McGrattan’s goal proved a turning point

Doherty Woodshavings All County Hurling League Division 1

Portaferry 2-15 Ballycastle 0-12

Paul McIntyre reports from St Patricks Park.

A Tom McGrattan goal after twenty seven minutes proved to be the catalyst for Portaferry to go and record what proved to be in the end, a comfortable nine point win over Ballycastle.

Trailing by six points and with half time approaching, McGrattan was on hand to fire past Tiernan Smyth after the Ballycastle netminder saved smartly from Conor O’Prey. It proved to be a real momentum swinger as up until this point, it was the visitors who were on top. 

Playing into a slight breeze Ballycastle played the smarter hurling in the opening exchanges, and after Portaferry’s McGrattan opened the scoring with an outrageous piece of skill that will give the visitors corner back Jack McGowan a few nightmares, the Town stormed their way to a three point lead at the first half waterbreak, 0-5 to 0-2.

Ballycastle were totally dominant in the middle sector. Kevin Barry McShane, Cormac Donnelly and Conor Boyd all forced turnovers and as the Black N’ Amber starved their hosts from enjoying any possession.

Ciaran Butler’s score on 13 minutes epitomised everything good about their first half performance. Quickly moving the ball short and to find a player in the scoring zone to take their point.

The ‘Town’ kept up the pressure and added to their tally with points from McShane, Butler and Seamus McAuley to open up a six point lead, 0-10 to 0-4 before McGrattan pounced for a much needed goal for the hosts.

The impressive Padraig Doran claimed the first two scores of the second half but Ballycastle kept their noses in front with another McShane point, but when Dornan landed his sixth of the day on 43 minutes, it gave Portaferry a lead that they would never relinquish.

Just before the second half waterbreak Doran found himself in space and ran at the Ballycastle defence and Niall Mulligan was on hand to divert Dornan’s shot past a helpless Smyth.

Ballycastle persisted with the long ball tactic in the second half which proved to be fruitless and Gary Smyth’s side went on to register the final six scores of the game to run out convincing winners with Dornan claiming his tenth of the day in stoppage time.

Teams & Scorers:

Portaferry: Paddy McNally, Ciaran Savage, Tom Murray, Emmett O’Neill, Darragh Mallon, Conor O’Neill, Callum Smyth, Conor O’Prey (0-1f), Barry Trainor, Padraig Dornan, (0-10 8f), Niall Mulligan (1-0), Aaron O’Prey (0-1), Tom McGrattan (1-2), Conor Mageean (0-1), Ryan O’Neill.

Subs: Shane Conlon for B Trainor (HT), Fergal Rogers for C O’Neill (HT), Ryan Convery for R O’Neill (45), Sean Milligan for A O’Prey (56), Ciaran Milligan for C Savage (59).

Ballycastle: Tiernan Smyth, Conor Donnelly, Órán Kearney, Jack McGowan, Cormac Donnelly, Ciaran McKeague, Ronan Laverty, Conor Boyd (0-3 2 ‘65’ 1f), Eamon Elliott, Ciaran Butler (0-3), Kevin Barry McShane (0-2), Seamus McAuley (0-4 1f), Neal McAuley, Feargal McKiernan, Lorcán Donnelly.

Subs: Ruben McClean for F McKiernan (49), Mark McClean for L Donnelly (49), Owen Kinney for C Donnelly (56).

Referee: Mr Hugh Torney. Ballycran.

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