Ruairis weather the storm to book final place

Darragh Cup – North Antrim Under 18 Hurling

00-1Cushendall 0-20 Ballycastle 1-14

Cushendall qualified for the final of the Darragh Cup when they beat Ballycastle in Wednesday evening’s semi-final at Paric Mhuir. Leading by five points at half time the Ruairis went eight points clear within two minutes of the restart and it looked like plain sailing for the home team. However Ballycastle found a bit of form and forced their way back into the game and with the help of a Lorcan Donnelly goal they closed the gap to a single point. There were chances to draw level but Cushendall always found an answer and they eventually got back on top and went on to book a final place against Dunloy next weekend.

This was a game which took a while to get going as both sides founds scores hard to come by. Conor Boyd gave Ballycastle the lead on five minutes but it was the end of the first quarter before Cushendall equalised through Ronan McCambridge. Ballycastle went back ahead again a minute later but Cushendall were beginning to dominate and points from Niall McCormick and Ed McQuillan. Ballycastle kept in touch with points from Conor Boyd but the home team finished the half with a flourish and five unanswered points, three of them from Ed McQuillan sent them in the break with a 0-9 to 0-4 interval lead.

When that gap went out to eight two minutes after the restart a runaway win looked on the cards but two quick points from Conor Boyd followed by a Lorcan Donnelly goal suddenly turned things around. When Seamus McAuley and Conor Boyd added points to cut the gap to a single point the home team were suddenly under pressure, but they responded well when the chips were down and a late flurry of points from Ronan McCambridge, Niall Allen and John McAlister (2) brought them clear of danger and saw them through to yet another Darragh Cup final.

Cushendall

Ruairi Sharpe, Ruairi McCollum, Liam Gillan, Ronan McAteer, Shane Magill, Conall McAteer, Fred McCurry, Scott Walsh, Aidan McKenna, Christy McLaughlin,  Ronan McCambride, Niall McCormick, Ed McQuillan, Niall Allen, John McAllister.

Subs: Senan Black for Ed McQuillan (h.t. – inj)

Ballycastle

Dillon McMullan, Tiernan Donnelly, Cormac Donnelly, Conal Colgan, Colm Butler, Oisin McAuley, Oran Kearney, Ryan Hill, Sean Brogan, Lorcan Donnelly, Conro Boyd, Dylan Hill, Tiernan Kelly, Eamon Elliott, Seamus McAuley.

Referee – Francis Traynor (Loughgiel)

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