Dónal McAnallen, History of North Antrim GAA, Carey Parish Hall, this Saturday

23rd February, 8.00pm; Táille £5

The next North Antrim Cultural Event, Dónal McAnallen will cover the history of the GAA in North Antrim. It will be in Carey Parish Hall Saturday 23rd February 8.00pm. Contact your North Antrim club or Jimmy Gaston for tickets or pay at the door on the night.

North Antrim has been a place apart in Gaelic games since the earliest days of the GAA. While the ‘prairie fire’ started by Michael Cusack spread quickly to much of the rest of Ulster as a football frenzy, the Glens of the north-east took longer. When they eventually ignited they drew on a long tradition of regional Shinny-playing to create a distinctive hurling culture that would endure largely in isolation.

Following on from last year’s talk by Eamon Phoenix, this talk will outline how the establishment of the North Antrim Board from the 1900s catalysed the development of a club scene and became the bulwark of a new county hurling tradition, with Camogie and Gaelic football taking their place also; the ways in which clubs faced and overcame challenges on a local level, and North Antrim evolved as a group within a segmented Belfast-centric county framework, will figure strongly among the topics explored. Due attention will be paid to the clubs that made North Antrim: Armoy, Ballycastle, Carey, Cloughmills, Cushendall, Cushendun, Dunloy, Glenariffe, Glenarm, Glenravel, Larne and Loughgiel. It will be shown that the formative forty-year period up to the 1940s defined the structure and character of the GAA in North Antrim that we know today.

Dr Dónal McAnallen is an historian with a special research interest in sporting heritage. He authored ‘The Cups that Cheered’ (2012), a history of inter-varsity Gaelic games; was a joint editor of ‘The Evolution of the GAA: Ulaidh, Éire agus Eile’ (2009); and contributed to several international journals. More recently he edited ‘Reflections on the Revolution in Ulster’ (2015), and wrote the biography, ‘The Pursuit of Perfection’ (2017).

A History graduate of Queen’s University and NUI Galway, he has worked as a magazine editor, teacher and lecturer and on several development and outreach projects with the Cardinal Ó Fiaich Library and Archive in Armagh. He is now employed as the Community Engagement Officer for National Museums NI project ‘Making the Future’. He is currently the Irish-language Editor of the local historical journal, Dúiche Néill, a member of the GAA’s National History Committee, and Cultural Officer for his club, An Eaglais.

Another Appeal for financial donations

With the new season under way and the Saffron Gael well into its second year of publication we again make an appeal for financial assistance. While this may not be a particularly busy time of the year for most clubs there has never the less been a lot of activity on the GAA scene and we have been there to cover it all.

Last weekend we had photographers and reporters in Croke Park and Parnell Park to cover St. Enda’s bid for All Ireland Intermediate glory and Ruairi Ogs heart breaking defeat to St. Thomas of Galway in the All Ireland Hurling club championship semi-final. The same weekend we carried coverage of Cross & Passion Camog’s success in the All Ireland semi-final

We have covered all of Antrim’s McKenna Cup and National football league games and all the county’s hurling games to date as well as Antrim ladies National football league games and the camogs opening game in division 2.

The Saffron Gael has carried coverage of all the games at Creggan Kickham’s-Bank of Ireland-Paddy McLarnon Cup and we were there on Sunday for an excellent final between winners Dromore and Carryduff.

This weekend we also covered the opening of Davitt’s excellent new facilities along with a host of other events including the North Antrim U8 Indoor finals and the Airborne indoor hurling which was played at two different venues.

All enjoyable but incurring considerable expense as well as being time consuming! Over the last two weekends we have had up to eight photographers and reporters working and all need paying for their time and travel expenses.

Views on the Saffron Gael site reached 2, 250,000 this weekend so it is obvious by viewing figures and indeed by what you tell us that it is extremely popular with Gaels within the county and much further afield.

Clubs, including those mentioned earlier in this article have been very generous but unfortunately some clubs have continued to ignore our appeal for financial help. If you think this venture is worth your support please have a word with your club and ask if they have donated.

We are fortunate to have some excellent sponsors and without them we could not have continued to grow but we still need more and if you feel your business would like to sponsor us go to the link on the site or contact John on 07885226348 or at john.mcilwaine@yahoo.co.uk or Paddy on 07511111378 or at ptrckmclwn@yahoo.co.uk.

You can also make a personal donation through the link on the Saffron Gael site and all donations are gratefully appreciated.

We look forward to seeing you at a game or an event linked to the GAA or Irish culture in the coming year and we will endeavour to cover as many events as possible as we continued in our quest to promote and develop Gaelic games and culture within the Saffron County.


South West Draws 2019

The draws were made for the various South West competitions on Monday evening in both juvenile and adult competitions.

In the premier event, the O’ Cahan cup the holders of the silverware, Kickham’s Creggan were awarded a bye in the opening round as did Tir na Nog, Ahoghill, Aldergrove, and Glenavy.

Only three games are required to decide the remaining quarter finalists but although all look attractive the meeting of the reigning county champions, Cargin and St Mary’s Aghagallon looks the pick.

Moneyglass will cross swords with Rasharkin in an opening round encounter whilst Casement’s will play hosts to All Saint’s to complete the first phase with the winner faced with a trip to Creggan in a quarter final assignment.

The team which emerges from the Cargin Aghagallon clash are to be favoured with home advantage in the quarters where they will play hosts to the men from Glenavy.

The full draw is as follows ;

O’ Cahan Cup

1 Tir na Nog (bye)

2 St Mary’s Ahoghill (bye)

3 Kickham’s Creggan (bye)

4 St James Aldergrove (bye)

5 St Joseph’s Glenavy (bye)

6 St Mary’s Aghagallon v Erin’s Own Cargin

7 St Ergnat’s Moneyglass v St Mary’s Rasharkin

8 Casement’s Portglenone v All Saint’s Ballymena

Qtr finals

A 2 v 4

B 6 v 5

C 3 v 8

D 1 v 7

Semi finals

B v C

D v A

Mc Cormick Cup

1 St Mary’s Aghagallon (bye)

2 Cuchullian’s Dunloy v St Patrick’s Lisburn

3 St Ergnat’s Moneyglass v St Comgall’s

4 St James Aldergrove v St Mary’s Rasharkin

5 Casement’s Portglenone v Erin’s Own Cargin

6 St Enda’s v St Mary’s Ahoghill

7 Creggan v All Saint’s Ballymena

8 St Joseph’s Glenavy v Tir na Nog

Laverty Cup (Under-18)

1 St Enda’s (bye)

2 Tir na Nog (bye)

3 St Comgall’s Antrim v Cuchullian’s Dunloy

4 Casement’s Portglenone v Kickham’s Creggan

5 All Saint’s Ballymena v St Joseph’s Glenavy

6 St Ergnat’s Moneyglass v Con Magees Glenravel

7 St Mary’s Rasharkin v Erin’s Own Cargin

8 St Joseph’s Glenavy v Tir na Nog

Qtr finals

A 2 v 5

B 8 v 4

C 3 v 7

D 1 v 6

Semi Finals

D v A

C v B

Breslin Cup (under-16)

1 St Mary’s Rasharkin (bye)

2 St Mary’s Aghagallon v Kickham’s Creggan

3 St Patrick’s Lisburn v Erin’s Own Cargin

4 St Ergnat’s Moneyglass v St Comgall’s Antrim

5 St Joseph’s Glenavy v Tir na Nog

6 Casement’s Portglenone v St James Aldergrove

7 St Enda’s v Con Magees Glenravel

8 All Saint’s Ballymena v Cuchullian’s Dunloy

Qtr finals

A 5 v 3

B 8 v 2

C 4 v 6

D 1 v 7

Semi finals

A v D

C v B

Feile (under-14)

1 St Mary’s Aghagallon (bye)

2 Con Magees Glenravel (bye)

3 St Mary’s Rasharkin v St Joseph’s Glenavy

4 St James Aldergrove v Erin’s Own Cargin

5 Kickham’s Creggan v Tir na Nog

6 St Comgall’s Antrim v All Saint’s Ballymena

7 Casements v Cuchullian’s Dunloy

8 St Ergnat’s Moneyglass v St Enda’s

Qtr finals

A 7 v 2

B 8 v 5

C 1 v 4

D 6 v 3

Semi finals

D v A

C v B

Games played on 3rd, 10th, 24th, 31st March

Antrim rocked as Fermanagh claim hard Erne’d win

Lidl National Football League – Division Four

Antrim 3-09-3-11 Fermanagh

By Kevin Herron at the Dub

Antrim ladies snatched defeat from the jaws of victory as Fermanagh overturned an eight-point deficit at the break to leave the Dub with a 3-11-3-09 win over the Saffrons in this afternoon’s Lidl National Football League clash.

The hosts were magnificent in the opening half and held a 3-05-0-06 lead thanks to goals Maeve McCurdy, Cathy Carey and Niamh Enright.

Fermanagh didn’t roll over easily however and found a route back into the game through a goal from full-forward Joanne Donnan.

That sparked the visitors and gave them momentum and a second Donnan goal – followed by a point from substitute Aoife Flanaghan levelled proceedings at the death.

Antrim substitute Aoife Taggart appeared to have secured the spoils – though eight minutes into injury-time Joanne Donnan rifled home her third goal of the half to spark scenes of jubilation amongst the visitors and leave Antrim dejected at the full-time whistle.

Over an hour earlier the hosts gave themselves a solid platform on which to build on as full-forward Maeve McCurdy rifled to the Fermanagh past goalkeeper Donna Owens.

But within eight minutes the game was all square, Joanne Donnan opened the Erne woman’s account for the afternoon with a well taken angled point.

Eimear Smyth conjured up a second and a converted free from Donnan levelled the scores at 1-00-0-03 with ten minutes on the clock.

Donnan registered her third of the half to edge Fermanagh ahead for the first-time – but back to back scores from corner-forward Grainne McLaughlin restored Antrim’s lead (1-02-0-04).

With nineteen minutes on the clock Antrim found their second goal of the afternoon – half-forward Cathy Carey outsmarted Owens from a free which dropped under the crossbar and into the net to make it 2-02-0-04.

Joanne Donnan replied with a fourth point of the half; though Fermanagh appeared to be in trouble as Niamh Enright crashed home a third goal to give Antrim a six-point lead with seven minutes to the break (3-02-0-05).

Fermanagh full-forward Donnan was almost singlehandedly carrying the fight to Antrim and replied yet again to bring her personal tally to five-points.

Anna McCann was called into action late in the half to smother a low drive from Eimear Smyth – though the hosts ended the half with the final two scores.

Cathy Carey pointed from a free and a further score from the hard grafting Lara Dahunsi ensured that the hosts were in command at the break – leading 3-05-0-06 against the breeze.

Antrim increased their lead upon the games resumption as Lara Dahunsi secured a second successive score from an acute angle.

Two converted frees from Eimear Smyth cut the gap before Antrim substitute Aoife Taggart responded from a similar scenario to make it an eight-point game once again, 3-07-0-08.

Fermanagh cut the deficit ten minutes into the second period as Joanne Donnan managed to find the net in a congested goal mouth to make it 3-07-1-08.

The Erne woman had the momentum and points from Eimear Smyth and Aisling O’Brien made it a three-point game with less than a quarter of an hour remaining.

Niamh Enright stretched Antrim’s lead with little under ten minutes to play and both sides battled through the elements with the game in the melting point.

Fermanagh were dealt a blow as referee Kieran McKeever sin-binned midfielder Roisin O’Reilly – but on the 58th minute the visitors reduced arrears to the bare minimum as Joanne Donnan blasted past McCann to the net and made it 3-08-2-10.

With the bit between their teeth substitute Aoife Flanaghan showed composure and bravery under pressure to level the scores for just the second time in the game.

Fermanagh’s substitute goalkeeper Roisin Gleeson denied Cathy Carey from blasting to the net in time added on – the hosts would regain their slender advantage three minutes into time added on through a curling effort from Aoife Taggart.

It was a lead they held until the eighth minute of additional time when Kinawley’s Donnan turned on sixpence and guided her driven shot into the top corner of the net to spark scenes of joy amongst the Fermanagh faithful on the sideline.

Arguably a cruel blow it was ultimately one that the Saffrons failed to recover from and at the final whistle Fermanagh celebrated a 3-11-3-09 win that left the hosts deflated.

Antrim: A McCann, C Brown, C Stewart, N Killen, K Farren, J McCavana, S Tenyson, M Magee, A Tubridy, N Enright (1-01), C Carey (1-02, 1-01f), L Wallace, L Dahunsi (0-02), M McCurdy (1-00), G McLaughlin (0-02). Subs: A Taggart (0-02, 0-01f) for G McLaughlin (31 mins), N Webb for N Enright (54 mins), A Carleton for L Wallace (57 mins).

Fermanagh: D Owens, E Woods, E Murphy, M Flynn, E Cadden, C Murphy, A Maguire, R O’Reilly, A McGovern, B Bogue, E Smyth (0-04, 0-02f), D Maguire, A O’Brien (0-01), J Donnan (3-05, 0-01f). Subs: R Gleeson for D Owens (31 mins), L Maguire for B Bogue (31 mins), A Flanaghan (0-01) for D Maguire (53 mins).

Referee: Kieran McKeever (Armagh)

St Patrick’s Glenariffe win North Antrim Cumann na mBunscol Quiz,

The boys and girls of the North Antrim Primary Schools came together today (Friday 8th February) on what was a cold blustery morning in Cushendun to contest the annual North Antrim Cumann na mBunscol Quiz, hosted by St Ciaran’s.

Quiz Master Mrs Donnelly (Principal, St Ciaran’s) took charge of a very entertaining and competitive event, expertly put together by Mr F Close ( Principal, Glenann PS).

Congratulations and well done to all participating schools ; hats off to St Patrick’s Glenariffe who came out tops with a fantastic 74 points. They were closely followed by St. Mary’s (Cushendall) in second place on 67 points and St Patrick’s & St. Brigid’s (Ballycastle) and St Brigid’s (Cloughmills) in joint third with 64 points each.

Thank you to the teachers and staff from all the schools who attended and a special mention again to St Ciaran’s for hosting.).