St John’s and Rossa start as favourites

BATHSHACK SENIOR HURLING CHAMPIONSHIP QUARTER FINALS

St John’s v Ballycastle at Dunsilly: Throw-in 1pm

Group 2 runners up St John’s take on Ballycastle, who finished third in Group 1, this Sunday at Dunsilly in the first of the two Bathshack Senior Hurling Championship quarter finals. St John’s started their campaign on a high with a 0-25 to 1-20 win over Loughgiel at Corrigan Park back in August and followed it up two weeks later by beating St Enda’s by 2-30 to 0-14 at Rossa Park in round two. The perfect start but in the bid to claim an automatic semi-final spot they came up just short against a Christy McNaughton inspired Cushendall side at Pairc Mhuire, losing out in the end by 1-21 to 1-16 in a hard fought game.

Ballycastle’s route to Sunday’s quarter final has been starkly different. After losing heavily in their opening game in Group 2 to champions Dunloy by 1-16 to 2-29 at Paric MacUilin, they were even more disappointing in the second round game when Rossa beat them by 0-8 to 0-26 at Dunsilly. After all the work the team had put in under new managers KB McShane and Shane Staunton spirits could have been much lower, and with star man Ciaran Clarke out for the season through injury things looked very bleak. Written off by most pundits going into their final game against next door neighbours Carey Faughs they found the spark that had been missing and following a fast start they went on to produce their best performance in a long time by running out winners by 5-26 to 0-13 to keep their championship hopes alive.

Now St John’s are a different kettle of fish to Carey, but that win must surely give them some confidence that they can put on a better show than they did in the last visit to Dunsilly. St John’s have been knocking at the door for a few years now and were unlucky not to reach a final a couple of times in the last few years. They will go into Sunday’s game as firm favourites, but this game could be closer than a lot of people think.

Rossa v Loughgiel at Dunsilly: Throw-in 5pm

Rossa, who were runners-up in Group 2 take on Loughgiel in the second game at Dunsilly on Sunday, the game throwing in at 5pm. Rossa had a convincing win over Carey Faughs in their opening game at Rossa Park and were untroubled in their second outing against Ballycastle in their second round game at Dunsilly. They lost out to Dunloy in their final game of the group stages by five points which is a more than creditable showing against the champions.

Loughgiel’s start may not have been impressive, losing out to St John’s at Corrigan in their opening game and then going down against the Ruairi Ogs in Cushendall, but there were times in both games that it looked as if they deserved better. They earned their passage to the quarter final with a big win over St Enda’s and will be looking forward to Sunday’s battle with Rossa with a bit of confidence

With James McNaughton back in the fold, after his summer trip to the USA they are a much better team and Rossa will certainly not be taking them for granted.

Michael Armstrong, hero of last years’ semi-final snatch and grab against Cushendall, is more than likely to miss out on this one after pulling up injured in last week’s football quarter final against Creggan. Armstrong’s skill and experienced would be badly missed but it goes with the territory for clubs like Rossa who have so many dual players in their ranks.

I think this is going to be a great game and though Rossa will start as favourites, Loughgiel will also fancy their chances. Extra time could be a possibility!    

Cloney Gaels and St Gall’s are through but other two still to be decided

ANDERSONSTOWN SOCIAL CLUB INTERMEDIATE HURLING CHAMPIONSHIP

St Paul’s v Cloney Gaels, Ahoghill at Pairc Pól

The final round of the group games in the Intermediate Hurling Championship are down for decision on Saturday, with just one of them a ‘dead-rubber’. St Paul’s who sit second bottom in Group 2, cannot advance any further, regardless of the result against Group 2 leaders Cloney Gaels, The Ahoghill men have full points from their three games and cannot be caught. They have been highly impressive in their wins over Cushendun, Tir na nÓg and Gort na Móna and will start as short odds favourites to win this one as well.

Robert Emmet’s, Cushendun v Gort na Móna at the Rigs

In the other game in Group 2 Cushendun Emmet’s need to beat Gort na Móna at home if they are to leapfrog Tir na nÓg and make it through the to the semi-final. A point earned two weeks ago against the Randalstown men, thanks to an injury time point from free taker Conlaoth ‘Loaf’ McNeill, just about kept their hopes alive, and they need to get a win on Saturday over the Gorts to book that semi-final spot. Playing in Division 1 this season Cushendun have found the going tough, having lost all their games as they return to Division 2. When they lost their opening Round 1 Championship game to Cloney Gael’s the future did not look bright, but a home win over St Paul’s got things going again, and that draw with Tir na nÓg means they are still standing and a win on Saturday would see them through ahead of Tir na nÓg on score difference.

Oisins Glenarffie v Creggan Kickhams at Waterfoot

In group 1 a great comeback win against Group 2 leaders and already qualified St Gall’s two weeks ago at Milltown have kept the Oisins hopes of a semi-final spot alive, but they needed to beat Creggan in Saturday game in Waterfoot to secure that place. The Glenariffe men started the campaign with a high scoring draw against Sarsfields in the Bear Pit, before beating near neighbours Con Magees in round 2. They travelled to St Gall’s in round 3 and appeared to be in a bit of bother until a later rally saw them home by three points against the group leaders. If they beat Creggan on Saturday they will be through, but if they slip up they can still be overtaken by Sarsfields. Creggan have been off the pace this season, not surprising considering the number of players who are involved in the club’s defence of the Senior Football title, plus the loss through injury of their star man Conor McCann. Glenariffe certainly cannont take anything for granted, but if they can repeat the form they showed in the second half against St Gall’s then they should go through.

Con Magees Glenravel v Patricks Sarsfields at Fr Maginn Park

Sarsfields destiny is out of their own hands as they travel to Glenravel to face a Con Magees side who is managed by one of their own, Ciaran Tub McKernan.  McKernan guided Glenravel to the Junior Hurling Championship title last season, and though they are winless in this years’ Intermediate campaign, they have put up good showings in all three games, and had they been more accurate with their free taking things would have been ever closer. Sarsfields, who are still aiming for an Intermediate Football and Hurling double, know that whatever they do on Saturday will be to no avail, unless Creggan can cause a shock a few miles down the road in Waterfoot.

Junior semi-final places up for grabs

CASEMENT SOCIAL CLUB JUNIOR HURLING CHAMPIONSHIP

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.

Loughgiel pull clear in second half as Dunloy fire blanks

Antrim Senior Camogie Championship @ Pairc Mhuire, Cushendall

Loughgiel: 1-17 Dunloy 1-8

Like Mark Twain the rumours of Loughgiel’s demise may have been greatly exaggerated if Saturday’s second half is anything to go by. The Shamrocks and old rivals Dunloy had produced a great thirty minutes camogie in the opening half of their Senior Camogie Championship round robin game in Cushendall and went in at the break level on 1-08 apiece. The scene appeared to be set for a classic encounter in the second period, but that never materialised as the Shamrocks took completed control, adding 0-9 to their total while holding their opponents scoreless. Part of the cause was the Cuchullains inability to take their scores, but something went wrong with their radar and they failed to trouble the scoreboard operator through that thirty minutes play.

Dunloy’s Caoimhe Conlon in action against Loughgiel’s Mary McKillen during Saturday SCC round robin game in Cushendall.

Loughgiel started with two early points through Lucia McNaughton and Chloe Higgins but Dunloy responded right away and Caoimhe Molly sent over a 45 and Katie Molly added one from play to tie the scores after just four minutes. Lucia McNaughton put Loughgiel back in front, but points from Eimhear Johnston and Katie Molloy both hit the target from play to edge Dunloy ahead by the eighth minute.

Lucia McNaughton appeared to have struck a telling blow when she fired the ball to the Dunloy net on 16 minutes, but within twenty seconds the ball was in the net at the other end of the fields and full forward Erin Elliott put her team back in front. It continue that way for the remainder of the opening half, as two from Amy Boyle and Caitrin Dobbin for the Shamrocks was answered by Nicole McAtamney and Caoimhe Molloy for the Cuchullains. In the run-in to half-time points from Christine Laverty and Amy Boyle put Loughgiel one ahead, but with seconds left to the half time whistle Aine Magill tied it all up again, and the sides went in tied on 1-8 to 1-8.

Caitrin Dobbin who again top scored for Loughgiel in thier win over Dunloy

Dunloy will rue some of the chances they missed in the early part of the second half, but they found the going tough playing into the Ardmoyle Park end of the ground, and with the Loughgiel half-back line and midfield holding the upper hand the chances were restricted.

Lucia McNaughton opened the second half account for the Shamrocks with a pointed free on 37 minutes and Mary McKillen got another three minutes later. Caitrin Dobbin on 46 and Annie Lynn on 54. The scoring had been moderate up to this, but they finished with a flourish and added five in as many minutes, three from Caitrin Dobbin and one each from Annie Lynn and substitute Orlagh Laverty to win by nine

LOUGHGIEL

Eimear Boyle, Charlene Campbell, Katie Lynn, Claire McKillop, Maria Lynn, Una McNaughton, Shauna Devlin, Amy Boyle, Lucia McNaughton, Christine Laverty, Mary McKillen, Chloe Higgins, Catrin Dobbin, Katie McKillop, Annie Lynn.

DUNLOY

Mary Martin, Sorcha Conlon, eilish Kearns, Dairbhail Elliott, Caitlin Crawford, Katie Laverty, Caoimhe Conlon, Aine Magill, Nicole McAtamney, Caoimhe Molloy, Brid Magill, Katie Molloy, Eimear Johnston, Erin Elliott, Bronagh Magill

Dunloy’s Nicole McAtamney and Loughiel’s Christine Laverty battle it out under the dropping ball.

Matty Donnelly brings the Joe McDonagh Cup along to Con Magees juvenile training

Antrim’s Matthew Donnelly brought the Joe McDonagh Cup along to Con Magees, Glenravel juvenile hurling training last week and it proved a big hit among the boys. Conor Donnelly of Donnelly’s of Rathlenny also came along to had over a new kit to the team. Dylan McIlwaine went along for the Saffron Gael to capture the action

Conor Donnelly (and his son Callum) of Donnelly’s of Rathkenny presents a new kit for Con Magees Under 11 Hurling team to manamager Matty Donnelly and team captain Eoghan McCormick. Als included is Matty’s son Sean Og.