Bathshack Antrim SHC Round Two at Quinn Park, Ballymena.
Cushendall 6-16 St Enda’s 1-11
Cushendall Ruairi Og showed their scoring power when they swept aside the challenge of St Enda’s in Friday evening’s Senior Hurling Championship round-robin game under the lights at Quinn Park, Ballymena. In dreadful conditions the men in maroon proved much too strong for their opponents (managed by former Ruairi Og star Michael McCambridge) and in truth were no flattered by their 18 point winning margin. The scores came from all over the pitch with midfielder Fred McCurry grabbing 1-1. Right half forward Fergus McCambridge 1-1, corner forward Christy McNaughton 1-1,
but once again top of the left Joseph McLaughlin showed his gift for goals as he finished top score with 3-1, one ahead of free taker Neill McManus who accounted for 0-8, most of them from placed balls.
With the wind at their backs the ‘Dall were on the front foot from the start as they raced into a decisive lead. They had five points on the board when last minute replacement Christy McNaughton grabbed their opening goal from close range, and they added three more to go 1-8 to 0-0 in front by the eighteenth minute. Two minutes later Cormac Ross raised his team’s first white flag, but the Ruairis came back with goal number two less than a minute later when Fergus McCambrige fired home from a tight angle on the right.
It was not all good news for Cushendall though as they lost Alec Delargy with what looked like a bad shoulder injury, but they pushed on regardless and Joseph McLaughlin got the first of his three goals. Naomh Eanna showed their battling qualities when they hit back with three points through Cormac Jennings, Eddie O’Connor and Ruairi Donaghy, but Cushendall finished the half strongly and midfielder Fred McCurry got in on the goal scoring act when he fired in his team’s fourth in first half injury time.
Goal number five appeared certain when Neil McManus got in on goal early in the second half, but he was denied by a smart save by Curran in the Naomh Eanna goal, but the ‘Dall fans had not long to wait as McLaughlin grabbed his second with a smart finish. Goal number six soon followed when Ronan McAteer picked out McLaughlin with a pass and the corner forward gleefully accepted the gift, and in truth there could have been more had it not been for some top class goalkeeping from Curran in the St Enda’s goal.
The next goal came at the other end as Ruairi Donaghy got some reward for his great effort and O’Connor, Bradley and McGoldrick also grabbed points, but the destination of the points had long been decided.
Cushendall’s final game in the group will be against Loughgiel in two weeks’ time and while they have already qualified for the semi-finals they will be aiming for a top place finish to more than likely avoid hot favourites Dunloy in the semi-final.
CUSHENDALL: C McAllister; P Burke, L Gillan, R McCollam; S Walsh, E Campbell 0-2, R McCambridge; F McCurry 1-2, Fergus McCambridge 1-1; R McAteer 0-1, Sean McAfee, C McNaughton 1-1; A Delargy, N McManus 0-8 (0-5fs, 0-2 65s), J McLaughlin 3-1.
Subs: E McQuillan for Delargy (23), N McCormack for Walsh (HT), Andrew Delargy for McManus (43), C McClafferty for McCambridge (45), A McNaughton for McCurry (54).
ST ENDA’S: M Curran; C McAllister, M McGibbin, D Maguire; E O’Connor 0-1, N O’Connor 0-1, B Cormican; C Jennings 0-2 (0-2fs), K Jennings; M Mullan, R Bogue, C Ross 0-3 (0-2fs); J Maskey, P Curran, R Donaghy 1-1.
Subs: L O’Connor 0-1 for K Jennings (40), C Bradley 0-1 for E O’Connor (40), R Eager for C Jennings (43), C O’Connor for Cormican (43), J McGoldrick 0-1 (0-1f) for P Curran (50).
REFEREE: C McDonald (St Gall’s).