Ballycastle just hold on as Naomh Eanna come up a point short

Antrim Hurling League Division 1

Ballycastle 0-19 Naomh Eanna 0-18

Former Cushendall team mates Michael McCambridge (left) and Fergus McAlister who are now managers of Naomh Eanna and Ballycastle, greet each other before the start of Saturday Division 1 League game in Ballycastle.

Ballycastle edged out Naomh Eanna by the narrowest of margins to claim both points in Saturday’s all County Hurling League game at Pairc MacUilin. Leading from the third minute when their best player Seamus McAuley put them the home team were clinging on by their fingernails during those tense final minutes as Naomh Eanna clawed their way back. The visitors had two chances to save the game in injury time but Cormac Ross and Ruairi Donaghy shot inches wide as the Town just got over the line.

It had all looked so different in the opening half as Ballycastle dominated  the play and after falling behind to a Cormac Ross point in just 30 seconds they hit back with six points without reply with points from Seamus McAuley (3), Diarmaid McShane (2) and Fearghal McKiernan.

They were six clear by the first half water-break and when that gap was stretched to seven with just five minutes of the first half remaining, but Cormac Jennings and Ross hit two late points for Naomh Eanna to cut the gap to five by half time.

With the freshening breeze at their backs in the second half Naomh Eanna began to claw their way back as Jennings (2), Eddie O’connor and Ruairi Donaghy all found the target, with just two coming in reply for Ballycastle. The battle was now well and truly on as the gap went up to three, then down to two, a few times, the ‘castle scores coming from Seamus McAuley.

Cormac Ross was in great form at the other end and it seemed only a matter of time until the Glengormley men drew level, but points from Lorcan Donnelly Ferghal McKieran kept the home sides noses in front and despite Ross cutting the gap the minimum going into injury time the Town held on to take the win.

Ballycastle scorers – S McAuley 0-6; D McShane 0-5; F McKiernan 0-2; E Elliott 0-2; C Campbell 0-1; T Butler 0-1; KB McShane 0-1; L Donnelly 0-1.

Naomh Eanna scorers – Cormac Jennings 0-8; Cormac Ross 0-7; Eoin O’Connor, Rian Bogue, Ruairi Donaghy 0-1 apiece

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