Antrim Gaels honoured at the Gaelic Life All Star Gala

The Eighth annual Gaelic Life Club All-Stars event took place on Friday night in the Hillgrove Hotel in Monaghan and a massive haul of awards going to Antrim players.

The prestigious event celebrates the very best athletes from the GAA. RTE’s Darragh Maloney was MC on the night and he entertained the crowd of almost 500 people who turned up to applaud the very best players from the 2018 season.

The biggest award of the night went to Neil McManus of Ruairi Og Cushendall, who was named hurler of the year.

St Gall’s hurling manager Mickey Culbert was named hurling manager of the year after his team won the Ulster Intermediate Championship.

He edged out Cushendall manager Eamon Gillan in this category.

Cushendun’s Conor McHugh was up for the Young Hurler award, but missed out to Ballycran’s Phelim Savage.

St Enda’s Joe Maskey was in the running for young footballer of the year, but that award went to Odhran McFadden Ferry of Ulster Senior champions Gaoth Dobhair.

Likewise, Frank Fitzsimons nominated for football manager of the year for his exploits with Naomh Eanna, but the award went to Gaoth Dobhair manager Mervyn O’Donnell.

Three Naomh Eanna men received their football team of the year awards: Joe Maskey, Peter Healy and Eoin Nagle while three Loughgiel players were on the Camogie team of the year: Maria Lynn, Amy Boyle and Roisin McCormick

Six Cushendall players were named on hurling team of the year: Eoin Gillan, Paddy Burke, Sean Delargy, Arron Graffin, Neil McManus and Donal McNaughton while there were two from St Gall’s Intermediate championship winning side, CJ McGourty and Joe McDaniel.

There will be a 24-page pull out of reaction and pictures from this brillaint event in Thursday’s Gaelic Life.

Many thanks to Ronan Scott of Gaelic Life for his assistance and support*

Mount St Michael’s win South West P.S. Cummann na mBunscoll Hurling Blitz

Mount St Michaels, Mary Queen of Peace Glenravel, Moneynick Primary School, St. Brigid’s P.S., Ballymena, Millquarter P.S., St. Josephs P.S.,  St. Oliver Plunkett’s P.S. Toome and Creggan P.S. competed at Antrim Forum on Thursday in the South West Primary School’s Cummann na mBunscol Indoor Hurling Blitz.

After a great day’s hurling St. Brigid’s Primary School, Ballymena advanced to the semi-final where they took on Creggan primary School while Mary Queen of peace faced Mount St. Michael’s Randalstown in the other semi-final.

Mount St Michael’s proved too strong for Mary Queen of Peace while the second semi-final between St. Brigid’s and Creggan was a much tighter affair. The sides were level at 2 goals each after normal time and when a period of extra time failed to separate the sides so it went down to a second period of extra time.

It was Creggan who finally emerged from this tight battle with a late goal to set up a meeting with Mount St. Michael’s in the decider. The Randalstown side got off to a great start scoring two early goals and look like they were going to run away with it but Creggan pulled one back and pushed hard for an equaliser.

However Mount St. Michael’s struck with a third goal during the second half to secure victory and claim the South West Cumann na mBunscol hurling title.

Fixtures Workshop – Have your say!

Monday evening presents the perfect opportunity to have an input into this year’s club fixtures. We have all aired and shared our views on how the CCC could do things better, well this is the opportunity to let them know what you really think.

Clubs are invited to send a Club Officer, team manager and a current Senior Player along for a discussion with Seamus McMullan and his new CCC committe tonight Monday 14th January  to the Dunsilly Hotel at 7.30pm.

McNaughton steers Antirm to Kehoe Cup final

Bord na Mona Kehoe Cup – Leinster Hurling

Antrim 4-20 Kildare 1-19

John McIlwaine reports from Abbotstown

A great individual display from centre forward James McNaughton helped steer Antrim to next weekend’s final of the Kehoe Cup. The Loughgiel star was in fine form, scoring 3 goals and 9 points as the Saffrons survived a second half comeback by Kildare in windy conditions at Abbotstown. After starting like an express train the Ulster men led by 3-6  to 0-3 after twenty minutes, but they took their foot off the pedal as the game progressed and slowly but surely Kildare fought their way back into the game. They were nine to the good at the break but Kildare hit back with a bang in the second half and despite having a goal disallowed, soon after the restart, they closed the gap to six with ten minute still to play. However James McNaughton came to the rescue when things were getting tight and his third goal, the best of the three, swung things back in Antrim’s favour, and they went on to push home their advantage and secure a final place against Westmeath in Mullingar on Sunday next.  

Antrim got off to a flying start with a goal and a point inside the opening minute, the point coming from Nigel Elliott and the goal from James McNaughton, and as if things were not bad enough for the Lillywhites they shipped another major score two minutes later when James O’Connell bundled the ball over the line after a bad mix up in the Lillywhites’ defence. Ryan Casey opened the Kildare account with a point from a narrow angle on the right but James McNaughton cancelled that out inside thirty seconds with a great solo effort at the other end.

Free taker Brian Byrne got Kildare’s second in the seventh minute but two quick replies from Keelan Molloy and Nicky McKeague gave Antrim back the initiative and they were in complete control by the 20th minutes as McNaughton (65) and Nigel Elliott added points, before James McNaughton got through for his second, and Antrim’s third goal. 3-6 to 0-3 in arrears Kildare were in danger of going under, but to their credit they showed a marked improvement for the remainder of the first half with three points from the excellent Brian Byrne and one each from Caolan Smith and Barry McCormack to go in at the break trailing by 3-10 to 0-8.

Eleven clear as the second half resumed you worried if Antrim could keep up the momentum and those fears were soon realised as Kildare came out with all guns blazing. They got the opening score of the half in the second minute before having a goal disallowed for a ‘square ball’ infringement, full-forward Caolan Smith finishing from close range after a good cross from the wing by Brian Byrne. Antrim hit back with an excellent Nicky McKeague point from a narrow angle and one from James McNaughton to increase their lead to twelve, but Kildare were coming more and more into the game and little by little they chipped away at the Antrim lead. With the brilliant Byrne leading every attack they outscored Antrim by 8 points to three during the next twelve minutes, Byrne getting six of the scores and substitute James Burke the other two as they clawed their way back to within six. Antrim were treading water at this stage and were badly in need of a lift and James McNaughton provided it as he completed his hat-trick of goals with a magical finish in the 57th minute. Substitute Conor Boyd started the move and found Keelan Molly who sent McNaughton through on goal. The Loughgiel man had still plenty to do but he kept his cool as he rounded a defender and fired a brilliant left sided strike to the corner of the Kildare net to give his team breathing space.

Suddenly Antrim were back at their first half best and five points followed in as many minutes as James McNaughton (2), Donal McKinley (2) and Nicky McKeague fired over to put the game beyond Kildare’s reach. To their credit the Lillywhites battled away to the end they were rewarded with a late goal from Deay and a point from Burke but Antrim had already booked their final place against Westmeath on Sunday next.

SCORERS – Antrim: James McNaughton 3-10 (4f, 1 ’65); Keelan Molloy 1-3; Nicky McKeague 0-3; Donal McKinley 0-2; Nigel Elliot and Ciaran Clarke 0-1 each. Kildare: Brian Byrne 0-11 (6f); Brian Deay 1-1; James Burke 0-3; Caolan Smith 0-2; Ronan Casey and Paul Divilly 0-1 each.

The Antrim team who beat Kildare in the Kehoe Cup semi-final. Pic by Dylan McIlwaine

ANTRIM – R Elliot; S Rooney, J Dillon, P Duffin; R Molly, S McCrory, M Donnelly; C McCann, J O’Connell; N Elliot, J McNaughton, N McKeague; C McHugh, K Molloy, C Clarke. Subs: K Rice for Clarke (h-t); D McKinley for O’Connell (40); Conor Boyd for McHugh (50); Conor Patterson for Duffin (50).

KILDARE – M Doyle; C Dervan, J Doran, J Doolan; S Christiansen, M Fitzgerald, D Cahill; P Divilly, A Kelly; B Cormack, B Byrne, B Deay; C Dowling, C Smith, R Casey. Subs: J Burke for Kelly (22); R Kelly and K Whelan for Dowling and Cormack (33); P Feerick and A Kelly for Casey and Cahill (55).

REF – K Brady (Louth)