Cathoir an Ri and Oisin can’t be separated

Andersonstown SC IHC Group 1

Cathaoir an Ri 2-14 Glenariffe Oisin 1-17

Before today’s clash between Cathaoir an Ri and Glenariffe Oisin in Group 1 in Ballyvoy a win for either side would have left them fairly sure of qualification for a place in the semi-finals, depending on how other games in the group ended.

By 5-40 both sets of mentors and players were doing their sums in an attempt to work out the permutations and a possibility of four teams ending on 7 points each was a distinct possibility depending on how Cloney Gaels and St. Gall’s finished in Ahoghill tonight.

An hour earlier the protagonists of this game went into action to provide a game of real championship intensity that had everything. Brilliant scores, spectacular saves and hurling of an intensity that kept the good crowd in attendance in Ballyvoy right on the edge of their seats until the final whistle.

Cathaoir on Ri were first to threaten with the sliothar rebounding of the Oisin post after 30 seconds but it was visitors Glenariffe who scored first when Alex O’Boyle pointed a free in the second minute and the Oisin number 12 was to have a major influence on the final result with an exhibition of free taking right out of the top drawer.

The home side’s own free taker, Conor McBride had something to say about that and he pointed two frees by the 7th minute to give his side the lead and when the same player got in for a goal in the 9th minute things were going according to plan for Cathaoir an Ri.

Things began to swing in favour of Glenariffe after that and they hit five unanswered points before the first water break with four of them coming from Alex O’Boyle frees and the other from Seamus McDonnell.

O’Boyle extended the visitors lead on the restart from another free but Conor McBride was showing similar accuracy for the Ballyvoy men and as the free count rose he bagged two of his own and a great point from Daniel McBride and another from Caolan McCaughan had the home side 1-6 to 0-8 ahead as Ray Matthews sounded his half time whistle.

As play got under way again Alex O’Boyle pointed his 7th free and his side’s 9th point to level matters once more and Cathal McAuley pulled off an excellent save to deny the visitors as they went looking for their opening goal.

Fiachra McVeigh replied with an excellent point at the other end to restore his side’s lead before the home side got their second goal. ‘Rocket’ Black cut in from the right wing and unleashed a fierce shot which was superbly saved by Seanan McToal. Black doubled on the rebound but again McToal was equal to the task but John McBride was in the right place to return the sliotar to the net.

Three ahead at this stage, John McBride made it four from a free in the 15th minute and Alex O’Boyle from another free cut the gap to three at the second water break.

The exchanges were going in hard and fast as the final quarter got under way and Patrick Gillen with a good point from play and Alex O’Boyle exchanged further points on the restart but Cathaoir an Ri looked to be gaining the upper hand and JohnMcBride and Conor McBride edged them five in front with 23 minutes on the clock.

Back came the men from Waterfoot and that man O’Boyle got them on their way again when he pointed yet another free, his tenth of the game and when substitute Dan McKillop raced through for to fire to the net in the 22nd minute the fat was back in the fire and only a point separated the sides.

Mickey Gettens followed with a point to level the contest once more and it was clear that the side who blinked first would lose this one but neither side was prepared to blink. Conor McBride and Alex O’Boyle exchanged further scores and then Seanan McToal brought off another spectacular save to deny McBride at the expense of a ‘65’.

McBride earned the loud applause of the home support when he pointed the resulting ‘65’ and looked to have won the game for the Ballyvoy side and when Alex O’Boyle finally missed one from 70 yards out it looked over for the visitors but Dan McKillop struck with the equaliser in the 32nd minute to leave it all square at the full time whistle.

FOOT NOTE: As I was about to publish this report news has filtered through that Cloney Gaels have won their final game against St. Gall’s to top Group 1 so (According to my calculations) Cathaoir an Ri will need to win their final game away to Gort na Mona by 25 points to edge Glenariffe on score difference for second place.

Cathaoir an Ri: 1 Cathal McAuley, 2 Daniel Hill, 3 Sean McBride, 4 Zach McCaughan, 5 Michael McVeigh, 6 Peadar McVeigh, 7 Patrick Gillan, 8 Daniel McBride, 9 Patrick Butler, 10 Fiachra McVeigh, 11 John McBride, 12 Caolan McCaughan, 13 Sean McLaughlin, 14 James ‘Rocket’ Black, 15 Connor McBride. Subs: Shea Hunter for F McVeigh

Oisin: 1 Seanan McToal, 2 Michael Haughey, 3 Conor Patterson, 4 Michael McAllister, 5 Donall Kearney, 6 Shea O’Connor, 7 David Kearney, 8 Oliver Kearney, 9 Kieran McKendry, 10 Michael O’Boyle, 11 Caolan O’Connor, 12 Alex O’Boyle, 13 Seanie McIntosh, Seamus McDonnell, 15 Cathal McDonnell. Subs: 20 Dan McKillop, Aaron Cosgrove, Mickey Gettens

Referee: Ray Matthews (Rossa)

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