Morale boosting league wins for Aghyaran, Greencastle and Killeeshil… as Galbally and Kildress suffer heavy defeats before their championship showdown…
Another series of highly entertaining games across the three divisions took place last weekend and with them came some very interesting results.
I had mentioned last week that it was at the bottom of divisions one and two where most of the excitement was taking place and the results over the weekend have raised the temperature another notch.
In the top division the big winners were Greencastle and Aghyaran who both recorded morale boosting wins over Moy and Ardboe respectively. Greencastle have recorded back to back wins for the first time in senior football and the four points they have secured recently have moved them out of the bottom three and given them serious hope of escaping the threat of relegation completely. Sean Teague’s side’s one point win over Moy could well prove to be the biggest two points of their season and with Kildress and Galbally both losing, Greencastle now have their fate very much in their own hands.
While this was taking place Aghyaran showed all their grit and resolve with a massive win over championship quarter finalists Ardboe. The O’Donovan Rossas had beaten Marty Penrose’s side narrowly in the championship a few weeks ago but the men from the border knew they were well capable of securing a win against the loughshore side. Aghyaran had suffered a humiliating drubbing last time out at Carrickmore but they are a difficult side to beat at home and so it proved on Sunday as they held on to win by one point in a very tight game with home advantage proving hugely important in the final analysis.
Ardboe will be very disappointed to have lost this game but they have their eyes fixed firmly on their forthcoming championship quarter final against Omagh St Enda’s. The loss of Tommy Mc Guigan has not helped their preparations but Micky Donnelly will be hopeful that their championship pedigree will help them focus on the task ahead.
In terms of league form both Kildress and Galbally have been struggling recently and if their results over the weekend are anything to go by the chances of either side escaping relegation appear highly unlikely. A Kildress side short on confidence faced the daunting task of an away trip to Dromore and it came as no surprise that Tiffy Quinn’s side were on the receiving end of a nine point beating. Their championship opponents Galbally meanwhile suffered an even bigger deficit as a rampant Omagh side, minus the Mc Mahons mind you, ran out easy winners against The Pearses on a scoreline of 3-13 to 1-9. Far from ideal preparation for either side as they prepare for their championship quarter final clash but far more worrying for both sides is the fact that they are rapidly running out of league games and league points are proving hard to come by. However the fact that both of them know they still have to play relegation rivals Greencastle in the final run in will give them some hope of league survival. It really is turning into a very intense battle at the bottom of the league and one that looks like it might go down to the wire.
At the top it is very much a case of as you were with Errigal, Coalisland, Dromore, Omagh and Carrickmore maintaining their good run of form but one of these sides will miss out on the top four play offs and as the run in intensifies the results of the various championship fixtures could have a huge say in the final top four placings. League success could well mean a whole lot more to some of these sides than others depending on how the championship fixtures turn out over the next couple of weeks..
In Intermediate football while the attention and focus of many people will be fixed firmly on the championship this weekend, it was the quest for further league points and the chances of survival or a possible promotion push that occupied the minds of most last Saturday and Sunday.
Killeeshil took on Augher in a local derby having recently parted company with team manager Padraig O’Kane. Normally when a new management team comes into place there is a renewed burst of optimism and increased drive and commitment among the players. This is exactly what happened on Saturday as Kevin Hughes, Shane Mallon, Gary Reilly and Brian Mc Kenna inspired the St Mary’s to a massive win over their near neighbours. In an enthralling and very tight game that was well refereed by Sean Quinn, Killeeshil showed great spirit and drive to edge out Augher by a single point and in so doing they gave themselves a huge chance of escaping the drop as they moved onto five points. They now sit in joint fourteenth place with Clan na Gael and Aghaloo and know that north Tyrone trio Strabane, Urney and Newtownstewart are within touching distance. The next few fixtures are going to be vital for all of these sides in the battle to avoid relegation.
Clan na Gael came agonisingly close to taking the points away to Moortown losing out in the end by a single point while Aghaloo fought out a highly entertaining draw away to Strabane. It really is tight at the bottom of division two and as the table sits presently any three of the bottom six could easily slip into the relegation mire.
Eglish are continuing to set the pace at the top of Division Two and their comfortable victory over Gortin was a real statement of intent. They have the look of potential double champions about them and can now begin to see the finishing posts in terms of the league. Their game against second placed Derrylaughan is a virtual league decider and by the time that game is played there could well be only the minor placings to play for. At this stage the playoff spots look like being between Derrylaughan, Loughmacrory, Moortown and Rock but with eight points still to play for it would be foolish to rule out Eskra, Augher, Pomeroy or Gortin. All four of these teams had been very much in the running up to last weekend but Pomeroy were the only team from the quartet to get a win with a high scoring display away to Edendork.
With so few games left it is all about mental attitude and self belief for any of these teams hoping to feature in the final three games of the season. Which ever of these sides can manage to get a run going, and winning three out of four of their games, could ensure that their season continues into the playoff semi finals at least. It means that none of the remaining games are dead rubbers and with so much at stake at both ends of the table we are in for some great tussles over the coming weeks.
Stewartstown and Killyman continue to lead the way in Division Three with The Harps picking up two very handy points following the concession of their game by Carrickmore Thirds. Killyman meanwhile took on Errigal Thirds in their fixture and ran out sixteen point winners to maintain their push for promotion. Wins for Fintona, Clogher, Drumquin and Glenelly mean that the top four playoff spots in this division will probably be decided between these teams. The only other teams with any real outside chance of breaking into this group are Beragh and Tattyreagh but both of these sides lack any consistency this year and I would be surprised if either of them can put together a good enough run to effect significant change to the final placings.
While there was a full list of football fixtures across all three divisions at the weekend there was also the small matter of the Camogie County Finals which took place on Sunday. Great credit must be given to the dedicated bunch of people who continue to promote the game against very difficult odds. The increase in popularity of Ladies Football certainly has not helped but clubs such as Eglish and Derrytresk continue to work hard to ensure that Camogie features prominently in the GAA calendar within Tyrone.
Brockagh faced Derrytresk in The Intermediate Final but lost heavily while Eglish took on Derrylaughan in The Senior Final aiming for a forty first County Title. Although the game was a bit closer than the first final Eglish retained the title adding yet another to their roll of honour.
In minority sports such as Camogie is within Tyrone you usually find a few very committed individuals or families feature prominently in the continued promotion of their game. Therefore it should come as no surprise to find the Jordan name standing out on the Eglish team sheet. It would be interesting to total up the number of senior county medals won by the Jordan family as I would imagine it would probably result in some sort of record which is unlikely to be bettered in any county across the country.
Congratulations to both winners and commiserations to the beaten finalists.
TYRONE SENIOR CAMOGIE CHAMPIONSHIP FINAL 2010
Eglish secure 41st county title
Eglish 3-8 Derrylaughan 0-5
Eglish St Patrick’s won their 41st Tyrone Senior Camogie title in style on Sunday past. Derrylaughan had been given little chance going into the game, but they pushed their more illustrious opponents all the way in the final.
Ultimately the result was never really in doubt as Eglish stormed into a 2-6 to 0-2 interval lead. It was the Derrylaughan girls who were quick to settle into the game with a point from Catherine Hanna on two minutes but solid defenders Ciara McGready and Brenda Horsfield kept the Derrylaughan attacking threat at bay.
It wasn’t until after nine minutes that Eglish registered their first score when a Susan McCann free lobbed the goal keeper and landed in the back of the net. The experienced Eglish side never looked back after this and dominated the rest of the first half as four different players registered scores, with Siobhan Hughes and sisters Shauna and Aisling Jordan landing points before Leona Gallagher drilled home a second goal for Eglish.
Derrylaughan enjoyed a brief recovery on the restart with points from ‘Player of the match’ Catherine Hanna and Laurissa O’Neill and goal keeper Brigid Nugent pulled off fine saves but this was never enough to prevent Eglish from securing the spoils.
Late points from Maria Jordan, Susan McCann, Leona Gallagher and a goal from Shauna Jordan put a comfortable gloss on the winning margin. Derrylaughan’s Joanne O’Neill weighed in with a point five minutes from full time but it proved to be in vain in the end. Eglish now have it all to do against Derry Champions Coleraine in September in the Ulster Semi-Final.
Eglish: 1. Kelley Fay; 2. Ciara McGready, 3. Brenda Horsfield, 4. Paula Neill; 5. Frances Bigley, 6. Julie Lagan, 7. Claire Jordan; 8. Shauna Jordan (1-1), 9. Denise Daly; 10. Aisling Jordan (0-1), 11. Susan McCann (1-2), 12. Maria Jordan (0-1); 13. Siobhan Hughes (0-1), 14. Leona Gallagher (1-3), 15. Cathy Jordan
Subs: 16. Shauna O’Callaghan 17. Caoimhe O’Callaghan 18. Ursula Daly 19. Aisling Donnelly 20. Niamh McVeigh 21. Gemma Mason 22. Lucy Mason
Derrylaughan: 1. Brigid Nugent; 2. Colette Donnelly, 3. Ciara Rocks, 4. Orlaith McAliskey; 5. Ursula Coary, 6. Ailish Devlin, 7. Siobhan McGrath; 8. Maggie Conway, 9. Catherine Hanna (0-3); 10. Laurissa O’Neill (0-1), 11. Meabh McGurk, 12. Katie Corr; 13. Shona Hagan, 14. Monica O’Neill, 15. Joanne O’Neill (0-1)
Subs: 16. Kathleen Deeney 17. Roisin McAuley 18. Niamh McErlean 19. Colleen Dorman 20. Louise Dorman 21. Stephanie Dorman 22. Nuala Quinn 23. Sarah Donnelly 24. Bronagh McCabe 25. Mairead Conway 26. Cecilia Devlin 27. Kathryn Ryan
Referee: Tommy McIntyre, Antrim
TYRONE INTERMEDIATE CAMOGIE CHAMPIONSHIP FINAL 2010
Doiretreasc turn on the style to win intermediate title
Doiretreasc ‘Cailini an Chnoic’ had a comprehensive win over a depleted Brocagh side in Moy on Sunday past to take their place in the Ulster Quarter-Final line-up.
The formidable Caoimhe Rafferty led the charge for Cailini an Chnoic to win their fourth Intermediate Championship title in a row with five goals and three points to her credit. She was clearly a cut above the rest and fully deserved her ‘Player of the Match’ award.
It was a clinical performance from this young Doiretreasc side and on the evidence of this performance it will take a lot from O’Donavan Rossa, Magherafelt to deny them a place in the Ulster Final. Doiretreasc took the game by the scruff of the neck with numerous scores coming from Caoimhe Rafferty, Aisling Corr and Oonagh O’Neill in the first half. Sally McDonald and Siobhan Donnelly worked relentlessly in the Brocagh defence but nothing could stop the Doiretreasc attack.
The Doiretreasc defence contained Brocagh with a minimum of fuss. Brocagh’s hard working Laura McGonigle and Sally McDonald eventually got their names on the score sheet after numerous shots were blocked down by first class goalkeeper Michelle Fitzgerald. The industrious mid-field pairing of Emma Fitzgerald and Niamh Hughes bagged more points for Doiretreasc at the start of the second half and great teamwork saw Caroline O’Neill and Jane Canavan tag on more points for Doiretreasc with substitute Eithne O’Neill finishing off the scoring with a well taken goal.
Carrickmore are one of the form sides in senior football at the moment and they produced another impressive display to win 2-14 to 0-10 away to Donaghmore.
The visitors laid the foundations for their win in the first half as they established a 1-10 to 0-3 interval lead with Caolan Daly getting their goal and Kevin McNally, Finbar Magill and Barry Daly among the points, Dan Toner and Richard Hetherington the Donaghmore marksmen. In the second half the home side fought back with scores from Hetherington, Shane Mulgrew and defender Sean McCaul but Carrickmore lifted their performance to another level with Mark Donnelly grabbing their second goal and McNally finishing the contest with half a dozen points to his name.
Aghyaran picked up a crucial win in their bid to avoid the drop when they had the minimum to spare at home to championship conquerors Ardboe. The St Davogs led 0-6 to 0-5 at the break with Gary Leonard, Martin Penrose and Michael Anderson chalking up points, Kyle Coney and Frank McGuigan on the mark for the Rossas. Early frees from Coney and John McConville put Ardboe in front at the start of the second half before Rossas keeper Ryan Coleman saved an Anthony Devine penalty. Two minutes later though Anthony McMenamin scored the only goal of the game and despite points from the McGuigan brothers, Frank and Brian, they held on to win on a 1-7 to 0-9 score line.
Dromore maintained their push for a league semi final berth while at the same time leaving opponents Kildress in danger at the opposite end of the table following a 0-20 to 0-11 win.
The St Dympnas led by double scores at the break, 0-10 to 0-5, with Eoin McCusker, Colm McCullagh and Paddy Montague notching points, Conor McAleer and Frank McGurk on target for the Wolfe Tones. McGurk reduced the deficit on the restart but then a run of scores more or less won the game for the hosts with McCusker, McCullagh and Sean O’Neill all supplying points as they won with a bit to spare at the final whistle.
Omagh returned to winning ways thanks to a comfortable 3-13 to 1-9 win away to bottom of the table Galbally. The contest got off to an explosive start with Keith Burns and Dean O’Neill both finding the Pearses’ net in the opening two attacks of the game. Galbally responded with points from Paul Rafferty, Mickey Murphy and John Moylan but they were always playing catch up after that. Murphy had a Galbally goal in the second half but Omagh hit back with points from O’Neill, Gary Taggart and Damian McGloin before McCarron put the icing on the cake when he scored their third goal.
Greencastle made it back to back wins to edge away from the danger zone after having the minimum to spare over Moy at home. It was the St Patrick’s who were on top in a low scoring opening period thanks to points from Mark Carson and Terry McDermott. In the second half Moy had scores from Sean Cavanagh, Colm Cavanagh and Peter Mallon but Greencastle were always able to keep their noses in front through efforts from Carson and McDermott to move onto half a dozen points for the season. Moy finished the game with fourteen men after defender Tommy McNicholl was sent off for a second yellow card offence in the closing stages of the first half.
Coalisland lost their unbeaten record the previous weekend but they returned to winning ways on Sunday afternoon at Father Campbell Park when they had a comfortable 1-18 to 0-10 win against Cookstown.
It was a game that the Fianna were always in control of with Stephen Curran, Paddy McNeice and Gerard Toner all getting their names on the score sheet. The Father Rocks had points from Owen Mulligan, Raymond Mulgrew and Niall Glackin but on the day they could have few complaints about the end result.
Errigal Ciaran made the trip to Killyclogher and they came away with the points on a 1-16 to 0-10 score line. It was only in the second half though that the Dunmoyle based men managed to pull away after only a point divided the sides at the break. Peter Harte, Caolan Tierney, Dermot Carlin and Damian Meenan were on target for their respective teams as Errigal Ciaran led 0-7 to 0-6. In the second half Ronan McRory and Ciaran McGinley had points either side of a Peter Harte goal and despite scores from Carlin and Ryan McAleer the game drifted away from the home side.
O’NEILLS ALL COUNTY LEAGUE DIVISION TWO
Intermediate league leaders Eglish completed the double over opponents Gortin on Sunday afternoon when they eleven points to spare over the visitors at the final whistle.
It was a keenly contested affair throughout and it was only in the closing stages that the hosts made sure of victory as they hit 1-4 without reply.
Diarmuid McNulty and Conor McCann scored first half goals for their respective sides and at the break it was all square at 1-5 apiece. Michael Jordan scored an Eglish goal in the third quarter but Gortin responded with points from Kevin Mossey and McNulty to stay in touch. The visitors then lost Brian McGarvey to a second yellow card and moments later both Emmett McKenna and Shane Clarke were sent off for second yellow card offences as well. Jordan took his personal haul to 1-4 before Caolan Daly got Eglish’s third goal late on.
Killeeshil’s new management team got their tenure off to the best possible start when they had the minimum to spare over neighbours Augher at Kennedy Park on Saturday evening. It was a game that the St Mary’s couldn’t afford to lose and they will now hope to build on this result and get away from the relegation area. The home side led 0-6 to 0-5 at the break with Gary Reilly and Shane Mallon scoring a brace each, Patrick Treanor and Francis McMeel with two points each for the St Macartans as well.
In the second half it was just as close with Kevin Hughes and Declan Connolly exchanging points before Rory Cassidy levelled matters. With six minutes left to play Reilly won the game for the hosts with a superb conversion from fully fifty metres out for what was his fourth point of the contest.
Loughmacrory’s winning streak has extended to eight games after another impressive win this time at the base of Eskra. The St Teresa’s were out of the blocks quickly with the opening half a dozen points of the contest and they never looked back with Niall Donaghy, Enda Ward and Karl Logue among their points. Peter Hughes had a brace for Eskra but the hosts trailed 0-8 to 0-2 at the break.
An early second half goal from Ciaran Ward confirmed Loughmacrory’s dominance and even though the Emmetts responded with a Paul Meegan major they were fighting a losing battle. Stephen Donaghy capped a flowing move with a second Loughmacrory goal as they ran out comfortable double scores winners, 2-14 to 1-7, to remain firmly in the promotion picture.
Pomeroy returned to winning ways in style when they travelled to Edendork and came away with a 3-12 to 0-8 victory. Sean Donnelly missed an early penalty and it was all downhill for the St Malachy’s after that. Ciaran McKenna, Brendan Cunningham and Ollie McCreesh all featured on the score sheet for the Plunketts with Gary McCurry and Peter Mallon on target for the hosts.
Clann na Gael made the long trek to Moortown and their aim of getting much needed points just came up short as they lost out by the minimum margin on a 1-12 to 0-14 score line. It was honours even at the break with Brian Dooher, Stephen O’Neill, Conor Herron and Colum Campbell on target for their respective teams. In the second half Dwaine McVey scored the only goal of the game but the visitors stayed in touch through Barry Magill and Dooher before Tony Quinn won it for Moortown.
Newtownstewart will feel that they should have taken both points as they were well in control at home to Rock before the visitors grabbed a late goal to earn a share of the spoils on a 2-10 apiece score line, Dean Arnold and Ryan Maise with the St Eugene’s goals in the opening half.
It was also all square at Sigerson Park in a must win game for both sides as Strabane and Aghaloo played out a 2-9 to 0-15 draw. Martin McNulty and Anthony McMenamin got the Strabane goals with Stephen Donnelly doing the bulk of the scoring for the visitors. In a day of stalemates in this division it also finished on level pegging between Urney and Derrylaughan with Ronan Lafferty’s second goal of the contest right at the end rescuing the St Columba’s, Fergal McAliskey, Shea Coney, Ciaran Gervin and Brendan Quinn among the points for the Kevin Barrys as it finished 2-7 to 0-13.
O’NEILLS ALL COUNTY LEAGUE DIVISION 3
Still tight at top of Division three
The promotion and play-off race in Division Three continues to look close after the round twelve exchanges on August 15th, writes Damien Donnelly.
Leaders Stewartstown got the points over An Charraig Mhor and remain one point ahead of Killyman with Fintona and Drumquin leading the rest of the chasing pack.
The St Mary’s defeated Errigal Ciaran in impressive fashion, Mickey Donnelly leading the way points wise and Niall McAlinden bagging a brace of majors. Declan Quinn had six points for Errigal and Matthew Harte posted a point too.
Fintona overcame Castlederg 1-15 to 1-5 and sealed joint third spot in the table on 18 points alongside Drumquin.
The St Eugene’s were well in contention at half-time on 0-8 to 1-3, Damien Leonard netting the home goal, Leonard and Aidan Lynch also scoring points. Fintona started the second half with a Conor McCann major; points from Pauric Kelly, Mark Donnelly, Niall Mellon, McCann and others settling the issue.
Drumquin got the better of neighbours Drumragh, with two-goal Ryan McCrossan guiding the Tones in the right direction. Martin Taggart, meantime, scored six points for the Sarsfields.
Glenelly produced a good finish to beat Tattyreagh by three points. Kevin McCullagh contributed seven points for the St Joseph’s, with Seamus Harkin, Michael Nicholas, Conal McCullagh, Liam Nicholas and Ronan O’Kane also on target.
Kevin Gallagher, Robert Porter, Conor Taggart and Chris McCarroll got among the St Patrick’s scorers but they were undone by that St Joseph’s scoring run.
Owen Roes lost out at home to Dunngannon who had two goals from Conor McNulty and several well-taken Adam Mallon points. Paul Devine got a goal back for the hosts.
Clogher and Drerytresk provided a seven-goal thriller at St Patrick’s Park, Brian McElroy, Mark Bogue, Stephen McCaffrey and Paul Tierney getting the Eire Og majors. Mickey Rea had 1-6 for the guests and Kevin Doris goaled twice.
A Christopher Devlin penalty separated Beragh and Dregish at the finish, the Pearse Og’s having a spot-kick saved in contrast. Eamon McGovern got three points for the Pearse Ogs and Eddie Molloy landed five for the Red Knights.
Brackaville and Brocagh finished all-square at the Roes base, Ciaran Campbell getting the equaliser for the Emmets. Paddy Early and Ciaran Gevrin had earlier assisted in Brackaville going seven points clear.
This Saturday’s league matches see leaders Stewartstown travel to Clogher, second-placed Killyman meet Drumragh, Glenelly take on Beragh and Tattyreagh play Dungannon.
LADIES FOOTBALL FOCUS
Tyrone get set for Cork challenge
Tyrone senior ladies have recorded two impressive qualifier wins over Leitrim and Sligo but they face a big hurdle in their All-Ireland chase this Saturday, writes Damien Donnelly.
Cork stand in the way of progress to the semi-finals at Banagher in County Offaly (Saturday, 2.15pm, August 21st).
The Rebel girls are defending All-Ireland champions and have been at the top of the tree for several seasons now.
Cork overpowered Tyrone in a league match earlier this year but the Red Hands are ready to try and redress the situation.
Tyrone are playing well, are well prepared and looking forward to this tough test. They know that a top calibre performance will be required and very best wishes to them as they go in search of a landmark success.
The Red Hand girls contain quality players, allied to strong team spirit and cohesion. Cork could be rocked should Tyrone get into gear early and play to potential. It’s a very big ask but this is a Tyrone team worth keeping faith in.
Club wise, the county senior final between St Macartans and An Charraig Mhor has been pencilled in for the last weekend of August but hopefully Tyrone will still be in the championship by then and that would mean a deferral for this intriguing county decider.
Finals in other grades plus youth competitions and adult league games will also be on the agenda during the latter part of August and into September.
Tyrone Minors Prepare for All Ireland Hurling Final
While the focus of many Tyrone GAA fans attention this weekend will be based on Croke Park and the pending All Ireland Minor Football Semi against Mayo, another group of Tyrone minors will be quietly preparing for their big day out at Casement Park in Belfast.
The Tyrone Minor Hurlers have successfully reached the All Ireland Minor Hurling C final following a recent qualifying tournament in Monaghan.
Their opponents this weekend will be the current Ulster Minor B League Champions and neighbours Donegal.
The two sides last met in the Ulster League decider back in March and Tyrone lost out on that occasion by a single point. Ultimately it was a series of wides in the second half that cost Tyrone that day and manager Declan Bennett is keen to address that issue and reverse the result at the weekend.
“We had an excellent league campaign and we were really disappointed that we didn’t complete our first aim in winning that Ulster title. We have been working hard in training since then to improve our decision making and in particular our accuracy in front of goal.”
The Ulster league campaign was followed by a heavy loss to Ulster Minor Hurling League Champions Armagh but as Bennett points out the main target for the season has been this All Ireland Title.
“We are realistic about what we can achieve at this level. It may come as a surprise to many people but Armagh defeated Down, Derry and Antrim at minor level this year and we didn’t expect to compete at that level in the championship. That was the way it turned out. We sat down at the start of the year and set our sights on winning the All Ireland C title. Sunday provides us with an opportunity to achieve that target and the lads are really looking forward to competing and winning.”
The minors reached this years decider after impressive qualifying wins over Louth, South West Antrim and South Down at the qualifying tournament held in Inniskeen.
Tyrone Minor Hurling Panel 2010 – Damien Casey, Phillip Barker, Conor Coyle, Dylan Cushley, Ciaran McCrudden, Shane McGlinchey, Kevin Grimley, Caolan Morgan, Tommy Lowe, Tiernan Morgan, Ryan Jones, Tony McCrory, Ruirri Devlin, Dara Mallon, Dermot Begley, Conor McElhatton, Brian Mc Gurk, Liam Armstrong, Brendan Begley, Tommy Fox, Mark Mullan, Stephen Fox, Sean Kelly, K B Corrigan, Collie Connolly, Caolan Devlin, Gerard Gilmore, Brendan Mc Shane, Plunket Lagan, Aidan O’Neill, Ryan Owens