Cushendall tops in high scoring semi-final

Antrim Under 16 Hurling Championship – McMullan Cup

Cushendall 6-14  Loughgiel 4-11

Cushendall set up a final meeting with neighbours Glenariffe at Sunday’s Feis na nGleann when they beat Loughgiel in Monday evening’s semi-final at Fr Maginn Park. When the sides met in opening round of the league in Cushendall the Ruairis were runaway winners but with their Under 14 players included and Christy McGarry back in action the Shamrocks proved a much more formidable outfit. Cushendall came out tops in the end but they were made to work had at time in a high scoring and entertaining game. They led by three at half time and it wasn’t until they hit a purple patch early in the second half, scoring 1-4 without reply that they really looked like winners.

Christy McGarry gave Loughgiel and early lead but Fiontann McQuillan, back after injury, hit two inside a minute to put Cushendall ahead. Ronan McCollum brought Loughgiel level with a pointed free but a Colm McKeegan goal sandwiched in between two points by Padraig McKillop gave the Ruairis a five point advantage. Loughgiel’s Christy McGarry and Cushendall’s Calum Kilgore exchanged points to keep the gap at five but on fifteen minutes the Shamrocks full forward Darragh Patterson brought his team right back into the game when fired in a goal to leave just two between the sides.

Colm McKeegan and Padraig McKillop pointed to for the Ruairis to put four between the sides and though Ronan McCollum cut it back to three for the Shamrocks a Frankie McCormick goal five minutes from half time stretched the ‘Dall lead to six. It like they would go in at half time with a decent cushion but just before the short whistle Loughgiel full forward Eunan Laverty grabbed his team’s second goal to leave just three between the sides at the break (2-7 to 2-4)

When Loughgiel grabbed three of the first four scores of the second half to cut their arrears back to a single point it looked to be anybody’s game but the next ten minutes were all Cushendall when the added four points from play and a goal from Colm McKeegan to move eight ahead entering the final quarter. Two points from Christy McGarry and one from Ronan McCollum, in reply to one from Cushendall’s Fiontann McQuillan kept Loughgiel in touch but the Ruairis pushed for the finishing line with goals from Padriag McKillop and Colm McKeegan, plus a Jospeh McLaughlin point to move eleven clear and all but seal the win. To their credit Loughgiel battled back to close the gap with a goal from substitute jack McKendry and two points from Jack McCloskey to cut it back to six entering injury time, but Cushendall had the final say and a goal from Padraig McKillop left nine between the sides at the final whistle.

CUSHENDALL: Joseph McNaughton, Austin Birt, James McAlister, Sean McKay, Shane McKenna, Mark Emerson, Killian McNughton, Fiontann McQuillan, Mark Kilgore, Frankie McCormick, Padraig McKillop, Jospeh McLaughlin, Joshua Schnell, Colm McKeegan, Matthew McCann.

LOUGHGIEL: Mark Christie, Jack McDowall, Ruairi McCormick, Cahir Connolly, Pearse Patterson, Conor Dickson, Conan Sherridan, Christy McGarry, Darragh Patterson, Ben McGarry, Conor O’Mullan, Eoin McGarry, Jack McCloskey, Eunan Laverty, Ronan McCollum.

Referee – Mark O’Neill (Armoy Glen Rovers)

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