Senior Feis Cup semi-final
Cushendall 1- 13 Loughgiel 0-15
An injury time point by Eoin ‘Frein’ Laverty gave Cushendall victory by the narrowest of margins over Loughgiel in Wednesday evening’s Senior Feis Cup semi-final at Paric Mhuire, Cushendall. Quick thinking by midfielder Eoghan Campbell created the score after an accidental collision between Loughgiel’s Odhran McFadden and Cushendall’s Ryan McCambridge saw referee Colum Cunning give an indirect free to Cushendall. As Campbell approached the ball he gestured to Laverty to move clear and then tapped the ball to him which Laverty slotted over for the winning score. Up until then it looked like the game would be going extra time as little separated the sides during the second half. Loughgiel actually led for most of the game but in the final quarter Cushendall gained the edge and had a few chances to go in front before Frein struck the winner.
On a night of pouring rain and slippery underfoot conditions Loughgiel started the brighter and two Liam Watson points in the opening minute put them ahead before Barney McAuley stretched the lead to three with a point from a free from 55 meters. Paddy McGill got Cushendall on the scoreboard on four minutes with a point from a free but another McAuley free from distance restored the Shamrocks three point cushion. Scott Walsh pulled one back for the home side to leave just two between the sides before a fine flowing move by Cushendall sent Paddy McGill in behind the Loughgiel defence and the full forward made no mistake as he fired in the only goal of the game.
The remainder of the opening half became a bit of a shoot-out between the free takers with McGill hitting four for the Ruairis while Watson grabbed three for Loughgiel and McAuley one, the only score from play in that period coming from Shamrocks corner forward Paul Boyle which gave his team a one point lead at the break. (0-10 to 1-6)
Just as they had done in the first half Loughgiel started well and points from a Barney McAuley free and one from play by team captain Eddie McCloskey put them three clear again. Both teams had lost their full-forwards to injury with Liam Watson having to retire for Loughgiel at the break and Cushendall’s Paddy McGill limping off just before the interval. Substitute Eoin Laverty took over the free taking duties for the Ruairis and two inside a minute brought his team back to within a point, only to see Barney McAuley open the gap to two again for Loughgiel. Two more by Laverty restored parity by the midway point of the second half but they couldn’t quite get their noses in front and substitute Michael McGarry pointed from play to edge Loughgiel back ahead.
That however was the last time they would lead as Frein levelled matters again from another placed ball before Ryan McCambride gave them the lead with a neat finish in the 55th minute. Laverty, twice and Scott Walsh missed chances to extend the Cushendall lead and they were made to play when McAuley brought things level again with another accurate finish from 30 metres. Extra time looked a distinct possibility until Campbell quick thinking set up Laverty for the winner and though McAuley had a last gasp chance to save the game, his long range free ended just short and the final whistle sounded seconds later.
Cushendall now go through to play Ballycastle in Sunday’s final at Feis na nGleann in Glenariffe.
CUSHENDALL: Conor McAlister, Niall McCormick, Liam Gillan, Stephen Walsh, Fred McCurry, Paddy Burke, Terry McAlister, Eoghan Campbell, Aidan McNaughton, Eamon Laverty, Scott Walsh, Ryan McCambridge, Dominic Delargy, Paddy McGill, Alex Delargy.
Subs – Eoin Laverty and Eunan McKillop
LOUGHGIEL: Chrissy O’Connell, Declan McCloskey, Tony McCloskey, Caolan Blair, Seamus Dobbin, Tiernan Coyle, Odhran McFadden, Mark McFadden, Eddie McCloskey, Barney McAuley, Daniel McCloskey, Shay Casey, Paul Boyle, Liam Watson, Shan McGrath.
Subs – Declan Laverty and Michel McGarry.
Referee – Colum Cunning (Dunloy)