Antrim U20’s face tough opener

Ulster U20 Football |C|hampionship

Derry v Antrim


Niall Jackman’s Antrim face a tough opener when they take on Derry at Owenbeg in the opening round of the Ulster U20 Football Championship on Friday night. The Saffrons have failed to win any of their cup games going into Friday night’s meeting with Derry but have improved as the early season competition has progressed.

They lost heavily in their opening game against Tyrone in Portglenone but showed marked improvement away to Louth and Down and Jackman feels these games will stand to them going into the Derry game while conceding they will start as outsiders.

They face an Oak Leaf side who will be backboned by players from the All Ireland winning Minor team of two years ago and who will start this championship as favourites to go all the way in many people’s eyes.

In 2020 Antrim caused an upset when they defeated Derry in the quarter-final of the U20 championship at the Dub before losing narrowly to eventual winners Tyrone in the semi-final in Lavey.

Last year they lost to Fermanagh in the opening round in Brewster Park and will go into Friday night’s game as rank outsiders but Niall Jackman is hopeful they can cause an upset. “It’s going to be a huge challenge against Derry but there is no expectation on us and I suppose that takes the pressure off us to an extent”

“We’ve been building the squad over the last six weeks in the preseason Cup competitions and the hope is that it will all come together on Friday evening. It’s going to be a huge challenge but there is no expectation on us” said the Fermanagh native.

Antrim have seven or eight players from last year with St. Brigid’s, Cargin, Portglenone and Glenravel supplying the bulk of the team. Ronan Boyle of St. Brigid’s played for Antrim seniors in a McKenna Cup win over Down at Pairc Esler this year and performed well for Enda McGinley’s side.

Boyle can play anywhere in the side while Declan  Heery, Ruairi Hagan, Aidan McAleese, Sean Duffin, Cathal Hynds, Paudie McLaughlin, Rian Lennon, Michael Ferris and Sean O’Neill are all likely to start while Portglenone defender Dan McNicholl could get the nod for a starting place after recovering from an injury that has seen him miss the pre-season cup games.

Fionn Nagle of St. Enda’s and Ronan McKillop of All Saints are likely to miss out through injury but whoever plays, the news coming out of the Antrim camp indicates that the team are in good spirits and looking forward to facing Derry.

We at the Saffron Gael wish them the best of luck at Owenbeg and hope to be there to bring you coverage of the game.

Loughgiel cruise to the final

U20 Hurling Championship

Loughgiel 5-17 Dunloy 0-4

Saturday October 23

Brendan McTaggart reports from Armoy

Loughgiel cruised to the u20 final on Saturday afternoon as they swept aside the challenge of a young Dunloy side.  The Cuchullains came into the semi-final as the underdogs and a lengthy list of players ruled out due to injuries and covid meant a difficult task was made even greater but the Shamrocks were unstoppable on the day.

A relentless, clinical, incisive attacking performance, Loughgiel dominated Dunloy for the full hour as they went through the gears and showed their attacking prowess.  Rian McMullan excelling on the inside forward line with 3-6 to his name over the hour while Christy McGarry, Damien Quinn and Ryan Hill were all on top form.

The midfield duo of Shane O’Boyle and Cathal Hargan were tireless in their efforts for the Shamrocks while in defence, Declan McCloskey was outstanding.  He was ably assisted by Enda Og McGarry and Ruairi McCloskey who turned any potential Dunloy threats.

The Cuchullains struggled to get make any inroads in a superb Loughgiel defence, failing to score from play while the Shamrocks were irresistible in attack.  4-13 of their final score tally coming from play and points from all angles and outlets.  

Loughgiel started quickly and McMullan had his goal of the game by the third minute.  Collecting a long ball delivered by Odhran McGrath, McMullan was clinical when the chance came his way.

The Shamrocks kept the scoreboard ticking with an exhibition of point taking, Christy McGarry’s 12th minute side line a highlight as they ran into a 14 point lead by the half time whistle.

If Loughgiel were content to go for points in the first half, their frame of mind changed after the restart as they were ruthless in taking their chances, despite emptying their bench in the process.

Odhran McGrath scored the second Loughgiel major after just 15 seconds of the second half while four minutes later Cathal Hargan netted to take the Loughgiel lead to 21 points.

Dunloy tried to stave off the wave of Shamrock attacks and defended in numbers but Loughgiel were just too good on the day.

A penalty from McMullan on 47 minutes came before Barry Scott was sent off for the Cuchullains for a second bookable offence.  

The fifth Loughgiel goal came with five minutes of time remaining and McMullan completing his hat-trick to add further gloss to the scoreline for the Shamrocks.

Loughgiel are getting it right in the underage ranks once again and they will have a sterner test in the final against Ballycastle but the future looks bright for the men at Fr Healy Park.


Loughgiel: Ruairi McCormick; Conal McCloskey, Ruairi McCloskey, Conor Henry; Enda Og McGarry, Declan McCloskey, Tiarnan McAlonan; Shane O’Boyle, Cathal Hargan; Michael McGarry, Damien Quinn, Ryan Hill; Rian McMullan, Odhran McGrath, Christy McGarry

Scorers: Rian McMullan 3-6 (1-00 pen, 3fs); Cathal Hargan 1-1; Odhran McGrath 1-00; Declan McCloskey 0-2 (1f); Damien Quinn 0-2; Ryan Hill 0-2; Christy McGarry 0-2; Michael McGarry 0-1; Shane O’Boyle 0-1

Dunloy: Paul Doherty; Seanna Martin, Barry Scott, Daire Watterson; Daire McMullan, Rory Mullan, Sean Scullion; Eoin McFerran, Padraig McGilligan; Oisin Elliott, Ryan Mort, Callum Mullan; Conal Elliott, Cathain Martin, Eoin O’Kane

Scorers: Oisin Elliott (1f); Eoin McFerran (1f); Callum Mullan (1f); Conal Elliott (1f)

Referee: Fiontann McCotter (Sarsfields)

Dunloy finish strongly to beat Cushendall

U20 Hurling Championship – Group 2

Dunloy 3-17 Cushendall 2-11

When Ronan McAteer pointed a Cushendall free 14 minutes into the second half of Monday evening’s U20 Group 2 game in Dunloy the Ruairis were just two points behind the home side and it looked like we were in for a tight finish. However Cushendall failed to raise a flag during the next twenty minutes as Dunloy took complete control, scoring 8 points without reply to keep their chances of a semi-final spot alive. The Cuchullains are currently in second spot, but if Cushendall were to beat Ballycastle by more than 2 points in their final game of the round robin series on September 18th then they could still get the second spot.

Cushendall started well and points from Calum Kilgore and Padraig McKillop put them 2 ahead after 6 minutes. Dunloy opened their account with a point from Dara McMullan but two more from the visitors through Colm McKeegan and Ronan McAteer had them 0-4 to 0-1 up after ten minutes. Things got even better for Cushendall, and after Dunloy pulled another point back they came back with 2 more from McAteer and one from McKillop to open up a 0-7 to 0-2 lead by the 18th minute.

Dunloy were showing little signs of what was to come, but that all changes in a three minute spell between the 21st and 24th minutes when they came back with a goal and 3 points to edge in front for the first time, the goal coming from corner forward 1Calum McMullan and the points from Ryan Mort, Dara McMullan and Eoin McFerran

Padraig McKillop levelled for Cushendall with a point from a free and though Oisin Elliott and Eoin McFerran put Dunloy ahead again, a strong finish to the opening half by Cushendall brought a McKillop point and a goal from full forward Colm McKeegan, which gave his side a two point lead at the break. (1-9 to 0-10)

A Ronan McAteer point within a minute of the restart put three between the sides but Dunloy came back with points from Ruairi Mullan and Barry Scott to cut the deficit to just one. When Colum McKeegan grabbed Cushendall’s second goal from a penalty the visitors were back in front, but Dunloy hit back with two goals of their own through Barry McCloskey and Ryan Mort to give the Cuchullains a lead they would not relinquish.

When Ronan McAteer pointe a free on 44 minutes a tight finish looked to be on the cards, but Cushendall would only raise one more flag for the rest of the game as Dunloy took control. Dunloy’s 2 point lead was stretched to 10 as they hit 8 points on the trot, three of them from Barry McCloskey, two from Ruairi Mullan and one each from Daithi Cree, Oisin Elliott and Ryan Mort to wrap up the win.


Paul Doherty, Seanie Martin, Barry Scott, Cathair McCloskey, Cathin Martin, Ruairi Mullan, Dara McMullan Ryan Mort, Eoin McFerran, Barry McCloskey, Oisin Elliott, Conal Kelly, Callum McMullan, Daithi Cree, Conal Elliott


Joshua Schnell, Michael Quinn, Senan Black, Declan McGill, Conor McCollam, Shane McKenna, Mark Emerson, Calum Kilgore, Aidan Ritson, Ronan McAteer, Pierce McKeegan, Padraig McKillop, Daniel Laverty, Colm McKeegan, Matthew McCann.

Referee – Fiontann McCotter

Loughiel untroubled as they cruise to semis

U20 Hurling Championship

Loughgiel 4-24 Rossa 0-5

Loughgiel breezed past the challenge of Rossa in Monday evening final round robin game in the Under 20 Hurling Championship at Fr Healy Park to set up a semi-final meeting with Naomh Eanna.

Ahead from the opening minute when Michael McGarry pointed them in front they had five on the board before Eoin Trainor got Rossa’s first point on 16 minutes. By the time the whistle sounded for a delayed water break (the Loughgiel goalkeeper was injured in the opening minutes and play was held up) Loughiel led by 0-13 to 0-1 with Michael McGarry, Rian McMullan, Shane O’Boyle and Cathal Hargan prominent among the scorers.

It was 1-16 to 0-3 at half time, the goal coming from Eunan Laverty, and things got even worse after the break when Loughgiel scored two goals inside two minutes. Damian Quinn got his team’s fourth goal soon afterwards as Rossa, by this stage down to 13 men because of injury, understandably struggled and the points came quick and fast for the home team as they cruised through.


Conor O’Mullan, Conal McCloskey, Ruairi McCloskey, Conor Henry, Enda Og McGarry, Declan McCloskey, Ryan Hill, Shane O’Boyle, Cathal Hargan, Michael McGarry, Eunan Laverty, Damian Quinn, Rian McMullan, Odhran McGrath, Christy McGarry.


Matthew McKernan, Conor Boyle, Ben McAuley, Paddy Moyes, Owen May, Ruairi Murray, Eoin Trainor, Andrew McLean, Ruairc Murray, Finn McIlroy, Dairi Murphy, Michael Murray, Pearse Short, Dylan Magee.

Referee – Vincent Boyle (Dunloy)

Shane O’Neill’s victorious in high scoring thriller

U-20 “B” HC Group 2

Shanè Uī Nèill 5-16, Tir Na Nog 6-10.

This game had a goal in the first minute and a goal in the final minute, in the other 58 minutes there were 35 scores.

It really was a ding dong contest featuring two fast, physical sides.

Aidan Scullion’s speculative shot from 80yds out in the first minute eluded the travelling keeper to give the home team a perfect start, Niall pointed a free on 5 minutes, before, on 7 minutes Randalstown goaled from a penalty.

A goal apiece on 10 & 11 minutes, and again on 26 & 27 minutes, Ciaran O’Boyle and Sean O’Boyle getting the goals for the hosts. H/T 3-10, 3-04.

The home team gradually built up a 9 point lead thanks to goals by Kevin O’Boyle and another for Sean O’Boyle and seemed to be comfortable.

The Whitehill men were far from beaten though, and outscored Glenarm in the final quarter 3-3, 0-4. But alas, fell short by 3 points.

Glenarm team;

Caolan Morgan

Odhran Daly

Liam McLoughlin

Coire Mellon

Michael McGarel

Ciaran O’Boyle 1-1

Ronan Rodgers

Aidan Scullion  1-4

Ciaran Black

Kevin O’Boyle  0-1

Ciaran Magill 0-5

Ciaran O’Boyle 1-0

Jay Rowan 0-1

Sean O’Boyle 2-2

Niall McGarel 0-2

Ruari Mellon

Charlie Ward