Convincing Rossa seal runners-up spot

Bathshack Antrim Senior Hurling Championship Group 1 

Rossa 6-26-2-16 Clooney Gaels 

Kevin Herron reports from Rossa Pairc

Rossa claimed the runners-up spot in Group 1 of the Bathshack Antrim Senior Hurling Championship with a comprehensive 6-26-2-16 win over Clooney Gaels at Pairc Rossa on Friday evening. 

Clooney made the trip to the Shaws Road in the knowledge that only victory would keep alive any hopes of progression from the group and into the last eight. 

Before throw-in a minute’s silence was observed in memory of Rossa club-member and former player Brian Austin after his recent passing. 

When the action got under way both sides were quick off the mark with Declan McCartney floating over the opener within 6-seconds, only for James O’Connell to promptly reply after controlling a long pass from Fionnbarr O’Neill. 

O’Connell converted a free to inch his side ahead, though Eoin Trainor dropped over an angled point and Dominic McEnhill capitalised on hesitancy in the visitor’s defence and pointed when a goal was on. 

McEnhill would find the net seconds later though, racing forward and drawing out Francis Neeson before applying a simple finish to give his side a 1-03-0-02 lead. 

James O’Connell replied with his second free of the opening ten minutes before Dara Rocks landed a fine score seconds later. 

Rossa should have added a second goal through Aodhan O’Brien, but Francis Neeson parried his low effort to safety. 

O’Brien wouldn’t have long to wait though and netted either side of the midway point in the opening half. 

Eoin Graham had reduced arrears after namesake Bernard’s side-line cut failed to take off. O’Brien then sprang into action, latching onto a long ball from Gerard Walsh and sending a stinging shot low to the net. 

Within two minutes Eoin Trainor received a cut back from Dominic McEnhill and after steadying himself, popped off to O’Brien for a quickfire second to move his side 3-04-0-04 ahead inside of 16 minutes. 

A long-range point followed from O’Brien and he assisted in the first of successive Thomas Morgan points. 

Clooney should have hit the net between Morgan’s points when referee Kevin Parke called play back for a foul after Stephen Shannon had initially blocked a goal bound PJ O’Connell shot. 

James O’Connell stood over the resulting free and went for goal, however his low effort crashed off the post and away. 

Clooney’s talisman brought his tally to four with his third placed ball off the half – though Dara Rocks and Eoin Trainor conjured up successive points at the other end to stretch the hosts advantage. 

Five minutes before the break the goal that alluded Clooney finally arrived, Eoin Graham ran at the heart of the Rossa defence before slipping a pass inside to Patrick Graham, his offload found PJ O’Connell in space and his slammed his low shot to the net to make it 3-09-1-05. 

The sides equally traded the last four scores of the half before Kevin Parke called time on first half proceedings. 

Dominic McEnhill brought his personal tally to 1-02 with nice finish over the posts and Gerard Walsh his sides first free of the half. In-between times Patrick Graham popped over and James O’Connell landed his fourth free with the final action as Rossa held a 3-11-1-07 advantage at the midway point. 

Rossa began the second period on the front foot with Stephen Beatty landing a point within the opening seconds and Gerard Walsh following up with successive efforts, the first from a free and the other from play. 

James O’Connell got his side up and running with his first from play of the evening, though Dominic McEnhill raced onto a hook from Pearse Short and pointed before Francis Neeson turned Eoin Trainor’s goal bound effort over the bar. 

The hosts extended their lead with Trainor and Thomas Morgan adding points in-between Patrick Graham’s second of the evening. 

Clooney briefly closed the gap approaching the final quarter as substitute Colla McDonnell flicked the ball into the path of Eoin Graham who rifled to the net and Patrick Graham added a point in the aftermath to make it 3-18-2-10. 

Aodhan O’Brien closed the door on any thoughts of a Clooney comeback though- sealing his hat-trick after Pearse Short played a clever pass into his path. 

Points were traded between Stephen Shannon and James O’Connell before Rossa claimed goal number five with little over ten minutes remaining. 

Thomas Morgan was threaded throw and despite Francis Neeson appearing to keep his effort at the bay, the sliother spun to the net and the hosts were 5-19-2-11 to the good as they began to empty their bench with their busy dual schedule in mind. 

Stephen Beatty added his second of the evening before departing proceedings and James O’Connell dropped over his fifth free of the contest in response. 

For the second time in the half Rossa chalked up three points on the spin with three different scorers in Dominic McEnhill, Thomas Morgan and Aodhan O’Brien. 

The outcome was well beyond doubt, but the game ended relatively evenly. Fionnbarr O’Neill dropped over a fantastic effort from range, Patrick Graham followed up with back-to-back efforts and PJ O’Connell scored his sides final point of the evening. 

In-between those scores substitute Diarmaid Rogan added to his sides tally, Gerard Walsh added two scores to his personal account and before time had elapsed Rogan slammed home Rossa’s sixth from Dominic McEnhill’s assist to ensure that the Shaws Road outfit ran out 6-26-2-16 winners at the conclusion and sealed a second placed finish in Group 1. 

They will now await the outcome of Sundays winner takes all clash between Ballycastle and St Enda’s to see who they will face in the quarter-final in a fortnights time. 

Rossa: M Devlin, C Orchin, C McGuinness, C Shannon, D McCartney (0-01), S Shannon (0-01), P Short, G Walsh (0-05, 0-02f), E Trainor (0-04), D McEnhill (1-04), S Beatty (0-02), A O’Brien (3-02), T Morgan (1-04), A Orchin, D Rocks (0-02). Subs: C Boyle for A Orchin (39), D Rogan (1-01) for D McCartney (50), M Murray for S Beatty (52), C McGettigan for P Short (53), N Devlin for C Orchin (56). 

Clooney Gaels: F Neeson, H O’Donnell, J Magee, C McCloskey, F O’Neill (0-01), B Graham, D O’Neill, E Brady, O Neeson, R Graham, D Graham, P Graham (0-05), PJ O’Connell (1-00), E Graham (1-01), J O’Connell (0-09, 0-06f). Subs: G Graham for J Magee (38), C McDonnell for D Graham (40), S Neeson for H O’Donnell (50), P Dugan for E Graham (57). 

Referee: Kevin Parke (Naomh Éanna)

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