Thrilling Under 21 final in prospect

Young guns in final shoot-out

All roads lead to Armoy on Monday evening for what promises to be a thrilling Antrim Under 21 Hurling final. Two proud hurling parishes, Loughgiel and Dunloy, send forth their young warriors for the honour of bringing home the Neill Patterson Memorial Cup.

Both teams have been impressive on their way to the final. In their opening game Loughgiel scored a big win over Lamh Dhearg at St Teresa’s, running up a massive 6-17 in the process. In the semi-final they proved too strong for Ballycastle as they proved the old saying that goals win games during a 5-10 to 0-12 win in Armoy. Five ahead at the break thanks to a Shan McGrath goal the Shamrocks really hit their stride in the second half as McGrath added a second eight minutes in. Conor Dallas got the third four minutes later and Aodhan McFadden made it four midway through the half. Conor Christie finished the goal barrage two minutes from time as he grabbed number five.

Dunloy had to play a preliminary round against Cushendall and in truth they were pushed all the way by a very good Ruairi Og side. Played in a gale force wind Dunloy had first use of the elements and during that first half it appeared they would cruise to victory as they raced to a ten point half time lead, despite having to endure a snowstorm midway through the half. Cushendall were a different team in the second half and when they opened with points from Martin McClafferty and Ryan Delargy, and a brilliantly taken goal from Christy McNaughton inside seven minutes things suddenly changed. When McNaughton cut the gap to four midway through the half it looked like anybody’s game, but a brilliant run by Keelan Molloy created the opening for corner-forward Christoher McMahon to fire in the game clinching goal.

The Cuchullains had a walk-over in the quarter-final after Glenariffe failed to field and in the semi-final they powered their way to a big win over St John’s. Goals in either half by man of the match Keelan Molloy helped ease Dunloy to a 2-19 to 0-5 victory in Creggan. Molloy was in fine form as he rattled the net twice following forceful runs through the Johnnies defence and also hit a series of excellent points. Conal Cunning was also a thorn in the St John’s side as he hit some superb scores while centre-back Eamon Smyth and midfielder Declan Smith were also major players in their sides win.

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And so the scene is set for what promises to be an enthralling game. Both teams are blessed with talent and it is a given that both will be fired up for one of hurling’s great derbies. When the red meets the green and gold in these big games the sparks generally fly, so get along to Armoy for 7-30 tomorrow evening for what promises to be a thriller.

TEAMS

The teams that started their respective semi-finals were

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LOUGHGIEL

1 – Caolan Mc Givern
2 – Odhran Laverty
3 – Caolan Blair
4 – Odhran McMullan
5 – Damon McMullan
6 – Cathal McMullan
7 – Conan Kerr
8 – Ryan McKee
9 – Callum McKendry
10 – Conor Christie
11 – James McNaughton
12 – Aodhan McFadden
13 – Eoin Boyle
14 – Shan McGrath
15 – Conor Dallas

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DUNLOY

1 – Ryan Elliott

2 – Adam Mullan

3 – Conor Kinsella

4 – Aaron Crawford

5 – Ryan McGarry

6 – Eamon Smyth

7 – Cathair McGuigan

8 – Ciaran Elliott

9 – Deaglan Smyth

10 – Ronan Molloy

11 – Keelan Molloy

12 –  Seaan Elliott

13 – Anton McGrath

14 – Conal Cunning

15 – Christopher McMahon

 

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