Four-midable Gort return to winning ways

ACHL Division Three

Gort na Mona 4-17-0-10 Cushendun

By Kevin Herron from Enright Park

Gort na Mona recovered from their midweek blip at the hands of Bredagh with a comprehensive 4-17-0-10 defeat of county Junior Champions Cushendun at Enright Park on Sunday afternoon.

Three goals inside the opening twenty minutes had the Turf Lodge men firmly in the driving seat as Dessie McClean, Darren Boyd and Mark Rea all found majors to give their side a 3-08-0-05 lead at the break.

Boyd and McClean combined for their sides fourth shortly after the restart and like the opening half and it was very much one way traffic for the majority of the second period.

It took a few minutes for the sides to adapt to the conditions early on in Enright Park as the pounding rain and sandy surface made things extremely difficult.

Cushendun opened the scoring courtesy of Conor McHugh’s third minute free – but Dessie McClean responded from a similar scenario.

The opening goal arrived after five minutes – Dessie McClean let fly with a high shot that Cushendun goalkeeper Eoin Magee thought was going to drop over the bar, only for the ball to drop to the net and embarrass the unfortunate net minder.

Thomas Scally responded with a point from range – but the visitors were spared the concession of a second goal by referee Ciaran McCloskey.

Patrick McCaffrey switched the play with Dessie McClean and the goalscorer fed Christopher McErlean – McErlean turned the ball home, however McCloskey adjudged the full forward to have strayed into the square.

Harry Kilgore shook off heavy pressure and made it a one point game in the aftermath (1-01-0-03) and the sides traded further scores through Patrick McCaffey and Conor McHugh (free).

Gort na Mona opened up a two-point advantage approaching the midday point in the half through points from McErlean and Mark Rea.

The hosts were then gifted the opportunity of a second goal on 17 minutes; Gary Doyle was set to pull the trigger, only to be chopped down and referee McCloskey to signal for a penalty.

Darren Boyd seized responsibility and rifled low past Magee into the bottom right corner to make it 2-04-0-04.

With little over ten minutes to the break the Gort’s had effectively  secured victory with their third goal of the half – under extremely fortunate circumstances.  

Wing-half back Mark Rea advanced forward and let fly with a shot that dropped into the hand of Cushendun goalkeeper Eoin Magee and under pressure from Christopher McErlean; Magee spilled the ball into his own net to ensure Gort na Mona led 3-04-0-04.

The sides traded scores in the aftermath through Dessie McClean and Dominic Sharkey but it was the dominant hosts that ended the half with three successive points.

Chris McErlean popped the ball over the bar, followed by a third McClean point – the last score before the break was one that appeared to be manufactured on the training ground as Gavin McKenna was the recipient of a quick sideline ball and shot over the bar to give his side a 3-08-0-05 advantage at the interval.

Gort na Mona increased their lead upon the resumption with McClean (free) and substitute Brendan Quinn on target.

On 34 minutes the hosts hit their final goal of the afternoon – first half goal scorers Boyd and McClean combined to great effect and McClean lashed the ball to the corner of the net past substitute keeper Michael McHugh to claim his second of the afternoon and in the process make it 4-10-0-05.

Conor McHugh replied with his third converted free of the afternoon – but Niall Healy and Dessie McClean (free) forged further scores.

Darren Boyd could have added a fifth goal in between – a fine move between McClean and Healy saw the ball played into the path of the full-forward whose shot crashed off the post.

The sides traded the next four scores, Cushendun were playing for pride by this stage and twice narrowed the margin through Pierce Bannon and substitute Michael Dunne, though Connor McCann and Brendan Quinn responded in turn.

Cushendun had the chance of a consolation goal with little over ten minutes remaining as Conor McHugh was chopped down after a long foray forward. Referee McCloskey awarded a 21-yard free which McHugh took responsibility for, but his effort was scrambled to safety.

Declan Hughes and Dessie McClean added their sides final scores of the afternoon and at the other end Gort’s keeper Padraig Fryers made himself big to deny Pierce Bannon.

Cushendun would reach double figures thanks to late converted frees from Conor McHugh and Aidan Corbett – it had little bearing on the final outcome as Gort na Mona move a step nearer to the league title and promotion to Division Two Hurling. 

Gort na Mona: P Fryers, J Connolly, G McKenna (0-01), C Devlin, M Rea (1-01), P McHugh, N Henry, P McCaffrey (0-01), D Hughes (0-01), C McCann (0-01), N Doyle, N Healy (0-01), D McClean (2-07, 0-05f), C McErlean (0-02), D Boyd (1-00f). Subs: B Quinn (0-02) for N Doyle (28 mins); P Cournane for C Devlin (48 mins): T McCaffrey for D Hughes (48 mins); C Healy for C McErlean (50 mins); R Coleman for N Healy (53 mins).

Cushendun: E Magee, S Hamilton, A Corbett (0-01f), J McKay, C McKay, T Scally (0-01), N McAuley, C McHugh (0-04f), J Morgan, D Sharkey (0-01), H Kilgore (0-02), P Bannon, A McMullan, E McQuillan, C Bannon. Subs: M McHugh for E Magee (30 mins), R Millar for C Bannon (30 mins), M Dunne for D Sharkey (47 mins).

Referee: Ciaran McCloskey (Loughgiel)

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