Glenarm advance in bruising battle to clinch final place

Casement SC JHC Semi-Final

Shane O’Neill’s 4-17 Glen Rovers 3-8

Shane O’Neill’s recorded their fourth win of the season over Glen Rovers, Armoy at Feystown on Saturday to advance to the final of the Casement SC JHC but despite the margin of victory they were forced to fight all the way in a sometimes bruising battle.

The Glenarm men had already recorded home and away wins in the league against Saturday’s opponents and added a win over the same side in group 2 of the qualifiers and so went into this one as firm favourites but the men from the Armoy Glen were determined to cause an upset on this occasion.

In what turned out to be a battle of attrition they matched the Glenarm side for most of the opening half and took the lead after six minutes when a Turlough McBride free from deep in his own half was finished to the net by Owen Kinney.

Darren Hamill had given the home side the lead with a point in the second minute and the Feystown side responded to Kinney’s goal with one of their own, a minute later as Kevin O’Boyle directed a low shot past Conor Devlin.

The visitors were giving it everything at this stage and Tommy Burns and Owen Kinney restored their lead by the 9th minute as they fired over but just as it looked like they were gaining the initiative, Niall McGarel replied with an excellent goal for Glenarm to restore his side’s advantage.

It was end to end stuff as PJ McBride replied for the visitors with two quick fire points and a long range free from Turlough McBride had it all square after 18 minutes but significantly a number of wind assisted frees from the long striking McBride had sailed just wide of the uprights at this stage.

Shane O’Neill’s slowly wrestled control back from the opposition in the closing stages of the half as Darren Hamill started to impose himself and the former Antrim county man converted two frees and another from play and Dylan McLaughlin managed to get his name on the score card to leave the home side 2-6 to 1-5 ahead at the break.

With the wind now at their backs Shane O’Neill’s would have been expected to push on in the second half and when Niall McGarel pointed in the 2nd minute things appeared to be going to plan.

The visitors introduced a couple of subs at this stage as play became scrappy and disjointed with the man in the middle kept busy to keep a lid on matters before dismissing Owen Kinney in the 13th minute following an off the ball incident with an umpire calling his attention to the matter.

It was a further two minutes before Darren Hamill raised the second white flag of the half from a long range free before Trevor Linton finally got Glen Rovers off the mark from a free in the 17th minute.

The Glenarm response was immediate and decisive as youngster, Niall McGarel raced clear to fire to the net at the other end. PJ McBride replied with a point but further points from Darren Hamill and McGarel and a goal from Dylan McLaughlin put Glenarm in a strong position with 8 minutes remaining.

The visitors decided to go route one at this stage as they pushed ‘Rocky’ Dillon forward and he brought a good save from Michael Abram in the Glenarm goals but the Shane O’Neill’s net minder could do nothing to stop Eamon McCaughan from kicking the sliotar to the net from close range after making another save from the same player.

A couple more points from Darren Hamill in reply to one from PJ McBride kept the score board ticking but the route one approach from Armoy was now posing a few problems and Trevor Linton finished from close range after another scramble for his side’s third goal with four minutes of normal time remaining.

It was as close as the visitors would get however and despite five minutes of added time Shane O’Neill’s reasserted their control with Hamill adding three further points and Sean O’Boyle bringing a great save from Conor Devlin at the expense of another before Dylan McLaughlin concluded the scoring.

Shane O’Neill’s will now meet Rasharklin in the final in two weeks-time, the St. Mary’s win over Cloughmills raising a few surprised eyebrows in the hills over Glenarm but nobody in Feystown was dismissing the enormity of the task they will face in what should be a tight final.

Shane O’Neill’s: 1 Michael Abram, 25 Conal Ward, 3 Barry Hamill, 4 Liam Og McKaughin, 5 Padraig McDermott, 6 Declan McDermott, 8 Daniel Black, 9 Kieran O’Boyle, 10 Sean O’Boyle, 11 Darren Hamill, 12 Dylan McLaughlin, 13 Kevin O’Boyle, 14 Ciaran Magill, 15 Nial McGarel 18 Ben O’Boyle Subs: Sean O’Hare, Aidan O’Neill, Kieran O’Boyle, Liam Mulvenna

Glen Rovers: 1 Conor Devlin, 2 Callum Coyles, 3 Shane Devlin, 6 Arthur Devlin, 12 Turlough McBride, 4 Emmet O’Hara, 5 Liam Dillon, 8 Joey McBride, 17 John Dillon, 10 Ciaran McKenna, 13 Colin Lordan, 7 Eoin O’Boyle, 11 Tommy Burns, 21 Owen Kinney, 9 PJ McBride, Subs: Conor Waterson, Tim Burns, Ciaran Coyles, Joey McFetridge

Referee: Mark McDonald (St. Gall’s)

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