Minor Hurling Championship
Cushendall 0-13 Dunloy 1-16
by Marriane McNeill
An excellent performance from Seaan Elliott helped holders Dunloy advance to the next round of the Minor Hurling Championship in Cushendall on Friday evening when a closely fought game, with never more a single score between them, wasn’t decided until the last 5 mins when Dunloys superior teamwork saw them edge clear.
Played under a deluge of rain and a biting wind it was testament to both teams that the game was played to such a high standard and for much of the opening minutes Dunloy were on top but couldn’t convert possession into scores.
Seaan Elliott hit 0-4 in the first 7 minutes and by the 17th minute the scores were Dunloy 0-6 Cushendall 0-2 and when Dunloy prodded home a goal from Declan Smyth in the 19th Dunloy had opened up a 1-6 to 0-3 gap.
Cushendall fought back and hit 0-3 without reply and by the close of the first half only 4 points separated the sides with Dunloy just ahead on a 1-7 to 0-6 scoreline.
The second half saw Cushendall gain wind advantage and within 30 seconds they made it count with a point from their versatile half forward Ed McQuillan. Dunloy then hit back with a long range effort from Ronan Molloy and a 65 from Seaan Elliott but Cushendall kept plugging away and hit 0-3 on the trot.
Dunloy were then forced to defend deep in their own half and with Ryan McGarry, Ronan Molloy and Arron Crawford well on top they kept Cushendall at bay until the 22ndminute when they converted a 30yd free.
Dunloy were now just a point ahead and Cushendall looked to find a killer blow but in their efforts to push up left huge space at the back and Declan Smyth Liam McCann and Seaan Elliott all picked off points to leave 0-4 between the sides.
A great move from Eoghan McGrath saw him pick out Declan Smyth who raced clear and was taken down and from the resulting free in Dunloy closed out the game to leave the final score 1-16 to 0-13 in their favour.
A great game which saw Dunloy pushed all the way by a very hard working Cushendall side who certainly gave Dunloy plenty of problems. The young Cuchullains created plenty of chances but a combination of some excellent goal keeping and defensive work from the hosts coupled with a tendency to at times over work the ball saw them waste plenty of scoring opportunities.
For Dunloy their best came from Adam Mooney in nets who was excellent as was Ryan McGarry, Ronan Molloy and Aaron Crawford while at midfield Eoghan McGrath was excellent and was the catalyst for many Dunloy attacks. Up front Seean Elliott was simply different gravy. His speed accuracy and ability to evade defenders was a joy to watch but if Dunloy are to progress then much more needs to come from their attack which at times lacked cohesion.