Shane O’Neill’s back on the Ulster trail

On Sunday Glenarm hurlers take thier first step in their bid to get back to the summit of Ulster Junior hurling when the they travel to Inniskeen to take on the Monaghan representatives Carrickmacross in the quarter finals. We take a look back at their Antrim win and go back even further to remember their last Ulster sucess 18 years ago.

Kevin O’Boyle’s goal was the score that really settled the Antrim final win over Rasharkin

Antirm Junior Hurling final recap

Shane O’Neill’s 1-21 Rasharkin 0-16

Glenarm produced a strong finish to finally banish their junior championship blues.  Eight points separated the sides at the end of the hour as the Shane O’Neill’s saw off the dogged resistance of Rasharkin in the final quarter. It was the Glenarm mens’ first Junior title in 65 years, though they have won Intermediate and Intermediate Reserve titles in the interim, but the Junior had eluded them.

On Sunday they make a journey into the unknown when they travel to Inniskeen to take on Monaghan’s Carrickmacross.

Carrickmacross were actually beaten in the Monaghan SHC final by Castleblaney but are nominated for the Ulster Junior Championship while Castleblaney will play in the Ulster Intermediate Club Championship and will face Clooney Gaels

Castleblayney charged to the Monaghan senior hurling championship title with a 16 point win over Carrickmacross back in August.

Blayney were always in control sealing victory 2-23 to 1-10 in O’Neill Park. Castleblayney led by 12 points at half-time 1-14 to five points and Brian McGuigan’s 10th minute goal set Blayney on their way with Stephen Lambe and Fergal Rafter adding points.

James Slevin grabbed a goal three minutes after half-time for Carrickmacross to give them some hope, but McGuigan grabbed a second goal seven minutes later to keep Blayney’s dominance in the game.

Treanor, Niall Garland, Rafter and Paudie Heaven all added scores for Blayney who ran out 16 point victors, 2-23 to 1-10.

Shane O’Neill’s will start this one as favourites following a season where they have accounted for nearly everyone who has come before them.

Darren Hamill has been his team’s top scorer this season

They won division 3 of the Antrim ACHL, suffering only one defeated in their 11 starts and went on to top their championship qualifying group before defeating Glen Rovers, Armoy in the semi-final.

They went on to beat St. Mary’s Rasharkin in the final at Dunsilly by 8 points but certainly didn’t get it all their own way against a Rasharkin team who fought to the death.

With just one point between the sides at the half time whistle, a goal was always going to be a massive score and it proved to be the case with Kevin O’Boyle making the most of indecision in the Rasharkin defence with a little over ten minutes of the final remaining. 

The major gave Glenarm the confidence they needed to push for home with Nial McGarel producing an awesome display of point taking at the death.  He would finish with four points with two of those coming after the Glenarm goal when they pushed for victory.

Shane O’Neill’s are well balanced mix of youth and experience with Michael Abram in goals, Barry Hamill and Declan McDermott anchoring a solid defence who have the potential to attack.

Dan Black was Glenarm’s man of the match in the Antrim final win over Rasharkin

Daniel Black at midfield was the Saffron Gael man of the match in the Antrim final and has a solid partner in Kieran O’Boyle while in attack former Antrim player, Darren Hamill and Dylan McLaughlin have the experience for the big occasion while Niall McGarel and Kevin O’Boyle add pace and scoring power.

Carrickmacross are something of an unknown quantity and with Inniskeen likely to have suffered from the effects of this week’s rain conditions could be a great leveller but I would expect Shane O’Neill’s to win with something to spare with a big travelling support there to cheer them on. However Sunday’s opponents were beaten Ulster finalist last year and Castleblaney have shown with their wins over Con Magees in the 2015 semi-final and Cushendun in 2018 final, hurling in Monaghan is strong at this level.

Glenarm last won the Ulster title back in 2004 when they beat St Malachy’s Portdown in the final at Casement Park.

Glenarm’s venture into Ulster will the first since the opening round of the competition in 2004 when they went all the way, beating St Malachy’s Portadown in the Ulster final at Casement Park. They didn’t actually win the Antrim title that year, but because they were beaten in the Antrim final by Loughgiel 2nds team, they went through as Antrim representatives, as a senior club were not allowed to enter.

The men from Feystown have waited a long time to get back to this level, and suffered a series of Antrim final defeats along the way. They made no mistake this time and will travel to Inniskeen determined to keep this run going.  

Shane O’Neill’s v Rasharkin: Michael Abram; Ben O’Boyle, Barry Hamill, Conal Ward; Padraig McDermott, Declan McDermott, Aidan Scullion; Daniel Black, Kieran O’Boyle; Sean O’Boyle, Darren Hamill, Dylan McLaughlin; Kevin O’Boyle, Ciaran Magill, Niall McGarel

Subs: Kevin O’Boyle for B O’Boyle (34); Liam Og McLaughlin for C Ward (inj); Sean O’Hare for D Black (inj)

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