Loaf’s late point throws Emmets a lifeline

Andersonstown Social Club Intermediate Hurling Championship

Tir na nÓg, Randalstown  2-14 Cushenun Emmet’s 1-17

An injury time point from a free by Cushendun full forward Conlaoth ‘Loaf’ McNeill threw his team a lifeline in this season’s Intermediate Hurling Championship and left their hosts Tir na nOg in a very precarious position after Saturday thrilling draw at Whitehill.

Trailing by a point going into added time the Emmet’s chances were hanging by a thread, when they were awarded a free sixty metres from the Tir na nOg goal, out near the sideline. The position was clear, miss it and the season was over for the seasiders, score it and they were still in with a chance. Loaf hadn’t missed a fee all day, but the pressure was on this time, but cometh the hour, cometh the man and the big full forward stepped up to send the ball between the posts, and if the can beat bottom of the table Gort na Móna in their final game in two weeks’ time then a semi-final spot is theirs.

This was a real championship battle with the lead switching back and forth during the hour. Early points from David Kilgore and Conrad McDonnell got Cushendun off to a good start, but the home side hit back with a point from Emmet Og McAllister and a Niall Devlin goal to go two ahead themselves. The gap remained the same as two Sean Duffin points from frees for Tir na nÓg were answered by points from McNeill and Jack McKay, but the Emmet’s were getting on top and four in a row from Loaf and one from Harry Kilgore swung the game in their favour and put them three clear.

Sean Duffin sent over two more frees for the Randalstown men, but a Conrad McDonnell point from play gave Cushendun a two point lead at the break. (1-5 to 0-10)

Tir na nÓg’s Conor McCamphill fired over early in the second half to leave just a point between the sides, and though McNeill pointed a 65 soon afterwards to restore the two point cushion, a Dairi Fagan goal for the Whitehill men put them ahead, and when Sean Duffin added a point from play the hosts were two clear. McNeill reduced the gap to a point on 36 minutes and two minutes later David Kilgore finished off a great move, involving his brother Harry and Conor McHugh, with a brilliant goal.

Another McNeill point from a free and the visitors were three clear and for a spell it looked like they were gaining a bit of control, but that all changed very quickly when Sean Duffin fired over two frees for the home team, but another David Kilgore point eased the pressure a little on the Emmet’s. A Sean Duffin point from a 65 and one from play by Aaron McNeilly brought the sides level going down the home stretch, and though Calum Kilgore got Cushendun back ahead, Duffin again found the target from a free to level it all up again.

When Pearse Bannon got the visitors back ahead on 57 minutes things were looking good for them, but two more points by Sean Duffin swung the game back in Tir na nOg’s favour in injury time. The Emmet’s hope were hanging by a thread, but when the last chance presented itself on 63 minutes Loaf showed his class to land the equaliser and give them a great chance of making the semi-finals.  

TIR NA NÓG

Kevin Sheerin, Manus Smyth, Christy Sheerin, Brandon McLarnon, Donal Martin, Caoimhin Duffin, Ciaran O’Neill, Conor McCamphill, Aaron McNeilly, Darragh Fagan, Sean Duffin, Eamon Og McAlister, Niall Devlin, Colum Duffin, Kevin McCann

EMMET’S

Gareth McGhee, Sean Hamilton, Aidan Corbitt, Cavan McCormick, Tom Scally, Donal O’Hara, Jack McKay, Oisin McMahon, Matthew McCartin, David Kilgore, Harry Kilgore, Conor McHugh, John V Morgan, Conlaoth McNeill, Conrad McDonnell.

Subs Pearse Bannon for John V Morgan (inj); Calum Kilgore for Oisin McMahon; Conor Burns for Cavan McCormick

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