Under 15 Hurling A Championship
Dunloy 6-11 Gort na Móna 2-14
By Mickey McClements
Pics by Ciaran Ó Brolcháin
Dunloy advance to the semi final of the under 15 A hurling championship on a final score line of 6-11 to 2-14. over Gort na Móna at Pearse Park on Tuesday evening. A nine point winning margin would suggest a comfortable evening for the home side however the large crowd at Pearse Park enjoyed a tremendous tussle between the two teams and a game that could have gone either way
Gort na Mona travelled to Dunloy full of confidence having won both the Div2 league and Feile and they were certainly not overawed with the step up in class. Like the Gorts the young Cuchullains came into this game with a spring in their step after their impressive victory over the current Div 1 Feile Champions Cushendall last Tuesday
It was the team in Green & Gold that got off to the best start, Damien McMahon catching a long Gort na Móna poc out and returning it with interest to get Dunloy off the mark. However the Belfast boys settled quickly, they withdrew both corner forwards, crowded the middle third of the pitch and targeted a lone full forward. Throughout the hour Ruairi O’Scollain, Keelan McCann and Nathan McKenna rotated the position at the edge of the square and all three impressed in the role
Ruairi O’Scollain scored the first 2 points and assisted Keelan McCann as Gort na Mona raced into a 0:3 to 0:1 lead by the 5th minute. Somewhat against the run of play Dunloy grabbed their first goal of the evening through Anthony Cochrane, they added a point from the stick of Euan Molloy, Damien McMahon caught a long poc and delivered a great ball into the lively corner forward who did the rest.
Jay McAlonan added a point from a free and a point from play as Dunloy stretched the lead to 4 points. The diminutive Keelan McCann was now occupying the full forward berth and Dunloy had switched Seamus McMullan into the troublesome position, while McMullan would perform well over the hour McCann was causing problems and was heavily involved in the move that set Nathan McKenna free to score Gort na Mona first goal of the evening.
McKenna added a free almost immediately to wipe out the Dunloy lead. Keelan McCann cut in from the right to score his second point of the game with Euan Molloy doing likewise at the opposite end of the field. The remainder of the half was nip and tuck, with scores from Molloy, McAlonan and Daire Elliott answered by McCann, Scollain and McKenna frees.
PJ Molloy showed great reflexes to turn a rasping shot from O’Scollain over the bar but the pressure was building and when McCann slalomed through the Dunloy defence to score a goal the home side looked under real pressure. To their credit they did not panic and points from Jay McAlonan and John Ferguson meant the home team trailed by only 2 points at the short whistle
Gort na Mona started the second half with great intensity and forcing a number of frees they increased the lead to 3points. Just as Gorts felt they had gained the upper hand Jay McAlonan converted a free in the very next play the ball broke in the Gort na Mona box and the elusive Euan Molloy was first to react his groundstroke find the back of the net.
Gort na Mona showed great resolve and with Ryan Donnelly influential at midfield they scored the next 3 points as Nathan McKenna continued his assassin like accuracy from frees. Dunloy struck again for their third goal, Matthew Rice had made a smart save but Damien McMahon was the first to break and another good groundstroke gave Dunloy a lead they would not surrender. The score line of 3-11 to 2:13 in the 17th minute of the second half a testament to how competitive the game was throughout.
Although Dunloy would go on to score 3 further goals to a solidatary point in response the Gorts continued to play with intensity and passion right to the final whistle. The Dunloy goals where all well worked, the first of this triplet coming from Euan Molloy after great work from Daire Elliott to flick the ball over the onrushing goalkeeper, James McGarry & Jay McAlonan with good finishes to put the game beyond Gort na Mona.
This was a fantastic game of hurling to which Gort na Mona played a full part with a number of players impressing throughout the hour. Their system of play was innovative and was a challenge for the Dunloy boys to breakdown.
Different Dunloy players performed well at different times throughout the game with man of the match Rory Blaney consistently impressing as he followed his man out from corner forward getting on break ball and winning a number of frees at crucial times.
Dunloy will be delighted with victory and now progress to a semi final against Ard na Ri, while they did not reach the heights of the Cushendall performance the previous week they did show great resilience and a ruthless instinct in front of goals which could serve them well in the remainder of this competition
Dunloy: PJ Molloy, Rory Blaney, Oisin McGuckian, Joseph Doherty, Seamus McMullan, Aaron Doherty, Ollie McClements, Eunan Curry, James McGarry, Damien McMahon, Anthony Cochrane, John Ferguson, Daire Elliott, Jay McAlonan, Euan Molloy. Subs Jack McQuillan, Jamie McMullan
Gort na Mona: Matthew Rice, Callum Bradley, Liam Brown, Ruairi O’Scollain, Conor McCusker, Lorcan Cordner, Barry El Ouhata, Keelan McCann, Nathan McCann, Ryan Donnelly, Kevin Cush, Aodhan O’Hanlon, Daire Keenan, Seadna Caldwell, Caomhin Connelly