Creagh Concrete Minor Hurling Championship – Group 2
Loughgiel 2-15 Cushendall 0-7
County champions Loughgiel Shamrocks safely negotiated the first hurdle in their bid to retain their title when they saw off the challenge of Cushendall in the first of the round robin games at Fr Healy Park on Saturday afternoon. There were times in the first half when the young Shamrocks looked a little ‘ring rusty’ and hesitant, but once they got going in the second half there was no stopping them as they hit a succession of fines scores to get their campaign off to the perfect start.
During their first thrity minutes the champions hit a lot of wides, but they were creating the chances nonetheless and got the first two points through Rian McMullan and Damien Quinn. Fiontann McQuillan brought Cushendall back level with two sweetly struck frees in the third and fourth minutes and though Dylan Devlin briefly edged Loughgiel back ahead Killian McNaughton tied it up again with his team’s first score from play.
Cushendall edged in front as McQuillan sent over a 65 and Ciaran Magill put them two ahead just after the water break, but Loughgiel finished the half strongly and three points on the trot from Rian McMullan sent them in at half time leading by a point – 0-6 to 0-5.
With the freshening breeze at their backs in the second half Dylan Devlin put Loughgiel two clear, and though Fiontann McQuillan cut it back to a point again with his first point from play it was clear that Loughgiel were taking control. The Shamrocks were finding their men is space time after time and while their accuracy was letting them down in the first half they were now finding their range.
Two more by Dylan Devlin opened the gap a bit more and though Cushendall kept in touch with a great long range effort from Padraig McKillop, it was to be their last score of the game. The final quarter turned out to be one way traffic and the slick moving Shamrocks carved openings in the Ruair Og defence. The last ten minutes was all one way traffic as the home side hit six points and added two goals for good measure, and had it not been for the heroics of Cushendall goalkeeper Colm McKeegan then the gap could have been much more that the fourteen points that separated the sides at the end.
Kevin McAuley, Finn Henry, Ruairi McCloskey, Tiernan McCaughan, Conal McCloskey, Enda Og McGarry, Conor Dickson, Eunan Lavery, Christy McGarry, Conor O’Mullan, Ryan McMullan, Dylan Devlin, Conor McCormick, Damian Quinn
Subs – Ruairi McCormick, Jack McCloskey
Colm McKeegan, Michael Quinn, Liam McLoughlin, Mark Emerson, James McAlister, Padraig McKillop, Conor McCollum, Shane McKenna, Calum Kilgore, Fiontann McQuillan, Ciaran Magill, Killian McNaughton, Frankie McCormick, Pierce McKeegan, Sean McKay
Referee – Vincent Boyle (Dunloy)