All County Hurling League Division 1 (Played in Cushendun)
Cushendall 3-13 Portaferry 1-19
When Cushendall substitute Christy McNaughton fired in a goal to put his side two points clear with just two minutes of normal time remaining it looked like Portaferry’s long journey down into the Glens of Antrim for this Antrim Senior Hurling League Division 1 game was going to go unrewarded. However the Ards men battled back in the time remaining and late points from Jason Gilmour and Daithi Sands gave them a deserved share of the spoils which surely made the 82 mile journey home a little more pleasant.
A trip to Cushendall on as wet Wednesday evening is never the most appealing but when you find the length of the journey is even longer because the Ruairis are using Cushendun’s pitch, it makes it a little more arduous, though the splendour of the Rigs must surely have been some consolation.
Cushendall started with an Alex Delargy point inside thirty seconds but Portaferry came back with points from Daithi and Eogan Sands to edge ahead by the third minute. Cushendall appeared to have taken a grip of the game when goals in the fifth and seventh minutes from corner forwards Ed McQuillan and Alex Delargy pushed them four clear and when McQuillan added two points the a gap was stating to open up. However the visitors rallied and two points from Daithi Sands, one from Eoghan and another from Ronan Blair cut the gap back to two.
A period of dominance by Cushendall saw them stretch the lead to seven as David Kearney, Ryan McCambridge, Paddy McGill (2) and Eoghan Campbell fired over points. Daithi Sands pulled one back for Portaferry but the Ruairis were on a roll and points from David Kearney, Alex Delargy and Eoghan Campbell had the gap out to nine, though two points from Brendan Coleman just before the break cut the deficit to seven at the short whistle. (2-11 to 0-10)
The Ruairis must have been pleased with their display in their new surroundings in the first half but all was to change as Portaferry sprung from the traps at the start of the second half to draw level with points from Conor O’Prey, Daithi Sands (2) and Ronan Blair, plus a goal from Eoghan Sands. During the third quarter Cushendall failed to raise a flag but a point from Alex Delargy in the 47th minute got them going again and when Eogan Campbell added another a minute later they were two clear and apparently settled again. However Portaferry hit back with points from Daithi Sands Eogan Sands and Jason Gilmour to edge ahead again with just two and a half minute of normal time remaining.
Christy McNaughton’s goal ended a fourteen minute scoreless spell for the ‘Dall and they must have thought they had sealed the win, but Portaferry found a way back and after Jason Gilmour cut the gap to the minimum with a point from play, Daithi Sands knocked over the equaliser from a free.
CUSHENDALL: Eoghan Gillan, Terry McAllister, Martin Burke, Liam Gillan, Francis McCurry, Paddy Burke, David Kearney, Emmet Laverty, Eoghan Campbell, Patrick McGill, Fergus McCambridge, Ryan McCambridge, Ed McQuillan, Stephen Walsh, Alex Delargy.
Subs – Christy McNaughon and Dominic Delargy.
PORTAFERRY: Patrick McNally, Darragh Mallon, Caolan Taggart, Eoghan Savage, Matthew Conlon, Conor O’Neill, Barry Trainor, Conor Fay, Michael Doran, Brendan Coleman, Conor O’Prey, Conor Mageean, Ronan Blair, Daithi Sands, Eoghan Sands.