Cuchullains Edge Old Rivals

ACHL Division One

Dunloy 2-18 Loughgiel 1-16

Saturday 23 July

Brendan McTaggart reports from Pearse Park, Dunloy

It mightn’t have been pretty for long periods of the hour on Saturday afternoon but it was every bit the intense and exciting affair you expect from these two rivals.  Dunloy and Loughgiel served up another drama filled 60 minutes with the result only decided by a touch of brilliance from Nigel Elliott deep into injury time.

The momentum swung both ways with both sides showing glimpses of their best form.  The home side defensively looked a step up from what they have shown at different times this season.  Phelim Duffin and Oran Quinn yielding very little while the experience of Kevin Molloy at the heart of the Dunloy defence told as the game progressed.

With six minutes of the hour remaining, Dunloy took a five point lead and looked odds on to see out the time that remained but Loughgiel dug deep and turned the screw.  Rian McMullan instrumental from open play and had Shan McGrath bagged his goal chance, the Shamrocks could have been gone ahead before Elliott’s major in the fifth minute of added time.

The Shamrocks started brightly and did all the early running.  Eddie McCloskey was playing in a deeper role with the two Ryan’s, McKee and McMullan occupying the Dunloy full back line.  Points from Paul Boyle, Rory McCloskey and Donal McKinley opened a three point lead inside the opening five minutes.  McKinley would finish the hour with four points beside his name in an excellent performance.

The game was held up when Dunloy full back Conor McKinely had to come off injured with what looked like a shoulder injury and when referee Tarlach Conway resumed play, Ryan McGarry and Ryan McMullan swapped scores before the home side scored the opening goal of the game in the 11th minute.  Deaglan Smith pressurising the Loughgiel defence before forcing a turnover and finding Conal Cunning.  Coby still had plenty to do but he finished well to get the home sides challenge a shot of adrenaline.

From then, the next quarter of the game belonged to the home side.  Despite playing into the wind, they held Loughgiel scoreless for 12 minutes while keeping the scoreboard ticking at the other end of the pitch.  Points from Gabriel McTaggart (two), Nicky McKeague (two frees), Nigel Elliott, Cunning and Deaglan Smith were only answered by McKinely and a ’65 from Declan McCloskey.  The Cuchullains leading by five with three minutes of the first half remaining.

The Shamrocks finished the half well on top however scoring 1-3 in next to no time.  Ciaran McKay beginning the onslaught raising the white flag before combining well with Eddie McCloskey and scoring Loughgiel’s goal in the 30th minute.  Further scores from Declan McCloskey and Ryan McMullan gave the visitors to Pearse Park a one point lead at the short whistle.

The home side looked like they needed half time and they definitely took their eye off the ball in the closing stages of the first half.  Loughgiel took full advantage and would have been content to go in with the score board reading in their favour given how the first half unfolded.  The introduction of Odhran McFadden and Caolan Blair in defence seemed to tighten the Shamrock defence, allowing their forwards to make hay.

The second half started like a run away train with six points on the board in the opening five minutes.  Conal Cunning, Eoin McFerran, McKeague (free) and McTaggart finding their range while a brace of scores from McKinley was the response from the Shamrocks.

Dunloy seemed to turn the screw once again and looked to gain an element of control as they reduced Loughgiel to just two points in 17 minutes.  McKeague with four points (two frees) and scores from Nigel Elliott and Kevin Molloy came while McMullan and Declan McCloskey (’65) replied for Loughgiel. 

With time running out, Dunloy held a five point lead and Loughgiel kept going.  A brace of frees from Ryan McMullan preceded a mammoth free from Declan McCloskey to reduce the Dunloy lead to two points in the third minute of injury time.  They were increasing the pressure on the Dunloy defence and when Odhran McFadden’s pointed effort came back off the upright, the sliotar fell for McGrath but his effort went wide.

Dunloy breathed a sigh of relief and with the next attack ensured they took the derby bragging rights.  Eoin McFerran’s effort for a point dropped short and Nigel Elliott timed his run to perfection, leaping highest among a crowd of players to deflect the sliotar from the most acute of angels.  The touch of an angel to defy an angle and ensure a win for the Cuchullains.


Dunloy: Ryan Elliott; Phelim Duffin, Conor McKinley, Oran Quinn; Aaron Crawford, Kevin Molloy, Eamon Smyth; Nicky McKeague, Ryan McGarry; Eoin McFerran, Gabriel McTaggart, Deaglan Smith; Chrissy McMahon, Conal Cunning, Nigel Elliott

Subs: Ciaran Elliott for C McKinley (8); Karl O’Kane for A Crawford (60)

Scorers: N McKeague 0-7 (all frees); C Cunning 1-2; N Elliott 1-2; G McTaggart 0-3; K Molloy 0-1; R McGarry 0-1; E McFerran 0-1; D Smith 0-1

Loughgiel: Cormac McFadden; Tiernan Coyle, Tony McCloskey, Ruairi McCormick; Declan Gillan, Declan McCloskey, Rory McCloskey; Ciaran McKay, Enda Og McGarry; Shan McGrath, Donal McKinley, Paul Boyle; Ryan McKee, Ryan McMullan, Eddie McCloskey

Subs: Odhran McFadden for R McCormick (29); Caolan Blair for D Gillan (29); Maol Connolly for P Boyle (HT); John Francis Connolly for E Og McGarry (46); Finn Henry for R McCloskey (60)

Scorers: R McMullan 0-5 (2 f’s); D McCloskey 0-4 (2 ‘65’s 1f); C McKay 1-1; D McKinley 0-4; R McCloskey 0-1; P Boyle 0-1

Referee: Tarlach Conway (Ballinascreen)

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