Ruairis start and finish strongly in see-saw game

Bathshack Senior Hurling Championship – Group 2

Cushendall: 2-23 (29)  St Johns: 1-16(19)

A strong start and finish by Cushendall saw them overcome St John’s in their Group 2, Round 2 game at Paric Mhuire on Saturday to move into second place in the Group table, behind Dunloy on score difference.

When the Ruairs moved 2-7 to 0-1 clear nearing the end of the opening quarter the only thing that appeared to be in question was the size of their winning margin. It didn’t look much better for the Johnnies at half time when they trailed by ten points (2-11 to 0-7), but things took a dramatic turn in the third quarter as the Corrigan Park men took control of the game and incredibly closed the gap to just two points by the second water break.

It appeared to be be anyone’s game at this stage, but Cushendall found their form again and hit a series of late scores to win by ten in the end.

Two points from play by Christy McNaughton had the Ruairis ahead after just two minutes, but two minutes later Shea Shannon cut the deficit in half with a pointed free. Cushendall were dominating the play and they hit the next seven scores between the 6th and 12th minutes, each one of them from play, to take control of the game.

Neil McMauns, Aidan McNaughton, Eoghan Campbell and Christy McNaughtom all added points before McManus grabbed the first goal of the game on 10 minutes. Just over a minute later Paddy Burke, playing in the half forward line added another goal and when corner forward Fred McCurry popped over a point the lead was out to l2.

Two points in quick succession by St John’s Michael Dudley and Aidan McMahon settled them a little, though Christy McMahon came back with one for the home team a minute later. Three on the trot from the Johnnies through Shea Shannon (2) and Mick Bradley lifted the visiting fans’ spirits a little but McNaughton and Fergus McCambridge replied for the home team and by half time the Cushendall lead was still out at 10 points.

Going into the second half it was clear St John’s had a mountain to climb, but they started to find their range a few early points lifted their spirits. They had cut the gap back to nine by the 38th minute and when Mick Bradley fired the ball to the Cushendall net they were up and running again, and two more points by Domhnall Nugent left just four points between the sides.

Shea Shannon hand passes the ball away as he is challenged by Cushendall’s Eoghan Campbell.

A Fred McCurry point for Cushendall stopped the slide briefly but three in a row from Bradley (2) and substitute Peter McCallin left just two points in it at the second half water break.

For water-break read momentum-break, and as is the case on so many occasions things too a dramatic turn in the restart. Scores were had to come by for another few minutes but when Neill McManus got one from afree eight minutes from time the scores bean to flow. McManus got another two from play, Chirsty McNaughton added a couple and Fergus McCambridge and Eoghan Campbell go on the act push the lead back out to ten and secure the win.

CUSHENDALL

Eoin Gillan, Ryan McCambridge, Martin Burke, Shane McKenna, Scott Walsh, Aaron Graffin, Ruairi McCollum, Eoghan Campbell, Alex Delargy, Paddy Burke, Christy McNaughton, Aidan McNaughton, Paddy McGill, Neil McManus, Francis McCurry.

ST JOHN’S

Simon Doherty, Aidan McMahon, Conal Morgan, Conor Carson, Ciaran Kerr, Stephen Tierney, Conall Bohill, Shea Shannon, Andy Magowan, Michael Dudley, Oisin Donnelly, Domhnall Nugent, Donal Carson, Michael Bradley, Aaron Bradley.

Referee – Mark O’Neill.

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