My favourite 15 – Naomh Pol

Naomh Pol by Damian Murray.

I have played, coached and watched Naomh Pol hurl over many decades. Selecting this team has been equally full of joy and torture as every one of those 40 plus years. I am aware many people will have conflicting views but just remember for every name you want added you have to take one of these great men out. The best hurlers let their hurls do the talking. No need for flowery language, every man summed up in 5 words or less.

1 – Paul Burns. Could play anywhere, and did.

2 – Bobby Hamill. Thou shalt not pass.

3 – Micky Glover. Much more than his strike.

4 – Declan Gamble. Skill and brain. Mr Dependable.

5 – Stevie Rooney. 3 A’s. Ability.Attitude. Application.

6 – Ciaran Killaleagh. Man of steel.

7 – Stephen Ramsey. Style and toughness. Class act.

8 – Micky Sullivan. Skill and speed to burn.

Jim Nelson lifts the Intermediate Cup after St Paul’s victory in 1978

9 – Jim Nelson. Hurling God. Enough said.

10 – Barry Burns. Scoring machine. Quiet and understated?

11 – John Crossey. Skill and grit personified.

12 – Paul Donnelly. A defender’s nightmare. Never stopped.

13 – Jimmy O Neill. Master of the breaking ball.

14 – Aidan Gallagher. Simply give him the ball.

15 – Paul McStravick. Catch. Break the tackle. Goal!

Subs. Everyone else who has lifted a hurl and entered the field in Red and White hoops.

My favourite 15 – Carey Faughs

by PJ Hill

Carey’s favourite 15 is chosen by a man who has seen a lot of Faughs teams down the years. PJ Hill includes players that span almost 60 years of hurling in the parish.

1 – Chris McCormick

A very good shot stopper and his puck-outs were lengthy and well directed

2 – Danny McKinley (RIP)

A very hard tackler and a player who led by example, and a very talented hurler

3 – Alex McVeigh

A solid man of the position who shielded his goalie at a time when they could be tackled

4 – Sean McCambridge

Another who was sure and steady in his back position and always a good man to clear the danger

5 – James McCouaige

Of a more recent generation of hurlers. A man who could be slotted into many positions

6 – Joe Butler (RIP)

He always impressed with his excellent reading of the game and his ability to stop man good forwards

7 – Hugh Osborne

A solid defender who always came out on top. He left the game earlier after he emigrated as a young man

Carey 1980s

8 – James McVeigh

A player who was famous for getting ‘stuck in’. He was a great team leader and one of the club’s longest serving players who also represented his county.

9 – Liam McLoughlin

A very skilful player who was also full of running, and a man who always kept himself in great shape

10 – John McVeigh

A player whose talent shone through and one who impressed all who saw him play. He was once voted North Antrim Player of the Year

11 – Des McNeill

Probably one of the club’s best ever players, he represented his county for a number of years. He moved away to foreign shores to work but was often called back to play in big Championship games

12 – Vinnie McCaughan

Described as a very crafty player who gave many defenders a hard time. He was a great free taker who served the club well over the years

13 – James ‘Rocket’ Black

One of a number of very talented young players coming through in the club. A good leader and a top class free taker.

14 – Cahal McAuley

A strong physical player who was always a handful for the opposing defence. Also capable of grabbing the vital scores when required.

15 – Conor McBride

One of the youngest crop of present day players who is blessed with great skill and pace and one who can take vital scores, like in last year’s Intermediate Championship semi-final when his two goals sealed the win over Sarsfields.

The Carey team who played Glenarm in the 1984 Feis in Glenariffe

My favourite 15 – Glenarm

by Terence Mulvenna

No doubt there will be those who will feel that others could/should have been added to this list, but like others have said previously it really is difficult deciding who should be in, and even worse, those who don’t get in.

The 15 starters and a number of subs all date from early 70’s, there were undoubtedly many great hurlers preceded this date, all of whom were heroes to their generation.

The Glenarm team who played Carey at Feis na nGleann in Glenariffe in the GAA Centenary year in 1984

1 Tommy Mitchell.

Tommy began his career as an attacking midfielder and was worth 5/6 points each time he togged out. Following a series of knee injuries Tommy donned No1 jersey, a position he filled with pride.

2 Liam Magill

More often than not Liam played half/back or midfield because of his lightening speed, but when switched to the corner he moulded perfectly.

3 Eddie Matthews RIP

A permanent role at fullback, Eddie made the No 3 his own, having played here throughout the 70’s and 80’s, strong, wicked, with the heart of a lion. Eddie passed away recently. Having retired from playing Eddie served as club chairman for a number of years.

Brendan Ward

4 Brendan Ward

Big and strong, when Brendan was shaping up to clear the ball up the field it was best just to stand to the side, such was enormity of his stroke. Is now into his second decade as club treasurer.

Sean Waide receiving the Intermediate Championship cup from fellow Glenarm man Anthony Mulvenna in 1995

5 Sean Waide

Strong and immensely passionate, Sean came to Glenarm in his early 20’s from Loughgile slotted into the halfback line with ease, he was later to manage minor & senior teams at the club.

6 Francis Ward

Francis was a regular starter for both Antrim and Ulster during the 70’s & 80’s as cornerback, his skill, power, and ability to read the game assured he commanded a more central role at club level, has also managed juvenile and senior teams within the club.

7 Eamon Matthews

Currently coaching our U-8 team, Eamon starred from an early age, during which time he won a Colleges All-star with Garron tower.

Willie Mitchell

8 Willie Mitchell

Fast, strong, and with a great hand, Willie was a dedicated trainer with a big engine. Managed several teams in the club, and was represented the club as referee for many years.

9 Dessie Matthews

Dessie played many positions for the team but in his prime featured at midfield where his stature played a pivotal role.

10 Pat O’Neill

A naturally gifted sportsman Pat covered every blade of grass in his pursuit of victory taking many scores from all angles, also a keen freetaker. Pat managed minor teams in the past.

11 Kevin Mulvenna

A versatile player with bags of skill, Kevin represented the club at senior county level at the age of 18, was coming to his peak when work commitments took him abroad. On his return continued to play a major role in the forward line. Managed many age groups following retirement.

Darren Hamill

12 Darren Hamill

Still a current player, no one has a bigger engine than Darren, puts in a major shift every time he pulls the boots on. Starred often in county colours, minor & senior, also has 3 College All-stars.

13 John Rossborough

Another gifted sportsman ‘90’ covered a lot of ground hitting many scores and was a sharp free taker, poached the odd goal as well. John gave great service whilst coaching from U-8 up to minors for many years

14 Sean O’Neill

Strong as an Ox, Moggie was a managers dream at the edge of the square, great fielder, turn on a Sixpence bagged many goals. Coached juveniles for a few years.

Oliver Mulvenna

15 Oliver Mulvenna

More naturally a half forward, Oliver moulded well at corner forward, like 90, poached a few goals, also a regular free taker.

Subs; Barney Shannon, Dylan McLaughlin, Arthur Forsythe, Kevin McKay, Seamus Dobbin, Seamus O’Kane, Liam McAuley, Brendan McDermott.

glenarm

My favourite 15 – Dunloy

By Brendan McTaggart

This was not an easy job.  Some might have called this mission impossible and without fear of contradiction, I’ve changed the 15 a dozen times.  My earliest memory of watching Dunloy comes from our run to our first championship final in 1990 so all the choices come from that era onwards.

Some names were automatic choices, some had to be put in somewhere but I don’t think you could get any two people from a Dunloy persuasion to agree on the same 15.

It’s always nice to think on those who wore the green and gold and played with passion and distinction for years in search of glory.  I’m still mulling over some of my choices but it was fun to try and get a 15 narrowed down. 

Gareth McGhee

1 – Gareth McGhee

Cocky, arrogant but brilliant.  Everything you want in a ‘keeper’.  I was there in U12 when he volunteered to become a keeper when Johnny McQuillan was our manager and ‘wee McGhee’ took to it like a duck to water.  His performance against Cushendall in the 2009 final was the best I’ve ever seen while his ability to hit a rasping penalty gave him the nod.  Could have easily had went for Shane or Ryan Elliott here as well but McGhee’s all round game just gave him the nod.

2 – Sean Mullan

Patch.  More known for his exploits on the half back line but an outstanding and solid performer so I had to get him in the 15 somewhere.  Moved to full back later in his career but I genuinely can’t ever remember leaving a match thinking he had a poor game.  Mr Consistency for close to two decades in the green and gold.

3 – James McKeague

James reading of the game is exemplary.  Maybe not blessed with blistering pace but he was a yard ahead between his ears and that made him close to one of my first names on the team sheet.  Running off memory, he held Joe Canning scoreless from open play when Dunloy played Portumna in 2010.  Not many in the country can boast something similar.

4 – Seamus McMullan

Mushy.  Big Dog.  The man you’d want by your side going to war.  A cult hero for a generation growing up in the village.  A man who could strike the sliotar for miles and who wasn’t bad from placed ball with frees and penalties.  First Dunloy man to lift ‘Big Ears’ – almost made him an automatic choice.

5 – Malachy Molloy

Made the game look so easily.  Effortless brilliance and looked at home in a senior short from the moment he put one on.  A giant on the field both physically and metaphorically speaking.  Could play on the wing or centre but a natural on the half back line.

6 – Gary O’Kane

First name on the team sheet.  Pappy really was a natural at centre half.  His positional sense was second to none while there have been few better at reading the game in front of them.  Rarely caught in possession, moving the sliotar to all corners but had a knack of playing the right pass at the right time.  Captain, leader, legend

7 – Kevin Molloy

Brilliant under a high ball and a rock in defence.  Bunga is another who rarely has a poor game.  A burst of pace that takes him away from danger and brilliant in rucks, Bunga is another who consistently performs. 

8 – Tony McGrath

My favourite hurler from his generation.  Ooh Ahh Tony McGrath.  Stylish, classy, an unassuming genius on a hurling field and a gentleman off it.  I learned more from him in one year of his coaching than I did in the others I played.  Saved Dunloy in 1990 to earn a replay and against Birr four years later in the All-Ireland final.  Tony was another who gave 100% every time he took to the field. 

9 – Colm McGuckian

Named by Brian Whelahan as the toughest opponent he ever came up against.  Cookie had one of the best engines I ever witnessed by anyone on a hurling field.  A workhorse in the middle of the field and another who could pluck the ball from the clouds.  Would run through a brick wall for the Dunloy shirt.

10 – Gregory O’Kane

Mr Dunloy.  Has been involved in all 14 championship wins for Dunloy.  12 as a player and two as a manager, ‘Dick’ was one of the best forwards in Ireland on his day.  Accuracy from frees and his ability to play others in when they were better placed was unerring.  He was brilliant on the edge of the square but his ability to catch a ball gives him a nod on the three quarter line.  His goal versus Lavey in 1997 Ulster Final epitomised his overall game.  Outstanding catch and finish

11 – Liam Richmond

A player made for the number 11 shirt.  Natural on the three quarter line and an automatic pick for years in the green and gold.  Another stylish performer and I loved the way he hurled.  Mixed his game with catching or playing first day, Nancy was the ultimate team player and another who you’d want by your side in an hour.

12 – Paul Shiels

Another automatic pick.  Shorty could hurl in a number of positions and would look like he’s played there all his years.  The most naturally gifted hurler I’ve ever seen in a Dunloy shirt and a genius with a sliotar in his hand.  Never looks rushed in possession and coolness personified in the heat of battle.  Steps up when his team need him and makes the game look disgustingly easy.

13 – Ally Elliott

Tortured defences in Antrim and beyond for years and I grew up idolising this man.  He could turn any defender in a phone box with blistering pace and trickery.  I watched defenders try to go touch tight and get done or stand off him and end up chasing him.  Ally was virtually impossible to mark and plenty breathed a sigh of relief when he hung up his hurl.  Two match winning goals to get us over the line in 1990 after being kept scoreless in the first game tells you everything about his mental strength as well.  Another of the first names in the team sheet.

14 – Paddy Richmond

Handy on the three quarter line but Paddy was immense on the edge of the square.  A more than handy goal keeper at underage as well, Paddy was the man for the big occasion.  A naturally gifted talent who had the ability to turn barely half chances into goals.  Blistering hurl speed and a shot not match by many, Pat the Baker always delivered in a Dunloy shirt.

15 – Conal Cunning

 Some might see this as a bit strange given the fact he is only three full years into his senior career, but Coby has the hurling world at his feet.  A work ethic and natural talent, ability to beat his man in tight spaces and make something from nothing, it’s scary to think where his talents could see him rise to.

My near misses

Shane Elliott – he’ll have the bragging rights over Ryan for this one.  Brilliant shot stopper on his day.  His save from Daithi Regan in Dunloy’s first All-Ireland final will live with me forever.  Incredible.

Mickey McClements – played with Mickey through the age groups.  A natural leader and nothing but 100% commitment every time he played.  Thoroughly enjoyed playing in teams he captained.  

Nigel Elliott (snr) – tireless workhorse.  A guy who did a lot of the dirty work but complemented plenty of partners in the middle of the field.  Equally as effective on the three quarter line.

Conor Cunning – classy operator.  An abundance of ability and talent and at times was unplayable.  His ability to take a point from distance was something that always amazed me.  Guaranteed a couple a game. 

Frankie ‘Tarby’ McMullan – difficult to leave out, a player I admired and his last outing in a Dunloy shirt against Newtownshandrum was one of his best. 

Keelan Molloy – another of the new breed who is nothing short of being classed as an ‘operator’ on a hurling field.  He really has the hurling world at his feet. 

Conor ‘Woody’ McKinley – rock solid anywhere in defence.  Gutted when he stepped away from the Antrim panel.  Could play anywhere in the back six and give you 100% commitment and an 8/10 every game.

Martin Curry – work rate, commitment, and desire.  ‘Cat’ was a player you’d go into the trenches with everyday of the week and twice on a Sunday.  No such thing as a lost cause, would and did run himself into the ground for the badge.

Kevin McKeague – difficult to leave him out of the 15.  Brilliant under the high ball and another solid and consistent performer. Loves the challenge, lives and breathes hurling.  Outstanding in the county final last year after missing out in the semi-final against Loughgiel – tells you everything you need to know about him.  Committed.

15 could look very different in years to come with the current crop of talent but that’s not a bad tidy 15 and my picks for the finest to have adorned the Cuchullain shirt.

Cushendall shocked the Shamrocks fifty years ago today

Fifty years ago today, July 4th, Cushendall hurlers caused a major upset when they beat Loughgiel in the Feis Cup final at Waterfoot. Cushendall were playing their hurling in Division 2 at the time and the previous year had won the Junior Feis Cup. Loughgiel were in the middle of a goldern period, with a team full of stars, and although they had been beaten in the county semi-final the previous year they went on to win back the county title again later that year and added another the following year to make it five titles in six years.

Looking back many Cushendall people see that win as a milestone in the club’s history, and one that gave them belief that they could mix it with the big boys. At the start of a decade that saw them establish themselves in the top division of Antrim hurling, winning the Division 1 league title in 77, reaching their first county final in 79 before finally making the breakthrough in 1981 with their first senior title.

Feis na nGleann 1970 – Senior Hurling final

Cushendall 3-6 Loughgiel 3-4

A lap of honour around the Glenariffe pitch by the victorious Cushendall side gave some indication of the jubilation felt in the Cushendall camp after this Feis Cup final victory over the mighty Loughgiel.

This Cushendall side have carried off a unique double in that they won the Junior Feis Cup last year and have now added the Senior crown a year later. The Coast Road men led all the way in this exciting tussle, but in the final quarter when their forwards had apparently given up the task of taking scores, their defenders did an excellent job in keeping the goal hungry Loughgiel forwards at bay.        Loughgiel have only themselves to blame. At the end of the third quarter, when they were only two points in arrears, they persisted in looking for goals. The Cushendall goalmouth was under continual siege but gallant net minding by Seamus McGinty and excellent defencive play by the back six, thwarted Loughgiel’s hopes.

Cushendall were two goals up in as many minutes as Barney McAuley and Joe Jamison hit the net, and they certainly gave the impression that, although underdogs, they meant to fight every inch of the way. A goal from John-Joe Smith a minute later kept the Shamrocks in touch but a point from Sean O’Neill kept the seasiders comfortably ahead.

A Loughgiel point from Brendan McGarry was quickly and confidently followed by a goal from Kieran Kearney. Hurler supreme Sean O’Neill added another point but Seamus Richmond hit back with a Loughgiel goal to keep the Shamrocks in touch. Paddy McIhatton added another point for Loughgiel but the wily O’Neill was on target at the other end for Cushendall. A point from Brendan McGarry marked the end of Loughgiel’s first half scoring, but aptly enough Cushendall’s Sean O’Neill had the final say with a last minute point.

After the interval Cushendall began again in most convincing fashion as Sean O’Neill knocked over a long range point. At this stage Loughgiel began to realise that the fat was almost in the fire and their play took on a sense of urgency that had been lacking throughout the game. Left half forward Seamus Richmond slammed home a goal from close range and corner forward Tom McFadden got his name on the scoresheet with a fine point.

Only trailing by a point now with fifteen minutes remaining it seemed as if the experience of Loughgiel would overcome the sheer determination of Cushendall, but as it turned out, this was not the case. Cushendall’s Sean O’Neill hit his sixth point of the game ten minutes from time which proved to be the final score of the match. While Loughgiel bombarded the Cushendall goalmouth their scorline showed no improvement and one feels had they taken their points they could have easily has stopped the rot which has recently appeared in their play.

The whole Cushendall side played themselves to a standstill but none more so than netminder Seamus McGinty. The defence was superb with honours going to corner back Brendan McGaughey and centre-half back PJ McNaughton. Donal Kearney and Sean O’Neill were allowed plenty of scope at midfield and O’Neill must emerge as Hero of the Hour. The forwards were eager for scores with Kieran Dempsey, Sean Jamison and Joe Jamison catching the eye.

Loughgiel gave a disappointing display and few of their stalwarts really struck form. Johnny Coyle did all that was ask of him in goals while Patsy McIlhatton, Seamus McMullan and Tony Connolly played hard in defence. Dan Gillan and Aidan Connolly found themselves up against it at midfield, while up from Seamus Richmond, Barney Campbell and Brendan McGarry were best in a forward line that seemed to have little interest in taking point.

Cushendall scorers were – Sean O’Neill 0-6; Barney McAuley, Joe Jamison and Kieran Kearney 1-0 each.

Loughgiel scorers – Seamus Richmond 2-0; John Joe Smith 1-0, Brendan McGarry 0-2; Paddy McIlhatton and Tom McFadden 0-1 apiece.