Junior B Hurling Championship
Ardoyne 8-12 Belfast Saints 1-12
The pressure was on Ardoyne Kickhams before this game to maintain their unbeaten record against the potential threat of Belfast Saints. The opening minutes raised the possibility of an upset in the making as the deadly Phil Maguire put over the first two of his personal tally of 11 points.
McGuigan and Hull steadied the Ardoyne ship by bringing the sides level after 10 minutes. While Maguire put over a further 4 points from frees during the opening half, it was Ardoyne who had firmly established their dominance at half-time. Their opening goal was a beauty. A precision pass from Hull found Keown who despatched the sliothar to the back of the net. Jim Og McAuley demonstrated his long years of experience when he pull out a lovely handpass to Keown out of his back pocket, and to the acclaim of the gathered crowd Keown bulged the Saints’ net.
The second half followed a similar pattern, with Saints knocking over the first two scores only to see the Kickhams gain control with McVicker punching through the Saints defence on a regular basis.
Saints more than held their own in open play in this game but relied too heavily on Maguire for scores from frees. Ardoyne’s backline were not to be outdone by their forwards, with Agnew again in top form and Micheál McGreevy a rock in defence.
Ardoyne will enter the final stages of the Junior B on the back of an unbeaten season, but conscious that the wheels have come off at this stage before and will need to be at their best to go all the way this season. Saints will be conscious of the need to spread the responsibility for putting scores on to the board.
Ardoyne: 1 JP Agnew, 2 Pascal Clarke (0-1), 3 Paul Baker, 4 Cathal Clarke, 5 Sean Searle, 6 Caolan Wallace, 7 Micheál McGreevy, (0-1), 8 Dean Goodall (0-1), 9 Paul McGuigan (0-1), 10 Oisin Mac An Bhiocaire (2-2) 1f, 11 Cahal Keown (2-0), 12 Pearse Hull(0-1), 13 Matt McKillen (2-1), 14 Aran Stewart (2-4), 15 Jim Og McAuley (0-1), Kealan McCallan, Diarmuid Martin, Cormac Barnes, Joe McDowell, Conor Flannery, Stephen Hill, Eoghain Mac An tSearraig, Eamon Mac Lochlainn, Matthew Crommie, Padraig O’Deorain, Paul O’Halloran Christopher McShane
Belfast Saints: 1 Kevin Grieve, 2 Killian McCormick, 3 Ronan Carroll, 4 Philip Glennon, 5 Jason Kennedy, 6 Conor O’Rawe, 7 Brian Keatings, 8 Aodhan Dugan, 9 Mark Caldwell (0-1), 10 Nial McGettigan, 11 Phil Maguire (0-11) 6f, 65, 12 Daniel McGuigan, 13 Paul McClenaghan 1-0, 14 Stephen O’Hara 15 Niall Connolly, 16 Declan McLarnon, 17 Ryan Brammeld, 18 Caolan McCool 19 Colm Carroll 20 Matt Carlin