All County Hurling League Division One
Dunloy 2-22 Rossa 1-13
By Brendan McTaggart
A second half blitz from the Cuchullains was enough to see off a severely depleted but spirited challenge of Rossa in Pearse Park on Wednesday evening. Four points separated the sides at the short whistle but having recorded 1-9 in the first half, Dunloy managed the same tally in the opening 12 minutes of the second half. An impressive second half performance from the home side who maintain their unbeaten league campaign.
The Cuchullains were guilty of squandering chances in the first half with their wide’s tally hitting double figures but they did manage to have five different scorers in that opening 30 minutes. Rossa were quickest out of the blocks, running into a three point lead with Stephen Beattie and Michael Armstrong impressing in the opening exchanges. Dunloy’s first score came in the 12th minute through Nicky McKeague and although Deaglan Murphy scored his second point of the match soon after, the Cuchullains hit a purple patch in front of the posts. A run of seven unanswered points put the Cuchullains in control.
Rossa hit back with scores from Murphy and Armstrong to leave just one between the sides going into first half injury time before the home side scored the first goal of the match. With the goal at his mercy, Ally Dooey was taken down leaving referee McCotter no option but award a penalty. Nicky McKeague dispatched with aplomb to the right hand corner of Gavin Bell’s net to give the home side a four point half time lead.
If the first half was an error strewn performance from the home side, the opening quarter of the second half was the polar opposite. Six points in the first seven minutes took the Dunloy lead to 10 points before Rossa scored their goal. A long ball to the edge of the square wasn’t dealt with by the Dunloy defence gifting Murphy the chance to finish to the back of Ryan Elliott’s net.
The visitors goal did little to derail the home sides charge with the Cuchullains scoring a further 1-3 in five minutes, the goal coming from Conal Cunning stretched the Dunloy lead to 13 points by the mid-way mark of the first half and all but end the Rossa challenge.
The Shaws Road side finished the hour well but it was another comprehensive performance from the Cuchullains who host relegation threatened Ballycastle next time out while Rossa travel down the Ards Peninsula for a meeting with Ballygalget on the same evening.
Ryan Elliott; Chris Kearns; James McKeague; Phelim Duffin; Kevin McKeague; Conor McKinley; Kevin Molloy (0-1); Paudie Shivers (0-1); Michael McClements; Nigel Elliott (0-3); Keelan Molloy (0-6); Nicky McKeague (1-7, 1-3 frees); Conal Cunning (1-4); Paul Shiels (0-1); Ally Dooey
Gavin Bell; Niall Crossan; Kevin McDonnell; Oran O’Callaghan; Gerard Walsh; Stephen Shannon; Conor McClelland; Chris McIlhatton (0-1); Ciaran Orchin; Colum McVeigh; Michael Armstrong (0-2); Stephen Beattie (0-1); Deaglan Murphy (1-9, 6 frees); Michael Close; Matt Devlin
Referee: Fiontan McCotter (Sarsfields)