Cathaoir an Ri blown away in the Cloney gale

ACHL Division 2

Cloney Gael 3-26 Cathaoir an Ri 1-15

Cathaoir an Ri remain top of Division 2 but never recovered from a first half mauling from Cloney Gaels who took full advantage of the gale force wind in Ahoghill today to put this game beyond the reach of their understrength visitors by half time.

The Ahoghill side played with the advantage of the strong breeze in the opening half and raced into a three point lead by the third minute with Donal Graham from play and James O’Connell from a free and a ‘65’ the men on target.

Fiachra McVeigh briefly halted the early onslaught with a point for the visitors in the 8th minute but Cloney Gaels struck back direct from the puc-out and James O’Connell fired to the net at the other end.

The visitors were finding it difficult to find the target into the wind but James Black hit their second score from a 10th minute free but Cloney Gaels were soon back on the offensive as PJ O’Connell struck two in quick succession to move his side seven in front after 13 minutes.

James Black replied with a point for the visitors but Francis Neeson was landing the sliotar in and around the Carey square and Donal Graham struck with the Ahoghill men’s second goal from the resulting puc-out.

Sean McLaughlin for Cathaoir an Ri and Eamon Brady for Cloney Gaels exchanged further points by the 16th minute before the home side found another gear and James O’Connell 0-2  (1f), Owen Neeson, PJ O’Connell (f) and Ronan Graham added unanswered points.

James Black briefly lifted the siege with Cathaoir an Ri’s fifth point of the half in the 28th minute but it brought about another strong reply and the home side finished the half with points from Donal Graham, Neil O’Connell, Owen Neeson and James O’Connell to lead 2-16 to 0-5 at the short whistle.

If Cathaoir an Ri were to make any impression on the Ahoghill lead it was vital that they got off to a strong start to the second half and given the strength of the breeze a com-back certainly looked a possibility.

That notion was quickly put to bed however as Cloney Gaels struck with an Owen Neeson point and a goal from the same player in the opening minute and a task that had looked extremely difficult for the visitors had suddenly become almost impossible.

To their credit they kept battling away and Caolan McCaughan’s long range shot ended in the net in the 2nd minute but Ahoghill were adapting much better into the breeze and their short precise passing game was denying the opposition meaningful possession.

The home side replied with points from PJ O’Connell, James O’Connell (f) and Boris O’Connell before Sean McLaughlin replied for the visitors and James McCouaig and Patrick McBride added points by the 9th minute but it was going to take goals to get them back into contention.

They did add further points from McBride, McCouaig (0-2), James Black, Fiachra McVeigh and Daniel Hill but they could not find a way past Francis Neeson who brought off a number of excellent saves in the Cloney goals.

At the other end the home side were always able to find a reply and James O’Connell (0-2), Owen Neeson, Dan O’Neill and PJ O’Connell added to the home side’s total to leave them comprehensive victors in the end.

Despite this defeat Cathaoir an Ri still lead the table by a point over today’s opponents with Bredagh just a further point behind and the Ballyvoy side will be hoping to get some of their walking wounded back for the visit of Dungannon Eoghan Ruadh on Wednesday night.

 That game may not go ahead though owing to the tragic death of the Tyrone side’s star player, Damian Casey at the weekend.

Cloney Gaels welcome Carryduff to Ahoghill on the same night and on this form they will be difficult to beat and look capable of pushing on to take the league title.

Cloney Gaels: 1 Francis Neeson, 2 Harry O’Donnell, 3 Bobby Magee, 4 Diarmaid Graham, 5 Fionnbar ‘Neill, 6 Bernard Graham, 7 Daniel O’Neill 8 Eamonn Brady, 9 Neil O’Connell, 10 Owen Neeson, 11 Tomas McGlone, 12 Ronan Graham, 13 PJ O’Connell, 14 Donal Graham, 15 James O’Connell.

Catjhaoir an Ri: 1 Christopher Butler, 2 Somhairle Mathers, 3 Fionntan McCarry, 4 Daniel Hill, 5 Conal McGlynn, 6 James McCouaig, 7 John McBride, 8 Sean McLaughlin, 9 Patrick Gillan, 10 Caolan McCaughan, 11 Fiachra McVeigh, 12 Daniel Martin, 13 James Black, 14 Patrick McBride, 15 Aaron McBride.

Referee: Fionntan McCotter (Sarsfields)

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