Biddies overpower All Saints to earn semi-final place

Casement SC JHC quarter-final

St Brigid’s 2-20 All Saints 0-7

As expected St. Brigid’s Cloughmills proved too strong for neighbours, All Saints in this Casement SC JHC quarter-final in Cloughmills today. The division 4 winners started well enough and actually led briefly after four minutes when Liam Cassley edged them ahead but once the division 3 runners up found their range they slowly pulled away from the Ballymena side.

Aaron Smiley pointed St. Brigid’s into an early lead before Ciaran Neeson from a free and Liam Cassley edged the visitors 0-2 to 0-1 ahead for the first and only time in the contest. It was to be short lived however as Liam Kearns equalised and the home side looked in for an early goal but Ciaran Cassley advanced from his line to make a brave blocking save to deny Kearns.

It provided only momentary respite however as Aaron Smiley sent over a monster effort from all of 70 meters but Damian Gillan replied for the Slemish Park side to level matters for the third time with only seven minutes gone.

That was as good as it got for the visitors as Smiley, Liam Kearns and Stephen Smyth hit unanswered points for the home side and then Kearns collected a good pass from Eoin Dobbin before firing to the net in the 12th minute.

Aaron Smiley caught the resulting puck out before returning the sliotar between the posts and Stephen Smyth and Aaron Smiley 0-2 moved the ‘Biddies’ 10 ahead at the end of the opening quarter as they began to dominate proceedings.

The visitors were finding it increasingly difficult to mount an attack at the other end but Ciaran Neeson was wide from a free as they briefly threatened before Aaron Smiley, Stephen Smyth with a great long range effort and Gary McCollum added to St. Brigid’s ever increasing tally.

The visitors were giving it everything and were finally rewarded for their efforts when Ciaran Neeson pointed a free and Liam Cassley followed with another from play to take their total to five but it brought about another surge from the Cloughmills’ side.

Ciaran Cassley in the All Saints goals brought off his second excellent save of the game to deny Stephen Smyth but the same player finished the first half scoring with an injury time point to leave St. Brigid’s leading by 1-14 to 0-5 at half time and even at this stage they looked to have one foot in the semi-final.

Ciaran Neeson sent over a great point in the 2nd minute as the game got underway again but any hopes of an All Saints revival were soon dispelled as play became disjointed and fractious as the half continued.

The home side were soon into their stride again as Geoffery Og Laverty and Liam Kearns from a close range free and then from play moved them further ahead at the end of a low scoring third quarter with Ciaran Neeson replying with All Saints 7th point of the game in the 19th minute.

Once again St. Brigid’s replied through an excellent point from Stephen Smyth before Ciaran Cassley in the All Saints goals pulled off another courageous stop to deny Liam Kearns but Ruair Laverty followed up with a point after collecting the rebound.

The superb Cassley was finally beaten for the second time in the game as Liam Kearns finally found a way past him from close range with time almost up and Aaron Smiley added the final point of the contest in injury time to see St. Brigid’s advance convincingly into the semi-final where they will meet Rasharkin.

Shane O’Neill’s will meet Glen Rovers, Armoy in the other semi-final with all four semi-finalists coming from division 3 and we should be in for a couple of excellent games in two weeks-time.

St. Brigid’s: 1 Christopher McKernan, 2 Martin Dobbin, 3 Sean McKendry, 4 Aaron McGuckian, 5 Johnny Duffin, 6 Conor Laverty, 7 Joe Smyth, 8 Ruairi Laverty, 9 Geoffery Og Laverty, 12 Eoin Dobbin, 14 Liam Kearns, 15 Stephen Smyth, 17 Gary McCollum, 19 Stephen Martin 20, Aaron Smiley Subs|: Michael Reid, Ryan Dobbin and Reece Watt

All Saints: 1 Ciaran Cassley, 2 Daniel Gray, 3 Colum Neeson, 4 Kevin Brady, 5 Dwayne McKee, 6 Luke O’Rawe, 7 Padraig Magill, 8 Cormac Lemon, 9 James O’Boyle, 10 Eoin Magee, 11 Damian Gillan, 12 Cormac Magill, 13 Ciaran Neeson, 14 Liam Cassley, 15 Vinny Esler.

Subs: Benny McDonnell, Conor O’Rawe, Conrad Duffin and Cathaoir Cunning

Referee: Sean Elliott (Lamh Dhearg)

Junior semi-final places up for grabs


Michael Davitt’s v Glen Rovers, Armoy at Pairc Davitt

In the Casement Social Club Junior Hurling Championship Davitt’s, who finished runners-up in Group 1 behind Rasharkin, have home advantage against Glen Rovers Armoy. When the two sides met in the league in Armoy back in June, Glen Rovers won by 4-19 to 2-13, and by virtue of that would start as favourites, but Championship is a different matter and, given they have home advantage this time around, Davitt’s will feel that are in with a great chance.

St Brigid’s Cloughmills v All Saints at Cloughmills

In the other quarter-final St Brigid’s Cloughmills host All Saints Ballymena and will fancy their chances of gaining a semi-final place. The Biddies played their hurling in Division 3 this season, while the Ballymena boys were in Division 4. Also Cloughmills played in the Intermediate Championship last year, while All Saints were in Junior B, another indication that they will be the stronger side. However All Saints will be glad to get another game in this competition and the last time they played a championship match at Saturday’s venue was three years ago when they beat the Aggies in the semi-final of the B Championship, and will have good memories of the venue.

Rasharkin through to semi-final

Casement SC JHC Group 1

St. Mary’s Rasharkin 4-1 Davitt’s 0-14

St. Mary’s Rasharkin became the second team to qualify for an automatic semi-final place in the Casement SC JHC when they overcame the challenge of Michael Davitt’s at a sunny Dreen this afternoon.

In front of an audience that included GAA President Larry McCarthy and Ulster Council Vice President, Michael Geoghan who were there for the official opening of their new 4G pitch, four first half goals put the home side in a strong position.

Conor McKillop fired home the first after 30 seconds as Rasharkin started strongly into the breeze and Conor McKeever pointed a 4th minute free to give them an excellent start. The visitors hit four unanswered points to draw level by the 9th minute with the free taking of Don Whelan instrumental in their comeback and Anthony Rowntree on target from play.

Davitt’s were enjoying the better of the possession at this stage but Rasharkin replied and a long delivery from Tiernan O’Boyle was fielded by Conor McKeever who turned his marker before firing home his side’s second goal.

Don Whelan replied with a point from a ‘65’ and Conor McKeever and Stephen McGivern for the West Belfast men exchanged further points before Donagh Quigg raced through the Davitt’s defence to fire to the corner of the net for his side’s third goal.

It got even better for the men from Dreen when a massive free by Tiernan O’Boyle from the left hand touchline and about 60 meters from goal deceived Thomas Maguire and dropped to the corner of the net to put Rasharkin 8 ahead by the 22nd minute.

Conor McKeever (0-2 f’s) for Rasharkin and Don Whelan and Stephen McGivern for the visitors exchanged points in the run into half time with the Naomh Muire men in a strong position going into the second half and with the breeze now in their favour.

Davitt’s needed a good start to the second half if they were to get back into contention and Don Whelan fired over his fifth free of the evening in the 2nd minute before deciding to go for goal from his second award of the half but Liam Tunney in the Rasharkin goal was equal to the task.

Whelan added a point from another free as the visitors enjoyed the better of the early second half exchanges before Donagh Quigg replied with St. Mary’s first point of the half with five minutes gone.

The Lower Falls side continued to dominate the opening exchanges as Don Whelan fired over another free before Stephen McGivern sent a magnificent effort from 60 meters between the sticks to bring his side’s total to 0-12 as his side’s comeback appeared to be gaining momentum.

Rasharkin hadn’t scored at this point but Conor McKeever fired over their first point of the half in the 8th minute and should have had a goal immediately after as he took advantage of a bad puck-out but his close range drive sailed over instead of under.

The same player added another from a close range free in the 14th minute as the home side started to get on top again and at this point they introduced Conor Higgins for Conor McKillop.

The Belfast side continued to fight for every ball but were finding it difficult to penetrate a rock solid Rasharkin defence who were giving nothing away and the impressive McKeever added another from play before sending a sublime side-line cut between the uprights in the 17th minute.

The same player looked to be in for his side’s 5th goal a minute later but his deft flick came back of the crossbar with the keeper beaten and was cleared to safety.

Rasharkin were now in control however as Donagh Quigg added a 23d minute point and the same player had his attempt for goal blocked for a ‘65’ which Conor McKeever returned between the uprights to bring his total for the evening to 1-8 with five minutes of normal time remaining.

Davitt’s kept battling to the end with McGivern and Whelan adding late points but there was no way back at this stage and it is Rasharkin who will now contest the semi-final and enjoy home advantage while Michael Davitt’s have a chance to redeem themselves and will now meet Armoy in the quarter-final.

Rasharkin: Liam Tunney, 2 Daniel Doherty, 3 Conor Doherty, 4 James Higgins, 5 Ruairi O’Boyle, 6 Emmet McFerran, 7 Aidan McKeever, 8 Declan McKay, 9 Tiernan O’Boyle, 10 Shane Hasson, 11 Conor McFerran, 12 Eamonn McNeill, 13 Conor McKillop, 14 Donagh Quigg, 15 Conor McKeever, 23 Thomas McMullan. Subs: Conor Higgins, Fergus Quigg, Terry McGregor, Eoin Kennedy, Kealan Darragh

Davitt’s: 1 Thomas Maguire, 2 Odhran Gorman, 3 Michael Rowntree, 4 Ruairi McIlroy, 5 Caomhin Heaney, 6 Christopher Gallagher, 7 Antoin McLaughlin, 8 Deaglan Mooney, 9 Peter Og Carleton, 10 Don Whelan, 11 Stephen McGivern, 12 Marcas Toner, 13 Cormac Maguire, 14 Anthony Rowntree, 20 Christopher Cunningham, 25 Jamie McNally, Sub: Oskar Deevy Persson

Referee: Mark McDonald

Armoy advance to quarter-finals

Casement SC JHC Group 2

Glen Rovers 2-19 Lamh Dhearg 2-9

Glen Rovers, Armoy became the third team to qualify from Group2 of the Casement SC JHC when they overcame the challenge of Lamh Dhearg in Armoy today. The home side were well on their way to victory at the halfway stage when they led 2-13 to 1-3 and despite a spirited comeback from their opponents in the second half they never looked like losing.

Despite losing Owen Kinney after 7 minutes for a late challenge the home side dominated the opening half and goals from Colin Lordan in the 4th minute, set up by Kinney, and another from Eamon McCaughan with 7 minutes gone and points from Eoin O’Boyle and Thomas Burns put them in a commanding position.

Lamh Dhearg  had opened their account with a point from Aidan McGuigan and a Declan Lynch goal with 9 minutes on the clock suggested we were in for a tight contest but it was Glen Rovers who went on to dominate the opening half despite being a man down.

Turlach McBride led the way with an excellent exhibition of free taking converting four of Armoy’s next six unanswered points by the 16th minute with one of them from 50 meters and another from inside his own half.

Thomas Burns and PJ McBride got the other two as the home side moved 2-7 to 1-1 ahead before Odhran Waldron replied with a point for the Hannastown side but it brought an immediate reply from Eamonn McCaughan and Eoin O’Boyle. A great long range effort from Fionn Mewrvyn brought the visitors total to 1-3 with six minutes remaining to half time but it was Glen Rovers who finished on the offensive.

Eoin O’Boyle pointed in the 25th minute and Turlach McBride added another from a free as things momentarily threatened to boil over and Rocky Dillon concluded the first half scoring with a long range effort to leave his side 13 points ahead at the interval.

Lamh Dhearg introduced Conal McGuigan and Ciaran Boyd at the start of the second half with Gerard Smyth dropping deep and the visitors got off to a good start with points from Declan Lynch, Daniel Murray and Conal McGuigan to cut the gap to ten with only two minutes of the new half gone.

It was back to 13 however by the 6th minute as Armoy replied through Turlach McBride, Eamonn McCaughan and PJ McBride and normal service appeared to have been resumed.

The visitors were now enjoying much more of the play however and Declan Lynch fired over before Callum Coyles made a great save to deny Conal McGuigan as Lamh Dhearg fought hard to get back into the game.

The home side always had the edge however and replied through Colin Lordan and another Turlach McBride free by the 18th minute but Lamh Dhearg were still fighting hard and substitute Mark Finnegan had a close range effort cleared for a ‘65’.

Declan Lynch dropped the resulting award into the danger area and in the scramble that followed a defender deflected the sliotar into his own net with Lynch following immediately with a point from play as the Hannstown side enjoyed their best spell of the game.

The visitors went for broke in the closing stages and continued to drop long balls into the danger area in search of another goal but the Glen Rovers defence stood strong with Turlach McBride and Declan Lynch exchanging late points to conclude the scoring.

The Armoy men will now have an eye on tomorrow’s Group 1 game between Rasharkin and Davitt’s in Dreen with both sides on 4 points from 2 starts and a win or even a draw would see St. Mary’s finish top of the group while Davitt’s need a win if they are to avoid a quarter final meeting with the Glen Rovers.

Glen Rovers: 1 Conor Devlin, 2 Callum Coyles, 4 Emmet O’Hara, 5 Liam Dillon, 6 Arthur Devlin, 7 Eoin O’Boyle, 8 Joseph McFetridge, 9 PJ McBride, 10 Ciaran McKenna, 11 Thomas Burns, 12 Turlach McBride, 13 Colin Lordan, 17 John Dillon, 21 Owen Kinney, 25 Eamonn McCaughan

Lamh Dhearg: 1 Rhys McClennnigan, 2 Christopher Nolan, 3 Joel Brady, 4 Ben Rice, 5 Tiernan McKenna, 6 Padraig Mervyn, 7 Fionn Mervyn, 8 Sean Paul Gibson, 9 Daniel Murray, 10 Aidan McGuigan, 11 Odhran Waldron, 12 Declan Lynch, 13 Niall McGarry, 14 Gerard Smyth, 15 Dare Cunningham. Subs: 21 Conal McGuigan, 17 Ciaran Boyd, 24 Mark Finnegan

Referee: Ray Matthews (Rossa)

Clooney reach the magnificent seven

Andersonstown Social Club IHC Group 2 

Gort na Mona 0-11 Clooney Gaels 7-19

Kevin Herron reports from Enright Park 

Clooney Gaels took a giant step towards topping Group 2 of the Andersonstown Social Club IHC with a comprehensive 7-19-0-11 win over Gort na Mona at Enright Park on Friday evening. 

Three goals in the space of three minutes from Patrick Graham, James O’Connell and Donal Graham helped the Ahoghill outfit to a 3-07-0-06 lead at the interval. 

Another goal glut arrived in the final quarter as Thomas McGlone, Patrick Graham and a double from substitute Colla McDonnell would finish an already one-sided encounter. 

The visitors arrived on the Turf Lodge top of the Group with two wins from two and full of confidence of continuing their winning start, while Gort na Mona were down to the bare bones with only 15 available players. 

Gort na Mona were first off the mark at Enright Park through an Aidan McDonagh point. James O’Connell levelled things up for Clooney, but the visitors shooting was slightly askew in the opening exchanges. 

Neil Henry and James O’Connell traded frees before Clooney hit the front for the first time, O’Connell hit his third of the evening in a flowing move involving Bernard Graham swinging a crossfield pass to Ronan – who popped the ball into O’Connell’s path. 

A fourth O’Connell point followed, and Owen Neeson floated another to give the table-toppers a 0-05-0-02 lead. 

The game’s first goal arrived after 18 minutes when Patrick Graham was slipped through on goal and he directed a low shot past Conor McCann.

James Connelly picked off a point in response for the hosts, but they would concede a second goal from the next phase of play. 

Daniel O’Neill dropped in a shot which McCann gathered, as he prepared to send the ball back up field- James O’Connell was in close proximity and blocked the ball down into the net to make it 2-05-0-03. 

By the 21st minute Clooney had scored their third goal in three minutes- this time Donal Graham hammered a shot home from close range to give Gort a mountain to climb. 

Neil Henry sent over back-to-back points in reply, the first coming from a free and the second an excellent score from range. 

Henry would convert a 65’ in between scores from Ronan Graham and James O’Connell (free) as Clooney held a 3-07-0-06 lead at the break. 

The visitors extended their lead upon the resumption with O’Connell sending over a shot from play before converting his third free of the evening. 

PJ O’Connell and James added further points with Neil Henry and curling a shot over and converting a free in response. 

Scores were traded between James O’Connell and Noah McGivern before Clooney went on their second goal-scoring streak in proceedings. 

On 43 minutes Thomas McGlone was slipped through and sent a blistering shot low to the net, Noah McGivern chalked up his second point in quick succession but Clooney substitute Colla McDonnell flicked the ball through to Patrick Graham to hammer home his second of the evening and make it 5-12-0-10. 

James O’Connell reached double figures in points for the evening and a converted free from Patrick Graham soon followed. 

Goal number six came with little over ten minutes remaining, substitutes Owen Neeson and Colla McDonnell combined- with the later fizzing a shot high to roof of the net. 

The visitors showed no signs of taking their foot of the gas and pressed for further scores as PJ O’Connell doubled his tally for the evening and Bernard Graham played a one-two with McDonnell and got his name on the scoresheet. 

Gort na Mona’s final score arrived in the form of a free from talisman Neil Henry with six minutes remaining. 

The hosts misery was almost at an end as Clooney chalked up a further 1-03 before the conclusion. 

A cross field pass was intercepted by Colla McDonnell to blast home his second goal since his introduction. 

James O’Connell added two further scores to his increasing tally, in-between a third from PJ  to complete a comfortable win for Clooney and take a huge step towards topping the Group come its conclusion in a fortnights time. 

Gort na Mona: C McCann, C Healy, C Devlin, P Cournane, G McKenna, P McHugh, D Dixon, A McDonagh (0-01), J Connolly (0-01), T O’Cadhlaigh, N Henry (0-07, 0-04f, 0-01 65’), T Morton, N McGivern (0-02), R Coleman, M MacMaolain. 

Clooney Gaels: A Graham, H O’Donnell, S O’Connell, D Graham, F O’Neill, B Graham (0-01), D O’Neill, E Brady, N O’Connell, R Graham (0-01), T McGlone (1-00), P Graham (2-01, 0-01f), PJ O’Connell (0-03), D Graham (1-00), J O’Connell (1-12, 0-04f). Subs: O Neeson for R Graham (34), C McDonnell (2-01) for D Graham (42), C McCloskey for D O’Neill (48), G Graham for E Brady (51), D Neeson for N O’Connell (51). 

Referee: Darren McKeown (St Galls)