Andersonstown Social Club Intermediate Hurling Championship
Group 1 – Round 2
Tir na nÓg 2-15 Carey Faughs 2-13
Tir na nÓg came from 0-02 to 0-10 down after 28 minutes to beat Carey Faughs by 2-15 to 2-13 in a Friday evening’s enthralling Intermediate Hurling Championship round 2 game at Whitehill and put themselves in a very strong position with two wins from two in this five team group. Carey on the other hand, many peoples favourites to win the competition after playing their hurling in Division 1 this season, now have a mountain to climb with just one point from their two games and they now need to win their two remaining games against Glenarm and Cushendun if they are to have any chance of qualifying for the semi-finals.
As Storm Betty began to announce her arrival the Faughs were brilliant in the opening half and with the wind behind them they dominated the opening quarter, at the end of which they led by 0-7 to 0-1. Connor McBride and Conlith McKinley got the first two points, and after Duffin got one back for the home team Shea Hunter hit three, McBride two and Caolan McCaughan one.
Tir na nOg’s right half forward Sean Duffin had got his side’s only score from a free, but his normally reliable free taking was letting him down badly and he missed his next five attempts from placed balls, and the pressure was beginning to build on Randalstown men as Carey moved eight ahead (0-9 to 0-1).
The team management had kept faith in their man, though when Duffin finally broke his duck on 27 minutes it didn’t really appear to matter, especially when Shea Hunter replied for the Faughs inside 30 seconds to restore their eight point cushion. However everything was to change in the final couple of minutes as Tir na nÓg hit back with a goal, brilliantly taken by full forward Darragh Fagan, and a point from centre forward Ciaran Logan to cut the gap back to five by the time Mark O’Neill sounded the half time whistle.
When Sean Duffin got the opening point of the second half to leave just five in it the home fans must have felt they were really back in the game, but when Carey’s James Rocket Black dropped a long free into the Tir na nÓg goalmouth, midfielder Caolan McCaughan connected overhead and sent the ball to the Randalstown net the gap was back out to seven.
The Faughs fans must have felt their team were in the driving seat again, but Tir na nÓg took control of the game and during the next fifteen minutes they controlled the game. Duffin started the comeback with two pointed frees, one of them from inside his own half, before Ciaran Logan added one from play. Duffin stepped up again and drilled one between the posts on 47 minutes, before midfielder Aaron McNeilly added one to cut the gap back two. Things got worse for the Ballyvoy men when Randalstown full forward Darragh Fagan ran at the Faughs defence before putting Oliver McAtamney clear to the right of goal and the substitute, who had just been on the field for four minutes, drove a low shot to the Carey net to put his team in front for the first time in the game.
Carey were in trouble, but they dug deep and a brilliantly struck free into the strong breeze by Conlith McKinley brought them level to set up a pulsating last ten minutes. Aaron McNeilly edged the home team back in front, but Conor McBride restored parity with a fine point at the other end for the Faughs. When Duffin added two more from placed balls to give Tir na nÓg a two point cushion with time almost up the game appeared to be decided, but a long free into the Tir na nÓg square broke to Conor McBride who hit a great ground shot to the net and give them back the lead.
The boys from Barnish must have felt they had done enough to get something out of the game at this stage, but Duffin hit the equaliser just on the hour mark, and edged his team back ahead a minute later, before Eamon Og McAllister hit the last score of the game deep in injury time to give his team a two point win.
Once again the Intermediate championship has thrown up a great game. Tir na nÓg have one foot in the semi-finals, and though Carey’s have a massive task on their hands they can still get there, especially if they reproduce the form they showed in the opening half of this game.
TIR NA NÓG
Kevin Sheerin, Brandon McLarnon, Ciara O’Neill, Darragh Martin, Conor McCamphill, Caoimhin Duffifn, Daniel Martin, Aaron McNeilly, Ciaran McKeown, Sean Duffin, Ciaran Logan, Eamon Og McAllister, Joe McCormick, Darragh Fagan, Kevin McCann
Subs – Tony Martin for McCamphill; Oliver McAtamney for Logan
Christopher Butler, Daniel Hill, Sean McBride, Colm McBride, Michael McVeigh, James McCouaig, Peadar McVeigh, Caolan McCaughan, Conlith McKinley, John McBride, Fiachra McVeigh, Shea Hunter, Connor McBride, James Black, Patrick Gillan.
Referee – Mark O’Neill (Armoy)