U20 Hurling Championship
Loughgiel 5-17 Dunloy 0-4
Saturday October 23
Brendan McTaggart reports from Armoy
Loughgiel cruised to the u20 final on Saturday afternoon as they swept aside the challenge of a young Dunloy side. The Cuchullains came into the semi-final as the underdogs and a lengthy list of players ruled out due to injuries and covid meant a difficult task was made even greater but the Shamrocks were unstoppable on the day.
A relentless, clinical, incisive attacking performance, Loughgiel dominated Dunloy for the full hour as they went through the gears and showed their attacking prowess. Rian McMullan excelling on the inside forward line with 3-6 to his name over the hour while Christy McGarry, Damien Quinn and Ryan Hill were all on top form.
The midfield duo of Shane O’Boyle and Cathal Hargan were tireless in their efforts for the Shamrocks while in defence, Declan McCloskey was outstanding. He was ably assisted by Enda Og McGarry and Ruairi McCloskey who turned any potential Dunloy threats.
The Cuchullains struggled to get make any inroads in a superb Loughgiel defence, failing to score from play while the Shamrocks were irresistible in attack. 4-13 of their final score tally coming from play and points from all angles and outlets.
Loughgiel started quickly and McMullan had his goal of the game by the third minute. Collecting a long ball delivered by Odhran McGrath, McMullan was clinical when the chance came his way.
The Shamrocks kept the scoreboard ticking with an exhibition of point taking, Christy McGarry’s 12th minute side line a highlight as they ran into a 14 point lead by the half time whistle.
If Loughgiel were content to go for points in the first half, their frame of mind changed after the restart as they were ruthless in taking their chances, despite emptying their bench in the process.
Odhran McGrath scored the second Loughgiel major after just 15 seconds of the second half while four minutes later Cathal Hargan netted to take the Loughgiel lead to 21 points.
Dunloy tried to stave off the wave of Shamrock attacks and defended in numbers but Loughgiel were just too good on the day.
A penalty from McMullan on 47 minutes came before Barry Scott was sent off for the Cuchullains for a second bookable offence.
The fifth Loughgiel goal came with five minutes of time remaining and McMullan completing his hat-trick to add further gloss to the scoreline for the Shamrocks.
Loughgiel are getting it right in the underage ranks once again and they will have a sterner test in the final against Ballycastle but the future looks bright for the men at Fr Healy Park.
Loughgiel: Ruairi McCormick; Conal McCloskey, Ruairi McCloskey, Conor Henry; Enda Og McGarry, Declan McCloskey, Tiarnan McAlonan; Shane O’Boyle, Cathal Hargan; Michael McGarry, Damien Quinn, Ryan Hill; Rian McMullan, Odhran McGrath, Christy McGarry
Scorers: Rian McMullan 3-6 (1-00 pen, 3fs); Cathal Hargan 1-1; Odhran McGrath 1-00; Declan McCloskey 0-2 (1f); Damien Quinn 0-2; Ryan Hill 0-2; Christy McGarry 0-2; Michael McGarry 0-1; Shane O’Boyle 0-1
Dunloy: Paul Doherty; Seanna Martin, Barry Scott, Daire Watterson; Daire McMullan, Rory Mullan, Sean Scullion; Eoin McFerran, Padraig McGilligan; Oisin Elliott, Ryan Mort, Callum Mullan; Conal Elliott, Cathain Martin, Eoin O’Kane
Scorers: Oisin Elliott (1f); Eoin McFerran (1f); Callum Mullan (1f); Conal Elliott (1f)
Referee: Fiontann McCotter (Sarsfields)