Cumann na mBunscol Aontroma were delighted to welcome the return of the Antrim vs. Dublin Friendship Games today, following a 3-year hiatus due to the pandemic.
This is a once in a lifetime experience for these children, who travelled to St. Patrick’s Drumcondra on Monday to compete with their Dublin counterparts across all codes followed by a guided tour of Croke Park, which really capped off a day to remember for our future county stars.
This year’s event was extra special with the county moving from what was a traditional Belfast Only XV to an All-County XV, enabling players from Belfast, North Antrim and South-West Antrim to represent their county together in Gaelic Football (Boys & Girls), Hurling,
The north and south west Antrim schools met at St Brigid’s PS in Ballymena beofre meeting up with their Befast counterparts in Belfast on route to Croke Park
Glenravel earned two valuable league points against Derry side Na Magha in a high scoring, entertaining game of hurling in Fr Maginn Park on Wednesday evening. Both sides displayed high levels of hurling skill belying their lowly position in Division 3, a position that no doubt drove both teams on in the pursuit of victory and precious league points. Indeed very little separated the teams throughout the hour with the home side finishing strongly in the final five minutes to open up a significant gap in the end.
Glenravel opened with a couple of points from Niall Donnelly and James Duffin before Na Magha’s impressive Padhraig Nelis got their first point. Glenravel’s Connor Deery, who had an excellent game in the middle of the park pushed Glenravel ahead but Nelis replied in kind to leave the minimum between them again. With eight minutes on the clock the game’s opening goal came when Glenravel’s Declan Traynor rounded his man and soloed towards goal at great speed before launching a rocket into the roof of the Na Magha net. Barry Robinson in goal wouldn’t have seen the sliothar let alone try to to stop it. But Na Magha had a speed merchant of their own in Keelan Doherty and two minutes later he goaled for the visitors. As the game picked up pace we had three points inside a minute with Johnny Fyfe and Declan Traynor scoring for the home side whilst the Derry men replied through Ryan Adams. Two frees from the ever reliable Niall Donnelly stretched Con Magee’s lead but again Doherty goaled for Na Magha after a mix up in the home defence. A minute later, Timothy Rankin pulled another one back for the visitors and now we had an even game 1-07 to 2-04 and ten minutes of the half remaining. Niall Donnelly nudged Glenravel back in front before the score of the game from Declan Traynor who neatly cut a sideline ball over the bar. Na Magha added two further points in the half through Nelis once more and a long range free from their impressive full back Breandan Quigley between which Niall Donnelly pointed a sixty five leaving the half time score Glenravel 1-10 Na Magha 2-06.
The second half started brightly for the visitors with a brace of points from Padhraig Nelis and Timothy Rankin but that was cancelled out when Glenravel’s full forward Chris Quinn cleverly executed an overhead pull on a high dropping ball giving Na Magha net minder Robinson no chance. Nelis would pull one back but within one minute Declan Traynor scored his second and Glenravel’s third goal to leave a small gap between the teams in Con Magee’s favour 3-10 to 2-09. Feargal Mac an Deanaigh scored for the visitors but Conleth O’Loan responded fro the home side. Timothy Rankin pointed from a free but again the home side upped the ante with points from Johnny Fyfe, Conleth O’Loan and Niall Donnelly and the score was now 3-14 to 2-11, the largest gap so far and only fifteen minutes remaining. Spurred by this Na Magha stepped up a gear and would record the next four scores without reply. The points coming from Padhraig Nelis (0-03) and Timothy Rankin. Two points separated the teams with only five minutes remaining on the clock – all to play for as those valuable league points were up for grabs for whichever team could seize the initiative. The home supporters were delighted when it proved Glenravel had the better staying power in the end. Two goals from Conleth O’Loan and points each from Connor Deery and James Duffin stretched the home team lead with Na Magha only managing a single point Adam Rankin. Referee indicated two minutes added time but Con Magees added to the Derry mens’ woes when Chris Quinn cleverly tapped over the bar having been put through by Martin Scullion and Johnny Fyfe put the game to bed in the dying seconds with a well taken point to leave the final score Glenravel 5-18 Na Magha 2-16.
In truth there was very little between these sides across the hour with the scoreline perhaps flattering Con Magees in the end. Na Magha will have had a lengthy and forlorn journey back to the Maiden City with plenty of time to ponder on what might have been.
Glenravel:: Ronan Donnelly, Brian O’Neill, Shane Woulahan, Joe Martin, Stevie Acheson, Rian Lennon, Sean Burns, James Duffin (0-02), Connor Deery (0-02), Niall Donnelly (0-06, 5f), Ciaran McIlfatrick, Johnny Fyfe (0-03), Conleth O’Loan (2-02), Chris Quinn (1-01), Declan Traynor (2-02)
Subs:: Michael McDonald for Sean Burns, Martin Scullion for Ciaran McIlfatrick, Chris McCann for Conleth O’Loan
Na Magha:: Barry Robinson, Adam Breslin, Breandan Quigley (0-01), Aaron Campbell, Mark McCloskey, Fergal Mac an Deanaigh (0-01), Daniel Doherty, Bliadhan Glass, Ryan O’Donnell, Padhraig Nelis (0-10, 2f), Timothy Rankin (0-04, 3f), Ryan McAdams (0-01), Keelan Doherty (2-00), Plunkett Roarty, Adam Rankin (0-01).
Goals from James Connolly midway through the opening half and another from Stephen Beatty 10 minutes into the second proved the deciding scores as Rossa overcame the considerable challenge of McQuillan’s Ballycastle at Shaw’s Road last night.
The home side led by a goal at half time, 1-10 to 0-10 but were pushed all the way in a tight contest but the visitors could not conjure up the goal that might have swung the balance of play in their favour.
Rossa led 0-3 to 0-1 after 8 minutes through Dara Rocks, Aodhan O’Brien and Seaghan Shannon from a long range effort and Ciaran Clarke replying from a free for the visitors. Ballycastle replied and Oisin McAuley and Ronan McAuley pointed but Rossa held the upper hand at this stage with Dara Rocks and Aodhan O’Brien replying with points for the home side.
Connolly then rose to flick a long delivery to the Ballycastle net and O’Brien followed with a great long range point as the home side appeared to be gaining control but the visitors came back strongly in the second quarter with Ciaran Clarke and Eoin McAlonan points at the other end.
Aodhan O’Brien responded with a point from a ‘65’ for the Shaw’s Road side but the ‘Castle’ finished the half strongly with Clarke, Ronan Laverty, Joe McToal and Tiernan Smyth to the fore and Seaghan Shannon and Thomas Morgan replying for Rossa to leave Connolly’s goal separating the sides at half time.
It was Ballycastle who were first on target at the start of the second half with Ciaran Clarke pointing but Dara Rocks replied immediately for the home side to keep their noses in front. McQuillan’s were starting to get a grip on proceedings however and they hit the next three points through Joe McToal Eoin McAlonan and a well struck long range free from Clarke to draw level and the momentum appeared to be swinging their way.
They suffered a severe blow however when a mistake in defence let Stephen Beatty in for Rossa’s second goal and it was this score that settled the home side and they were always able to keep a distance between the sides though the North Antrim side kept battling all the way to the whistle.
Feargal McKiernan, Ciaran Clarke 0-3 and Tiarnan Butler added points for the visitors, Clarke’s final score a massive point from inside his own half but Aodhan O’Brien 0-3 and Shannon kept the scoreboard ticking over for the home side to see them home with three to spare.
Rossa: 1 Donal Armstrong, 2 Conor Boyle, 3 Christopher McGuinness, 4 Niall Devlin, 5 Stephen Shannon, 6 Adrian Kennealy, 7 Eoin Trainor, 8 Ciaran Orchin, 9 Seaghan Shannon, 10 Dara Rocks, 11 Stephen Beatty, 12 Aodhan O’Brien, 13 Thomas Morgan, 14 James Connolly, 16 Phil Crean
Cloughmills St Brigid’s 3-17 (26) Glenarm Shane O’Neill’s 4-20 (32)
Glenarm travelled to Cloughmills on Wednesday evening and beat the home side in a high scoring game and as a result move above their rivals in the league table for the first time this season.
Two goals inside a minute by corner forward Kevin O’Boyle midway through the opening half were the scores that tipped a close fought game in the way of the visitors. O’Boyle’s double helped the Feystown men to a four point lead at the break and they went on to extend their lead to six by the end.
It was score for score during the opening quarter, and after Eoin Dobbin gave the Biddies the lead, Ciaran Magill and Dylan McLaughlin hit back with two for the visitors to put them ahead. Points from Ruairi Laverty and Stephen Smyth pushed the home side back in front and this pattern continued until midway through the half when corner forward Kevin O’Boyle hit two goals inside a minute to give his team the edge. Mickey Devlin and Liam Kearns replied for the Biddies but the visitors responded with two from Darren Hamill and one from Dylan McLaughlin. When Hamill and McGarel pointed late in the half Glenarm were nine clear, but late points for Cloughmillls from Mickey Devlin, Stephen Smyth and Laim Kearns cut the gap back to four at the half time whistle. (0-13 to 2-11)
Goals were to prove decisive in the second half, and there were plenty to choose from. The first of the five second half majors came four minutes after the restart from veteran centre forward Darren Hamill and that score kept Glenarm in control until the end of the third quarter when his Cloughmills counterpart Mickey Devlin fired a penalty to the Glenarm net.
Two minutes later Niall McGarel got Glenarm’s third of the game with a neat finish from play to keep them in control, and going into injury time the Feystown men appeared to be coasting. When Devlin got Cloughmills second goal two minutes into injury time it didn’t appear to matter as Glenarm were still comfortably ahead, but when Devlin completed his hat-trick, this time from play the lead was down to six. However it was a case of too little, too late, and Glenarm deservedly held on for the win.
Chris McKiernan, Aaron McGuckian, Marty Dobbin, Johnny Duffin, Reece Watt, Conor Laverty, Joe Smyth, Geoffrey Og Laverty, Ruairi Laverty, Rian Dobbin, Michael Devlin, Eoin Dobbin, Stephen Smyth, Liam Kearns, James Doherty.
Michael Abram, Conal Ward, Barry Hamill, Liam Og McLaughlin, Daniel Black, Declan McDermott, Aidan Scullion, Ben O’Boyle, Kieran O’Boyle, Sean O’Boyle, Darren Hamill, Dylan McLaughlin, Kevin O’Boyle, Ciaran Magill, Niall McGarel.
For the second time in three days Cloney Gaels proved too hot to handle when they entertained a Carryduff sides who had been going well in the league this season but had no answer to a rampant home side in Ahoghill tonight.
The visitors showed glimpses of the form that saw them beat St. Gall’s on Sunday to climb into 4th place in the league when they moved into a 0-2 to 0-1 lead by the 4th minute with the excellent Gareth Lynch and Darragh Goodwin on target and PJ O’Connell replying for the Ahoghill side.
Donal Graham from over 60 meters and James O’Connell from a ‘65’ moved the Gaels two in front but Donal Rooney from two long range frees brought matters level by the11th minute and it looked like we were in for a close encounter at this stage.
The Co Down men were holding their own and when Darragh Goodwin pointed them ahead again in the 12th minute it looked like the home side were in for a tough night but this score seemed to bring them to life and Tomas McGlone took a deft hand pass from Donal Graham to fire past Conor McLornan in the ‘Duff’ goals to give his side a lead they would not lose for the remainder of the game.
James O’Connell, Dan O’Neill and PJ O’Connell added points with Conor McAlister and Gareth Lynch replying for Carryduff before the home side hit a purple patch in the second quarter to put decisive distance between the sides.
James O’Connell continued to give a masterful display of free taking with two on the trot and Donal Graham added another from play before James O’Connell got in for his side’s second goal in the 23d minute and suddenly the Cloney lead had increased to 11 points.
James O’Connell added a ‘65’ and McLornan in ther visitor’s goal made a good save to deny PJ O’Connell before James O’Connell struck from another free with two minutes remaining to the break and Carryduff were struggling to cope with the pace and movement of their opponents.
They steadied the ship in the closing minutes of the half however with Darragh Goodwin and Conall Early replying with points but the final point of the half fell to Cloney’s Ronan Graham to leave his side leading 2-14 to 0-8 at the break and very much in control.
Carryduff were first on target on the resumption of play with the hard working Michael Conway pointing in the opening minute but Cloney Gaels replied through James O’Connell and Bernard Graham.
The visitors were giving it everything and Sean O’Callaghan responded with a good point but James O’Connell continued to punish every indiscretion from another free and it was going to take something special to turn this game in favour of the Down side.
The impressive Gareth Lynch was doing his best to provide it as he fired over a couple of points at the other end but he was being made to work hard for his scores by a determined James ’Bobby’ Magee and was forced too often to go it alone.
PJ O’Connell’s goal at the end of the third quarter more or less put matters to bed though Lynch and O’Callaghan replied at the other end to bring the visitors total to 0-14 but substitute Colla McDonnell rubbed salt in the wound with a fourth Cloney goal to leave his side convincing winners.
This win moves Cloney Gaels back into second place, a point behind Cathaoir an Ri while Carryduff now need a win at St. Paul’s on Sunday and hope that either Glenariffe or Creggan slip on the same day if they are to make the top 6 after the split.
Cloney Gaels: 1 Francis Neeson, 2 Harry O’Donnell, 3 James Magee, 4 Diarmuid Graham, 5 Fionnbar O’Neill, 6 Bernard Graham, 7 Dan O’Neill, 8 Eamonnrady, 9 Neil O’Connell, 10 Owen Neeson, 11 Tom McGlone, 12 Ronan Graham, 12 PJK O’Connell, 14 Donal Graham, 15 James O’Connell. Subs: Patrick Graham, Patrick Dougan, Colla McDonnell, Charlie McCloskey