Ulster Junior hurling quarter-final
Cushendun Emmett’s (Antrim) 2-16 Na Magha (Derry) 0-10
Na Magha have been beaten Ulster Junior club finalists on three occasions recently and were expected to provide a stiff test for an Emmet’s side who were appearing in their first Ulster encounter at this level when the sides met at Quinn Park, Ballymena today.
In truth the Steelstown side never looked like troubling a slick moving Cushendun side who took control from early in the game and had put the result to bed by half time when they led 2-9 to 0-3 at the short whistle.
The Emmet’s were superior all over the field and any chance of a Na Maha comeback in the second half were soon dispelled with the Derry side’s first score from play coming five minutes from time, an excellent long range effort from Brendan Quigley.
Cushendun started brightly with Conor McHugh excellent from frees and the North Antrim side went on to dominate the first half with Sean Hamilton, Aidan Corbett and Mark Scally giving nothing away in defence and Na Maha having to work overtime for scores.
Donal O’Hara did a good job in his man-marking job on their danger man, Alan Grant who lacked support until the Derry side dispensed with the sweeper shortly before half-time, but by that time Cushendun were in control in most areas of the pitch and there was no chance they would lose the initiative even though Na Magha had a better second half.
Cushendun, particularly during the opening half, worked hard in half-back, midfield and half-forward and the pace of David Kilgore and James Morgan opened up the Na Maha defence time and again. During the second half the Emmet’s eased up a little but by this time they had one foot in the next round as they continued to have too many options for their opponents.
McHugh set matters in motion as he pointed the first of nine frees from the polished mid-fielder, in the opening minute and he had added three more as Cushendun shot the first six points, the pick of them from David Kilgore from a sideline cut.
Deaglan Foley finally got his side on their way from two pointed frees but a long ball out of defence from Donal O’Hara deceived Na Maha keeper Barry Robinson who appeared unsighted in the bright sunshine and went all the way to the Derry net in the 16th minute with Eugene Duffin shepherding it over the line.
Five minutes later Aidan Corbett’s long diagonal ball set up James Morgan who turned his marker and fired low past Na Maha keeper, Robinson for a 2-7 to 0-2 lead. McHugh from a free and Morgan from play added points before the break and even at this stage it looked as good as over.
The excellent Conor McHugh and Conleth McNeill opened the Emmet’s second half account with two frees as the men in their change strip of Saffron continued to call the shots but although Na Magha replied from three Deaglan Foley frees, points from Dominic McQuillan (2), Eugene Duffin and McHugh had Cushendun coasting at 2-15 to 0-6.
Na Magha scored four of the last five points of the game, but these were merely consolation scores as Cushendun had already secured their place in the semi-final where they will face either Mullahoran of Cavan or Lurgan’s Sean Treacy’s on October 28th.
Cushendun: E Magee; S Hamilton, A Corbett, T Scally; M Scally capt., D O’Hara (1-0), P Bannon; M McCartin, C McHugh (0-9 frees); C McNeill (0-1 free), E McQuillan (0-1), D McQuillan (0-2); J Morgan (1-1), E Duffin (0-1), D Kilgore (0-1).
Subs: N McAuley for M Scally (HT), R McQuillan for E Duffin (45), M Dunne for D McQuillan (50), A McMullan for D Kilgore (53), R Millar for J Morgan (57).
Na Magha: B Robinson; C McGoran, J McQuillan, M Temple; M McShane, B Quigley (0-1), F McAnaney (0-1); T Rankin (0-1 free), B Glass; C Shiels, N McCallion, B Douban; A grant, D Foley (0-7 frees), D Shiels.
Subs : T Gallagher for M McShane (34), M McCloskey for N McCallion (38).
Referee : Barry Winters (Tyrone)