Cuchullains repel Shamrocks late rally

Senior Reserve Hurling Cup – Group 2

Loughgiel 2-15 Dunloy 1-21

Monday August 3

Brendan McTaggart reports from Fr Healy Park, Loughgiel

With the clock ticking into the last minute of the hour at Fr Healy Park, Dunloy held a six point lead thanks to Chrissy McMahon’s third point of the match.  A scoring burst of five points in four minutes brought the Shamrocks to the brink of salvaging something from this match that didn’t look possible for long periods but the Cuchullains recorded the final two points of the evening from Anton McGrath and Eamon Smyth to take the honours.

Dunloy made a blistering start to the match with five points unanswered in the opening seven minutes.  Anton McGrath tormentor in chief with three of those scores, Chrissy Brogan and McMahon with the other scores.

Loughgiel finally opened their account with the next attack, midfielder Ryan ‘Betty’ McKee with his first of four for the match as the Shamrocks looked to get going.  Dunloy had blitzed them in the opening exchanges and had the home side on the back foot but they looked lethargic in comparison to the Cuchullains. 

The first goal of the evening came in the 14th minute with the Cuchullains holding a four point lead.  Ryan Hill’s speculative effort for a point dropped short but Dunloy ‘keeper Paul Doherty failed to deal with the danger.  Odhran McGrath was on hand to pull first time to the back of the Dunloy net just before the first half water break.

Instead of acting like a catalyst for the Shamrocks however, Dunloy regrouped and dominated after the restart.  Callum Scullion, Miceal Murphy (two), McMahon, McKeague, Smyth (’65) and McGrath all raised white flags with just points from Joey Scullion and Paul Boyle (free) the response from Loughgiel before the half time whistle.

The Cuchullains held a seven point lead at the interval with a score line of 0-14 to 1-7 and while the Shamrocks looked to play with more vigour and intensity after the restart, Dunloy always maintained a gap.  By the water break in the second half, the Cuchullains lead was five points with Ryan McFarlane excelling in midfield.

Dunloy had stretched the lead to six when Kevin McQuillan scored their major in the 51st minute.  Collecting a high ball from Kevin McKeague, the Dunloy full forward closed in on Chris Magill’s goal and finished from an acute angle.

Loughgiel’s response was emphatic.  A gargantuan free from Odhran Laverty was swiftly followed by the Shamrock’s second goal.  Conor Henry’s dropping shot caused mayhem in the Dunloy full back line before Ryan Hill squeezed the sliotar over the line.

Chrissy McMahon recorded his third point of the match with his first free but Loughgiel turned the screw in the closing stages with Ryan McKee and Paul Boyle exceptional.  They turned every ball in that five minute purple patch with Boyle scoring three points, McKee and Hill also raising white flags to leave the minimum between the sides in the third minute of injury time.

Any Cuchullain nerves were eased with the imperious Anton McGrath split the uprights for his fifth of the match and Smyth’s second ’65 ensured Dunloy made it two wins from two.

The Cuchullains travel to the Milltown Row for the next match in the round robin next Monday while the Shamrocks have a week break before welcoming the same opposition to Fr Healy Park.


Loughgiel: Chris Magill; Ciaran McKay, Declan Gillan, Ryan Cassley; Cathal McMullan, Odhran Laverty, Daniel McPeake; Ryan McKee, Paul Boyle; Shaun McFadden, Shane O’Boyle, Nicholas McNaughton; Ryan Hill, Joey Scullion, Odhran McGrath

Scorers: Paul Boyle 0-5 (2f); Ryan Hill 1-2; Ryan McKee 0-4; Odhran Laverty 0-3 (3f); Odhran McGrath 1-00; Joey Scullion 0-1

Dunloy: Paul Doherty; Conor Kinsella, Karl O’Kane, Oran Quinn; Callum Scullion, Eamonn Smyth, Kevin McKeague; Ciaran Elliott, Ryan McFarlane; Chrissy Brogan, Anton McGrath, Gabriel McTaggart; Chrissy McMahon, Kevin McQuillan, Miceal Murphy

Scorers: Anton McGrath 0-5; Kevin McQuillan 1-1; Chrissy McMahon 0-3 (1f); Miceal Murphy 0-3 (2f); Eamon Smyth 0-3 (2 ’65 1f); Ryan McFarlane 0-2; Kevin McKeague 0-1; Chrissy Brogan 0-1; Gabriel McTaggart 0-1; Callum Scullion 0-1

Referee: Paul McSparran (Cushendun)

Oisins turn the tables in final quarter as Cushendall crumble

Darragh Cup – North Antrim Minor Hurling Championship

Oisins 3-11 Ruairi Og 3-8

Going into the final quarter of Saturday evening’s Darragh Cup semi-final Cushendall held an eight point lead and looked set for a final meeting with Loughgiel on Thursday evening. However the game was turned on its head in the fifteen minutes that were left to play as the Oisns hit back with 3 goals and 5 points without reply, and by the time Colm McKeegan grabbed Cushendall’s second goal of the game deep in injury time it was too late to have any bearing on the outcome.

The first quarter of the game was ‘nip and tuck’ as three points from Michael O’Boyle and one from Seanie McIntosh were answered with scores from Cushendall’s Seamus McAuley, Calum Kilgore and Fiontan McQuillan (2) but the Ruairis got on top with a goal from Conleith McKinley and McQuillan point to go four clear. Michael O’Boyle grabbed two points for the Oisin to cut the gap back to just two, but another McQuillan point put thee between the sides at the break.

The ever accurate McQuillan got the first score of the second half and when goalkeeper Colm McKeegan came up to fire a penalty to the Oisins net the boys in maroon were in control. When McQuillan added his sixth point of the game in the 42nd minute the lead was out to eight points, but incredibly his side did not score for another 22 minutes, and by that time the game was gone from their grasp.

When Michael O’Boyle pointed on 46 minutes there seemed little to worry about but when the right half forward added a goal two minutes later the tide was suddenly turning. Seanie McIntosh pointed to leave just three between the sides before Cushendall were hit by a double whammy as Niall McGarel and Michael O’Boyle grabbed goals apiece inside three minutes to put them three clear. Three more from the stick of O’Boyle saw a fourteen point turnover in an eighteen minute spell, and though Colm McKeegan grabbed a late consolation on 65 minutes it was a case of too little- too late and the Oisins were through to Thursday’s showdown against the Shamrocks.  

Jack at the double as Shamrocks book final spot

Darragh Cup  – North Antrim Minor Hurling Championship

Ballycastle 0-14 Loughgiel 2-12

Two goals from super sub Jack McCloskey in the last ten minutes saw Loughgiel come from behind to book their place in the Darragh Cup final at Pairc MacUílin Ballycastle. The home team had lead by four points at the half time interval and were still two to the good with just ten minutes of normal time still to play. However McCloskey got a touch to a long delivery by midfielder Eunan Laverty to deflect it to the Ballycastle net, not long after coming on the pitch and three minutes later he got inside the Ballycastle defence to fire home goal number two.

In a game played in heavy rain Rian McMullan put Loughgiel ahead but Ballycastle hit back with four points on the trot through Tiernan Smyth (2), Fergal McKiernan and Caolin O’Connor to lead 0-4 to 0-1 after twelve minutes. Loughgiel closed the gap with points from placed balls from Rian McMullan, one a free and the other a 65, and they came close to grabbing a goal when Dylan Devlin’s shot was well saved by Jimmy Jo Burns in the Ballycastle goals.  

The ‘Town’ got going again when Tiernan Smyth pointed frees on 24 and 25 minutes and one from play by James Bakewell. They too had a goal chance when Darragh Kelly’s shot bobbled around in the ‘square’, but the Shamrocks netminder Kevin McAuley cleared the danger and though Joe McToal added a point, two more from Rian McMullan frees left just four between the sides at the break. (0-9 to 0-4)

After the change of ends Loughgiel started to find their range and they closed the gap to a single point by the 43rd minute as Rian ‘Bubbles’ McMullan added two more to his total and Eunan Laverty tacked on one. Rueben McLean settled the Ballycastle nerves with a much needed point just after the half time ‘water break’ but the pressure was coming on the home sides defence more and more and when McCloskey goaled with his first touch the momentum was with the Shamrocks. McCloskey’s second goal gave the visitors a form grip on the game and though Ballycatle added three more points Loughgiel always found a reply and they were four to the good by the time referee Vincent Boyle blew the final whistle.

BALLYCASTLE – Jamie Jo Burns, Jack Colgan, Liam McCollum, Patrick McAllister, Eoin Boylan, Jack McGowan, Jack McLean, Seamus McAuley, Reuben McLean, James Bakewell, Fergal McKiernan, Joe McToal, Darragh Kelly, Cailin O’Connor, Tiernan Smyth.

LOUGHGIEL – Kevin McAuley, Finn Henry, Rory McCloskey, Ruairi McCormick, Conal McCloskey, Enda Og McGarry, Conor Dickson, Eunan Laverty, Christy McGarry, Conor O’Mullan, Rian McMullan, Dylan Devlin, Ronan McCollum, Conor McCormick, Damian Quinn

Subs – Jack McCloskey on for Damian Quinn.

Referee – Vincent Boyle (Dunloy)

Battling second half sees St. Enda’s lift North Antrim Minor B title

North Antrim Minor  B Hurling final

St. Enda’s 1-13 Clooney Gaels 0-13

St Enda’s produced a battling second half performance to overcome the challenge of Clooney Gaels in this North Antrim Minor B Hurling final at a wet and windy Slemish Park, Ballymena tonight. The Ahoghill side had recovered from an early goal from Oisin Quinn to gain the upper hand in the opening half, striking six unanswered points to lead 0-6 to 1-1 after 15minutes.

Michael Devenny was the man who got St. Enda’s opening point but Clooney Gaels came storming back with points from James O’Boyle, Luke Mullen, Liam Kelly, Colla McDonnell (free), Paddy Logan and a second free from the sweet striking McDonnell to move two in front at the end of the opening quarter.

Luke O’Connor replied from a 40 meter free and at this stage the Clooney side were enjoying the better possession but shot three wides before Colla McDonnell extended their lead from another long range free and that was how it stood at the first water break.

When play resumed the Hightown side started to get a foothold in the game and Eoin Logue dragged his shot wide of the upright after Fionntan O’Connell spilled a dropping delivery in the 20th minute. Ahoghill replied and Colla McDonnell sent another long range free between the uprights and followed with another from play to put his side 0-9 to 1-2 ahead after 23 minutes and they were dictating matters at this stage.

The impressive Ronan Eager pulled one back for St. Enda’s but again Clooney found a response and Colla McDonnell split the upright from near the left hand touchline before Luke O’Connor pointed a 20 meter free for the Glengormley side to leave it 0-10 to 1-5 for the South West side at the break.

After the break it was St. Enda’s who slowly wrestled control from their opponents and the excellent Ronan Eager closed the gap to one in the opening minute before Luke O’Connor levelled matters from a long range free.

As St Enda’s continued to take the game to their opponents Fiontan O’Connell pulled off a great save to deny Eoin Logue before O’Connor pointed another free to put his side ahead for just the second time in the game but Clooney Gaels hit back through James O’Boyle to square the contest once more by the 40th minute.

Both sides were battling for every ball as if their lives depended on it but St. Enda’s were starting to get on top though Colla McDonnell looked to be in for a goal but he delayed his shot and was closed down by the Hightown side’s defence.

Play was becoming a bit ragged with the underfoot conditions becoming more difficult by the rain but Ronan Eager soloed through the heart of the Clooney defence to put his side ahead for the third time and they were beginning to enjoy more and more of the play.

They received a setback however when they had a player side-lined following a bad pull and a second yellow card but it seemed to galvanise them as they headed for the second water break.

On the restart Colla McDonnell levelled the contest from a close range free but almost immediately Ronan Eager restored St. Enda’s lead and the strong running number 11 was beginning to cause a lot of problems for the opposition.

The Clooney side were now struggling for scores but a good move involving Colla McDonnell and Conhuir Johnston placed Paddy Logan in the clear and he brought matters all square once again with ten minutes remaining and it still looked anybody’s game.

It was to prove to be the Ahoghill side’s last score however with St. Enda’s hitting the front once more through the impressive Eager and in a strong finish Michael Devenny added a couple more to see his side three ahead at the fulltime whistle

St. Enda’s: Pearse Rodgers, Sean Murray, Declan Breen, Conor McAllister, Colm Curran, Dara Maguire, Ciaran McAllister, Luke O’Connor, Owen Kennedy, Eoin Logue, Ronan Eager, Conor McNicholl, Oscar Smyth, Oisin Quinn, Michael Devenny. Subs Eoin O’Hare, Ryan Noble, Ronan Kalla, Malachy McGibbon, Ciaran McGinnley,

St Enda’s scorers:  Michael Devenny 0-4, Luke O’Connor 0-5, Ronan Eager 0-4, Oisin Quinn 1-0                                                     

Clooney Gaels: Fiontan O’Connell, Shea Neeson, Joseph Logan, Charlie McCloskey, Liam Kelly, Sean O’Neill, Harry O’Donnell, James O’Boyle, Luke Mulholland, Luke Mullen, Patrick Dougan, Shay Madden, Conhuir Johnston, Matthew Mullen, Cola McDonnell.

Clooney Gaels scorers: Colla McDonnell 0-6, James O’Boyle 0-3, Paddy Logan 0-2, LiamKelly 0-1, Luke Mullen 0-1

Referee: Ciaran McCloskey (Loughgiel)

Paddy Gray (North Antrim hurling development officer) with St. Enda’s captain Oscar Smyth.

St Gall’s tops in Milltown goal-fest

Creagh Concreate Minor B Hurling Group 2

St Galls 6-10-3-07 Tir na Nog

By Kevin Herron at Milltown

St Galls and Tir na Nog served up an entertaining evening of hurling at Milltown but it was the hosts who ran out convincing winners in the end after a 6-10-3-07 win over Tir na Nog in the Minor B Hurling Championship on Thursday evening.

Both sides had registered weekend victories and headed to the Falls Road venue in confidence and it was Tir na Nog who made the perfect start inside of 60-seconds as Joshua Higgins flicked the ball into the danger area and Daniel O’Neill swopped to send the ball to the net for the Randalstown side.

St Galls hit back however with a goal of their own minutes later, Dubhaltach Wilson made the hard yards in the build-up to the goal and Joseph McCarney turned the ball home at the back post to level at a goal apiece.

Connor McKenna restored Tir na Nog’s lead with Connla McCarthy converting a free in response.

The sides would equally share the next four as McCarthy and Aodh Mullan converted frees, Joshua Higgins twice replied from the same scenario as the sides tied 1-03 apiece.

A third successive free from Higgins edged his side in front for the third time but just before the first water-break in proceedings – a second goal gave St Galls the lead once more.

Sean Murray showed a terrific burst of pace and played a low ball across the box where Niall Fallon was waiting to prod the ball to the net and make it 2-03-1-04.

A fourth converted free from Joshua Higgins narrowed the deficit to the bare minimum approaching the break, but Connla McCarthy landed a superb point after great link-up with Dara Delaney and with almost the last action of the half Sean Murray rifled home sides third to give St Galls a 3-04-1-05 lead at the break.

St Galls picked up where they left off before the break and two minutes into the second-half they were awarded a penalty as defensive duo Paul Graffin and Adam Reid felled Dubhaltach Wilson and referee Paul McDonnell awarded a penalty. Connla McCarthy made no mistake with the resulting puck and gave his side a 4-04-1-05 lead.

Dara Delaney landed a free in the aftermath with Joshua Higgins doing likewise at the other end.

McCarthy played the providers role soon after as his quick thinking released Fergus Donnelly for a score.

60-seconds later St Galls had their fifth goal of the evening, Dubhaltach Wilson saw his well taken shot parried by Dominic Martin in the Tir na Nog goal but Joseph McCarney showed quick instinct to turn the ball home for his second goal of the evening to put four goals between the sides (5-06-1-06).

Wilson popped over a point but Tir na Nog hit back as Joshua Higgins quickly taken free flew past Jack Paul Doherty and into the net.

60-seconds later and St Galls clawed the goal back as McCarney’s knock-down found Dubhaltach Wilson who picked his spot to make it 6-07-2-06.

The final goal of the evening arrived with little over ten minutes on clock, Connor McKenna scrambled the ball to the St Galls net to ensure the hosts must still remain vigilant.

Sean Murray and Wilson responded with points, whilst Higgins combined with Connor McCamphill for the visitors final score of the evening.

Aodh Mullan had the final say with a well taken point that ensured his side ran out 6-10-3-07 winners and make it back to back Championship victories to ensure they remain on the summit in Group 2.

St Galls: JP Doherty, D Bunting, C Lundy, N Murtagh, B Murray, C McCarthy (1-03, 1-02f), M McCluskey, F Donnelly (0-01), A Churchill, A Mullan (0-02, 0-01f), D Delaney (0-01f), S Murray (1-01), N Fallon (1-00), J McCarney (2-00), D Wilson (1-02). Subs: J Sloan for N Fallon (43), A McDonagh for N Murtagh (43).

Tir na Nog: D Martin, P Graffin, A Reid, J Carey, D Martin, B McLarnon, R Mullan, C McCamphill (0-01), L Johnston, B Fitzgerald, J Higgins (1-05f), P Higgins, D O’Neill (1-00), S Hinfey, C McKenna (1-01).

Referee: Paul McDonnell (Rossa)