U-20 Hurling League Division 1
Naomh Éanna 0-07 – 6-24 Mac Uílín
Kevin Herron reports from Hightown
3-12 in each half ensured that Mac Uílín Ballycastle eased to victory over a determined Naomh Éanna outfit at Hightown on Tuesday evening.
The hosts are plying their trade in Division 1 for the first time having competed at B’ level through the various age ranges and although they were easily swept aside they showed a never-say-die attitude and picked off scores when the opportunity arose.
Jack McGowan got Mac Uílín off the mark with an early point and Seamus McAuley converted a free shortly after.
The opening goal arrived after five minutes at Hightown; Jack Egan slipped the ball inside to Tiernan Smyth who picked out the corner of the net to give the visitors a 1-02-0-00 lead.
Luke O’Connor hit the hosts opening score of the evening from a free, despite Feargal McKiernan responding at the other end Naomh Éanna got their second score with O’Connor playing the providers role for Oscar Smyth who split the posts.
Mac Uílín took control in the aftermath as Feargal McKiernan hit back-to-back points before the water break – with Jack McGowan adding his second to give their side a 1-06-0-02 lead.
McKiernan picked up where he left off before the short break with his fourth point of the half. His side should have added a second goal in the aftermath- however Naomh Éanna goalkeeper Shane Gray produced a terrific stop to deny Tiernan Smyth from doubling his goal tally.
The scores continued to flow for Mac Uílín, Jack Egan switched the play to Seamus McAuley for a point and midfielders Rueben McClean and McGowan followed with back-to-back scores. Luke O’Connor converted his second free of the evening in response as Naomh Éanna attempted to hang in there before the break.
Two quick-fire goals in the last five minutes of the half really rubbed salt into Naomh Éanna’s wounds.
The first goal was terrifically worked from one side of the pitch to the other, Callin O’Connor popped the ball to Feargal McKiernan who picked out Eoin Boylan off the shoulder and he found corner-forward Eoin Magee who applied the finish from close range.
Less than 60-seconds later Seamus McAuley flicked the ball past Shane Gray from close range to open up a 3-09-0-03 lead.
A third converted free of the half from O’Connor followed but three successive points courtesy of McAuley, McKiernan and Jack Egan had Mac Uílín 3-12-0-04 to the good.
The visitor’s onslaught showed no sign of letting up as Eoin Magee swung over the opening point of the half and another two quickfire goals followed.
Seamus McAuley played a one-two with Jack Egan before picking his spot in the and he followed up with his third goal of the evening in the aftermath.
McAuley followed his brace of goals with a brace of points, Feargal McKiernan angled over his sixth of the evening and McAuley converted a free as it was 2-05 without reply at the beginning of the second period.
Naomh Éanna go-to man Luke O’Connor converted his fourth and his sides fifth of the contest.
Egan picked off his second point of the evening from range in the aftermath of O’Connor’s reply and McKiernan and McAuley (free) followed up with further scores.
Oscar Smyth picked off his second point for the hosts – following a nice pass from Ronan Eagar to make it 5-20-0-06 at the second half water break.
Points were traded between McAuley and Oran MacRuagain upon the restart, but Mac Uílín finished the game strongly with another 1-04 before the conclusion.
Seamus McAuley brought his tally to 3-08 and Jack Egan swung over his third score from range.
The visitors final goal came with less than five minutes remaining- Tiernan Smyth slipped a simple pass inside of Feargal McKiernan who applied the finish to the net.
McKiernan would conjure up the final score of the game as Mac Uílín wrapped up a comfortable victory at Hightown.
Naomh Éanna: S Gray, P Rodgers, O Kennedy, L Ashe, J Mackin, O MacRuagain (0-01), C McAllister, O Quinn, L O’Connor (0-04f), C Bradley, O Smyth (0-02), C Curran, C Morgan, E Logue, R Eager. Subs: F Sheehy for C Morgan (47), C McGinley for E Logue (47).
Mac Uílín: C McAuley, E Maybin, J Bakewell, M McClean, E Boylan, S Brogan, R Laverty, R McClean (0-01), J McGowan (0-03), F McKiernan (1-08), C O’Connor, J Egan (0-03), E Magee (1-01), S McAuley (3-08, 0-03f), T Smyth (1-00). Subs: J Glynn for S Brogan (HT), E Butler for E Maybin (42).
Referee: Hugh Torney (Ballycran)