Loughgiel book final place with strong first half display

North Antrim Under 16 A Hurling Shield semi-final2

Pics by Dylan McIlwaine

Loughgiel 1-15 Ballycastle 1-8

Loughgiel booked their place in the North Antrim Under 16 Shield final when they beat Ballycastle in Monday evening’s semi-final at Fr Healy Park. A dominant Shamrocks side did the damage in the opening half as they raced to a 0-11 to 0-3 lead, but Ballycastle made a much better fight of it in a second period, (played in semi-darkness), but though they cut the deficit back to four by the forty-seventh minute Loughgiel were able to stem the tide and they sealed the win with a goal from substitute Christy McGarry five minutes from time.

Loughgiel were flying in that opening half and they were three up after five minutes with two points from Michael McGarry and one from Rian McMullan. Ballycastle were struggling to get out of their own half and though Ryan Hill got them going with a pointed free on nine minutes Loughgiel came back strongly with points apiece from McGarry and Mullan to open up a 0-5 to 0-1 lead. Hill pulled another one back for Ballycastle, this time from play, to leave just three in the game, but Loughgiel assumed full control as they hit six without reply, two from Michael McGarry, two from full forward Odhran McGrath and one apiece from Rian McMullan and Shane O’Boyle to stretch the lead to nine points. Ballycastle were in deep trouble, but just before the break they pulled a point back when Seamus McGarry pointed a free from midfield to leave his side trailing by eight at the interval.

McGarry was to lead the charge for Ballycastle in the second half as they came out with much more purpose and desire. Loughgiel had stretched the lead to nine again with the opening point of the half from Rian McMullan but when Ballycastle full forward Oscar Egan was dragged back on the edge of the ‘square’ they were thrown a lifeline. Egan took the penalty himself and though he hit it well Loughgiel goalkeeper Kevin McAuley turned it over the bar with a smart save. It may not have been the boost Ballycastle wanted, but they were starting to make their presence felt and with Seamus McAuley leading the charge from midfield the started to put pressure on the Loughgiel defence. McAuley pulled a point back but on forty-four minutes they got the boost they were looking for when Ryan Hill finished a good move by firing the ball to the Shamrocks net. Michael McGarry replied with a well taken Loughgiel point before Hill was denied another goal by a brilliant save from Kevin McAuley in the Loughgiel goal. However Ballycastle kept their hopes alive with another fine score from Seamus McAuley.  Five minute from time the gap was out to five when the excellent Michael McGarry grabbed another point and a minute later substitute Christy McGarry sealed it when he reacted well to turn a rebound to the Ballycastle net. Egan and substitute Faloona pulled a couple back for Ballycastle in the final minutes but a Rian McMullan point for the Shamrocks put his team seven clear at the final whistle to book a final place and keep their unbeaten season intact.

Overall an entertaining game, but the light was so bad in the second half it was bordering on dangerous. The decision to fix games for 7-30 this late in the summer has to be questioned.


1 – Kevin McAuley

2 – Conor Henry

3 – Ruairi McCloskey

4 – Christie Dickson

5 – Rian Dallas

6 – Declan McCloskey

7 – Tiernan McAlonan

8 – Shane O’Boyle (0-1)

9 – Cathal Hargan

10 – Dylan Devlin (0-1)

11 – Michael McGarry (0-7, 3f)

12 – Rian McMullan (0-4)

13 – Damian Quinn

14 – Odhran McGrath (0-2)

15 – Conor McCormick

Conor O’Mullan and Christy McGarry (1-0)


1 – Tiernan Smyth

2 – Rueben McLean

3 – Tiernan Donnelly

4 – Eoin Magee

5 – Mark McLean

6 – Cormac Donnelly

7 – Ronan Laverty

8 – Seamus McAuley (0-3)

9 – Sean Brogan

10 – Eoin Maybin

11 – Ryan Hill (1-2)

12 – Jo Jo McToal

13 – Caolan O’Connor

14 – Oscar Egan (0-1)

15 – Fergal McKiernan

Subs – Jack Egan and Aaron Faloona (0-1)

Referee – Conor McNeill (Glenarm)

In the other semi-final Dunloy beat Oisins by 5-16 to 2-4


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