‘Biddies’ emerge in the descending darkness to top Group 2

Casement SC JFC Group 2

St. Brigid’s 0-15 All Saints 0-9

St. Brigid’s Cloughmills made it two wins from two starts in Group 2 of the Casement SC Junior Hurling Championship when they overcame the challenge of All Saints in the wind and rain and descending darkness in Rasharkin on Friday night.

The ‘Biddies’ always held the upper hand against a relatively young All Saints side who gave it everything over the hour but were unable to convert good second half possession into scores.

Cloughmill, with the wind and rain behind them, raced into and early 0-4 to 0-1 lead with Eoin Dobbin, Ruairi Laverty, Michael Devlin and Liam Kearns their marksmen and All Saints solitary score coming from a Ciaran Neeson free.

Neeson hit his second point of the evening from another free in the 8th minute and when Joseph O’Rawe sent over a good point to close the gap to one by the 11th minute we looked to have a contest on our hands.

Eoin Dobbin and Ciaran Neeson exchanged further frees to keep the gap at one at the end of the opening quarter but Dobbin converted two frees and then a ‘65’ to move St. Brigid’s four in front by the 22nd minute.

The Ballymena side were enjoying their share of possession but finding it hard to break down a resolute St. Brigid’s defence and were relying on the free taking of Ciaran Neeson for scores and he pulled one back from a 45 meter free in the 22nd minute.

There was only three between the sides at this stage but the minutes leading up to half time would prove crucial for the ‘Biddies’ as they out-scored the opposition 0-5 to 0-1 with Eoin Dobbin hitting three and Mickey Devlin and Stephen Smyth on target while All Saints solitary response came from another Neeson free.

With the increasing wind and driving rain in their favour for the second half 7 points didn’t look an insurmountable lead and when Eoin McGuigan opened the scoring with an All Saints point in the first minute it was looking better for the Slemish Park side.

Two in quick response from Mickey Devlin dampened the early All Saints enthusiasm however and while they enjoyed quite a bit more possession during the second period they could not turn that possession into scores.

All Saints hit a series of wides while a number of attempted deliveries overshot their target and it was 11 minutes before Eoin McGuigan would raise the Ballymena side’s second white flag.

The scoring dried up after this as both sides struggled to deal with the worsening conditions and the descending darkness before Neeson struck the game’s final point from a free in the 24th minute.

The question on everyone’s lips after was, why was these games (7 in all) fixed for a Friday night and at this time of the night instead of on Sunday when there is only one game down for decision.

I didn’t have the answer but this result ensures that St. Brigid’s Cloughmill’s will qualify for the play-offs as Group winners while All Saints now meet Gort na Mona in a battle for second place in Ballymena on Saturday 2nd September.

St. Brigid’s Cloughmills: 1 Chris McKernan, 2 Sean McKendry, 3 Kevin O’Boyle, 4 Stephen Martin, 5 Pearse Smyth, 6 Corey Blair, 7 Johnny Duffin, 8 Martin Dobbin, 9 Joe Smyth, 10 Rian Dobbin, 11 Ruairi Laverty, 12 Michael Devlin, 13 Liam Kearns, 14 Eoin Dobbin, 15 Stephen Smyth

All Saints: Ciaran Cassley, 2 Kevin Brady, 3 Colum Neeson, 4 Archie McGreevey, 5 Conor O’Rawe, 6 Luke O’Rawe, 7 Daniel Gray, 8 Padhraig Magill, 9 Damian Gillan, 10 Jack Magill, 11, Eoin McGuigan, 12 Liam Cassley, 13 James O’Boyle, 14 Ciaran Neeson, 15 Joseph O’Rawe

Referee: Darren Mullan

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