Bathshack Senior Hurling Championship – Quarter-Final
Saturday August 26
Pearse Park, Dunloy
Loughgiel 5-20 Creggan 0-12
By Brendan McTaggart
Loughgiel opened their defence of the Volunteer Cup with a comprehensive victory over Creggan at Pearse Park Dunloy on Saturday afternoon.
The Shamrocks were expected to progress without any dramas and that proved to be the case as they proved to be too strong all over the pitch for the Kickhams men. 23 points separated the sides at the full time whistle with the Shamrocks bagging five majors along the way, Shan McGrath and Dan McCloskey in the first half before a brace of goals from Captain Shay Casey and substitute Benny McCarry rounded off the Champions goal scoring exploits.
Creggan gave a good account of themselves in the first half and after a nervy start, more than held their own with centre half forward Oran McCann showing his talents from placed ball with nine points separating the sides at the short whistle. The Shamrocks went through the gears in the second half showing their attacking talents with McCarry, McGrath and substitute Maol Connolly all impressing in the second half.
The Shamrocks made a blistering start to this quarter-final and had 1-3 on the scoreboard inside the opening four minutes, McGrath with the first of the Champions majors. Aidan McKeown scored Creggan’s first point of the match in the seventh minute but it did little to derail the early Shamrock onslaught with Seamus Dobbin (two), Shay Casey and McGrath all dissecting the posts to open a nine point lead after 10 minutes.
Ciaran Rice was dropping back into the Creggan defence to leave Aidan McKeown as sweeper but it was the pace and speed of thought of the Loughgiel players that was outdoing the Kickhams. The Shamrocks were first to every breaking ball and Creggan struggled for any decent ball into their forward line.
A trio of Oran McCann frees kept the Staffordstown Road men in touch and while McCann and Barney McAuley traded scores in the 21st minute, six points separated the sides with Creggan starting to settle into the game. Any hopes they may have had of clawing their way back into the game were dashed when Dan McCloskey scored Loughgiel’s second goal in the 24th minute. It came at a time when Creggan had some joy in the middle third of the pitch and started to create problems in the Loughgiel defence. McCloskey’s goal was all about pace, power and craft though and ensured Loughgiel would hold a healthy advantage at the short whistle with the score line 2-10 to 0-7.
Loughgiel started the second half with the same tenacity and verve as they did in the opening exchanges of the tie and put Creggan to the sword from the restart to extinguish any hopes of a Creggan upset in the second half. McCarry scored the third Loughgiel major in the 35th minute after a pin point pass from Casey and while Oran McCann remained unerringly accurate from placed ball, Loughgiel’s tempo and precision increased after half time.
14 points separated the sides with a little over ten minutes remaining when Shay Casey scored a brace of goals for his side. His first was fired from close range and while ‘keeper Brendan Prenter did manage to get his hurl to the sliotar, Casey’s shot had too much power and crossed the line. The Loughgiel captains second came moments later when McCarry cut out a short poc out. He passed to Casey and the Loughgiel sharp shooter finished with ease to add further gloss to the score line for the Shamrocks.
Maol Connolly scored his third point of the match before McCarry and Casey rounded off the scoring for the Champions in the 60th minute. Conor McCann fired the last score of the quarter-final but it was little more than scant consolation for Creggan who were given a harsh lesson in senior hurling.
Loughgiel progress to the semi-finals and remain on course to retain ‘Big Ears’ but sterner challenges lay ahead.
Loughgiel: D Quinn; Paul Gillan; Neill McGarry; Ronan McCloskey; Tony McCloskey; Damon McMullan; Odhran McFadden; Mark McFadden; Seamus Dobbin; Barney McAuley; Eddie McCloskey; Donal McKinley; Dan McCloskey; Shay Casey; Shan McGrath
Subs: Benny McCarry for S Dobbin (14 mins); Declan Gillan for O McFadden (HT); Maol Connolly for D McKinley (HT); Declan Laverty for M McFadden (45 mins); James McNaughton for B McAuley (51 mins)
Scorers: Shay Casey 2-3; Shan McGrath 1-4 (1 free); Benny McCarry 1-1; Maol Connolly 0-3; Dan McCloskey 1-00; Eddie McCloskey 0-2; Tony McCloskey 0-2; Seamus Dobbin 0-2; Barney McAuley 0-2 (1 free, 1 ’65); Mark McFadden 0-1
Creggan: Brendan Prenter; Enda Maguire; Aidan Maguire; Kevin Maguire; Frank McAuley; Sam Maguire; Aidan McKeown; Thomas McCann; Liam McCann; Kevin Rice; Oran McCann; Kevin Small; Conor Small; Ciaran Rice
Subs: Michael Maguire for L McCann (45 mins); Cormac Rice for C Small (45 mins); Peter Graham for K Rice (52 mins)
Scorers: Oran McCann 0-8 (7 frees, 1 ’65); Aidan McKeown 0-1; Kevin Small 0-1; Conor Small 0-1; Conor McCann 0-1
Referee: Michael Hardy (Rasharkin)