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The Year in Review - 2019

Photo of the Year: Rasharkin's Eamonn McNeill sees his penalty turned away in an Antrim ACHL Div 3 encounter with Cúchullain's Armagh.

A year of replays, long sought victories and superb drama draws to a close today. Travel with me as I cast an eye over the last twelve months of local GAA in Antrim and Derry...

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Eanáir | January

The St Paul's Ulster Minor Football Tournament saw Wolfe Tones Bellaghy kick the year off in some style as they fired six goals past Crossmaglen Rangers on New Year's Day. Midfielder Conleth McShane nabbed a hattrick as the Derry men triumphed.

The Creggan Ulster U21 Tournament was dealt a blow when Carrickmacross Emmet's opted to withdraw, but the talent on show in the competition shone through with St Brigid's and Magherafelt making the early running.

January ended with Glengormley's Naomh Éanna sealed a historic place in the All-Ireland IFC Final as they defeated An Spidéal of Galway. Three goals including a Joe Maskey lob from 50 yards clinched victory.

Feabhra | February

Rossa came up short against Dromore in the Semi-Finals of the Paddy McLarnon Cup, while the huddled masses chuckled into their cradled cups of tea as Sean McAuley welcomed them to the Skinny Latté BT9 derby between St Brigid's and Carryduff.

It was stout rather than coffee that won the day however as Daniel Guinness' late winner set up a final meeting with Dromore but the Tyrone men took home the title after a Tiernan Sludden goal eventually decided the tie.

There was heartbreak for both Naomh Éanna and Ruairí Óg as they came up short in their respective All-Ireland ties.

The Hightown men lost out to a hugely impressive Kilcummin side in the All-Ireland IFC Final, while Cushendall came close to edging out St Thomas' of Galway in the All-Ireland SHC Semi-Final in Parnell Park the same afternoon, losing out by a single point.

Márta | March

The all-county leagues commenced and there was the welcome sight in Antrim of Latharna Óg returning to action for the first time since 2014. The Craigyhill Terrors took their place in Division 4 of the Antrim ACHL while we took a closer look at Lenadoon's hotbed of GAA activity.

There was heartbreak for Cross & Passion's camogie team who lost out in the Corn Sceilge final in Ashbourne to St Angela's of Waterford and a more literal form of break for myself as an over-exuberant tackle in a game of reserve football limited my movements for a while!

Aibreán | April

The much-anticipated 'club month' arrived down the tracks in April and it went superbly with no complaints*. Clubs across Antrim and Derry crammed in as many matches as they could stomach and we saw Kilrea and Glenullin fail to end their respective poor form as they shared the spoils at Pearse Park.

We had our first afternoon of simultaneous coverage as Connor Kelly took charge of reporting from Ballyvoy as Carey saw off Cloughmills. Thankfully he behaved himself. We also made the journey to the Ards peninsula where Naomh Eoin struck late to seal victory at McKenna Park over Ballycran.

*No it didn't.

Béaltaine & Meitheamh | May & June

The league action slowed in Derry in mid-summer with the divisional competitions taking over, much to the frustration of many within the county. In Antrim the leagues continued to tick over, but the respective inter-county campaigns limited the club programmes in both counties.

Iúil | July

With the leagues beginning to reach the business end, St Mary's Ahoghill began their annual escape act and climbed out of the drop zone with a home victory over St Teresa's. The title races and relegation battles in both counties were incredibly tight, with plenty of permutations to keep us busy.

Championship was on the horizon and teams were battling for both league position and championship momentum as they entered the final few rounds.

Lúnasa - An tSraith | August - League

Dunloy sealed back-to-back league Antrim ACHL Division 1 titles with some breathing space but the other three Antrim hurling titles went to the wire. St Teresa's nipped in at the final fence to snatch the Division 4 title in front of Con Magee's who had led all year.

There was some consolation for the Glenravel man who overcame Na Magha in a two-legged play-off to seal promotion, while in Division 3 Gort na Móna saw off St Paul's to claim the title. Lámh Dhearg's descent into Division 4 was confirmed as the Hannahstown side struggled all season.

St Paul's couldn't displace Armoy in their promotion play-off and face another year in Division 3, where they'll be joined by St Brigid's Cloughmills who finished bottom of Division 2. At the top, Naomh Éanna were crowned champions but Sarsfield's couldn't displace Down side Ballygalget in their promotion play-off.

2018 IHC winners St Gall's finished below Ballygalget and made a swift return to Division 2 where they will regroup for next season.

Creggan relinquished their grip on the Antrim ACFL title as neighbours Cargin prised it from their grasp, while at the other end of Division 1 St Teresa's succumbed to the trapdoor. Ahoghill though again refused to be relegated, defeating Moneyglass in their relegation play-off to survive.

St Ergnat's finished second in Division 2 behind winners Rossa who made an immediate return to the top flight after a comfortable season's work, but at the other end Rasharkin suffered the agony of relegation via a play-off defeat to Ardoyne.

Lisburn will join St Mary's in next season's Division 3 as they made an immediate return, to be replaced by St Paul's who clinched the title to return to the second flight.

Across the Bann, Sleacht Néill defeated local rivals Glen to pip them to the title after the Watties had led for much of the season, while at the other end there was relegation for Banagher and Dungiven who had a tough season battling at the bottom.

Claudy tasted success in Division 1B and were joined in promotion joy by Newbridge who beat Kilrea to 2nd place. Down at the bottom, Glenullin recovered from their early trials to escape relegation with Ballymaguigan and Limavady the unfortunate candidates for the drop.

In Division 2, Slaughtmanus took home the title while Lissan produced a stunning run of form in the closing rounds to edge out Doire Trasna for the remaining promotion slot.

On the hurling side, Sleacht Néill swept the board, winning both the Senior Hurling League and the Mid Season Hurling league as they prepared for championship action in some style.

Lúnasa - An Chraobh | August - Championship

Early in August, Latharna Óg capped a sensational 12 months by sealing the Antrim Junior B title in dramatic fashion, launching a late comeback to stun holders All Saints in Ahoghill. Goals from Anthony O'Neill and Seamus McNeill sparked delirious scenes for the Craigyhill Terrors.

Glack and Drum emerged as favourites for the Derry JFC title around the same time, with O'Connor's catching the eye with a tremendous attacking display to defeat Sean Dolan's and Drum winning a thriller against Doire Colmcille.

On the same day, over in Portglenone Tír na nÓg dismissed Rasharkin's Antrim IFC challenge before Moneyglass announced their credentials, Colum Duffin hitting 0-09 as they saw off Cúchullain's Dunloy.

The early rounds of the Antrim SFC went mostly to form and saw Portglenone, Lámh Dhearg, Rossa and Aghagallon emerge to challenge the four seeded teams in the following month's Quarter Finals.

In the JFC, a dogged Laochra Loch Lao made St Pat's Lisburn work for their Quarter-Final slot, while there were wins for Ballycastle and Ardoyne on the same weekend.

While the SHC meandered through its group stages, the IHC and JHC plundered on with Sarsfield's and Naomh Éanna winning their preliminary battles in the former.

The Quarter-Finals of both championships took place on the final weekend in August, where Rasharkin, Gort na Móna, Glenarm and St Paul's booked their JHC Semi-Final slots while Sarsfield's, Carey, Naomh Éanna and Glenariffe became the last four remaining in the IHC.

Meán Fómhair | September

Meán Fómhair, mid harvest and the busiest championship month was teeming with entertainment and drama.

The Derry Intermediate and Senior Football championships sprung into life on the first weekend with Castledawson and 2018 SFC finalists Lavey prevailing in their opening encounters in Owenbeg. Steelstown and Claudy played out a thrilling draw in Celtic Park on the same evening.

The Ballycastle fairy tale continued in the Hightown dusk on the same evening as they saw off St Agnes' to reach an unlikely Semi-Final, while they were joined by O'Donnell's, Lisburn and Ardoyne who also secured wins.

The following day Lavey were joined by Sleacht Néill and Ballinderry in the Derry SFC Quarter-Finals while there were shocks as winless Banagher turned over Bellaghy and holders Eoghan Rua suffered defeat to Magherafelt.

The Saturday also saw a comfortable Derry IFC win for Drumsurn over Division 2 champions Slaughtmanus, while another entertaining draw was served up as Faughanvale drew with Foreglen.

In the Saffron county, St Gall's and Cargin set up a repeat of their epic 2018 SFC Semi-Final with comfortable wins over Aghagallon and Rossa respectively on the Saturday afternoon, while Aldergrove and Moneyglass progressed in the IFC.

Sunday saw the first instalment of the Portglenone Replay Junkies series as they contrived to throw away a SFC lead over Naomh Eoin in Ahoghill, only to be rescued by a late Conall Delargy equaliser. There was no shortage of drama that afternoon as Con Magee's shocked Sarsfield's to reach the last four of the Antrim IFC at the same venue.

In Hannahstown, newly promoted St Paul's did enough to squeeze past Glenavy to also join Glenravel in the final four of the IFC.

There was victory for Ballerin and Doire Trasna in the Derry IFC the same day before Swatragh eased through to the SFC Quarter-Final with a win over Glenullin in Bellaghy. Kilrea bowed out to Ballinascreen in Owenbeg before Glen dispatched Lavey in some style to clinch the last place in the final eight.

The action was coming thick and fast and focus moved to hurling the following week.

In Antrim, Friday night saw St Paul's book their JHC Final place by winning a tense encounter with Shane O'Neill's Glenarm but the most entertaining action took place the following day.

Carey and Sarsfields went toe-to-toe over an epic 80 minutes at Rossa, the brilliance of Conor McBride nudging the Faughs into the IHC final where they would meet Naomh Éanna who triumphed over Glenariffe at neighbouring St Paul's.

The drama continued on the Sunday as the SHC reached the final four, with the usual suspects involved. Ruairí Óg and Naomh Eoin repeated their exploits from 2018, with Cushendall rallying to seal a late draw and send the tie to a replay, which Ruairí Óg won.

Dunloy exorcised the ghosts of Ballycastle past by avenging their 2018 defeat to fierce rivals Loughgiel as Conal Cunning showcased his scoring ability on the north coast.

Over in Derry, Sleacht Néill stretched their scoring muscle to see off Lavey and Kevin Lynch HC ensured a repeat of the 2018 Semi-Final by defeating Ballinascreen afterwards at Owenbeg.

With fixtures spread out throughout the week, Swatragh and Banagher had set up an Intermediate decider while defeated Na Magha and Eoghan Rua would go forward to contest the JHC final.

The pendulum swung back to the big ball the following weekend. The JFC in both Antrim and Derry reached the final four, with Drum and Glack seeing off Magilligan and Moneymore respectively to reach the decider many were predicting.

In Antrim, Ballycastle's fairytale came to an end against a strong Ardoyne side who were joined in the final by Lisburn who comprehensively swept O'Donnell's aside at Woodlands.

At IFC level, Moneyglass accounted for Glenravel and Aldergrove defeated St Paul's to ensure they reached the Antrim decider. Having triumphed in their replays, Claudy and Foreglen went one better by defeating Lissan and Doire Trasna to reach the final four. The bitter rivals were joined by Castledawson and Drumsurn who secured victory over Desertmartin and Ballerin.

In the Derry SFC, Banagher produced another Saturday night shock with Swatragh put to the sword this time, while on the Sunday Slaughtneil saw off Ballinderry and Rossa and Glen both hit 1-15 to defeat Ballinascreen and Lavey respectively.

Cargin comfortably accounted for St Gall's in the second of the Antrim SFC Semi-Finals, but the drama was only beginning on the other side of the draw.

Having needed a replay to get past Naomh Eoin, Portglenone trailed 2017 champions Lámh Dhearg in the dying seconds, but a late Conall Delargy penalty rescued a draw and set up a midweek replay at the Dub.

Again the sides were inseparable, even after extra time and an incredibly tense free kick shoot out commenced. With both teams having taken two rounds of impeccable frees, Antrim chairman Ciaran McCavana arrived on Paddy Cunningham's shoulder to draw a halt to proceedings in a controversial move.

A further replay followed at a sodden Ballymena where finally, the Hannahstown men did enough to seal their final place.

The final weekend in September belonged to the ash with silverware handed out across both counties.

Cushendall natives Aidan Delargy and Terence McNaughton went head-to-head in their home town as Naomh Éanna inflicted more heartbreak on Carey Faughs and clinched their first ever IHC in the process.

Elsewhere, Gort na Móna took home the Antrim JHC title. Having seen off Rasharkin in the delayed Semi-Final, the Turf Lodge men got past St Paul's in the final to earn a shot at Ulster.

Sunday saw a feast of hurling in Owenbeg. Eoghan Rua claimed the JHC crown with victory over Na Magha, while Banagher breezed past Swatragh in the IHC decider.

The SHC Final was a more competitive affair as Kevin Lynch HC forced Sleacht Néill to dig deep, but a late Brendan Rodgers goal broke their resolve and the Emmet's glossed the scoreline in the final five minutes.

Over in Ballycastle, Dunloy repeated their 2017 success when two Seaan Elliott goals finally saw off Ruairí Óg and sealed the Antrim SHC title, setting the Creagh lorry rolling once again.

Deireadh Fómhair | October

Naomh Séamas of Aldergrove got the month underway by shocking favourites Moneyglass at a rain-soaked Portglenone to claim the Antrim IFC title, while on the Sunday at Corrigan Park, Lámh Dhearg continued their propensity for draws.

The Hannahstown men built up a strong lead with superb performances from Ben Rice and Marc Jordan, but Cargin stayed calm and a captain's performance from Michael McCann saved the day.

McCann rattled the net and led the comeback that culminated in Tomás McCann's late equaliser to send the game to a replay. Again.

Glack ended a 38-year famine as they produced a stunning attacking performance to break Drum hearts in the Derry JFC final at Celtic Park, with a superb shift from Cormac Boyle the highlight.

Over in Owenbeg, Foreglen calmly dispatched Castledawson to reach the Derry IFC final, with their defensive resilience breaking St Malachy's hearts and Eoghan Duffy twisting the knife by turning defence into attack with ease.

In the game that followed, Banagher's run came to an agonising end at the hands of Magherafelt in torrid conditions. The free-taking of Shane Heavron proved crucial for Rossa who scored only once in the second half and Conor Kearns' goal ultimately proved the difference.

The following day, after Claudy booked their Derry IFC final spot with a win over Drumsurn, the drama continued.

Sleacht Néill and Glen played out the kind of stirring encounter everyone had expected in their league encounter and when the dust settled the Watties had reached their first every SFC final, silencing those who thought their Sleacht Néill hoodoo would continue indefinitely.

A week later, the saga of the Antrim SFC finally drew to a close, but not with a whimper. In front of a live online audience, Lámh Dhearg and Cargin again proved inseparable in normal time, but after two gruelling periods of extra time, Erin's Own were celebrating two-in-a-row.

The same weekend, Antrim champions Lisburn bowed out of the Ulster JFC at the first hurdle, suffering defeat to Collegeland of Armagh in Glenavy, but there was more positive news for Derry's Eoghan Rua who swept aside Mullahoran at Owenbeg to reach the Ulster JHC Semi-Final, their goal coming from Ciaran McGoldrick.

Antrim representatives Gort na Móna squeezed past Letterkenny with one point to spare, while a Philly Curran goal dragged Naomh Éanna back from the brink at Owenbeg against Banagher. The Hightown men still needed a late Ruairí Donaghy point to seal a win that looked unlikely after a superb St Mary's start.

Glack's Ulster JFC run was short-lived as the following week saw them fall to Tyrone side Rock St Patrick's but their county title celebrations no doubt continued long into the winter.

The same weekend, there was an emotional Ulster victory for the camógs of St Mary's Ahoghill, who defeated Lavey to claim the Bridie McMenamin Shield, with Noreen Graham's brace of outstanding goals sealing the win.

The spotlight then shifted to Celtic Park as Derry football's showpiece took place. In the curtain-raiser, bitter rivals Foreglen and Claudy met in the IFC final, but the much-anticipated clash was controlled well by O'Brien's and Kevin O'Connor's class saw them run out winners on the day.

In the SFC Final, an inspired performance from Emmett McGuckin ensured that Magherafelt ended their 41-year exile from the John McLaughlin Cup winners' enclosure. Rossa controlled much of the game as Glen's hugely talented side were given no room in which to operate.

There were emotional scenes after the game as Danny Heavron spoke to Thomas Niblock amid delirious celebrations. I also received my first 'Thanks for the tip' as I moved among the crowd, having tipped Glen in that week's Derry Post.

Up in Belfast, Fermanagh's experienced champions Derrygonnelly left Corrigan Park victorious and continued Cargin's torrid form in Ulster competition as they booked their place in the Quarter-Finals.

Eoghan Rua continued their drive to the Ulster JHC final the following weekend with a facile victory over Inniskeen at an icy Hannahstown, before the crowd were warmed by a thrilling encounter between Bredagh and Naomh Éanna in the IHC Semi-Final.

The Down men clawed back a lead to level the game and send it to extra time and despite a stellar effort from Ian Galway's charges, late scores from Ryan Bogue and captain Cormac Ross sealed victory for the Antrim champions.

There was a shock in the second JHC Semi-Final as Antrim champions Gort na Móna fell to Newry Shamrocks in Ballela as the Down men reached their first ever Ulster final.

Mí na Samhna | November

The axe fell in the first week of November for much of the Antrim and Derry interest in Ulster as eventual winners Magheracloone ended Foreglen's interest and Naomh Náille had just too much for Naomh Séamas in Corrigan Park, despite the best efforts of Seamus McGarry.

Derry's Ulster SFC interest was then ended by eventual champions Kilcoo as Rossa suffered a five-point defeat in Páirc Esler but the Magherafelt side can reflect on a job well done over the course of the season.

Originally scheduled for the weekend of the 9th November, Naomh Éanna and Eoghan Rua were forced to kick their heels for a further week as their games at the Dub and Owenbeg succumbed to the elements. When they did take the field however, it was worth the wait.

On the Saturday, the Coleraine side were made to fight tooth and nail in the early stages, but an immaculate performance from Sean Leo McGoldrick, coupled with a red card for Newry Shamrocks' Eoin McGuinness saw them eventually take control and with it the Ulster JHC title.

The following day at Celtic Park, Naomh Éanna were involved in another thriller, this time with Eoghan Ruadh of Dungannon. The Tyrone side took an early lead with Damian Casey leading them well, but a John McGoldrick goal kept the Hightown men in touch.

Naomh Éanna fought back in the second half and went ahead, only for a late Casey free to send us into extra time. Once again Dungannon raced ahead and it was left to Naomh Éanna to drag themselves back from the precipice to again lead in the dying stages.

A late Eoghan Ruadh equaliser sent the tie to penalties and incredibly, Cormac Ross was the only man who could find a way through as Martin Curran and John Devlin defied logic to turn away shot after shot.

The year was all over bar the shouting and the following weekend, back at Celtic Park, Eoghan Rua returned to the All-Ireland stage with consummate ease, sweeping aside Birmingham's John Mitchel's with 21 points to spare.

Mí na Nollag | December

Antrim MFC winners Erin's Own Cargin bowed out of the St Paul's Ulster Minor Tournament at the first hurdle, defeated by a talented Enniskillen Gaels team, while their Erin's Own counterparts in Derry kicked off with a win over Drumloman to reach the Semi-Final stage.

The Oakleaf side then dismissed Enniskillen Gaels to reach the New Year's Day decider as they look to emulate the exploits of close neighbours Bellaghy last year.

Team Performance of the Year

Watty Graham's Glen v St Patrick's The Loup - Derry SFC 1st Round

Banagher's shock victory over Bellaghy was a front runner for this accolade, with the winless 2018 IFC holders upsetting all the odds to take the win in a topsy turvy game, alongside Naomh Éanna's heroic comeback in the Ulster IHC against Eoghan Ruadh, but Derry SFC runners-up take the prize.

After 17 minutes, Glen were trailing The Loup by three points and had Oisín Hegarty dismissed to leave them to play the remainder of the game with 14 men. The odds were stacked firmly against them but they dug in and produced a sparkling performance.

Their response was clinical and immediate. They fired over 0-04 without reply through Emmett Bradley (2), Conor Carville and Alex Doherty to take the lead, only for a late Anthony O'Nell free to level matters once again before the break.

Early second half work gave Glen the lead but they were forced to resist a spirited Loup response and finally settled the game through two late Paul Gunning scores.

An excellent performance that really set the tone for their run to a first Derry SFC Final.

Individual Performance of the Year

Sean Leo McGoldrick v Newry Shamrocks

Again, numerous players put themselves in contention for this honour. Emmett McGuckin's inspirational leadership in the Derry SFC for Magherafelt saw him in the running, while Michael McCann's Antrim SFC Final performance was also noteworthy.

Moneyglass' Colum Duffin fired over 0-09 in their opening Antrim IFC match while Cormac O'Doherty could have claimed the award for almost any of his outings.

The accolade however goes to Sean Leo McGoldrick of Eoghan Rua for his brilliance in their Ulster JHC final win over Newry Shamrocks. The understated centre-forward finished the game with 0-11 but the raw numbers don't do this performance justice.

McGoldrick pointed from both flanks, two instinctive finishes that demonstrated his ability perfectly. He was accurate from frees and 65s but more importantly had the movement and vision to repeatedly scythe open a resolute Shamrocks defence.

One moment of sheer brilliance summed it up. Under a dropping ball from brother Barry, McGoldrick took a look over his shoulder and with a nonchalant flick, took out four Newry defenders to leave Ruairí Mooney bearing down on goal.

Much to his disgust, Mooney then missed.

Goal of the Season

Malachy Campbell - Doire Colmcille v St Colm's Drum - Derry JFC

Three finishes in particular spring to mind for this particular honour. The first is John McGoldrick's perfectly placed finish into the top corner for Naomh Éanna against Eoghan Ruadh in the Ulster IHC Final.

The second is Glen's Alex Doherty racing 50 yards to bury the ball past Lavey's Ciaron O'Boyle in the Derry SFC and the third is a wondergoal from Doire Colmcille's Malachy Campbell.

It is a real shame that there were barely 50 people in Celtic Park to witness Campbell's finish in the group stage of the Derry JFC against eventual finalists Drum. With St Colm's sitting on an eight point lead and the game ticking towards half-time, the Doire Colmcille man had everyone present on their feet.

Campbell collected the ball in midfield and surged through the Drum defence, unleashing a shot from almost 25 yards that careered into the top corner of the net at the Brandywell end. The goal sparked a revival that Drum took until the dying stages to quell.

Rising Stars

Alex Doherty - Watty Graham's Glen (Doire)

When Doherty rippled the Lavey net after that 50-yard run, he was only 17 years of age. One of a number of youngsters making their way in the Glen senior ranks, he has had a fine season.

A powerful runner with a devastating ability to take scores from range, the pacy forward announced himself at senior level this season with a string of excellent performances.

Conor McBride - Carey Faughs (Aontroim)

Bride is the kind of corner forward that has the pace and skill to terrify the most hardened corner backs. His run and finish for Carey in their Antrim IHC Semi-Final against Sarsfield's were the perfect tonic for his side as they faced into a brisk wind.

That was only surpassed when he latched onto a long ball and rattled home on the half volley in the dying moments of the tie. An instinctive finisher, his future looks bright.

Pat Shivers - Erin's Own Cargin (Aontroim)

Already a regular fixture in the Cargin senior team, Shivers led their minors to Antrim glory as they defeated St Brigid's at Corrigan Park.

His exploits limited his involvement in the SFC Final but the draw meant that he got a chance to showcase his ability in the replay, kicking a point in the process.

Surely has a big future in both green and saffron.

Moment of the Year

In a year in which the Antrim SFC provided huge value and no shortage of drama, there were seismic moments throughout.

Michael McCann's superb finish to drag his Cargin side back from the brink in the initial county final was a huge moment, as was John McNabb's save from Ben Rice that proved crucial to their victory in the replay.

In Derry the big moments came from the emotion of an ending famine. Rossa and Glack landed SFC and JFC titles after 41 and 38 years respectively and the subsequent release of unadulterated joy was a privilege to witness.

Seaan Elliott's brace of goals from the bench in the Antrim SHC Final sparked wild scenes of celebration as Dunloy saw off Cushendall in Ballycastle, while Naomh Éanna ending their wait for an Antrim IHC title was another big moment.

Conall Delargy just loves a replay. The Portglenone man's late point against Naomh Eoin ensured another day out while a late penalty against Lámh Dhearg precipitated the drama that ultimately led us to the Moment of the Year.

140 minutes of football could not separate them. In front of a packed crowd at The Dub, Lámh Dhearg and Portglenone conspired to produce yet another gripping cliffhanger.

Streamed live on Twitter, the two sides embarked on a high stakes free kick shootout and neither flinched despite the overwhelming pressure. Floodlights. A baying crowd. Expectant team-mates. A live feed. 10 kicks. 10 points.

Then, just as Paddy Cunningham began his trademark shuffle, a murmur of incredulity echoed around the ground. Antrim chairman Ciaran McCavana appeared on his shoulder, beckoning him to stop.

Cunningham halted in bemusement as McCavana convened the referee and the opposing managers who dramatically called a halt to proceedings. The game would be replayed. Again.

McCavana attracted praise and criticism in equal measure and the incident made waves across the country, further fuelling the debate around this method of getting a winner.

The Naomh Éanna man explained his actions in a late-night tweet. The events of that night will live long in the memory of all who witnessed them and for sheer drama, this was the Moment of the Year.


I'd like to take the opportunity to thank everyone who has read, subscribed to updates, interacted and followed across social media over this year. It is much appreciated.

Night will become morning and as the sun rises on a new decade, footballers, hurlers and camógs across the country will rise with the intention of making this their year.

Áthbhliain faoi mhaise daoibh!