All County Hurling League Division 3&4
Glenarm 2-18 Creggan 8-19
This great game of ours is played in many different settings throughout the length and breadth of the land. On Saturday and Sunday the followers of Clare, Tipperary, Wexford and Waterford will flock in their thousands to the newly built Pairc Ó Caoimh by Cork’s lovely Lee in games that will make or break their fans’ Summer. On Friday evening at a venue high in the Antrim hills, which must be Ireland’s most North Easterly hurling pitch, the numbers were a mere fraction of those who will cheer their heroes in the deep south, but for the fans of Shane O’Neill’s Glenarm it meant every bit as much as it will to those by the Lee. OK it won’t determine their Summer in the same way, the games that will decide that will come in the next few weeks in the Junior Hurling Championship, but to continute their fine recent run of wins, and lower the colours of the 2014 All Ireland Junior Champions Creggan would have meant a lot. As it turned out it was not to be but their fans went home knowing that the men in sky blue gave it their best shot. Going into a league match in Division 3&4 and scoring 2-18 you would expect to win most games. However that is what Glenarm did at Feystown on Friday evening against visitors Creggan but they still finished nineteen points shy of the Kickham’s total as the men from the South West of the county ran riot in the second half to end the home sides recent run of victories. Conor McCann was the man who did most of the damage to the Glenarm cause as the Antrim county star ran up a personal total of 5-5, all of them from play, and he could have had more had it not been for a sharp save from Glenarm stand-in goalkeeper Niall Hamill from a last minute penalty. During the first half the home side more than matched the visitors, and though the fell six points behind on a couple of occasions they always managed to battle back as Darren Hamill, Daniel Black, Dylan McLaughlin and Hugh Pat McNeill matched their opponents in skill, pace and determination. They went in at the break leading by 2-15 to 5-5 but when they turned to face the stiffening breeze in the second half it was a different story and when Conor McCann beat four defenders to score his fourth goal inside a minute of the restart the game swung firmly in the visitors favour.
On an evening when the temperature was more like late October than mid-July the game opened in whirlwind fashion and after Connor McCann grabbed the first of his five goals, Glenarm hit a flurry of excellent scores through Darren Hamill (2), Daniel Black (2) and Dylan McLaughlin. McCann dampened the home fans spirits with his second goal on eight minutes and when he grabbed his third and fourth just three minutes later it looked very like a landslide win for the men from the shores of Lough Neagh. Not so however as Glenarm hit a real purple patch as Darren Hamill (3), Dylan McLaughlin, Daniel Black sent over points before Barry Hamill grabbed his team’s opening goal on nineteen minutes. Conor Small hit back with Creggan’s fifth goal of the half but undaunted Glenarm came back with a Liam Mitchell point and a goal from Benny McDermott to go in at the break with a one point lead. (2-15 to 5-5)
To keep ahead Glenarm were going to have to up their performance even more as they turned to face the stiff breeze, and so it proved to be as Conor McCann’s superb solo goal gave Creggan back a lead they were never to lose. With his brother Tommy weighing in with a series of fantastic points the gap widened by the minute. By the midway point of the second half they had gone from one down to eight up as Barry Hamill hit their only score of that period. Conor McCann grabbed his fifth goal on forty five minutes and though Glenarm fought on against the odds there was just no stopping the 2014 All Ireland Junior Champions as their recent run of improving form continued.
Niall Hamill, Martin Ward, Blain McDermott, Aidan O’Neill, Sean Moran, Hugh Pat McNeill, Declan McDermott, Daniel Black, Sean O’Hare, Liam Mulvenna, Darren Hamill, Dylan McLaughlin, Ciaran Campbell, Benny McDermott, Barry Hamill
Cormac Rice, Jake McAteer, Aidan Maguire, Enda Maguire, Ciaran Rice, Sam Maguire, Teddy McKeown, Tommy McCann, Liam McCann, David Brady, Conor McCann, Kevin Rice, Brendan Prenter, Kevin Small, Conor Small.
Referee – Paul McSparran (Cushendun)