McKillop scoring masterclass steers Ruairis home

North Antrim Hurling U16 Hurling – McMullan Cup quarter final

Ruairi Og Cushendall 3-17 McQuillan’s Ballycastle 2-11

A dominant first half, at the end of which they led by 1-11 to 0-2, set Cushendall up for victory over Ballycastle in Sunday’s McMullan Cup game at Pairc Mhuire. Ballycastle fared better in the second half and at one stage had the deficit back to four points, but Cushendall were never threatened and were good value for their nine point win.

Padraig McKillop who scored 1-14 in Cushendall’s win over Ballycastle

The Ruairis flew from the traps and were a goal up inside 11 seconds through corner forward Oran McCambridge and when Padraig McKillop added three points, and Joseph McLaughlin one, they were 1-14 to 0-0 ahead after thirteen minutes.

Points from Gavin McToal and Darragh Kelly, in reply to one from Joe McLaughlin, steadied the ship a little but an amazing scoring burst from Padraig McKillop which brought six unanswered points between the 23rd and 31st, (three from play, two from frees and one from a 65) put the home team twelve clear at the half time whistle.

A goal from Darragh Kelly just a minute after the restart raised hopes of a Town revival, and though McKillop responded with a pointed free, they next four points came from the visitors through James Bakewll, Darragh Kelly and Conor Donnelly to cut the gap back to six. Another Padraig McKillop point put seven between them in the 40th minute but when Tiernan Heggarty grabbed Ballycastle’s second goal thirty seconds later the gap was down to just four.

Ballycastle’s Darragh Kelly in action against Cushendall’s Stephen McAuley

Suddenly there was hope for the visitors but those hopes were soon dashed as Man of the Match McKillop (he ended with 1-14 to his name) pointed a free before adding a goal from play to snatch the rug from under his opponents.

To their credit Ballycastle kept battling away during the final quarter, but each time they got a score Cushendall had an answer and they ended nine to the good

Cushendall now play the winners of the other semi-final beteween Loughgiel and Glenariffe

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