Magnificent McGarry helps Shamrocks to McMullan Cup glory

0-12Under 16 McMullan Cup Final

Feis na nGleann

Loughgiel Shamrocks 1-15 McQuillan’s Ballycastle 2-9

Fr Healy Park, Loughgiel

A Man of the Match performance from Loughgiel midfielder Michael McGarry helped the Shamrocks to claim the McMullan Cup on home turf on Sunday afternoon.

McGarry would finish the match with a personal tally of 1-9 after the hour as the Shamrocks had three points to spare over Ballycastle.  The McQuillan’s men will rue the fact that they had six men missing from the impressive Semi-Final victory over Dunloy but they came up short against a talented Loughgiel side.

Just like their Semi-Final win, the McQuillan’s were slow in starting and Loughgiel dominated the early exchanges.  McGarry landed points either side of a fine score from Dylan Devlin before Ballycastle registered on the scoreboard in the 12th minute, a free from livewire forward Joe McToal.

Loughgiel midfielder Cathal Hargan was dropping deeper to help the Shamrocks defence and while Ballycastle started to grow into the game, they couldn’t get any quality ball into their forwards with Hargan and Declan McCloskey dominant in the first half.

The Shamrocks had opened a five point lead and winning every battle all over the pitch when Ballycastle hit a purple patch.  Midfielder Ryan Hill landed a free on the edge of the Loughgiel box and when the sliotar fell lose, corner forward Cormac Donnelly reacted quickest to score the first goal of the match in the 27th minute.  McToal and the impressive Sean Brogan scored points either side of Devlin’s second point of the half reduced the Loughgiel lead to the minimum at the short whistle.  Half time score Loughgiel 0-9 Ballcastle 1-5.

The interval came at the worst possible time for the McQuillan’s.  They had gathered some momentum and their forward line were starting to win their personal duels.  Full forward Caolan O’Connor was proving to be a handful while midfielder Fergal McKiernan was covering every blade of grass in Fr Healy Park for his side.

Whatever wind was blowing was now in Loughgiel’s favour and the Shamrocks started to pull away again after the restart.  They scored two frees from McGarry, his sixth of the match before Ballycastle opened their second half account, a long range free from midfielder Hill before the Shamrocks swung the Final in their favour with a superb goal.  The sliotar was played into the left corner where Devlin gathered possession and delivered the perfect pass to the rushing McGarry.  The Loughgiel man didn’t have to break stride and unleashed an unstoppable shot into the bottom corner of Tiernan Smyth’s goal to open an eight point lead.

Ballycastle tried to force their way back into the match with McToal emptying their tank for the McQuillan’s cause but Loughgiel were in cruise control.

As time drew to a close and Loughgiel leading by six points, Ballycastle started looking for goals landing high ball into the edge of the square.  Ruairi McCloskey and Tiernan McAlonan were in superb form repelling the McQuillan’s but with time running out Ballycastle scored their second major of the Final.  McToal dropped a free on the edge of the box with midfielder Ryan Hill getting the last touch to send the sliotar over the line.

It proved to be too little too late for the McQuillan’s as Loughgiel claimed McMullan Cup glory for the first time since 2007 and progress to the All-County Final.


LOUGHGIEL: Kevin McAuley; Tiernan McCaughan; Ruairi McCloskey; Conor Henry; Chrissy McGarry; Declan McCloskey; Tiernan McAlonan; Cathal Hargan; Shane O’Boyle (0-1); Dylan Devlin (0-2); Michael McGarry (1-9, 7 frees); Rian McMullan (0-1); Conor McCormick; Odhran McGrath (0-1); Conor O’Mullan (0-1)

BALLYCASTLE: Tiernan Smyth; Liam McCollum; Tiernan Donnelly; Shane Kelly; Reuben McClean; Sean Brogan (0-2); Mark McClean; Ryan Hill (1-3, 2 frees); Fergal McKiernan; Eoin Maybin; Aaron Faloona; Joe McToal (0-4, 2 frees); Tadgh Donnelly; Caolan O’Connor; Cormac Doherty (1-00)

Referee: Darren Mullan (Carey Faughs)


    1. Sorry just saw your comment now. Sometimes rushing a report out the reporter can easily make mistakes. It has been corrected


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