Oisins won first Intermediate title of the new Millennium

Glenariffe won the the Intermediate Hurling Championship in 2002 when they held of a late charge by a Martin McAuley insired Carey team. The Oisins appeared to be coasting when the gained the upper had in the last quarter but the Faughs came within inches of bring the game to extra time with a great fightback in the final minutes. Here we carry the match report that appeared in the Ballymena Chronicle at the time

Antrim Intermediate Hurling Championship final 2000

Glenariffe Oisins 1-17 Carey Faughs 2-12

The colourful atmosphere which added much to this occasion was only surpassed by the excellence of the hurling on show from both teams in Saturday’s thrilling Intermediate final at Armoy.                    Scoring by both sides was faultless, and the high standard produced is a credit to the two teams. In true championship style this was a real end-to-end game, and direct from the throw-in the scoring began.

Glenariffe were first to register when a fine three-man move was ended with a Johnny McIntosh point, but it was a lead which would only last a few seconds as Martin McAuley levelled the scores from a 40 yard free at the other end. It was now fast and furious and Alastair McAllister edged the Oisins ahead again, only for Carey to reel them in once more with Martin McAuley answering from 50 yards from another ‘placed’ ball.

Dan McKillop gets away from the challenge of Carey’s Bosco McAuley during the 2000 Intermediate Championship final in Armoy

Glenariffe got ahead again when Sean Harvey pointed from a 70 yard free, which was followed by a point from a narrow angle from Niall O’Hagan. In the tenth minute Johnny McIntosh forced a great save from Carey ‘keeper Paul Brogan, but in their haste to clear Carey conceded possession and Seamus Reid won possession to split the uprights from 30 yards. Three points now separated the sides, but Carey began to reel the Oisins in. From all of 75 yards Marin McAuley sent over his third free to reduce the deficit to two, but again Glenariffe pulled away with a Niall O’hagan point. At the end of the opening quarter there was little between the sides as Martin McAuley got his team’s first score from play and them Julian Gillan added another to leave just a point between the sides.

Glenariffe then began to show the form they had promised and a great solo run and hand-pass from Shane McDonnell set Niall O’hagan up for a tap-over point and when McDonnell added another the gap was out to three again. Glenariffe pushed on further with a point from Alastair McAlister and Carey appeared to be losing touch. However the Faughs plan of playing a two-man full forward line began to pay dividends and from Martin McAuley’s long clearance John McVeigh got in behind the Oisins defence and fired the ball to the corner of the net to leave just a point between the sides. (0-9 to 1-5)

Glenariffe responded with a point from a free by Niall O’Hagan and one from distance from Johnny ‘Tosh’, but Carey came back with a point from Tommy Devlin. With just two minutes of the opening half remaining Glenariffe got a big break and after ‘Tosh’ added a point a long delivery from a Sean Harvey free came back off the woodwork and Niall O’Hagan was on hand to kick the rebound the Carey net and send his team in at the break with a six point cushion.

Niall O’Hagan celebrates after scoring Glenariffe’s goal

Backed by the breeze in the second half Carey needed just three minutes to register their first score as Martin McAuley maintained his 100% record from frees, and when John McVeigh added one from play the gap was now down to four. Glenariffe responded with a Niall O’hagan point and one from the veteran Dominic Kearns. With their defence gaining the upper hand again Glenariffe regained control and when Johnny McIntosh added two excellent points in the 38th and 40th minutes the gap was out to eight. Martin McAuley sent a sideline cut all the way over the bar to briefly lift Carey spirits but the Oisins had an answer when Seamus Reid sent over a point at the other end.

When the gap still at eight with just six minutes remaining Glenariffe appeared to be home and dry, but they took their foot off the pedal and Carey got themselves back into contention with the excellent Martin McAuley spearheading the Faughs comeback. Showing great skill he again pointed a side-line ‘cut’ and with just two minutes remaining notched a 40 yard point from play. From full-time coming ever nearer he charged through the Glenariffe defence to fire the ball to the net and leave just a goal between the sides. There was still more drama to come when the Faughs were awarded a 30 yard free and up stepped McAuley again to go for goal, but his well struck shot was touched over by Glenariffe goalkeeper Damian Jamison and the Oisins had survived. The resultant poc-out seconds later sparked scenes of great celebration among the relieved Glenariffe followers.

Dominic Kearns is lifted shoulder high by Johnny Tosh, Alastair McAlister and Mark Sidebottom as holds the cup aloft.

GLENARIFFE – Damien Jamison, Paul Shepherd, Mick McKillop, Padraig McIlwaine, Sean Harvey, Liam McCollum, Norris Murray, Dominic Kearns, Gerard Black, Alastair McAllister, Shane McDonnell, Dan McKillop, Niall O’Hagan, Johnny McIntosh, Seamus Reid.

Subs – Mark Sidebottom for O’Hagan

CAREY – P Brogan, B McAuley, J McBride, A McCormick, P Devlin, J McAuley, J Butler, M McAuley, T Devlin, J Gillan, J McVeigh, S Murphy, C McCaughan, G McAuley, S McNeill.

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