Conor McCann guides Creggan through against luckless St Paul’s

Andersonstown SC Antrim Intermediate Hurling Championship, Group Two

St Paul’s 0-15 Kickham’s, Creggan 0-17

Creggan got their Intermediate Hurling Championship plans back on track on Saturday when they travelled to Shaw’s Road and beat St Paul by two points in a hard fought game. With three games played in the group stages the Kickhams men join Sarsfields and Oisins on 4 points. It will all come down to the final day of the group stages in two weeks’ time when they host Glenravel and Sarsfields host Oisins.

Creggan will be fancied to take the points against the Con Magee, and that would put them through to the semi-final for one of the other two has to drop points in a winner take all game at the Bear Pit

County colleagues Stephen Rooney and Conor Mccann battle it out in Saturday’s IHC game at Shaw’s Road.

On Saturday Creggan saw Conor McCann return to top form, the county star who has been out for over a year through injury, and once again he was among the scorers, accounting for eleven of his team’s fifteen points, though most of them were from frees.

As for their hosts St Paul’s they were not able to repeat their great feat of beating their neighbours Sarsfields in midweek, a result that brought them back into contention in the league table, but their visitors just had the edge on the day, though they ran them close.

A quick start by the Creggan men put them on the front foot with Morgan Nelson, Conor McCann, Diarmuid Mulholland and Nelson again hitting the target, a scoring burst that was to prove significant in the end.

St Paul’s were struggling to get going, but slowly they began to find a rhythm in their play and good scores from Caolan Crossan and Liam Walsh brought them right back into the game. Two more points from Crossan frees continued the revival and when their leader Stephen Rooney added a point from distance they hit the front for the first time. However the Loughshore men gained the upper hand again and with McCann showing good accuracy they pushed ahead again to lead by 0-9 to 0-7 by the half time break.

Caolan Crossan who hit a series of great points for St Paul’s

St Paul’s showed good resolve to tie things up again early in the second half as Mark Munce picked off a beauty from play and Crossan converted another free, but McCann’s influence was to pay dividends again as the left half forward slotted over three in a row to give his team a bit of breathing space. There was to be little breathing space for the visitors however as Crossan and Munce came back with scores to reduce the deficit to the minimum.

It looked anyone’s game at this stage as St Paul’s twice came back to within a point following points from Conor and Liam McCann.

Just a single point separated the sides at the end of normal time when a third McCann got his name on the scoreboard, this time Conor’s older brother Tommy playing his part with a vital point. St Paul’s had a late chance to save their season but they needed a goal to do that, and Crossan’s late delivery ‘in around the house’ was cleared by the Creggan defence who are now back in the title race.

ST PAUL’S: C Murray, T Auld, F Sewell, C Gallagher; T Duff, S Rooney (0-2 frees), L Walsh (0-1); M Munce (0-1), C Finnegan; D Stevenson, C Crossan (0-10, 9 frees), D Chapman; S Munce (0-1), L Phillips, B Burns.

Subs: C Duffy for S Munce (46), A Carey for C Finnegan (49), D McGreevy for D Chapman (54), S Lawell for T Auld (55)

CREGGAN: K Rice, A Maguire, A McKeown, S O’Brien; T McLarnon, L McCann (0-1), J McAteer; S Duffin, R McCann; M Nelson (0-3), N McAuley, C McCann (0-11, 10 frees); D Mulholland (0-1), T McCann (0-1), C Rice.

REFEREE: Darren Mullan 

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