Andersonstown SC IHC Group 2
Tir na nOg 5-24 Gort na Mona 6-12
Photographs: Bert Trowlen
Tir na nOg made it 2 wins from 2 starts in the Andersonstown SC IHC Group 2 when they overcame the challenge of a spirited Gort na Mona in a high scoring goal fest at Whitehill today. The Randalstown side led 2-12 to 2-8 at half time with their goals coming from Colm Duffin and Darragh Fagan while Dessie McClean was in superb form for the visitors, getting both Gort na Mona goals before going on to add two more in the second half.
It was McClean who opened the scoring for the visitors with a point in the first minute but Tir na nOg replied with two from Sean Duffin to go ahead with 7 minutes gone. Neil Henry and Patrick Cournane edged the visitors in front once more before Sean Duffin and Eamon Og McAllister replied for the Whitehill side to restore their lead by the11th minute.
It was inspiring end to end hurling with the only sweeper on duty cleaning up the Tir na nOg dressing rooms and the excellent Dessie McLean levelled matters again before getting the final touch to a dropping ball and flicking it to the net as the men from the Mona bypass hit the front once more.
Sean Duffin for Tir na nOg and McClean for the ‘Gorts’ exchanged further points as the thrill a minute action continued and Colm Duffin got in for the home sides opening goal to draw matters all square again by the 19th minute as an appreciative crowd roared their approval.
The game continued at a blistering pace as Sean Duffin and Aaron McNeilly edged the Whitehill side two in front but back came the visitors once again with the superb Dessie McClean hitting three on the bounce.
It was Tir na nOg who finished the half stronger however with full-back Christy Sheerin striking a great individual point and Sean Duffin, Darragh Fagan 0-3, Aaron McNeilly and Michael Higgins splitting the post before Fagan fired to the net to leave his side four ahead at the break.
Within two minutes of the second half Gort na Mona were back on level terms as man of the match McClean fielded a high ball before turning and rifling it to the net and the same player followed with a point to serve notice that the Enright Park side were not there just to make up the numbers.
Sean Duffin replied with a point but McClean was proving almost unmarkable as he repeated his earlier individual fete with his and his side’s 4th goal and when Darren Boyd followed with a point the visitors looked to be gaining the upper hand.
The champions of two years ago are made of sterner stuff however and a superb goal from Eamon Og McAllister got them on their way again when he fired an unstoppable shot to the top corner of the net in the 6th minute to swing the game back in his side’s favour.
Patrick McCaffrey replied with a Gort na Mona point but Sean Duffin responded with three on the bounce and Josh Higgins followed with another before Colm Duffin got in for a goal in the 16th minute.
At this stage the home side looked on their way to victory as Ciaran O’Neill got his name on the score sheet with a point but Gort na Mona were still giving it everything with Dessie McClean leading the way and he fired over three points (1 ‘65’) by the 22nd minute and when Patrick McCaffrey followed with a goal it was back in the melting pot.
As before the home side made quick reply as Darragh Fagan, Colm Duffin, a superb long range effort from Caoimhin Duffin and another from Sean Duffin gave them some breathing space but it wasn’t over yet.
Gort na Mona came back with a scrambled goal in the 29th minute but this time there would be no comeback as Duffin and Higgins replied with points before their best player on view, Sean Duffin made matters secure when he punished a mistake by the visitors defence to fire to the net.
The final point of the game fell to Gort na Mona’s Neill Henry but it was merely a consolation score and it is Tir na nOg who top Group 2 with 4 points from two games closely followed by Cloney Gaels and Cushendun and the two quarter-final places looks like being between these three with Tir na nOg’s visit to Ahoghill on the 21st August looking like one not to be missed.
Tir na nOg: 1 Kevin Sheerin, 2 Neil Shannon, 3 Christy Sheerin, 4 Connor McCamphill, 5 Ethan Higgins, 6 Caoimhin Duffin, 7 Manus Smith, 8 Ciaran O’Neill, 9 Aaron McNeilly, 10 Eamon Og McAllister, 11 Ciaran Logan, 12 Sean Duffin, 13 Niall Devlin, 14 Colm Duffin, 15 Darragh Fagan,
Gort na Mona: I Niall Healy, 2 Liam Dixon, 3 Gavin McKenna, 4 James Connolly, 5 Neil Henry, 6 Padraig McHugh, 7 Mark Rea, 8 Declan Hughes, 9 Patrick McCaffrey, 10 Patrick Cournane, 11 Darren Boyd, 12 Conor McCann, 13 David Dixon, 14 Gary Doyle, 15 Dessie McClean
Referee: Sean Elliott (Lamh Dhearg)