Antrim All County Hurling League Division 2
Tír na nÓg Randalstown 1-15 Bredagh 1-21
Bredagh remain firmly in the promotion hunt to division one following a hard fought six-point win at Randalstown on Wednesday night writes Paul McIntyre.
It was a deserving win for Danny Hughes side but they had to rely on a late scoring flourish to see off the challenge of the home side.
With just five minutes remaining the sides were locked at 1-15 apiece, but the South Belfast side found another gear to rattle off the final six points of the game to record their tenth win of the season.
But it was Randalstown who made all the early running.
Ciaran McKeown pointed almost straight from the throw-in and minutes later they held a four-point lead after the game’s first goal.
The Bredagh defence failed to deal with Eamon Óg McAllister’s free and after a goalmouth scramble, Colm Duffin appeared to get the last touch to the sliotar as it trickled into the Bredagh net past Ian Galway.
Niall Smyth opened Bredagh’s account but his score was quickly followed by points from Declan Mallon and Ciaran O’Neill to help Tír na nÓg to a healthy five-point lead.
Bredagh responded by converting the next four points to cut the gap to just one but Kevin McCann and McAllister pushed Randalstown’s lead back to three.
Both sides continued to create chances but the finishing left a lot to be desired as both sets of forwards were guilty of some poor finishing.
The nip and tuck nature of the half continued to the break where Tír na nÓg held a slender two-point lead, 1-8 to 0-9.
Six minutes into the second half Brian Fitzgerald pointed to give Tír na nÓg a three-point lead, but within seconds the game was all square.
Sean McGourty fielded Galway’s puck out and picked out the unmarked Sean Hughes, who took full advantage of the space that he was afforded and fired home high to the net giving Kevin Sheerin no chance whatsoever.
As the half progressed there was little to separate the sides and with ten minutes to play it was all to play for with the teams each registering 1-14 on the scoreboard.
McAllister was carrying the can for the home team and the half forward almost grabbed a second major for the blues with five minutes to go but Galway saved smartly from the half forward’s powerful shot.
As the game ticked towards its finish Bredagh found a bit more space going forward as Tír na nÓg went chasing a winner, and the Belfast men took full advantage.
Tiarnan Sheehan pointed before Niall McFarland registered his second of the game after Oran McFlynn and Michael Napier both went close to claiming a second Bredagh goal.
Hughes then pointed with the goal at his mercy but it mattered little as Bredagh dominated the closing minutes and claim a valuable six-point win and maintain their drive for promotion.
Teams & Scorers:
Tír na nÓg Randalstown: Kevin Sheerin, Conor McCamphill, Daniel Martin, Neil Shannon, Oliver McAtamney, Ciaran O’Neill (0-1), Manus Smith, Emmet Martin, Ciaran McKeown (0-1), Declan Mallon (0-1), Eamon Óg McAllister (0-8 3f), Niall Devlin (0-2), Kevin McCann (0-1), Colm Duffin (1-0), Brian Fitzgerald (0-1).
Replacement: Conor McKenna for McCann (47).
Bredagh: Ian Galway, Michael Woods, Lawrence Smyth, Liam Hogan, Chris Ferry, Declan McCartney, Tiarnan Sheehan (0-3 1 ‘65’), Mark Patterson, Niall Smyth (0-1), Sean Hughes (1-9 4f), Niall McFarland (0-2), Sean McGourty (0-2), Oran McFlynn (0-3), Aaron Carey, Michael Napier.
Referee: Mr Tarlach Conway (St Colm’s Ballinascreen)