Ulster Junior Hurling Championship quarter-final at Ahoghill
St Brigid’s Cloughmills 2-9 Castleblaney 1-15
Cloughmills came within a strike of a ball of forcing extra time in Saturday’s Ulster Club Junior Hurling Championship opening round against Monaghan champions Castleblaney at Ahoghill on Saturday.
The Biddies appeared to be dead and buried when they trailed the Monaghan men by seven points with just two minutes of normal time left to play but late goals from Liam Kearns and Corey Blair gave them hope that they could still salvage the game. The Monaghan men hit back with two points to put three between the sides again deep into second half injury time, but with just seconds left of the five minutes extra time allocated by referee James Connors the ball broke to full forward Reece Watt, but his shot was closed down and the Castleblaney men survived.
It all looked too easy for the Blaney boys when they hit 1-5 without reply midway through the second half, the goal coming from right half back Declan Hughes who finished expertly to the bottom right hand corner after being put clear. Points followed in quick succession from Thomas Hughes (2), Leo Moloney (2) and Brian McGuigan and suddenly the gap was out to seven.
The Biddies looked dead and buried, but when Liam Kearns fired through a packed goalmouth to the back of the Blaney net it gave Cloughmills a bit of hope. Two minutes into the allotted five of injury time Corey Blair added another goal and suddenly the impossible now seemed possible. The Monaghan champions never panicked and well taken points from Mark Treanor and Niall Garland put them three clear again and though Watt had a late chance the Blaney defence saw off the danger to seal the win.
C McKiernan, S McKendry, K O’Boyle, S Martin, C Laverty, G Og Laverty, J Duffin, M Dobbin (0-1), O McCurdy, E Dobbin (0-3), R Laverty, L Kearns (1-0), C Butler (0-1), M Devlin (0-2), J Doherty (0-1).
Subs – Corey Blair (1-0) for J Duffin; Reece Watt for M Devlin Stephen Smith (0-1) for Conaire Butler
H Byrne, P Heavin, C Merrick, B Flanagan, D Hughes (1-1), P Treanor, C McNally, C McHugh, A Kenny (c), L Maloney (0-8 …8f), F Rafter, N Garland (0-2), B McGuigan (0-1), T Hughes (0-3), Patrick Finnegan.
Subs – Zack McArdle, Nathan Adair, Mark Treanor (0-1) for Patrick Finnegan
Referee – James Connors (Donegal)