Cargin cruise into quarter-finals of Antrim SFC
Northern Switchgear Antrim SFC round one
DEFENDING champions Cargin safely navigated a passage to the Antrim quarter-finals with a convincing 3-15 to 0-6 win over O'Donovan Rossa at Ahoghill last night.
John Brennan's three-in-a-row chasing side came out of the blocks strong although they only led by five points at the break, 0-8 to 0-3.
The second half was all one-way traffic though as the Erin's Own men tagged on three goals to emerge 18-point victors – Kieran Close, Michael Magill and Tomas McCann (above) all finding the net.
They will meet the winners of St Teresa's and Aghagallon, who meet tomorrow, in the last eight.
THE action resumes this evening with Lámh Dhearg and St Paul's set to meet in an all-west Belfast preliminary tie at Corrigan Park (5pm).
The Red Hands go into this game minus the services of the injured Conor Murray and Domhnall Nugent, who has not been cleared to play following a concussion he picked up while lining out for Antrim's U21 hurlers against Derry last month.
St Paul's are also likely to be without several key players who are on soccer duty tomorrow, while Liam McLarnon and Don Burns are injury doubts for Donagh Finnegan's men.
The Shaw's Road side suffered relegation from Division One this season after one year back in the top flight and suffered a heavy defeat to the Hannahstown men back in June.
Lámh Dhearg have an array of county experience despite the loss of Murray and Nugent with Declan Lynch and Ryan Murray central to their cause, whilst former Fermanagh player Ciaran Flaherty has been a fine addition this year and they ought to have more than enough to advance into the last eight.
The action moves to Hannahstown tomorrow with a double-header on offer.
At 1.30pm, St John's get their campaign underway when they take on another side to suffer league relegation, St James', Aldergrove.
With so much success at underage level, it was expected to translate into immediate success for the Johnnies, but they somewhat flattered to deceive in recent times.
However, this year they appear to have turned a corner, finishing second in the league and go into this game in fine form, although they are likely to be without the suspended Brian ‘Bam' Neeson.
Still, it appears the Corrigan Park men are starting to mature into a real force at senior level with Paddy McBride and Matthew Fitzpatrick to the fore, but they know a below-par display could give Aldergrove a chance to save their season.
The St James' men also have some talented young players, none more so than Seamus McGarry, but St John's have looked a much-improved side and must be taken to advance.
At 3.30pm, there is a repeat of last year's quarter-final between St Gall's and Portglenone.
This could well prove to be the tie of the round and last year, it took until the latter stages until the west Belfast outfit pulled clear as the Bannsiders lost their composure.
Sean Kelly, the heartbeat of the St Gall's teams that won 13 Championships from 2000 on is now patrolling the sideline and they come in this year hoping to make up for last year's disappointment when losing in the final.
Portglenone have shown somewhat erratic form this year, perhaps owing to injuries, yet they did take a point from St Gall's at De La Salle Park in the league and will have high hopes of finding the winning formula this time around.
It really could come down to what team's star performers deliver on the day, with CJ McGourty, Kevin Niblock and Micky Pollock central to St Gall's, while Portglenone will hope Niall McKeever has recovered from a knock sustained against St Paul's last week to start and help them over the line in what could be a close-run affair.
The final game of the weekend takes place tomorrow evening in Glenavy (7pm) with St Teresa's meeting Aghagallon.