North Antrim U14 Shield Final
Shane O’Neill’s Glenarm 2-8 St. Enda’s 2-6
Aidan Scullion proved to be the difference in this entertaining North Antrim U14 Shield Final played as part of a double header at Slemish Park, Ballymena on Saturday. The Glenarm captain, wearing the number 3 jersey but lining out in mid-field struck the all-important scores in the second half of extra time after 40 minutes of normal time had failed to separate these two evenly matched sides.
There was little to separate the protagonists throughout the contest with the Glengormley lads holding a slender one point lead at the short whistle. St. Enda’s were forced to come from two points down in the second half however to tie the contest and it appeared that the momentum was with them as they went into five minutes each way in extra time.
The towering Scullion, who had been a massive influence throughout, struck with two first half points in time added on to edge Glenarm two in front again and although Ronan Eager pulled one back for a St. Enda’s side who never gave up it was the lads from Feystown who won the day much to the delight of their big travelling support.
St. Enda’s were first to strike when Luke O’Connor pointed them ahead from a 40 meter free but Aidan Scullion announced his arrival as he raced through at the other end before sending over from 40 yards to tie the contest.
Kevin McCormick and Luke O’Connor exchanged further points as play swung end to end before a Scullion double and a goal from the diminutive Pearse Mulvenna in reply to a Keelan Smyth point for St. Enda’s saw Shane O’Neill’s move four clear by the 19th minute but the Glengormley youngsters came with a late rally as Cian O’Connor pointed, Luke O’Connor followed with another before the same player forced home an injury time goal to give his side a slender half time lead.
On the restart the impressive Aidan Scullion levelled matters once more before pointing the North Antrim lads ahead but St. Enda’s again found a response as Ronan Eager fired to the net to put the Glengormley side ahead once more after 11 minutes.
It was nail biting stuff as both sides continued to show great skill and determination and when Aidan Scullion raced 40 yards to strike an excellent goal the momentum was back with the Feystown side again. Matthew Curry and Scullion exchanged further points before Niall McGarel edged Shane O’Neill’s two in front after 18 minutes
It looked over at this stage but this excellent St. Enda’s side refused to throw in the towel and in a storming finish Ronan Eager and Luke O’Connor replied with points to send the game into extra time. It was clear that it was going to take something special to separate these well matched sides and it was Aidan Scullion who stepped up to the plate.
Scullion produced a couple of lung bursting runs to edge Shane O’Neill’s two in front during the opening five minutes of time added on and although Ronan Eager pulled one back for St. Enda’s in the second period it was the Feystown youngsters who held out for victory.
As North Antrim PRO, Ciaran Hasson said in his address while presenting the Shield to Glenarm captain Aidan Scullion, this was an excellent advert for hurling and sportsmanship and in games like this it’s a pity there had to be a loser but hurling was the real winner on the day.
Both sides were laced with potential stars of the future and both management teams deserve a lot of credit for the way these sides were prepared for Saturday’s final which could have gone either way. In the end the strong running and score taking of Aidan Scullion swayed the balance in favour of the Glenarm lads and it was fitting that he should step forward to receive the trophy.
Shane O’Neill’s Panel: Conor O’Kane: James O’Kane, Matthew Black, Ruairi McDonnell: Callum Burleigh, Ronan Rodgers, Odhran Davy: Aidan Scullion, Coire Mellon: Pearce Mulvenna, Niall McGarel, John Scullion, Shay McGregor, Kevin McCormick, Gerard Thomas Burns, Mark McCormick, John Killough, Patrick McLoughlin, Eamon Duffy.
St. Enda’s Panel: Pearse Rogers: Colm McAllister, Ciarnan Rafferty, Eoin Logue, Conor Bradley, Ronan Eager, Colm Curran, Luke O’Connor, Cian O’Connor, Oscar Smyth, Keelan Smyth, Matthew Curry, Leo Ashe, Jacob Mackin, Ruairi Hamilton, Shane Gray, Saul Sherlock, Ciaran McAllister,