Glenariffe Oisins got their league campaign off to a good start when they beat Creggan on Sunday afternoon at Waterfoot. Fielding a few young players for the first time the Oisins were always on top against an understrength Creggan side, for whom right half forward Morgan Nelson did the bulk of the scoring. Although the home team were well on top during the first half they had only a six point lead at the change of ends. However a quick start to the second period, which brought a goal from Alex O’Boyle and points from Seanie McIntosh and Kevin McDonnell inside two minutes all but assured the home win.
A pointed free from Morgan Nelson (who was to score all but three of his team’s total) put Creggan into an early lead, but within thirty seconds the Oisins centre forward Caolan O’Connor had the ball in the net at the other end. O’Boyle did the bulk of the scoring for the Glenariffe men, while Oliver Kearney and Brogan O’Connor also chipped in, while the free taking of Morgan Nelson kept Creggan within touching distance and despite being outhurled they were only six behind when referee Mark O’Neill blew the half time whistle.
A rather soft goal from Alex Boyle seconds into the second half, and when Kevin McDonnell and substitute Seanie McIntosh popped over points the gap was out to eleven.
The majority of their scores came from O’Boyle, who showed great accuracy from placed balls, but there was also contributions from Seanie McIntosh and Caolan O’Connor. Morgan kept the Creggan scoreboard ticking over, while Jake McAteer also chipped in for the Kickhams, but the Oisins were always in control and emptied their bench to give some more new players their senior debut.
Seanan McToal, Daniel McAuley, Niall Murray, Daniel Kearney, Conor Patterson, Daniel Kearney, Aaron Cosgrove, Kieran McKendry, Odhran Gillan, Alex O’Boyle, Caolan O’Connor, Oliver Kearney, Patrick McIlwaine, Kevin McDonnell, Brogan O’Connor.
Subs used – Seanie McIntosh, Ronan Leech, Ciaran Black, Cathan Graham
Tiarnan McLarnon, Michael Carey, Small, Aidan McKeown, Jake McAteer, Brendan Maguire, Liam McCann, Danan O’Hara, Sean Duffin, Sam Maguire, Morgan Nelson, Kevin Rice, Niall McAuley, Peadar McGuckian, Michael Maguire, Dairmaid Mulholland
A strong second half performance from David Birt’s St Malachy’s proved the answer as the men from the Markets secured the spoils of victory and what may prove to be a vital couple of points at the expense of the Aggies on Friday evening.
The home side found their visitors tough adversaries in the opening period which proved a close affair with only a point between the sides at the end of the first half.
An early goal from the Mal’s McManus and points delivered by CJ Vernon, who was to go on to raise a half dozen in the contest, Millar and Devine ensured a narrow advantage at the half way juncture.
The Aggies were certainly well in contention at the half way stage with the Markets men just 1-06 to 1-05 in front but the second half was to provide a different outcome.
The home side really nipped quickly away from the start traps in the second period and they were rewarded when Maneely nipped through to find the net after a couple of minutes following an excellent build-up.
St. Malachy’s really had the bit between their teeth as the second half progressed and after the accurate Vernon added back to back points Maneely raced through the visitor’s rear guard to add a second goal as his side took control.
With their side on top the home side’s management looked to the bench to give game time and it paid dividends as replacement McBride unleashed a thunderous delivery to the back of the net.
St Agnes fought to the end but despite their best efforts the home side’s defence stood firm and at the long whistle St Malachy’s crossed the finishing impressive 12 point winners.
St Malachy’s: S Turley, C Connolly, C Corr, S O’ Neill, D Casey, D Quinn, P Hanna (0-01), c Vernon (0-06), C Jordan (0-01), G Mc Manus (1-00), R Maneely (2-00), G Rice, P Turley, P Devine (0-02),P Millar (0-02)
Antrim lost their final game in the Ulster Minor Football league to a strong and talented Monaghan in Portglenone on Saturday. The Farney county just missed out in a place in the league final through an earlier two point defeat to Derry but always had too much in the tank for a very young Antrim side.
The game was as good as over at the halfway stage when Monaghan led by 2-7 to 0-1 with Max Maginnity and Tommy Mallen getting the Monaghan goals but Antrim performed much better in the second half and the introduction of Creggan’s Conor Johnston provided them with a real scoring threat.
The Saffrons hit 0-9 during the second 30 minutes with number (22), Johnston leading the way hitting 0-7 (0-4 frees) with Se Ferris, Michael McKenna and Fintan Close the other marksmen but never looked like hauling in the opposition who continued to look threatening every time they attacked.
They went on to add 2-12 to their first half total with Odhran Maher and John McChrystal getting the goals and Max Maginnity, Tom Doherty, Conor Jones, Andrew Stewart and Sean Og McElwain amongst the point scorers.
Quite a number of this Antrim team are under age again next year and despite poor results in this year’s league they have shown enough to suggest that they can be a serious threat next year and a lot of work is being put in with this group of players.
Antrim: 1 Daniel McCann, 2 Daire Oglesby, 3 Sonny Doyle, 4 Ethan Walsh, 5 Ronan Donnelly, 6 Colla Ward, 7 Cillian McEldowney, 8 Michael McKenna, 9 Jack Harney, 10 Patrick O’Neill, 11 James Blaney, 12 Fintan Close, 13 Shea Burns, 14 Eoin Maginnis, 15 Shea McCann, 16 John McAtamney, 17 Liam Lynn, 18 Joseph Lewis, 19 JJ Higgins, 20 Daire Higgins, 21 Connor O’Connell, 22 Conor Johnston, 23 Ciaran McAlea, 24 Se Ferris
Monaghan: 16 John Flanagan, 2 Ethan McCaffrey, 3 Cian Greenan, 4 Jack Lynch, 5 Tomas Quinn, 6 Tommy Mallen, 7 Caolan Clerkin, 8 Canice Murphy, 9 Johnny Wright, 10 Conor Burns, 12 Tom Doherty, 13 Matthew Finn, 15 Sean Og McElwain, 18 Andrew Stewart, 21 Conor Jones, 22 Max Maginnity, 21 Conor Jones, 23 John McChrystal
Brendan McTaggart reports from Louth Centre of Excellence, Darver
Leaving Darver on Saturday afternoon, there was plenty of optimism for those from Antrim. Galway took the championship points on offer but Antrim played with passion, intensity, desire and plenty of skill on a day where they remained in the contest for much of the game.
Indeed with Orrin O’Connor’s major with just over ten minutes of the hour remaining, Antrim had cut the Galway lead to six and were troubling the Tribesmen’s defence. Instead of more Antrim pressure however, Galway hit back to run out 11 point winners at the end.
Much of that was thanks to the rising star within the Galway ranks, Aaron Niland. From the first whistle, the Clarinbridge native showed his undoubted talent and finished the game with 1-10 but there were plenty of stars on show wearing Saffron also. Liam Glackin at centre half was outstanding throughout. Breaking clear from rucks and open play, Glackin was exceptional as he led by example but he had plenty of help with Charlie McAuley and Cian Baudant excelling.
Up top, Roan McGarry gave Galway plenty of problems. His stick work exceptional while finishing the hour with eight points, McGarry shone. While the performance was notable, ultimately it was a defeat but considering this performance came against a side who are All-Ireland contenders on a yearly basis, Saffron manager Alan Rainey had every right to be happy when he spoke after the game: “From our perspective, we’ve conceded two soft goals that (had they been prevented) make it a five-point game,” Antrim manager, Rainey said after.
“We asked them for work-rate, intensity, honesty and they did the saffron jersey very proud today.
“That team (Galway) will go very close to the All-Ireland. We can see the work they (Antrim players) are doing in the gym and on the pitch so I’m unbelievably proud to manage that team today.
“Galway beat Offaly 5-35 to 1-10 and we beat Offaly by six, but 11 points against a team like that having conceded two soft goals, we’ve got to be happy.”
Despite playing into a stiff breeze, Galway were quickly on the front foot with Niland giving warning immediately as he went directly for goal, a feature of his play with everything going through the number 14 would drop deeper to rove around the forward line.
he clipped over a pair of early frees with Dean Cunningham landing Galway’s first from play before Antrim gradually settled.
The Saffrons dropped Callagh Mooney deep and this ultimately saw Galway centre-back Donnacha Campbell enjoy a free road to sweep, giving Antrim early issues from getting on the front foot but a superb score by Enda McGurk who forced the turnover settled them before McGarry opened his account when showing great skill to pop the ball into his hand from the ground in traffic and point.
Niland hit back from a free and then after Colm Burke drove over for Galway on 12 minutes, he had the ball in the net 60 seconds later as Brian Callanan burst forward and although losing control of the ball, managed to regatta and pass inside to Callanan who found the roof of the net.
Antrim responded well with a brace from McGarry, but Galway would hit four of the next five points as they threatened to pull away with Conor Gilligan and Eoghan Mulleady assisting Niland.
However, Antrim continued to stick to the task and a McGarry free just before the break trimmed the gap to six with Galway 1-9 to 0-6 ahead.
The lads from the west would open the second period brightly with Dean Cunningham and Niland hitting early points, but Antrim were hoping their own and went score-for-score with Roan Fitzgerald getting his name on the board.
Antrim goalkeeper Anthony Mullan then recovered well to deny Callanan what seemed a certain goal after he had batted a dropping ball into the corner-forward’s path, but the gap extended to nine when Niland played a one-two from a line ball and drove over superbly from out on the right.
But there was no quit in Antrim and they were rewarded with a superb goal on 49 minutes as McGary’s free dropped and in a crowd of players, O’Connor gathered, spun and sent a rasping low shot to the corner of the net.
There was a glimmer of hope for the Saffrons, but Galway hit back with quick fore points through Michael Burke and Mulleady before the game was sealed on 52 minutes as Niland stood over a free close to goal and with Antrim napping, he went low and found the net.
A fine score on the run capped a great day for the star attacker and while McGarry had the final say with a pointed free for Antrim, Galway claimed the opening win, but Antrim will take plenty of positives ahead of next week’s meeting with Kilkenny in Abbotstown.
“He (Niland) scored a goal at the end from a 21-year free and he is a special talent, one of the best hurlers at this level in Ireland, but I thought we did well on him today,” the Antrim manager opined.
“You don’t understand how proud I am of the boys today and the backroom team, I’m lucky to be able to fall back on all of them, so I’m proud to be Antrim manager today.”
The Saffrons Leinster odyssey moves to Kilkenny on Saturday with the match refixed for Abbotstown instead of Nolan Park where it was originally fixed. Another chance for the young Saffrons to show what they are made of against some of the best the hurling world has to offer.
GALWAY: Shane Murphy; Ed O’Reilly, Sean Murphy, Gearoid King; Dylan Quirke, Donnacha Campbell, Jonah Donnellan; Michael Burke (0-1), Gavin Maher (0-1); Conor Gilligan (0-1), Colm Burke (1-1-), Eoghan Mulleady (0-2); Brian Callanan, Aaron Niland (1-10, 1-7 frees), Dean Cunningham (0-2).
Subs: Bobby Feeny for C Gilligan (41), Ciaran Leen for D Cunningham (46), Evan Kennedy for S Murphy (54), S Keane for A Niland (56)
ANTRIM: Anthony Mullan; Reece Cunning, Cian Baudant, John Scullion; Niall Magee, Liam Glackin, Charlie McAuley; Enda McGurk (0-1), Fionn Jemfrey; Ronan Fitzgerald (0-1), Callum Kane, Sean og Blaney; Roan McGarry (0-8, 5 frees), Orrin O’Connor (1-0), Callagh Mooney.
Subs: Peadar McDonnell for S Ob Blaney (23), Paddy Martin for F Jemfrey (30), Liam McEnhill for C Kane (45), Ryan Scott for C Mooney (55)
Naomh Eanna got their first win of the season at Hightown last Sunday when they beat St Brigid’s by 2-12 to 1-7, to leave the Musgrave Park side still looking for their first win of the season
Played in difficult conditions the team were level at the end of the opening quarter but a goal from a penalty and a point from play by Naomh Eanna’s Cillien Gilmour helped his team to a 1-4 to 0-4 half time lead.
When the home side added the first three points of the second half through Michael Morgan, Ronan Lala and Thomas Gilmour they were firmly in control and it was clear that St Brigid’s had a mountain to climb. Rory McErlean pulled a point back from a free but Naomh Eanna pushed on with a point from play by left half back Owen Kennedy, three in a row from full forward Fionn Nagle and one from a 45 from Tomas Gilmour.
A goal from midfielder Sean Logue and a point from Brian McGurk gave St Brigid’s some hope, but the door was firmly shut when Naomh Eanna substitute Sean McBride goaled at the other end to wrap up an eight point win.