Darragh Cup – North Antrim U17 Hurling
Oisins 3-11 Loughgiel 1-11
Three second half goals gave Glenariffe Oisins victory over Loughgiel in Wednesday evening’s Darragh Cup final at Paic Mhuire Cushendall as they claimed the John Darragh Memorial Cup for the first time. Leading y 0-4 to 0-0 at the first water break the Oisins were outplayed in the second quarter as Loughgiel came back to level matters at 0-6 apiece by half time.
The Shamrocks edged ahead for the first times early in the second half but a Niall McGarel goal swung the game back in Glenariffe’s favour and they addedtwo more between then and the end to take the title.
Just three days earlier these two great rivals had met in the league final, and on that occasion Loughgiel came out on top after extra time. As this game got going both sides were struggling to get any rhythm in their play, but despite missing a host of chances Glenariffe still managed to get ahead as Niall Magee and Orrin O’Connor (2) pointed from play and Niall McGarel fired one over from a 65 to lead by 0-4 to no score at the first water break on 18minutes.
As is so often the case the water break brought a momentum change and the second quarter saw Loughgiel get on top. Jack McCloskey got their first score from a free just after the resumption, and though McGarel pointed at the other ends soon afterwards, Loughgiel were getting on top. Another pointed free by Jack McCloskey cut the gap to three before a neat little hand pass from the full forward sent Roan McGarry through for a peach of a point.
Ruairi McCloskey, who had been moved out from full back to midfield, was making a major difference in this area and he brought the gap down to a single point when he landed a great free from long range, and soon afterwards centre back Finn Henry had the sides level with another top class point. When Jack McCloskey put Loughgiel ahead in first half injury time the Glenariffe followers must have felt the game was getting away from them, but Orrin O’Connor brought the Oisins level just before the half time whistle when his goal bound shot was brilliantly turned over the crossbar by the Shamrocks keeper Mark Christie.
Jack McCloskey pointed a free within a minute of the restart to put Loughgiel ahead but two minutes later Oisins full forward Niall McGarel won possession and cut through the Shamrocks defence to fire the ball to the net. It was now the turn of the Oisins goalkeeper Phelim Ward to produce the heroics as he somehow got a hurl to the ball as it seemed certain Loughiel must score, but Loughgiel pushed on and two more pointed frees from Jack McCloskey had the gap back to just one again.
McGarrel came back with two for the Oisns to put his side three clear again, before good work by Calum McIlwaine and Orrin O’Connor put Niall Magee in for his team’s second goal, and when McGarrel added a point from a 65 just before the second water break, Glenariffe were six to the good. Entering the final quarter the Oisins appeared to be comfortable, but of course that is never the case between these two sides and after Jack McCloskey sent over his sixth free Ronan McCollum brought the game to life again when he scored an outrageous goal for the Shamrocks while on his knees.
McCloskey’s seventh point left just two between the sides, and it looked like it could go either way, but a Calum McIlwaine point opened the gap to three again, before Orrin O’Connor got in behind the Loughgiel defence before flicking the ball past their goalkeeper and racing through unopposed for the game clinching goal.
Phelim Ward, Eamon Ward, Mark McSparran, Matthew Black, Cathan Graham, Daniel Kearney, Cailin Devlin, Odhran Gillan, Patrick McIlwaine, Niall Magee, Aidan McSparran, Orrin O’Connor, Calum McIlwaine, Niall McGarel, John v Morgan.
Mark Christie, Ronan McLaughlin, Ruairi McCormick, Cahir Connolly, Conin Sherridan, Finn Herny, Ben McGarry, Conor Dickson, Liam Glackin, Tiago McGarry, Ronan McCollum, Jack McKendry, Danny McAuley, Jack McCloskey, Roan McGarry.
REFEREE – Vincent Boyle (Dunloy)