Jack at the double as Shamrocks book final spot

Darragh Cup  – North Antrim Minor Hurling Championship

Ballycastle 0-14 Loughgiel 2-12

Two goals from super sub Jack McCloskey in the last ten minutes saw Loughgiel come from behind to book their place in the Darragh Cup final at Pairc MacUílin Ballycastle. The home team had lead by four points at the half time interval and were still two to the good with just ten minutes of normal time still to play. However McCloskey got a touch to a long delivery by midfielder Eunan Laverty to deflect it to the Ballycastle net, not long after coming on the pitch and three minutes later he got inside the Ballycastle defence to fire home goal number two.

In a game played in heavy rain Rian McMullan put Loughgiel ahead but Ballycastle hit back with four points on the trot through Tiernan Smyth (2), Fergal McKiernan and Caolin O’Connor to lead 0-4 to 0-1 after twelve minutes. Loughgiel closed the gap with points from placed balls from Rian McMullan, one a free and the other a 65, and they came close to grabbing a goal when Dylan Devlin’s shot was well saved by Jimmy Jo Burns in the Ballycastle goals.  

The ‘Town’ got going again when Tiernan Smyth pointed frees on 24 and 25 minutes and one from play by James Bakewell. They too had a goal chance when Darragh Kelly’s shot bobbled around in the ‘square’, but the Shamrocks netminder Kevin McAuley cleared the danger and though Joe McToal added a point, two more from Rian McMullan frees left just four between the sides at the break. (0-9 to 0-4)

After the change of ends Loughgiel started to find their range and they closed the gap to a single point by the 43rd minute as Rian ‘Bubbles’ McMullan added two more to his total and Eunan Laverty tacked on one. Rueben McLean settled the Ballycastle nerves with a much needed point just after the half time ‘water break’ but the pressure was coming on the home sides defence more and more and when McCloskey goaled with his first touch the momentum was with the Shamrocks. McCloskey’s second goal gave the visitors a form grip on the game and though Ballycatle added three more points Loughgiel always found a reply and they were four to the good by the time referee Vincent Boyle blew the final whistle.

BALLYCASTLE – Jamie Jo Burns, Jack Colgan, Liam McCollum, Patrick McAllister, Eoin Boylan, Jack McGowan, Jack McLean, Seamus McAuley, Reuben McLean, James Bakewell, Fergal McKiernan, Joe McToal, Darragh Kelly, Cailin O’Connor, Tiernan Smyth.

LOUGHGIEL – Kevin McAuley, Finn Henry, Rory McCloskey, Ruairi McCormick, Conal McCloskey, Enda Og McGarry, Conor Dickson, Eunan Laverty, Christy McGarry, Conor O’Mullan, Rian McMullan, Dylan Devlin, Ronan McCollum, Conor McCormick, Damian Quinn

Subs – Jack McCloskey on for Damian Quinn.

Referee – Vincent Boyle (Dunloy)


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