Jack the lad snatches victory from the jaws of defeat

DARRAGH CUP FINAL

NORTH ANTRIM MINOR HURLING CHAMPIONSHP

Loughgiel 3-12 Oisins 2-13

A goal in the dying seconds by poacher supreme Jack McCloskey gave Loughgiel victory over Glenariffe in Thursday evening’s thrilling Darragh Cup final at Pairc Mhuire Cushendall. Seconds earlier the Oisins appeared to have won it when full forward Shea McDonnell swung over a point to put his team one in front with time almost up. However the cheers for McDonnell’s point were still ringing in the air when the ball was driven up the field, and when it came to McCloskey he went for goal. Oisins keeper Euan McSparran saved the shot but it spun up off his hurley and McCloskey, who had come on as a second half substitute, was in like a shot to flick the ball to the net and seal the win. It was ecstasy for the Shamrocks and agony for the Oisins who had had contributed so much to a great occassion.

Rian McMullan gets away from his markers

The Oisins started brilliantly and they had the ball in the Loughgiel net before the scoreboard operator had started the timer. A long ball from Michael O’Boyle dropped in the Loughgiel square and when Seanie McIntosh challenged Loughgiel goalkeeper the ball somehow ended up in the net. Loughgiel came back well with points from Dylan Devlin, Enda Og McGarry and Rian McMullan to draw level by the 8th minute, but Nial McGarel gave the Oisins the lead again with a well taken point two minutes later. ‘Bubbles’ McMullan pointed for the Shamrocks to bring them level again but with Aidan Scullion dominating at midfield the Oisins began to get on top and two from Scullion and one from Shea McDonnell put them 1-4 to 0-4 ahead by the 16th minute.

The gap was out to five after Michael O’Boyle fired over two points from placed balls, one from a free and the other from a 65, but four minute before the break Dylan Devlin breathed new life into the Loughgiel challenge with a brilliantly taken goal. Seconds later Rian McMullan ‘scooped’ one over off his hurley to cut the gap to just one, but another point from an O’Boyle free had the Oisins two to the good at the short whistle. (1-7 to 1-5)

Glenariffe’s Michael O’Boyle makes a break early in the game.

Another O’Boyle point from a free seconds after the restart had the Oisins three clear but three points inside two minutes from ‘Bicky’ McGarry, two from 65s and one from a free, tied the score yet again. Glenariffe got their noses in front once more when Aidan Scullion swung one over from out on the left wing and when Sean O’Boyle added a great point, following a brilliant high catch, they were two in front. Again Loughgiel hit back and Bubbles McMullan picked off two points to square things up, but they couldn’t get their noses in front and another fine strike from O’Boyle gave Glenariffe the edge.

Damien Quinn restored parity yet again but this time the Shamrocks did get ahead when a 65 from Christy McGarry went through a crowed Glenariffe goalmouth and ended up in the back of the net.

You got the feeling that this would kill off the Oisins challenge but that was not the case and they came storming back, and when Michael O’Boyle fired a rocket of a free to the Shamrocks net from 25 metres the fat was in the fire once again. The excitement was fever pitch as the game went into added time, and when Shea McDonnell split the posts to put the Oisins back ahead it looked like they were going to get their name on the John Darragh Memorial Cup for the first time. However Jack the lad done it again, just as had done in last week’s semi-final against Ballycastle, and the cup was back in the holders’ possession for another year.

The agony and the ecstacy as Loughgiel players celebrate while Glenariffe’s Nial McGarel slumps to his knees.

Kevin McAuley Finn Henry, Ruairi McCloskey, Ruairi McCormick, Conal McCloskey, Enda Og McGarry, Conor Dickson, Eunan Laverty, Christy McGarry (capt), Conor O’Mullan, Rian McMullan, Dylan Devlin, Ronan McCollum, Conor McCormick, Damien Quinn

Subs –

Jack McCloskey for Connor Mc Cormick
Darragh Patterson for Ronan Mc Collum

Subs – Jack McCloskey

Oisins – Euan McSparran, Mark McSparran, Archie McSparran, Cailin Devlin, Daniel Kearney, Odhran Gillan, Dara Mort, Sean O’Boyle, Aidan Scullion, Gabriel Leech, Jack Leech, Michael O’Boyle, Niall McGarel, Shea McDonnell, Seanie McIntosh.

Subs –  Patrick McIlwaine for Sean O’Boyle

Referee – Conal Cunning (Dunloy)

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