Bathshack Antrim Senior Hurling Championship, Group One
Ballycastle, McQuillans 1-15
Goals were the difference as Rossa booked a place in the quarter final of this year’s Senior Hurling Championhip at the expense of Ballycastle on Sunday at rain lashed Pairc MacUilín. Two in each half were the scored that did the damage to the home team’s hopes and while they could argue there was an element of luck about the first two, nobody can deny the brilliance of the two second half majors, both of them finished superbly by super sub Thomas Morgan. The first goal two minutes of the game came back off the top of the upright and while it caught the Ballycastle defence off guard as it dropped down in front of goal the same cannot be said for Rossa’s Deaglan Murphy who pounced right away to drill the ball home. The second goal came from a Gerard Walsh penalty on 26minutes and while Ballycastle keeper Benny Connor got his hurl to the ball it spun agonisingly along the goal line before rolling over near the Connor’s left had upright.
However it would wrong to suggest there was anything lucky about Rossa’s overall win for they were fully deserving of the victory which was fashioned out of hard work, determination and a good degree of skill. The good start settled them and while Ballycastle got themselves back into contention a time or two, the Shaw’s Road men were always able to keep their hosts at arms-length.
Points from Ciaran Clarke and Dairmuid McShane got Ballycastle back into the game following the early goal but Rossa hit back with four points without reply through Deaglan Murphy, Stephen Shannon, and two from James Connolly to lead by 1-4 to 0-2 at the first half water break.
Ballycastle got themselves back into it again after the restart and with points from McShane, McCarry and Clarke to cut the gap back to just two but they were rocked back on their heels again when Gerard Walsh scored the Rossa penalty just before the break.
2-6 to 0-7 to the good at half time they were able to maintain that five point gap as both teams hit three apiece during the first ten minutes of the second half but when Thomas Morgan cut in from the right wing to grab the first of his two goals in the 44th minute they were in complete control. To their credit Ballycastle hit back to score the next three points, two of them from Clarke and one from substitute Seamus McAuley but just when their hopes were raised again Morgan pounced for his second goal.
Substitute Owen Kinney got a goal back for Ballycastle but Rossa finished strong to seal their place in next weekend’s quarter final against Cushendall in Hightown next Saturday at 4pm.
BALLYCASTLE: B Connor; O Kearney, M Donnelly, J McLister; S Kelly, C Boyd, E Elliott; R McCarry, Cathal Connor; C Butler (0-1), J McShane (0-1), T Butler; D McShane (0-3), N McAuley, C Clarke (0-8, 6 frees 1 65). Subs: S McAuley (0-2) for E Elliott (HT), R McCooke for J McLister (39), Caolan Connor (1-0) for J McShane (45).
ROSSA: D Armstrong; C Orchin, N Crossan, A Orchin; G Walsh (1-0 pen), Stephen Shannon (0-1), C Shannon; A O’Brien (0-1), Seaghan Shannon (0-1); Deaglan Murphy (1-0), J Connolly (0-5, 2 frees, 1 65), S Beatty (0-1); T Murphy (0-1), M Armstrong, C McGuinness (0-1). Subs: T Morgan (2-1) for C Shannon (29), D McEnhill (0-1) for C Orchin (49), D Rocks (0-1) for T Murphy (55), M McGreevy for J Connolly (58), Daire Murphy for A O’Brien (60+1).
REFEREE: Eamonn Hassan (Swatragh)