by Conal McMahon
All County Hurling League Division 1
Loughgiel 3-18 O’Donovan Rossa 0-8
A strong cross-wind coupled with persistent rain made for tough conditions in what ultimately turned out a scrappy game as Loughgiel hosted a spirited Rossa side at Fr. Healy Park on Sunday
The home side started brightly with Tony McCloskey making a smart run allowing Barney McAuley to find him with a short free to grab the first score of the game and the Shamrocks should have increased their lead but a succession of wides proved costly and Rossa fought back to get fire over the equaliser.
The teams continued to battle for possession in the miserable conditions with the referee doing well to let the game go. The home side started to dominate but weren’t making it count on the scoreboard until Barney McAuley finished off a well worked move to fire a shot low to the Rossa net. This seemed to kick the Loughgiel forwards into gear as James McNaughton fired over a point almost instantly, followed by scores from Shay Casey and Odhran McFadden before Rossa managed a reply.
The Belfast men fought hard but couldn’t withstand the onslaught, before they registered their third point James McNaughton added another two to his tally, Eddie McCloskey grabbed one while younger brother Dan added a goal and two points to put the home side in total control.
The game appeared dead as a contest but Rossa where determined to make Loughgiel earn every score, McAuley and Eddie McCloskey combined for three more Loughgiel points before the break with Rossa grabbing two of their own.
Half time score: Loughgiel 2-12 Rossa 0-4
The second half started with another point for Eddie McCloskey and a quick reply from Rossa. Ciaran Orchin, Stephen Shannon, Gerard Walsh and James Connolly where battling hard and Deaghlan Murphy came on to try and steady the ship.
Loughgiel corner back Tiernan Coyle found himself in unfamiliar territory, spotting the space well and making a run to receive a short sideline before launching it over from his own half, a score which brought ironic jeers from the home fans
Dan McCloskey added another goal to his impressive personal total before Rossa fired over three without reply. Barney McAuley and Eddie McCloskey rounded off the scoring in what was a strong home performance from Loughgiel to secure the league points and maintain their third place in the league table.