Shamrocks come back from six down to keep 3-in-a-row hopes on course

Creagh Concrete Minor Hurling A Championship –  semi-final

Loughgiel 3-21 Ballycastle 2-15

Seven minutes into Thursday evening’s Minor Hurling Championship semi-final in Armoy, Ballycastle had opened a six point lead against a Loughgiel side who were reduced to 14 men and it looked like the Shamrocks bid for three-in-a-row was in danger of coming to a halt.

However a Ronan McCollum goal two minutes later saw the champions staging a comeback of epic proportions, scoring a further 13 times, while holding Ballycastle to just four scores, and at the end they were nine points to the good

The Shamrocks had started strongly and with Jack McCloskey in unmarkable form at full forward they were 1-2 to 0-1 after six minutes, McCloskey getting 1-1 and Ronan McCollum 0-1 to overhaul Cathair Donnelly’s early point. An exchange of points by McCloskey and Ballycastle’s James Bakewell kept the gap at four, but a goal from Ballycastle full forward Oran Donnelly and a point from Darragh Kelly brought the sides level on 13 minutes.

It was point for point for a while until a Darragh Kelly goal five minute from the break gave Ballycastle the edge and they went into half time with 2-7 to 1-7 advantage.

Jack McCloskey cut the gap back to two within a minute of the restart, but Ballycastle came back with four on the trot through James Bakewell (2), Craoiste McAuley and Tienan Heggarty to open a six point lead. At this stage it appeared we might be in for an upset, but when Ronan McCollum fired in a goal on 39 minutes the Shamrocks found another gear.

Bakewell pointed twice within five minutes for Ballycastle but the rest of the game it was all Loughgiel as they hit eleven of the next twelve scores to take the game away from Ballycaste. Six of the eleven came from Jack McCloskey while Tiago McGarry got two, with Darragh Patterson, Ronan McCollum and Liam Glackin getting one apiece.

Darragh Kelly got a late point for Ballycastle but Loughgiel ended with a goal from a penalty from Tiago McGarry to win by nine.

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