GAA Football

I've scored better goals, jokes Brian ‘Bam' Neeson

Brian 'Bam' Neeson, right, hit the headlines with a brilliant 1-6 against Fermanagh in 2014

IT was the kind of goal Gaelic footballers can only dream about. Brian ‘Bam’ Neeson’s chipped finish in Antrim’s Dr McKenna Cup win over Queen’s on Wednesday night was captured by the Irish News’ digital video team.

With the ball rolling along the ground and clean through on goal, ‘Bam’ clipped the ball soccer-style over Queen’s ‘keeper Jonathan Denney and into the net to seal a six-point win.

Neeson’s perfectly executed finish soon morphed into a big hit on social media.

The St John’s clubman, who also keeps goal for Irish Premier League club Carrick Rangers, wheeled away laughing at his own mesmerising finish.

Asked about his wonder goal, Neeson smiled: “Aye, it wasn’t bad! I was actually getting a bit of stick because I dropped the ball coming into me.

“The Carrick lads were texting me about dropping the ball. I went to catch it and I dropped it. That’s how the ball ended up on the ground.

“It had started raining and the pitch started to grease up so I just noticed the ‘keeper running out. I thought: ‘I can either smack this and it could go anywhere, or I can put my foot under it and chip him’.

“When the ball landed in the net I just started laughing! If you look at the end of the video you can see me laughing because, as our ‘keeper big Chris Kerr would tell you, I try a few wee things in matches and sometimes they don’t come off.

“In fact, I’ve scored a couple like that past big Kerr. In the video after I scored you can hear him shouting: ‘No he didn’t!’

In a tongue-in-cheek moment, Neeson, who is good friends with Kerr, boasted that it wasn’t even his best-ever goal. The corner-forward fondly recalls a better one he scored for St John’s against St Gall’s around eighteen months ago.

“The goal against Queen’s isn’t the best goal I’ve scored. I scored a goal against big Chris Kerr at Milltown.

“It was a league game between St Gall’s and St John’s. It was from 45 yards and it finished in the top corner. Big Kerr didn’t have a chance. He was raging about it! Make sure you put that in the paper!”

Neeson returned to the Antrim fold this season after a year away. A precocious attacking talent, ‘Bam’ shot to prominence with his 1-6 game-winning tally that sunk Fermanagh in the 2014 Ulster Championship.

He was recruited by Carrick Rangers in recent seasons and has emerged as one of the best goalkeepers in the Irish League. A personal trainer at Flex Fitness Centre, Neeson couldn’t juggle both codes in 2015 but believes he is better equipped to do so this year.

He hit five flawless frees upon his return against Derry last Sunday and added an eye-catching 2-1 against Queen’s on Wednesday night.

“I think the soccer has helped my free-taking in Gaelic,” he said. “As a soccer ‘keeper, you’re kicking off the ground a lot more and it stands to you.”

What a goal from Brian Neeson


Neeson faces a busy schedule over the next week. Carrick Rangers face Banbridge Town in the Irish Cup tomorrow afternoon and will be in goal for their re-arranged Premiership match against Cliftonville at Solitude next Tuesday.

The following night ‘Bam’ will line out for Antrim in another McKenna Cup Section A game against Tyrone at Healy Park.

“Derry was a disappointing result, but it was good to get the minutes under the belt in a competitive match,” he said.

“I played 45 minutes against Derry and played another 35 against Queen’s. That’s the only games I’ve played Gaelic in about a year.

“It’s good to get back into the swing of things. I’m still a bit rusty, but that’ll come over the next couple of weeks.”

Neeson had an action-packed schedule the day after his cheeky chip at ‘The Dub’.

“I’m flat out with work. I’ve been working since six this morning right through to seven tonight. Before going to bed last night, I looked at the goal a few times and had a laugh about it and went to sleep happily last night.”

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