Second half surge sees Shamrock home

Countess of Antrim Cup – North Antrim Intermediate Hurling

Loughgiel: 0-21(21) Ballycastle: 1-12(15)

Loughgiel won the Countess of Antrim Cup on Wednesday evening when they beat Ballycastle in the final at Carey. A point behind at half time Loughgiel actually fell five behind four minutes into the second half, but as if flicking a switch they took control of the game, conceding just two more points in the remaining 26 minutes to run out convincing winners.

Sean McKendry presents the Countess of Antrim Cup to Loughgiel captain Caolan Blair

The opening half of the game was evenly contested and the sides were level on several occasion. Points from Tiernan Smyth, Joe McConall and Lorcan Donnelly were answered by similar scores from Maol Connolly, Caolan Blair and Michael McGarry for the Shamrocks to tie things up after seven minutes. Two from Ballycastle midfielder James Bakewell gave Ballycastle a lead they held up until the 20th minute when Declan Gillan and Ryan Hill brought the Shamrocks back into conention… Eoin McAlonan put Ballycastle three ahead with a point from play on 22 minutes but points from Maol Connolly and Ciaran McKay left just a point between the teams by the time match referee Shane McDonnell blew the half time whistle.

Joe McToal in action for Ballycastle during the Countess of Antrim Cup final against Loughgiel.

A Ryan McKee point in the opening minute of the second half brought Loughgiel level but when Ballycastle came back with Joe McToal point and a Caolan O’Connor goal it looked like we were in for a had fought second half. However things did not turn out that way as Ballycastle would only score one more point in the remaining 25 minutes play as Loughgiel took control. The Shamrocks hit eight points in a row through Maol Connolly (4), Ryan McKee (2), Patrick Laverty and Micael McGarry before Ciaran McKeague broke the sequence with a Ballycastle point.

That score cut the Loughgiel lead back to just three points, but the Shamrocks found an instant reply through substitute Christy McGarry before Maol Connolly wrapped it all up with two late points from frees.

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