Emmet’s get the nod to edge local derby

Andersonstown SC IHC Semi-Final

Emmet’s Cushendun Emmet’s v Carey Faughs

Armoy 2-00pm Sunday

By Paddy McIlwaine

Emmet’s Cushendun will start Sunday’s Andersonstown SC IHC semi-final in Armoy as favourites but that will probably suit a Carey side who will be still buzzing following their facile mid-week win over Gort na Mona at the Dub that secured them passage to Sunday’s semi-final.

The Cushendun men have had an excellent season to date and won all four of their Group 2 championship games following a division 2A league campaign where they won 4 and drew 2 games to finish second to Cloney Gaels.

In the championship the Emmet’s have been impressive to date and wins over St. Brigid’s Cloughmills, St. Paul’s, Kickham’s Creggan and Sarsfield’s has seen them installed as many pundits favourites to go all the way.

Cathaoir an Ri have reached Sunday’s semi-final the hard way and came with a late run down the home straight to pip Glenariffe Oisin for the second qualifying place in Group 1 with that win in Belfast in mid-week.

The Ballyvoy men made a bright start to their qualifying group when they beat St. Gall’s by five points but their progress was halted when their fixture against Gort na Mona was postponed on day two owing to Covid in the Gort’s camp.

An 0-24 to 2-18 draw with Oisin on day 3 left Cathaoir an Ri in a seemingly strong position but when they lost to visitors, Cloney Gaels the following Wednesday night their fate looked precarious. Glenariffe Oisin looked favourites to join Cloney Gaels in the play-offs due to a superior score difference as the Carey men headed to the Dub for their rearranged meeting with Gort na Mona.

Carey needed to win by 25 points to edge out the men from Waterfoot but what transpired is like something out of a fiction story as the Ballyvoy side raced into a 4-17 to 0-2 half time lead that saw many of those Glenariffe supporters who had made the journey, leave Queen’s at half time.

Cathaoir an Ri went on to win by a massive 43 points against a depleted Gort na Mona side to earn their place in Sunday’s semi-final against neighbours Emmets and will be looking forward with relish to a semi-final that looked out of reach nine days earlier.

Cushendun will fancy their chances of bringing their neighbours back down to earth with a bang following that massive 50 point haul at the Dub and Cathaoir an Ri are unlikely to find the passage to their opponents posts as easy to negotiate.

The Emmet’s are a solid outfit with Gareth Magee, Aidan Corbett, Tom Scally and Conor McHugh strong and reliable defenders. Cork native, Conleth Ryan and Calum Kilgore form a strong mid-field partnership while Conlaoth ‘Loaf’ McNeill, Harry Kilgore, Dominic McQuillan and Calum Kilgore pose a serious scoring threat.

Carey have a reliable and experienced keeper in Cathal McAuley while Sean McBride, Peadar McVeigh and Michael McVeigh are strong defenders. Daniel McBride and Patrick Butler are hard-working mid-fielders who are capable of contributing scores while in attack James ‘Rocket’ Black and Connor McBride are potential match winners.

The Ballyvoy side will start this one as outsiders but their draw with Glenariffe Oisin, that win over St. Gall’s and a narrow loss to Cloney Gaels would suggest they might not be too far away but in a tight contest Emmet’s get the nod.

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