Bathshack Antrim Senior Hurling Championship, Group One
Loughgiel Shamrocks 1-14 O’Donovan Rossa 0-21
O’Donovan Rossa turned in a sparkling performance at Healey Park on Sunday to overcome the challenge of Loughgiel Shamrock’s and suggest that they are serious challengers for this year’s Bathshack Senior Hurling championship.
The home side were lethargic at times and were much too reliant on ace marksman, James McNaughton and it was not until the 44th minute that anyone other than their Antrim county man got their name on the Loughgiel score-sheet.
The Shamrock’s had difficulty breaking down a very solid Rossa defence over the hour and their cause wasn’t helped with the dismissal of Tiernan Coyle in the 22nd minute as the visitors used the spare man to good advantage.
Even before Coyle’s dismissal it was visitors Rossa who were dictating the exchanges and they
looked much more fluid going forward and took some excellent scores over the hour to build a winning tally and claim what was a huge victory away from home.
It was hosts Loughgiel who made the brighter opening however and James McNaughton fired over a point within 30 seconds and then Christy McGarry combined with John Francis Connolly to find McNaughton out to his left and the Shamrocks’ ace marksman made no mistake as he fired past Armstrong in the 3d minute.
Loughgiel flattered to deceive however as Rossa began to gain control and a pair of Stephen Beatty points and another from Tiernan Murphy left the Shaw’s Road side just one adrift and as the half wore on they really started to boss proceedings.
Loughgiel struggled to put meaningful attacks together as they hit just three further scores in the half, all from McNaughton with his ninth-minute point from around mid-field their last score from play for just under 34 minutes.
In contrast, Rossa took control as they took the game to the Healey park side with Deaglan Murphy scoring from play and frees, while Seaghan Shannon got in on the act with a brace either side of the water break.
Loughiel’s cause wasn’t helped when Coyle got his marching orders in the 22nd minute after referee Column Cunning consulted with his umpires and motioned that the Loughgiel corner-back had struck out at Murphy.
The visitors were worthy of their 0-10 to 1-4 half-time advantage with late points from Gerard Walsh and a Murphy free, and then powered on in the third quarter with some excellent scores through Beatty, Eoin Trainor and a real peach from Aidan Orchin with Murphy also knocking over a couple as Rossa moved eight clear.
McNaughton was doing all in his power to keep his side in the game as he pointed two frees before Dan McCloskey finally became the Shamrock’s second scorer on the day, firing over from deep in the 44th minute.
The gap was six at the water break and Rossa kept the scoreboard ticking over when play resumed with the Murphy brothers leading the charge as Deaglan, Tiernan and Daire all on target.
Loughgiel kept battling away with McNaughton firing two close-in frees just over the bar and he had a third saved on the line, while two late points by substitute Michael McGarry got them to within four, but it was as close as they got and it is Rossa who advance directly to the semi-final with Dunloy while Loughgiel face a quarter-final meeting with St John’s next week.
LOUGHGIEL: C O’Connell; T Coyle, T McCloskey, R McCloskey; R McKee, S Dobbin, Declan McCloskey; J McNaughton (1-11, 0-9 frees), S McGrath; D McKinley, C McKendry, P Boyle; C McGarry, Dan McCloskey (0-1), JF Connolly.
Subs: R McMullan for JF Connolly (28), N McNaughton for C McKendry (30+2), E McCloskey for S McGrath (41), M McGarry (0-2) for C McGarry (51), O Laverty for R McKee (51)
ROSSA: D Armstrong; C Orchin, N Crossan, A Orchin (0-1); Stephen Shannon, A Kenneally, A O’Brien; G Walsh (0-1), E Trainor (0-1); Daire Murphy (0-1), Seaghan Shannon (0-2), D McEnhill; T Murphy (0-3), S Beatty (0-4), Deaglan Murphy (0-8, 0-6 frees).
Subs: D Rocks for D McEnhill (35), T Morgan for E Trainor (49), C McGettigan for S Beatty (57).
REFEREE: Colum Cunning (Dunloy)