North Antrim Junior Hurling League
CUSHENDUN EMMET’S B 3-13 CON MAGEE’S B 3-11
By Denis O’Hara
VERSATILE Emmet’s prospect Colm McKeegan was in a late switch from shot stopper to match-winning score snatcher in this lively North Antrim JHL at The Riggs.
McKeegan was involved in trading places with another Cushendun wannabe, Eoin ‘Cubby’ Magee.
The two Impressive talents combined to cause Con Magee’s maximum confusion in a bizarre ending that may well also claim an unenviable record for a Glenravel defensive reserve.
All the drama was encapsulated in the hectic Emmet’s second session rally, just when it seemed Con Magee’s would hold out to take the result.
Four minutes from time Dominic Sharkey fizzed a shot past Glenravel goalkeeper Adam McAuley, the goal squaring the tie at 3-11 apiece.
At that moment host team sharpshooter ‘Cubby’ Magee sustained a leg muscle problem and limped downfield to swap places with goalkeeper McKeegan.
Magee then stubbed out a Con Magee attack and his lengthy clearance landed almost on top of McKeegan,
Glenravel corner back O’Kane blocked the Emmet’s threat, but illegally stopping McKeegan and Sharkey..
Not only did the visitors present the Emmet’s with a lead point by McKeegan from the resultant 29th minute free but also O’Kane damaged a leg in the process and had to retire .
to make matters worse for the Con Magees men the sub who came on board, but was given marching orders 90 seconds later.
The unfortunate player was instantly involved in blocking some ground scrimmaging, but was deemed to have illegally picked the sliothar off the deck with his hand.
Red mist instantly descended.
The players pulled on the ball on the ground, the missile striking Cushendall referee Conan Brown in the process.
A red card was issued, and from that awarded free, some thirty yards, out mercurial McKeegan clipped in the ball between the posts to seal the a two-points victory.
Con Magee’s players may well look back in anguish.
How did they blew what appeared to become a likely unruffled test.
From as early as the opening minute the sprightly Glenravel gang ran a horse and coaches attack through a mesmerised and alarmingly porous Cushendun defence.
Brian O’Neill clipped a ground shot wide of a post before winger Conor Laverty joined Martin Scullion in a double goal blast.
Home ‘keeper McKeegan was left unprotected, tried to cover the lines by himself as Glenravel raced to a two-goals burst inside sixty seconds by the ninth minute.
With Con Magee’s midfield of Odhran McAleenan and Conor Duffin, who bagged seven points – six from frees, running loose there was clever approach interplay..
While this tie was a level down from the big boys the match-up was fascinating, hugely enjoyable as young players, some relatively untried, tried feverishly to impress.
.Emmet’s endured a sluggish start, but kicked into energetic action when burly John V Morgan cleverly flicked home a rebound in the 25th minute.
Con Magee’s veteran corner forward Martin Scullion (All Ireland winning defender with Loughigel Shamrocks in 2012) again caught the home boys all over the shop to sprint into space and complete an outstanding solo run goal.
Euan McSparran pinched a welcome sniffer’s goal sixty seconds later as the game became more open.
Still. Con Magee’s turned 3-8 to 2-7 ahead.
On reflection, the visiting players had to ponder the perplexing puzzle of having scored merely three points in the second half.
Granted they had Christy Quinn’s point-blank effort saved by McKeegan ten minutes from time.
This incident, in,turn, proved a reversal of fortunes and industry for the sea-siders’ late late show.
EMMET’S B:-Colm McKeegan; Peter Dunne, Declan McKernan, John Joe O’Connell;
Michael McHugh Andrew Breslin, Paul O’Scollain;
Aidan McSparran and Ryan McCurdy;
Cavin McCormack, Dominic Sharkey, Conor O’Hara;
Eoin Magee John V Morgan, Euan McSparran.
CON MAGEE’S B:-Adam McAuley; Thomas O’ Kane, Sean Burns, Dillon Healy;
Aaron Coulter, Shane Woulahan, Pat O’Neill;
Odrhan McAlenan and Conor Duffin; Conor Laverty, Chrissey Quinn, Conor McAuley; Brian O’Neill, Eoin Butler, Martin Scullion.
Subs used-Chris McCann, Donal McCann. Paul Hughes.
Ref:-Conan Brown (Cushendall).