St Gall’s completed a five-in-a-row of titles with an 0-11 to 0-8 victory over Portglenone in Sunday’s final at Casement Park to qualify for next Sunday’s Ulster Championship clash with Carrickmore but victory was achieved at a cost after captain Sean Kelly was injured to leave him a doubt for that game . This victory was secured at a time when St. Gall’s were the dominant force in Antrim football and was their fifth win on the trot.
The Milltown side would go on to extend that winning sequence to eight in the years that followed. The Bann-siders were hit a heavy blow in the build up to their first final when star forward, Kevin Madden was ruled out and went into this game as underdogs. A poor first half ended with St Gall’s 0-4 to 0-3 ahead, despite playing against a stiff end-to-end wind. Portglenone, in their first county final, levelled through a Gerard McAleese point just after the break but St Gall’s surged clear with Karl Stewart scoring four points to book a place against Carrickmore in the AIB Ulster Championship first round the following Sunday. In the closing minutes, Portglenone put in a final surge with three late points but it was too late for any comeback as the Milltown Row side held on to possession as they ran down the clock. Tyrone champions Carrickmore beat Fermanagh side Teemore 2-8 to 0-5 the previous day to secure their place in the quarter-final clash at Casement Park. St Gall’s stand-in captain Mark McCrory said playing well against the wind was key to winning the game. “On a day with a lot of wind we knew in the first half that we had to stop them getting a big lead,” the midfielder said. “We had the wind advantage in the second half and it definitely helped. “It is an unbelievable feeling – I was 29 when I won my first championship and to win five in a row after that is beyond my wildest dreams. “We know Carrickmore well from our two meetings last year so there will be no surprise packages” the St. Gall’s captain concluded.
SCORERS – St Gall’s: A Gallagher 0-1, S Burns 0-3 (2f), K Stewart 0-4 (1f), K McGourty 0-2, K Niblock 0-1. Portglenone: T Convery 0-2 (1f), M Graham 0-1, O Doherty 0-1, S McCallion 0-3f, G McAleese 0-1f.
ST GALL’S – P Murray; S Kennedy, A McLean, CD Brady; G McGirr, S Kelly, A Healey; M McCrory, A Gallagher (0-1) P Gribben, S Burns, T O’Neill; K Stewart, Kieran McGourty, Kevin McGourty. Subs: K Niblock for Gribben (58), C Smyth for Kelly (56), C Gallagher for Kieran McGourty (60), C Crossan for O’Neill (61).
PORTGLENONE – B McCann; J Kearney, D Hagan, P Carey; J McKeever, T Convery, S Doherty; J Storey, M McCarry; B McErlean, M Graham, O Doherty; S McCallion, R Mulholland, G McAleese. REF – P Mullan (St Paul’s) .”
Today we take a look back at a Juvenile Presentation evening at Tir na nOg, Randalstown in 2007 where Parish Priest, Fr. Con Boyle, Dominic McKinley (Antrim hurling) and Michael Magill (Antrim football) were amongst the guests of honour. The club has had a strong association with the local schools, St. Benedict’s High School, (now St. Olcan’s), Mount St. Michaels Primary School and Tannaghmore Primary School and on the evening presentations of footballs and hurling sticks were made to the three schools.
Dunloy wrote another chapter in their history book when they collected their eighth title in twelve years by beating Cushendall with a bit to spare in Sunday’s Antrim Senior Hurling final at Casement Park.
They trailed briefly in the early stage when a fired up Cushendall looked like they were capable of causing an upset, but once Martin Currie grabbed his team’s first goal in the eighth minute there was no looking back and they went on to complete the 3-in-a-row for the first time in their history.
Cushendall kept in touch for most of the first half but after the change of ends Dunloy lifted their play another gear as they went on to win by ten points in the end, a winning margin that does not flatter the champions. When they lost team captain Gary O’Kane through injury just before half time, there must have been some anxiety in the Dunloy ranks. However they need not have worried as their defensive display in the second half will rate among the best they produced in their eight championship successes.
At the heart of it all was man of the match Malachy Molloy who moved in to pivot the defence early in the game and dominated the area. He plucked ball after ball out of the air and delivered them back with interest and in the end broke Cushendall hearts, hard though they tried.
Around him the three McMullan brothers Paudie, Damian and Frankie, full back Patch Mullan and substitute Micky McClements formed a watertight barrier and on the odd occasion that Cushendall managed to get through Gareth Magee in goals was equal to anything they threw at him.
Cushendall came out with all guns blazing and for the first five minutes they had the champions on the run. They created a succession of chances but all they had to show were points from Aidan Delargy and on from centre back Karl McKeegan who showed his forwards how it should be done.
Gregory O’Kane opened the scoring for Dunloy in the sixth minute and two minutes later Martin Curry grabbed the goal that set them on their way. Cushendall kept in touch for the remainder of the half as Aidan Delargy and Ryan McNaughton struck a couple of excellent points, but Gregory O’Kane and Liam Richmond were on target for Dunloy and they went at the break with a 1-7 to 0-7 lead.
If Cushendall were to get back into the game they needed early scores in the second half but Dunloy were dominant from the restart and two points from Liam Richmond and one from a free from 80 yards by Damian McMullan gave them a cushion that was never to be threatened. The real killer blow came in the 53rd minute when Paddy Richmond grabbed a high ball before soloing through and putting Martic Curry clear, and the corner forward dispatched it to the back of the Cushendall net.
The introduction of teenager Darren Quinn, who had played on the minor team beaten by Loughgiel in the curtain raiser, made an immediate impact when introduced as he scored two fine points. There was no way back now for the Ruairis, who managed just a single point in the second half as dominant Dunloy cruised home to take their eighth title in style.
Subs – Eamon McKee (1-0) for Alastair Elliott; Mickey McClements for Gary O’Kane; Darren Quinn for Nigel Elliott.
Ronan Kearney, Oran Scullion, Charlie McAlister, Ciaran McCambride, Kevin Elliott, Karl McKeegan (0-1), Martin McClafferty, Conor McCambridge (1-0), Michael McCambride, Aidan Delargy (0-3), Ryan McCambridge (0-2), Kevin-Martin McMullan, John Carson (0-1), Sean Delargy.
Subs – Brian McNaughton (0-1) for McMullan; Declan McKillop for Carson; Emmet McNaughton for Sean Delargy.