Antrim Hurling League Division One
Dunloy 1-23 Ballygalget 2-27
Wednesday June 8
Brendan McTaggart reports from Pearse Park, Dunloy
Seven points separated these sides at the end of 60 minutes at Pearse Park as Ballygalget put in a strong performance to see off the Cuchullains. A goal in either half from Caolan and Cormac Coulter laid the foundations for the ‘Galget’ but it was a man of the match performance from Oisin Coulter that caught the eye.
The Ballygalget forward finished the hour with eight points beside his name, all from play. A magnificent performance where he tested the Cuchllains defence to its fullest. Marc Fisher top scored for the Ards men with 0-9, five of those from placed ball but the most significant stat of the evening belonged to the number of scores from play. Of their 2-27, Ballygalget amassed 2-22 from open play. A healthy turnaround to go back down the road with the evening closing in.
The Cuchullains struggled in the first half but the introduction of Eoin McFerran and Nigel Elliott at half time gave them another dimension in the second half. The visitors already held a 10 point lead at the half way mark but between them, the half time substitutes scored 1-5, Elliott with the goal in another match on his return to the Dunloy squad.
Chrissy McMahon top scored with seven points at the end of the hour while Nicky McKeague finished with 0-6, five of those coming from placed ball.
During that second half, Dunloy hit 1-7 to just one white flag from the visitors. Really turning the screw and looking like they could salvage something from the game but that momentum was gone after Barry Scott was red carded with 11 minutes remaining.
Despite the damp and murky conditions, this turned out to be a score-fest with both sides taking some wonderful scored throughout.
The first goal came in the seventh minute with the home side leading by the minimum. Michael Og Doran with the precise assist to Caolan Coulter and the ‘Galget inside forward cut inside before giving Callum Mullan no chance.
Dunloy’s response was typically confident. Three scores inside five minutes cancelled out the Ballygalget goal but the visitors dominated the second quarter scoring 13 points in a devastating 15 minute spell, punctuated by two brilliant points from side line cuts by Fisher. Ballygalget taking a 1-16 to 0-9 lead at the interval.
The visitors scored their second major eight minutes after the restart having already extended their lead to 13 points. Michael Og Doran’s initial shot was well saved by Mullan in the Dunloy goals but Cormac Coulter was first to the rebound.
The Cuchullains responded superbly however with Nigel Elliott and Eoin McFerran’s influence telling. Their goal came in the 41st minute after McFerran broke from midfield, passing to Anton McGrath who laid the sliotar to Elliott. He made no mistake to give the home side hope of getting something out of the game.
The Cuchullains had upped their intensity but the red mist descended on Scott after tangling with James McGrath off the ball. Referee Tarlach Conway had no option but to issue a red card, reducing the Cuchullains to 14 men for the time that remained.
In the following five minutes, Ballygalget took their lead to 12 points once more with Oisin Coulter in superb form. Dunloy pushed in the time that remained and had a number of half goal chances but a run of five points unanswered meant Ballygalget took the league points on offer with seven points to spare.
Dunloy: Callum Mullan; Eamon Smyth, Karl O’Kane, Cahir McCloskey; Kevin McKeague (0-1), Dara McMullan (0-1), Paudie McGilligan; Nicky McKeague (0-6 3f, 2’65), Anton McGrath; Gabriel McTaggart (0-2), Kevin Molloy, Ryan Mort; Ciaran Elliott, Barry Scott (0-1), Chrissy McMahon (0-7)
Subs: Eoin McFerran (0-4) for K Molloy (HT); Nigel Elliott (1-1) for R Mort (HT)
Ballygalget: Eoin Clarke; Joseph Smyth, James Higgins, Michael Toner; John McManus (0-2), Conall Fay, John Hughes; Jordan Doran, Paul McManus; Oisin Coulter (0-8), Marc Fisher (0-9 4f, 1 ‘65, Ciaran Watson (0-2); Caolan Coulter (1-1), Michael Og Doran (0-3), Cormac Coulter (1-1)
Subs: James McGrath for J Higgins (23); Eoin McDermott (0-1) for Caolan Coulter (54); Eoin Pucci for Cormac Coulter (54); Ryan Watson for J Doran (56); Daniel Doran for C Watson (56)
Referee: Tarlach Conway (Ballinascreen)