All County Minor Hurling League – Division 1A
Seatragh 1-6 Loughgiel 3-18
By Brendan McTaggart
Loughgiel made it back to back league victories for the first time in 2017 with a comprehensive 17 point victory in Swatragh on Friday evening. Despite not having a league match since their three point victory over Glenariffe three weeks ago, the young Shamrocks showed little signs of rustiness and made short work of their opponents from the west of the Bann.
It was a strong performance from Loughgiel who looked much shaper from the first whistle. Their stick work and skill was above anything that their Derry opponents could match and it showed in the opening 30 minutes with the Loughgiel front six and two midfielders all registering scores.
Swatragh started lively and were tackling tenaciously at every opportunity in the opening exchanges but as Loughgiel settled into their game, the Swatragh challenge began to wilt. The half forward trio of Michael McGarry, Callum McKendry and Patrick Laverty were too hot for Swatragh to handle, Laverty in particular outstanding in the first half. The movement of the Shamrocks forward line helped them to create space to pick scores off at will while the exuberance of Seamus McAuley and Shaun McFadden kept Swatragh on the back foot for long periods of the first half.
Already leading by eight points with five first half minutes remaining, the Shamrocks hit two goals before the interval. The first major came from corner forward Eoin Dobbin who reacted quickest to a loose ball before riffling the sliotar to the back of the net. Full forward Paul Boyle scored his sides second goal under similar circumstances just two minutes later. A free from McKendry cannoned off the upright and Boyle was first to react pulling first time to the back of the Swatragh net. 15 points separated the sides at the interval with Loughgiel leaving Swatragh in their wake chasing shadows.
With the match as good as over after the first half, Loughgiel lacked the same sharpness they had shown before the interval. Credit to Swatragh though as they tackled and harassed the Shamrocks with more vigour in the second half but Loughgiel showed more composure in attack with a bit more class when it counted, scoring five unanswered points to stretch their lead.
Loughgiel began to empty their bench to give some of their panel game time but they lost some of the fluidity that was shining up until the final quarter. Swatragh took full advantage scoring 1-3 without reply, the goal coming from Luke Gribbin while lively half forward Declan Quinn scored the points from placed ball but it was Loughgiel who had the final say scoring their third goal with the last attack of the game. Dobbin showed plenty of composure with plenty of class to send the sliotar to the back of Conor McKeagney’s net to score his second major of the game and give the Shamrocks a comprehensive victory.
Loughgiel now have a three week wait for their next league match when they travel west of the Bann again to take on Slaughtneil while Swatragh welcome Naomh Padraig to Davitt Park on the same night.
Kevin McAuley; Cormac McFadden; Odhran McMullan; Reece Watt; Cathal Hargan; Corey Blair (0-1, 1 ’65); Seamus McAuley; Odhran McCurdy (0-1); Shaun McFadden (0-1); Michael McGarry (0-5); Callum McKendry (0-3, 3 frees); Patrick Laverty (0-2); Caolan McIlhatton (0-2); Paul Boyle (1-00); Eoin Dobbin (2-3)
Conor McKeagney; Aodhan Grant; Dermot McKeown; Luke Gribbin (1-1); Michael McCormick; Barry Walsh; John P McGuigan; Eoin O’Kane; Kevin Quinn; Declan Quinn (0-4, 2 frees, 1’65); Daithi McLaughlin; Sean Og O’Kane (0-1); Peter Gribbin (0-1); Patrick Quinn; Sean Og Deighan