Hurling & Camogie

Ulster Club JHC: Wins for Castleblayney, Swatragh, Cootehill and St Eunan's

Ulster Junior Hurling Championship quarter-finals

St Brigid’s Cloughmills (Antrim) 2-9 Castleblayney 1-15

Castleblayney withstood a late rally by Antrim champions Cloughmills at Cloney, Ahoghill on Saturday to book their place in the semi-final of the Ulster championship in two weeks’ time, writes John McIwaine.

The Monaghan champions appeared to be cruising to victory when they hit 1-5 without reply between the 43rd and 50th minutes, the goal coming from right half back Declan Hughes.

They were still seven clear with just two minutes of normal time left to play when Cloughmills team captain Liam Kearns threw his team a lifeline by firing home through a packed goalmouth, and when substitute Corey Blair grabbed his team’s second major three minutes later the outcome was suddenly in doubt.

To their credit Castleblayney steadied the ship with late points from Mark Treanor and Niall Garland but they still had to repel a late Cloughmills attack in which the St Brigid’s full forward Reece Watt had  a chance of hitting the equalising goal, before securing the semi-final spot.

In a closely contested first half there was little to choose between the sides, though Cloughmills were guilty of some very bad wides, four of them from what appeared simple tap-over frees.

Three of those came from normally reliable free taker Eoin Dobbin and one from his stand-in Mickey Devlin. 'Blayney’s free taker Leo Moloney missed a couple too but he was on target with four which helped his team to a 0-5 to 0-3 lead by the end of the opening quarter.

Cloughmills hit a purple patch and  two Liam Kearns points inside a minute, and one from corner forward Conaire Butler, put them two clear with five minutes left in the first half, but Moloney’s added his fifth pointed free of the half to cut the gap back to the minimum at the break.

Moloney struck again early in the second half but two pointed frees from Eoin Dobbin had the sides level by the 40th minute.

However Declan Hughes’ goal  gave  the Monaghan men a firm grip on the game and when they added the next five points through Moloney (2), Thomas Hughes (2) and corner forward Brian McGuigan it all seemed plain sailing. Clougmills came with a later surge but Castleblaney coped with the danger well to deservedly seal a semi-final spot.

Cloughmills: C McKiernan, S McKendry, K O’Boyle, S Martin, C Laverty, G Og Laverty, J Duffin, M Dobbin (0-1), O McCurdy, E Dobbin (0-3), R Laverty, L Kearns (1-0), C Butler (0-1), M Devlin (0-2), J Doherty (0-1).  

Subs: Corey Blair (1-0) for J Duffin; Reece Watt for M Devlin Stephen Smith (0-1) for Conaire Butler

Castleblayney: H Byrne, P Heavin, C Merrick, B Flanagan, D Hughes (1-1), P Treanor, C McNally, C McHugh, A Kenny (c), L Maloney (0-8 …8f), F Rafter, N Garland (0-2), B McGuigan (0-1), T Hughes (0-3), Patrick Finnegan.

Subs: Zack McArdle, Nathan Adair, Mark Treanor (0-1) for Patrick Finnegan

Swatragh (Derry) 4-21 Kilclief (Down) 0-10

SWATRAGH eased their way to a semi-final with a controlled win over Down champions Kilclief on Saturday at Owenbeg.

The Derry’s side inside line of Shea Walsh, Fintan McGurk and Cahal Murray had a fine day In front of the posts with a combined 4-15 tally.

Behind that, James Friel and Dominic Bradley were influential in a win that began with a Fintan McGurk point in the first attack that laid down a marker.

Kilclief lost their most influential player, Fintan Conway, to a red card late on but the game was long since decided.

Swatragh will have a concern with goalkeeper Conor O’Kane replaced with injury ahead of a semi-final with St Eunan’s.

Murray showed a clean set of heels to the Kilclief defence before denied a goal by a double save early on.

Conway and Stefan McGrattan had the slides level, 0-2 each, before Swatragh pilled away.

Walsh, Friel and McGurk shot Swatragh into control before t3he first goal in the 15th minute.

Cathal Murray’s pace took him clear before a finish across the keeper for a 1-7 to 0-2.

Kilclief needed a goal to peg themselves back into the game. It was a fine goal hammered to the net by Walsh in a move Murray began with his link play.

Swatragh began the second half with points from the pacy McGurk and Walsh from a free before Friel lofted over the bar.

The score of the game came in the 51st minute. Replacement ‘keeper Niall McQuillan’s puck-out was picked out by Dominic Bradley. His crossfield ball found McGurk who lashed to net.

Fionn McFall and Fintan Conway added points for Kilclief who were reduced to 14 men.

Dominic Bradley added a score before McGurk added a second goal to put the icing on the Swatragh performance.

Swatragh: C O'Kane, M Ó hAgáin, P Turner, J McKeagney; J Friel (0-3), C Quinn, B Kearney; SF Quinn, T Walsh (0-1); D Bradley (0-2), E McGuckin, K McAllister; S Walsh (1-8, 0-6 frees, 1 65), F McGurk (2-4), C Murray (1-3)

Subs: N McQuillan for C O’Kane (41), J Grant for K McAllister (41), M McCormick for J McKeagney (51), N O’Doherty for R McGuckin (51), M Cassidy for M Ó hAgáin (51)

Kilclief: L Deegan; L McEvoy, L Gordon, C Shields; P Nugent, O Curran, C Magee; A McCann, S McGrattan (0-4 frees); S Cultra, F Conway (0-3), S Deegan; E Kelly, F McFall (0-3), C Magee

Subs: D Shields for L McEvoy (37), R O’Neill for S Deegan (53)

Erne Gaels, Belleek 0-5 Cootehill Celtic 4-17 

A classy Cootehill Celtic side with nine members of the Cavan senior squad had far too much power and panache for a youthful and inexperienced Belleek side in Ballyshannon. 

The winners were on top in all departments against a side who had not played in Ulster since 1984 when they were narrowly defeated by Setanta of Donegal. 

The winners, who also enjoyed a considerable advantage in physique, led by 2-10 to 0-4 at the break. 

Impressive right half forward Rian Delaney grabbed the first goal-a well-executed effort in the sixth minute to put them into a 1-2 to 0-1 lead. 

This was followed by another goal from Dylan Adams. 

The Gaels, for whom Ultan O’Reilly and Cormac Daly made up their entire score of 0-4 at the break were battling but struggling all over the field. 

Delaney and marksman Mark Moffett (0-42f) were scoring at will with Philip McCabe, Gavin Fitzpatrick, team captain Diarmaid Carney and Conor Bannon also on target. 

It did not get any better for the Gaels in the second half as their only scores came from Cormac Daly (0-2) as Fermanagh panellists Thomas Burns , Odhran Johnston and Ultan O’Reilly fought hard to stem the tide.  

Meanwhile, Moffett and McCabe got two more goals from Moffett and Ben Brennan, with Delaney, McCabe and Moffett also landing points at will. 

Erne Gaels: O Gormley; D McManus, M Britton, P Johnston; G McManus, S Mimna, D Gormley; T Burns, E Leonard; S McElroy, O Johnston, C McManus; C Daly (0-2, 0-1 free) S Boylan, U O’Reilly (0-2). 

Cootehill Celtic: N Clerkin; J McKittrick, E Shalvey, E Crossan; D Boyle, J Carney, D Carney (0-1); G Fitzpatrick (1-3), C Bannon (1-1); R Delaney, (1-3), P McCabe (0-2), M Moffett (0-5, 0-3 frees); B Brennan (1-1) B Tully, D Adams (1-1). 

Referee: B Winters (Tyrone) 

St Eunan’s (Donegal) 4-24 Omagh (Tyrone) 0-9         

St Eunan’s had little difficulty in disposing of a pretty outgunned Omagh side in O’Donnell Park, Letterkenny on Saturday. 

Ironically, their junior side are Donegal champions but as county champions Setanta are up to intermdiate grade, Eunan’s who lost in the local senior county final are eligible to play in the junior competition. 

 Kevin Kealy, Matt Ahern, Dáire Ó Maoiléidigh and Peter Kelly scored the goals in the 27-point victory over the Tyrone junior champions.   

The locals, thanks to a lightning start and early goals scored by Kealy and Ahern, had 2-3 chalked up before St Enda’s even raised the first of their four first-half white flags.  

And with Ó Maoiléidigh, Cormac Finn, Brian McIntyre,  Sean McVeigh, Kelly and Kealy really stamping their authority on the game, St Eunan’s were 3-14 to 0-4 in front at half-time. 

Ó Maoiléidigh, who ended the game with a personal tally of 1-5, scored the third goal for a rampant St Eunan’s while Mark Corry scored all of St Enda’s first-half points from placed balls. 

Kelly then polished off a good move for a fourth St Eunan's goal within a minute of the restart for a 4-14 to 0-4 lead.  

And with the locals still on top all over the wide open spaces of O’Donnell Park, they added three quick-fire points to extend their lead to 24 points. 

Mark and Fionn Corry responded with two points for the Omagh outfit, but the game fizzled out in the last quarter as St Eunan’s posted seven points to St Enda’s two.   

St Eunan’s will now face Swatragh from Derry, in the Ulster semi-final who are a senior club in the Oak Leaf county so this will be a much tougher test. 

St Eunan’s: C Hennessy; S Halvey, Conor Neely, L Heavey; R Hilferty (0-2), C O’Grady, C Finn; B MacIntyre (0-2) D Horgan; S McVeigh (0-5), M Ahern (1-0), K Kealy (1-4); P Kelly, D Ó Maoiléidigh (1-5, 0-4 frees), F Delaney (0-2). Subs: R Forde (0-1) for M Ahern (h-t), C O’Brien for D Horgan (h-t); C Parke for C Finn (37) C McVeigh for C McNeely (37); N O’Donnell for L Heavey (49). 

Omagh: R Woods; B McGavigan, E Winters, C McGuigan; R Winters, C Lagan, P McKernaghan; F P O’Grady (0-1); E Campbell, M Corry (0-7, 0-5 frees), T McClements; B O’Neill, D Woodhead, C Taggart. 

Subs: F Corry (0-1) for B McGavigan (18); O McGuigan for T McClements(h/t); O Sally for E Winters (37); J Krawczyk for P McKernaghan (47).