager John Smokey McKillop, but he’s going it alone this year. He has total faith in his team’s ability and the broad smile he displayed after the semi-final win over St Paul’s was an indication that he felt the hard work was finally paying dividends.RJ Plastering copy

Mark Kilgore Logo-advert copyWhen you look at the league positions of the two teams Cushendun have the upper hand. They made the cut and are in section A of Division 3. They are bottom of the A table, but no worries about relegation from a long way out and that has helped in their preparations. Glenarm on the other had are third from bottom in Section B and their survival in Division 3 will depend on their final game of the campaign against Carryduff on October 21. When the two met in the league in July Cushendun won convincingly on a scoreline of 2-22 to 1-13.

All these facts would point towards a win for Cushendun, but as we all know championship hurling and league are two totally different things. The league campaign has been difficult for Shane O’Neill’s this year. After winning promotion out of Division 4 the previous season they found the going a bit tougher in Division 3, where the opposition is understandably higher. They also last a key man in defender Hugh Pat McNeill, who has not been available this season but they have battle against the odds and their semi-final win over St Teresa’s will have given them great heart. For years they have depended on former county player Darren Hamill to provide the scores up front, but Darren, one of the club’s greatest servants, has been poacher, turned gamekeeper this year and has excelled at centre-back, leading the defensive line alongside Jake Hamilton and Rory Mulvenna, in front of a full back line which includes Martin Ward, Sean Moran and Ciaran Flanagan. Patrick McAuley and Liam Mitchell did well at midfield in the semi-final and will probably start there again on Sunday while up front much will depend on the accuracy of Daniel Black from frees, and from play. Dylan McLaughlin at wing forward is another key man and one around a lot of the attacking play revolves. McLaughlin hit 1-2 from play in the semi-final and will cause the Emmet’s defence lots of problems on Sunday, as indeed will Barry Hamill and Mark Petticrew in the corners.

Glencloy InnUnder managers Ronan Matthews and Kevin Cottrel Glenarm have prepared well for Sunday’s decider and they will feel they are in with a great chance of taking the title back to Feystown. Cushendun’s league position and victory over Sunday’s opponents will land them with the favourite’s tag, but that will mean nothing on the day. With the likelihood of a big crowd being there early for the much anticipated Dunloy v Loughgiel clash there should be a real buzz around the Pairc MacUílin on Sunday.

The Emmet’s have lost Junior finals in 2009 to Rasharkin, 2010 to Cloughmills, 2012 to St Enda’s (after a replay), 2013 to Creggan and 2016 to Lamh Dhearg. They will start on Sunday as favourites but their faithful followers who have endured all those defeats will not exactly be brimming with confidence. However I have a feeling they will be celebrating this time around.Mary McBrides

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Emmet’s get it ‘Dun and Dusted

Junior Hurling Championship Semi-Final

Cushendun 1-20 St Pauls 1-10

Brendan McTaggart reports from Glen Rovers, Armoy

Ten points and every bit as comfortable as it sounds. Robert Emmet’s booked their place in the 2018 junior final with a comprehensive 10 point win over 14 man St Pauls in Armoy on Saturday afternoon. Midfielder Conor McHugh top scored for the Emmet’s, finishing with 0-7 and putting in a man of the match display guiding his side to their first junior decider since 2014. Harry and David Kilgore contributed heavily to Cushendun’s cause, scoring 1-6 between them, David with the major in the second half while Donal O’Hara marshalled the Emmett’s defence superbly, most notably in the second half.


St Paul’s struggled to contain the attacking threat of Cushendun, of the Emmet’s nine first half points, all but two came from play with five different scorers. Stephen Rooney and Fionntan Gamble battled for the full hour in defence with Niall Peoples shinning in attack, top scoring with 0-5 over the hour in a lively performance.

The semi-final though will be remembered for two incidents by the Shaws Road side though. A first half penalty miss and a piece of defensive brilliance denying Rooney a certain goal coupled with barely 20 second later Cushendun opening a nine point lead thanks to David Kilgore’s major in the 42nd minute. A potential goal at that time could have given the City men the momentum but Donal O’Hara’s outstanding tackle and resulting Kilgore goal effectively sealed the tie in Cushendun’s favour. St Paul’s were reduced to 14 men in injury time when Kevin Gamble saw red for an off the ball incident but it had little impact on the final result with the Emmett’s setting up an encounter with Glenarm in the junior decider.

Cushendun started the last four encounter brightly, Eugene Duffin and Conleth McNeill splitting the posts for the opening points of the match by the sixth minute. Any St Pauls attacks in the early stages were fleeting but they did have the first glimpse of goal either side of the Cushendun points. Niall Peoples pointed effort dropped short and the falling sliotar wasn’t dealt with in the Cushendun defence. Andrew McMorrow pulled on the ground but his effort hit the side netting.

Cairbre O’Caireallan and Kevin Gamble restored parity to the scores by the ninth minute before Cushendun had a sight of the St Pauls goal in the 10th minute. James Morgan finding himself through on Christopher Murray’s goal before being swarmed with red and white hooped shirts. The St Pauls defence cleared the danger but Cushendun went through the gears, Harry Kilgore splitting the posts either side of Conor McHugh’s first point of the match to leave three points between the sides mid-way through the first half.


St Pauls were getting joy in the Cushendun defence by sending the sliotar onto the edge of the square where Sean O’Carroll and Kevin Gamble lay in wait. Their ability to hold onto the sliotar under pressure was causing Cushendun concerns and it was through this outlet that they won the penalty. McMorrow sending the sliotar towards Gamble with the St Pauls full forward hauled to the ground.

Niall Peoples stepped up for his side but he didn’t get the connection he was looking for and Eoin Magee was able to save with ease and clear the danger.

McHugh’s second point of the match opened a four point lead but St Pauls halved the deficit with Frankie Sewell (’65) and Sean O’Carroll (free) brought the Shaw’s Road side to within touching distance once again.

Cushendun finished the half on top however with McHugh (’65), David Kilgore with the score of the half and Harry Kilgore’s third of the opening 30 minutes gave the Emmett’s a five point lead. A 45 yard free from Peoples reduced the deficit to four on the stroke of half time but Cushendun would have been the happier side at the interval with a 0-9 to 0-5 lead at the short whistle.

Niall Peoples second point of the match gave St Pauls hope after the restart of clawing their way back into the semi-final but it was as close as the Shaws Road men would get to their north coast opponents as Cushendun took control.

A trio of scores from ‘Loaf’ McNeill, Matthew McCartin and Harry Kilgore stretched the Cushendun lead to six points. Peoples (free) and substitute Pierce Bannon swapped scores before the first goal of the contest came in the 42nd minute. St Pauls were deep in the Cushendun half and with Rooney in space he eyed up Magee’s goal but O’Hara managed to flick the sliotar away, similar to Nickie Quaid’s tackle on Seamus Harnedy when Limerick defeated Cork in the semi-final of the All-Ireland this year. Perfect timing and inside 20 seconds Cushendun had the sliotar in the back of the St Pauls net. Bannon collected the long clearance before driving at the heart of the St Pauls defence and lured in defenders. He passed the sliotar to David Kilgore in space and the Cushendun man showed composure to beat Murray between the sticks. A six point swing from seeing their lead potentially being halved, Cushendun and Kilgore’s major gave them one foot in the final with a quarter of the match remaining.

A brace of frees from Peoples ensured Cushendun weren’t going to have everything their own way in the closing stages and the Shaws Road men were looking to eat into the Cushendun lead but McHugh (four) and McNeill (free) took the game away from St Pauls in the space of five minutes at the death.

Leo Morgan and Peoples (free) swapped points in the first of six minutes of injury time before Kevin Gamble saw red for an off the ball incident with Aidan Corbett but St Pauls continued to lay siege on the Cushendun defence in search of goals. They got their consolation when Ciaran O’Carroll pulled on the sliotar from close range after a Peoples free landed in the box but it was too little, too late for the Shaws Road men as Cushendun saw out the remaining minutes with little alarm to seal their place in the 2018 Junior Hurling championship final.

30Harry Kilgore losses his boot and his sock as he is dragged down close the St Paul’s goal.


Cushendun: Eoin Magee; Sean Hamilton, Aidan Corbett, Jack McKay; Mark Scally, Donal O’Hara, Thomas Scally; Matthew McCartin, Conor McHugh; Harry Kilgore, Eugene Duffin, Dominic McQuillan; James Morgan, Conleth McNeill, David Kilgore.

St Pauls: Christopher Murray; Declan Gamble, Fionntan Gamble, Joe Keatinge; Frankie Sewell, Stephen Rooney, Sean Bradley; Ciaran O’Carroll, Ruaidhri O’Muiri; Sean O’Carroll, Andrew McMorrow, Cairbre O’Caireallan; Niall Peoples, Kevin Gamble, Declan Chapman.

Scorers for Cushendun: Conor McHugh 0-7 (2 ‘65’s, 1f); David Kilgore 1-2; Harry Kilgore 0-4; Conleth McNeill 0-3 (1 f); Matthew McCartin 0-1; Eugene Duffin 0-1; Pierce Bannon 0-1; Leo Morgan 0-1.

Scorers for St Pauls: Niall Peoples 0-5 (4 f’s); Ciaran O’Carroll 1-00; Cairbre O’Caireallan 0-2; Frankie Sewell 0-1 (1 ’65); Sean O’Carroll 0-1 (1 f); Kevin Gamble 0-1.

Referee: Kevin Parke (Naomh Éanna)

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Pics by John McIlwaine

Late Hamill goal seals Glenarm’s final place

EVB - textAntrim Junior Hurling Championship sem-final

Shane O’Neill’s Glenarm 3-15 Naomh Treasa 2-10

Glenarm secured their place in the final of the Antrim Junior Hurling Championhip for the second year in a row when they beat St Teresa’s in Friday night’s semi-final at Quinn Park, Ballymena.

When St Teresa’s fired in their second goal to grab a one-point lead, midway through the second half  it looked like they Belfast men could be on their way to avenging their defeat at the hands of the same opposition last year, but the men in blue soon regained their composure and they had the better of the final quarter to seal a second final appearance in a row.

Glenarm made the better start and a point from a Daniel Black free plus two from play by Dylan McLaughlin had them three clear, before centre forward Phillip Maguire got the Belfast men on the scoreboard.

As both teams struggled with the unfamiliar conditions under lights they gave a way a series of frees which free-takers Daniel Black for Glenarm and Philly Maguire for St Teresa’s made good use of  to keep their respective scoreboards ticking over.13

Glenarm were holding a slender lead when Conor McCann grabbed the first goal of the game for St Teresa’s following hesitancy in the Glenarm full back line and when Phillip Maguire added two points from frees the West Belfast men were suddenly four ahead. Glenarm needed a response as the St Teresa’s momentum grew and they got it when Dylan McLaughlin grabbed a high ball on the edge of the St Teresa’s square before turning and blasting a low shot to the corner of the net.  A Daniel Black point brought Glenarm back on terms and when the talented centre forward won possession from the puc-out and dispatched it back between the posts, they were back in front with half time fast approaching. The accurate Black put the Feystown men two clear but in first half injury time St Teresa’s got a great chance to grab a half time lead when they were awarded a penalty. Maguire was the man to take it and judging by the way he had been hitting his free during the first 30 minutes most spectators were expecting to see the net ripple. However the St Teresa’s man failed to connect properly with his shot and goalkeeper Liam Mulvenna was able to police the ball wide.


After an early exchange of points from Black and Maguire the second half really came alive when St Teresa’s substitute Jordan McAllister grabbed his team’s second goal but Glenarm hit back with a point from Conal Ward thirty seconds later, a fine finish on the run. Ward added another to edge his team in front but Colm McGoldrick restored parity with a well taken St Teresa’s point at the other end. Just who would advance to the final was far from clear as the game entered the home straight but Glenarm got a decisive break when a Daniel Black shot which appeared to be going over the bark deceived James Burns in the St Teresa’s goal and ended up in the back of the net, the keeper’s judgement no doubt impeded by the floodlights

Three clear now Glenarm held sway in the final minutes and after Maguire and Black had again exchanged points once again, Mark Petticrew put Glenarm four clear. The smart money was on the Feystown men at this stage and when corner forward Barry Hamill grabbed a brilliant goal from a narrow angle on the right there was no way back for St Teresa’s


James Burns, Phillip Glennon, Gerard O’Rawe, Aodhan Dugan, Pierce O’Rawe, Paul McGoldrick, Ciaran Rouse, Sean Maguire, Colm McGoldrick (0-01), Christopher Turley, Phillip Maguire (c) (0-02, 0-07f), Conor McCann (1-00), Darran McCann, Kevin Burns, Brian Curran.

Substitutes: Jordan McAllister (1-00) and Conor O’Rawe


Liam Mulvenna, Martin Ward, Sean Moran, Ciaran Flannagan, Jake Hamilton, Darren Hamill (c), Rory Mulvenna, Patrick McAuley, Liam Mitchell, Conal Ward (0-02), Daniel Black (1-03, 0-07f), Dylan McLaughlin (1-02), Mark Petticrew (0-01), Christopher Matthews, Barry Hamill (1-00).

Referee: John Carson (Ruairí Óg Cushendall)

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Final places up for grabs in Junior Huring Championship

Antrim Junior Hurling Championship semi-finals previewsGlenarm v St Teresa's

The semi-finals of the Antrim Junior Hurling Championship will be held this weekend with Shane O’Neill’s Glenarm facing St Teresa’s under the lights at Quinn Park (8-00pm), Ballymena on Friday evening in one semi-final while Cushendun play St Paul’s in the other at Armoy on Saturday afternoon. (2-00pm) While the teams in the Saturday’s semi have both a game under their belts for Friday’s opponents it will be their first time they have dipped their toes in the championship water this season. The two actually met in the opening round last year in Ballymena with Glenarm coming out on top on that occasion to start a run which brought them all the way to the final, before losing to Gort na Móna.EVB - text

In last year’s meeting, played at the same venue, there was little to separate the sides in the opening quarter but Glenarm got on top approaching half time and they pushed on to win well in the end. However the men from Feystown have not been going as well this season, albeit in Division 3 where relegation looms large. They face fellow strugglers Carryduff in the final game of the season to decide who stays up and who goes down along with Lamh Dhearg. St Teresa’s are lying fifth in Division 4 with 7 wins from their 14 games, but they have won their last 3 and that will give them a boost going into Friday’s game. Glenarm have been without the services of a couple of last season’s regulars during their league campaign this year and they will be hoping to have them back for this one. Neither team will have much experience of playing under floodlights and how either side adapts could have a big bearing on the game. Glenarm should have just about enough to get them over the line but it is hard to judge. If they can reproduce the form of last year another final place awaits.

IMG_3212 copyIn the second semi-final on Saturday at 2pm in Armoy St Paul’s play Cushendun Emmet’s. Both teams have a win under their belts, St Paul’s accounting for Con Magees two weeks ago in Ahoghill while Cushendun beat Junior B winners All Saints Ballymena. The Belfast men were impressive as they saw off Glenravel with a bit to spare, the bulk of their scores coming from the highly dangerous Niall Peoples at corner forward and Gerard Carbery on the 40. Carbery’s free taking was top class that day and the Cushendun defence will need to be disciplined or Carberry will punish their indiscretions. Peoples was really on fire that day against the Con Magees and if the Emmets are to progress then they need to find a way of curtailing the talented forward.

Cushendun scored freely against All Saints in their quarter final in Armoy, but they also conceded a lot of scores. 4-22 was an impressive tally and would get you over the line most days, but the concession of 4-11 against the B champions is not so clever and team manager Chris Dornan will know that he needs to tighten things up at the back. Going on league form ‘Dorny’s’ men would have the edge after beating St Paul’s by 4-13 to 2-10 up in Shaw’s Road back in April, and when the league split Cushendun made it into the top half while St Paul’s dropped to the B section. However the Emmet’s are bottom of Section A while St Paul’s sit in fifth place Section B, so there is not really a lot to choose between them.

My predictions in previous rounds have been so far out I’ll just sit on the fence for this one but it promises to be a decent game and one worth getting along to Armoy to see.Mary McBrides


Emmets made to fight all the way

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e29812 copyJunior Hurling Championship

Cushendun Emmets 4-22  All Saints 4-11

Emmet’s Cushendun went into this Junior Championship quarter-final as odds on favourites against Junior B winners, All Saints Ballymena and in the end justified that favourites tag but they endured a dogged battle from the Slemish Park side who have just returned to All County league participation after a couple of year’s absence.

The Emmet’s were first out of the starting blocks and Matthew McCartin pointed them ahead in the opening minute but All Saints were given a boost when a long wind assisted delivery by Damian Gillan deceived Eoin Magee and ended in the net.

The North Antrim side recovered with points from Eugene Duffin in the 4th and 6th minutes to draw level and then Ciaran Cassley in the All Saints goal came off his line to make a save but was injured in a collision with Conleth McNeill and was forced to retire.

Cassley had come into the side to replace regular keeper Daire Hasson who was unavailable but his game was over after five minutes and young Eoin McGuigan took over the goalkeeping duties and was to perform very well.

When play resumed it was Cushendun who began to dictate matters and as the rain descended they moved three points clear through Conor McHugh, Harry Kilgore and David Kilgore but All Saints were battling for every ball and replied through Ciaran Neeson and Liam Cassley to leave just one in it at the end of the opening quarter.

Conleth McNeill and Ciaran Neeson exchanged frees before McNeill got in for a 18th minute goal after a shot from Harry Kilgore broke favourably into his path of an upright and the big full-forward hammered it first time to the net.

The Emmet’s looked to be gaining control at this stage but a Niall McGarry goal at the other end in the 23d minute kept the Ballymena side in touch and it was obvious they were not going to lie down without a fight as they continued to contest every 50/50 ball.

Cushendun were growing in confidence however and creating and executing some fine scores as Conor McHugh, Harry Kilgore, Pierce Bannon, James Morgan and McHugh again struck unanswered points by the 29th minute but a pointed free from Ciaran Neeson and an excellent long range effort from Damian Gillan left just four in it at the half way stage.Mary McBrides



As the rain continued to fall and with the wind now on their backs it was Emmet’s who registered the first score of the second half when James Morgan pointed in the opening minute but All Saints replied with a goal from Niall McGarry to keep themselves very much in touch.

Pierce Bannon  and Eugene Duffin for the Emmet’s and Gary Miskella and Padhraig Magill exchanged further points to keep the gap at three after nine minutes but the Cushendun side were beginning to find more space as Dominic McQuillan, Donal O’Hara, David Kilgore and Conor McHugh added points Ciaran Neeson keeping the Ballymena men’s hopes alive from a couple of pointed frees.

Conleth McNeill with a 17th minute point and a James Morgan goal in the 18th minute stretched the Emmet’s lead to eight points and further minors from Ruairi McQuillan, Conor Bannon and Dominic McQuillan moved them 11 ahead with six minutes remaining.

Even then All Saints refused to throw in the towel as Ciaran Neeson pointed another free and then Ciaran McGarry raced 40 meters before firing the sliotar to the net with time almost up. Cushendun responded in those closing minutes with points from Owen McQuillan and a Mickey Dunne goal to leave them convincing winners in the end and they now go forward to meet St. Paul’s who had a similar victory margin over Glenravel.

The Emmet’s always looked to have just too much fire power for an All Saints side who deserve a lot of credit for their battling qualities and indeed for putting up a descent score against one of the favourites for the Junior Championship.


Cushendun: Eoin Magee, Sean Hamilton, Jack McKay, Mark Scally, Donal O’Hara, Matthew McCartin, Thomas Scally, Conor McHugh, Harry Kilgore, Eugene Duffin, Pierce Bannon, James Morgan, Conleth McNeill, David Kilgore. Subs: Rory McQuillan, Eoin McQuillan, Dominic McQuillan, Conor Bannon, Mickey Dunne


All Saints: Ciaran Cassley, Darren McGinty, Christopher McAffee, Francis Casey, Ryan McGarry, Colum Neeson, Brendan McDonnell, Ciaran McGarry, Liam Cassley, Damian Gillan, Gary Miskella, Luke O’Rawe, Niall McGarry, Padhraig Magill. Subs: Eoin McGuigan for Ciaran Cassley, Joe Crawford, Tony Connolly.

Referee: Ciaran McCloskey (Loughgiel)

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