A competitive Antrim ACHL season is almost at an end, with just the Division 4 title to be confirmed as the Gaels of Turf Lodge and Hightown toast league success.
Relegation was the key battle in last night’s Division 1 and the story took an early twist with St Gall’s notifying Ballycastle that they were unable to field at Páirc Mhic Uilín. The decision meant that McQuillan’s were safe without having to lay a hand on the sliotar but it also piled the pressure on neighbours Rossa.
The Shaw’s Road men were en route to the Ards Peninsula, where they were made to battle fiercely for survival, ultimately defeating Ballygalget by 1-15 to 0-12. The result confirms the Down men’s’ position in the relegation/promotion play-off, where they will meet Sarsfield’s.
Naomh Éanna finally claimed a historic promotion to Division 1 for the first time in their history as they defeated Eoghan Ruadh 3-23 to 1-17 in a high-scoring game at Hightown. Terence McNaughton’s men knew at least a point would be enough and they didn’t disappoint.
Sarsfield’s knew a win was needed in the Bear Pit against Carey if they were to stand a chance of snatching the title from under Naomh Éanna’s nose and they held up their end of the bargain with a 2-23 to 1-14 victory. It wasn’t enough however and they will now take on Ballygalget for a place in next year’s top flight.
In the bottom half there was joy for a resurgent Armoy, who shut the door on rivals Cloughmills faint chances of escaping the drop with a 0-24 to 0-17 over Oisín Glenariffe. Glen Rovers needed a point to seal their place in the play-off and duly relegated St Brigid’s in the process. They will now lock horns with St Paul’s to remain in Division 2.
The top two sides in Division 3 met on the Shaw’s Road, with the hosts St Paul’s chasing a big win that would clinch the title, but it was favourites Gort na Móna who held them off to win 1-15 to 2-07 and take the spoils.
Elsewhere in 3A, Cushendun warmed up for their IHC meeting with Sarsfield’s on Saturday with a 2-20 to 4-09 victory at home to Bredagh.
Rasharkin finished the second half of the league unbeaten in 3B but were made to work hard for their 1-20 to 2-11 victory over Na Magha as both continued their championship preparation. There was also an emphatic win for travelling Cúchullain’s Armagh, who overtook Glenarm with a 3-20 to 0-07 victory over Lámh Dhearg.
Erin’s Own Cargin took a big step towards the Antrim ACFL title with a win over South-West rivals Portglenone. In an intense affair, the Senior Football champions took home a 0-13 to 0-10 win from Páirc Uí Chatháin.
The result means that anything other than a large Creggan win in the final-day showdown will see the Toome men crowned champions.
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