Reserve Hurling Shield
Ahoghill 8-18 St. Paul’s 2-12
Clooney Gaels produced a power packed performance to over-run St. Paul’s in this Reserve Hurling Shield quarter-final in Ahoghill on Wednesday night. The home side hit five first half goals to lead by 16 points at the half way stage and added three more in the second to run out convincing winners.
It was St. Paul’s who drew first blood when Caolan Crossan pointed in the third minute but it would be the only time that the Shaw’s Road side would lead in the contest.
Colla McDonald fired home the home side’s opening goal in the 8th minute to move them 1-3 to 0-1 ahead and two minutes later he pulled first time to send to the net again.
St. Paul’s were battling hard with Caoimhin Lillyleagh and Caolan Crossan replying with points but a third goal from Noah Friel, after great work by Jack McFall put the home side in a strong position at the end of the opening quarter.
A strong run from Paddy Logan opened the door for Matthew Mullan to fire home Ahoghill’s fourth and goal number five arrived when Noel Friel batted over head to the net with 9 minutes remaining to the break.
Colla McDonald had been prominent in everything that the home side produced but he received his marching orders after a moment of madness and a couple of players from the other side joined him in the altercation that followed.
Substitute Liam Cuslund got St. Paul’s off to a great second half start when he fired home after 30 seconds but before the ink had dried on the referee’s score card a long delivery from Charlie McCloskey sailed all the way to the St. Paul’s net.
Jack McFall added a seventh for the home side following a strong run from Conor McGarry with Caolan Crossan from play and from frees keeping the scoreboard ticking for the visitors with some nice points.
Clooney Gaels were now cruising and using the extra man to good effect with Gerard Graham striking three long range points and McFall adding another before Darragh Digney got in for a visitors goal in the 25th minute.
It would provide only temporary respite however as Noel Friel, Fergal Magee and Matthew Mullan added points before Mullan put the icing on a good individual performance with a goal with time almost up.
Aidan Graham brought off a number of good saves in the Clooney goals and his accuracy from puck outs set up numerous attacks while Shay Neeson, Stephen O’Connell and Charlie McCloskey were best in a rock solid home defence.
Callum Reynolds and Gerard Graham were dominant at mid-field while Matthew Mullan, Noah Friel and Jack McFall were best in a potent attack.
Eoin Brown, Gary McGroarty and Adam O’Sullivan were best in defence for St. Paul’s while Caoimhin Killyleagh, Daniel Walsh and the excellent Caolan Crossan were best in attack.