Doherty Woodshavings Hurling League Division One
Loughgiel 1-18 Dunloy 0-10
Saturday May 8
Brendan McTaggart reports from Fr Healy Park, Loughgiel
A late scoring burst of six points in the last ten minutes from Loughgiel put daylight between the sides in Fr Healy Park but in truth, the Shamrocks were much stronger than the Cuchullains on the day. 11 points separated the sides by the time referee Mark O’Neill called time to the opening fixture of the 2021 league campaign with the home side gaining an element of revenge for their championship final defeat in October.
Both sides were missing their county players, Dunloy with nine in total along with Paul Shiels and Conor McKinley also missing out while the Shamrocks took the opportunity to blood more of their successful minor championship winning sides from the past two years. Rian McMullan and substitutes Paul Boyle and Christy McGarry in particular shinning for Hugh McCann’s side but it was Shane O’Boyle who took the man of the match honours. The Loughgiel half forward finished with three points from play in an excellent performance over the full hour.
The Cuchullain’s challenge wasn’t helped with experienced players Eamonn Smyth, Kevin McKeague and Chrissy Brogan all having to leave the pitch injured but despite holding a three point lead at half time, they struggled with the elements in the second half as Loughgiel turned the screw and scored at will.
The Cuchullains started brightly, switching play at every opportunity and looking for the pace of Chrissy McMahon while Kevin McQuillan was their focal point in attack. They scored the opening five points of the game with McMahon and Smyth’s accuracy from frees helping them to develop a lead.
The home side were stung into action when both sides were reduced to 14 men in the 14th minute. Eddie McCloskey and Liam McCann seeing red after a heated altercation just before the water break.
Shane O’Boyle scored Loughgiel’s first point in the 15th minute and while they relied on Rian McMullan’s free taking, Dunloy added scores from substitute Shane Dooey and Chrissy Brogan gave the Cuchullains a half time lead of 0-8 to 0-5.
The second half belonged to the home side with their forwards reaping from the hard work of their half back and midfield line. They suffocated the Cuchullains, starved them of space and applied pressure at every opportunity to force mistakes from the county champions.
A brace of points from McMullan (frees) and a smart score from a tight angle from Shan McGrath brought the sides level before another McGrath score soon after gave the Shamrocks the lead for the first time in the game. Shane O’Boyle’s third white flag of the game giving Loughgiel a two point lead at the second half water break.
Dunloy scored their first score of the second half when the game resumed, substitute Oisin Elliott with the required accuracy but Loughgiel went through the gears to put the result beyond doubt in the final quarter.
The only goal of the game came with ten minutes remaining, Michael McGarry sweeping home after the Dunloy defence failed to deal with a dropping ball. Further points from the impressive Paul Boyle, Christy McGarry and McGrath put further gloss on the scoreline for the home side as they sailed home in impressive fashion in the closing stages.
The Cuchullains will be hoping to bounce back when they host Ballycastle in Pearse Park on Wednesday evening while the Shamrocks make their way to Cushendall on the same day.
Loughgiel: Chrissy O’Connell; Tiernan Coyle, Tony McCloskey, Ronan McCloskey; Odhran Laverty, Cathal McMullan, Odhran McFadden; Donal McKinley, Callum McKendry; Cormac McFadden, Eddie McCloskey, Shane Boyle; Rian McMullan, John-Francis Connolly, Shan McGrath
Dunloy: Paul Doherty; Oran Quinn, Ciaran McQuillan, Conor Kinsella; Eamonn Smyth, Kevin McKeague, Ronan Molloy; Liam McCann, Padraig McGilligan; Ryan McFarland, Kevin Molloy, Kevin McQuillan; Chrissy Brogan, Chrissy McMahon, Anton McGrath
Loughgiel: Rian McMullan 0-5 (5f); Shane O’Boyle 0-3; Paul Boyle 0-3; Christy McGarry 0-3; Shane McGrath 0-3 (1f); Michael McGarry 1-00; Seamus Dobbin 0-1
Dunloy: Eamonn Smyth 0-2 (2f); Chrissy McMahon 0-2 (2f); Chrissy Brogan 0-2; Kevin Molloy 0-2; Shane Dooey 0-1; Oisin Elliott 0-1
Referee: Mark O’Neill (Armoy)