Dunloy powered past Ballycran in 1995 Ulster final

Down Memory Lane

In a little tribute to former Dunloy manger Phonsie Kearns (who died last weekend) we carry the report and photos from the 1995 Ulster final which saw Phonsie steer the Cuchullains to his second Ulster title on the trot.

Team manager Phonsie Kearns (RIP) gives a few words of advice to Seamus Mushy McMullan during the pre-match parade

Ulster Club Hurling final 1995

Dunloy 2-18 Ballycran 0-9

Dunloy turned in a sparking display of devastating hurling as they  dismissaed Down champions Ballycran in Sunday’s Ulster Club Hurling final at Casement Park. Four points to the good after a scrappy first half the Antrim champions went into overdrive with a free scoring second half display. The impressive Alastair Elliott, who had rattled the Ballycran net in the first half, killed off the challenge of the Down champions midway through the second with a glorious goal after a mazy 40 yard run.

In truth Ballycran were second best in all sectors of the field. Conor Arthurs battled bravely at right half forward but received little support from his more experienced colleagues.

The Ards men did get off to a flying start with a point from midfielder John McCarthy after 30 seconds, however the industrious Eamon McKee equalised within a minute and Dunloy were never again in arrears. Alastair Elliott grabbed his first goal after a long delivery from Frankie McMullan had eluded both Dunloy’s Gregory O’Kane and his marker Bill Hughes.

The physical contest between O’Kane and Hughes was one of the highlights of the first half.  Hughes picked up a caution from Carlow referee Pat Aherne after just nine minutes for an over-zealous challenge and was later dismissed for a second bookable offence.

Dunloy spurred on the dynamitic efforts of wing forwards Nigel and Jarlath Elliott, led 1-6 to 0-2 by the seventeenth minute. However Ballycran did threaten a comeback and got back into the contest just before half time when they began to employ a more direct style to good effect. That style earned them three frees in the final minutes which were expertly sent over by centre-forward Dermot O’Prey.

However Ballycran failed to maintain their momentum in the second half as Dunloy moved up through the gears. The all-action Jarlath Elliott struck two fine points in the opening minutes to stretch his team’s lead to six. An excellent 41st minute stop by Noel Keith to deny Seamus McMullan a goal even failed to rally Ballycran. Referee Aherne and award the penalty after a foul on the dangerous Alastair Elliott in the small square.

There is a resigned look on the face of Ballycran goalkeeper Noel Keith as Alastair Elliott fires the ball to the net for the first of his two goals.

Unperturbed Dunloy kept pressing on and when Frankie McMullan, dominant at midfield alongside Colm McGuckian, send over a point a minute later they were back in full control. The roof fell in on Ballycran’s chances When Alaistair Elliott soloed through to score his wonder goal and there was no way back for the Down men. Dunloy were rampant in the final stages and their task was made that bit easier when Michael Braniff joined Bill Hughes back in the changing room.

Dunloy’s next game is against the champions of London in the All Ireland quarter-final in a few weeks’ time and on Sunday’s form they will strong favourites to advance in that one as well.

Ballycran’s Gary Savage grabs the ball after saving Seamus McMullan’s penalty

DUYNLOY – Shane Elliott, Niall McCamphill, Paul Molloy, Sean McIhatton, Seamus McMullan, Gary O’Kane (0-1), Sean Mullan, Frankie McMullan (0-2), Colm McGuckian, Nigel Elliott (0-2), Tony McGrath (0-1), Jarlath Elliott (0-3), Alastair Elliott (2-0), Gregory O’Kane (0-4), Eamon McKee (0-3).

Subs Malachy Molloy (0-1) for Nigel Elliott (inj); Seamus Boyle for Alastair Elliott.

BALLYCRAN – N Keith, S McAree, B Hughes, H Torney, M Braniff, D Woods, G Savage, D Qoods, J McCarthy, K Blaney, D O’Prey, C Arthurs, S Mallon, H Gilmore, M Blaney.

Subs – T Masterson for Mallon; P Braniff for M Blaney.

Referee – Pat Aherne (Carlow)  

Dunloy captain Nigel Elliott shows the scars of battle as he receives the Four Seasons Cup from Ulster Council Chairman Danny Murphy

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