Cloney Gaels win hands Cushendun the league title

Antrim Hurling League Division 2

Glenariffe Oisins 0-18 Cloney Gaels 2-17

Cloney Gael’s win over Glenariffe Oisins in Saturday’s final Division 2 Hurling game handed the league title to Cushendun who were not due to play St Gall’s in their final game until Sunday. The Oisins win over the Emmet’s two weeks ago delayed the Cushendun celebrations for a couple of weeks, but Saturday result means that regardless of the outcome of Sunday’s game the Cushendun men cannot be caught. As things stood Cushendun just needed a point in their final game to seal the title, but a win for the Oisins over Cloney on Saturday, and a St Gall’s win on the Sunday, would have meant the Oisins took the title.

Oisins David Kearney dives in to deny Cloney’s Patrick Graham scoring what would have been his team’s third goal

The game was played a day early because of the death of the father of Cloney Gaels manager Hugh Dobbin. Hugh senior, who had played his hurling with his native Glenarm and with Con Magees Glenarvel, had passed away in the early hours of Saturday morning and the Oisins sportingly agreed to play the game at 4pm on Saturday so that the Ahoghill men could attend the funeral on Sunday.

When you are playing a must win game Cloney Gaels are probably the last team you want to be facing, for though the Ahoghill men had really nothing to play for they are always competitive when the ball is thrown in.

Oisins Kieran McKendry and Cloney Gaels Dan O’Neill battle for a high ball

It started well for the Oisins, and though Cloney were the first to raise a flag through PJ O’Connell the home side bounced back and went 0-6 to 0-2 ahead after ten minutes, four of the points coming from Alex O’Boyle. Things were building nicely for the home team but two goals inside a minute from Colla McDonnell and PJ O’Connell turned the game on its head, and with James O’Connell leading the line for the Cloney men they went on to lead by 2-10 to 0-12 at the break.

Two more points from James O’Connell at the start of the second half stretched the lead to six and the Oisins had a mountain to climb. The cut the gap to three when Conor Patterson, Seanie McIntosh and Alex O’Boyle all hit the target but the Ahoghill men were always able to find an answer when the pressure built.

Come rain, hail or shine Cloney’s James O’Connell always seems to deliver the goods

The gap was down to three again midway through the second half, but they never looked likely to get the goal their recovery really needed and in the end Cloney Gaels had five to spare. League winners Cushendun will receive the trophy after their home game with St Gall’s tomorrow.

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