Danske Bank MacNamee Cup final
CPC Ballycastle 2-7 St Killian’s Garron Tower 3-2
CROSS and Passion Ballycastle recovered from a bad start to beat St Killian’s Garron Tower in Friday’s thrilling Danske Bank MacNamee Cup final at Quinn Park, Ballymena.
Going in as slight favourites the Ballycastle side found themselves two goals in arrears after just three minutes and it was clear they had a real battle on their hands. The fought back to cut the gap to just two points by half time, thanks to a Conor Donnelly goal, and after the change of ends they gradually got on top. They were level ten minutes into the second half and gradually got on top, but they had to withstand a late St Killian’s goal by Callum McIlwaine before getting their hands on the coveted silverware.
In a fantastic game of hurling, with both teams cheered on by a large support, the boys from the Tower got off to a flyer when Callum McIlwaine attacked from the throw-in in a move which ended with Thomas McLaughlin firing to the CPC net with less than twenty seconds on the clock and when they added another three minutes later through an Oran McCambridge free. However they were unable to sustain their early pace and the Ballycastle boys hit back with a Conor Donnelly goal to close within two points at the short whistle. St Killian’s 2-1 CPC 1-2.
CPC started the second half with when the excellent Oisin McCallin pointed to cut the gap to one, but the two point cushion was soon restored to the Tower when Aodhán Campbell pointed at the other end. However CPC were gaining the upper hand and points from Conor Donnelly and Aidan Richmond brought them level before Roan McGarry edge his team ahead for the first time. Full forward Callum Cane added a point from play to put two between the sides and the destiny of the cup appeared to be decided soon afterwards when centre forward Conor Donnelly drove a low shot past Joe McKay in the St Killian’s goal. The smart money was now on CPC but St Killian’s never gave up the fight and a goal from a Callagh Mooney free brought the gap back to just two as the game entered injury time.
There was one more nerve wracking moment for the CPC fans to endure as McCambridge dropped a free in around the CPC square, but the Convent’s defence stood tall and cleared the danger as Owen Elliott’s final whistle sparked great scenes of celebration.
A great game, for the first proper final meeting between these to very good sides, who are packed full of stars. They will surely meet again many times in the years ahead and if any of those games are half as good as this one was then there are exciting times ahead for north Antrim hurling followers.
Cross and Passion : A Mullan, A Hughes, L Glackin, C Boylan, C Baudant, D Donnelly, A Kelly, R McGarry 0-1 free, K Agoha, A Richmond 0-2, C Donnelly 2-1, 0-1 free, R Fitzgerald, D O’Mullan, C Cane 0-1, O McCallin 0-2.
Subs : C Crawford for K Agoha, C McGarry for D O’Mullan
St Killian’s : J McKay, J Kearney, J Scullion, O McClintock, A Campbell 0-1, F McKillop, C Ward, C McIlwaine, C Mooney 1-1, 1-0 free, D Douthart, O McCambridge 1-0 free, C McAuley, T McLaughlin 1-0, D Higgins, C McNaughton
Referee : Owen Elliott (Ballymena)