Ulster Intermediate Hurling Club semi-final
Kickham’s Creggan 1-15 Eire Og Carrickmore 4-11
Antrim champions, Kickham’s, Creggan made their exit from the Ulster Club Intermediate Hurling Championship when they fell to a slick Eire Og, Carrickmore at a windy Owenbeg on Saturday.
The Antrim champions won the toss and elected to play into the strong breeze in the first half and it is a decision they will possibly rue as the Tyrone side struck with four first half goals to lead 4-7 to 1-8 at the interval.
It has to be said that at least two of them were of their own making but they never recovered from the Eire Og first half onslaught despite performing better in the second half.
Conor McCann pointed the Kickham’s into an early lead as he sent over in the second minute but it would be the only time they would be ahead as Carrickmore replied with a point from Oisin Daly before Sean Og Grogan struck with the game’s opening goal in the third minute.
Grogan had acres of space as he received the sliotar to the left of goal and he drilled his shot into the right hand corner of Cormac Rice’s goal to give his side a lead they would never lose.
McCann replied from a 5th minute free but Carrickmore were winning a lot of dirty ball and pressurising the Creggan defence who were continuously being turned over.
Conn Sweeney and Ruairi Slane added points before Sean Og Groggan added his second goal of the game in the 8th minute after robbing Aidan McKeown as he attempted to make a clearance.
Conor McCann replied with a point for the Kickham’s but their attack were being forced to feed on crumbs as the Carrickmore work rate continued to knock them out of their stride.
The Antrim champions appeared to be gathering some traction when Conor McCann pointed a 17th minute free and Kevin Rice sent a sideline cut between the uprights before McCann and Rice combined for the later to fire past Conor McElhatton from close range in the 19th minute.
Rice’s goal left just two between the sides but before the Creggan cheers could die down Carrickmore replied with their third goal from Justin Kelly and again the Creggan defence were nowhere to be seen.
McCann replied with his sixth of the evening from a 60 meter free but Eire Og were growing in confidence and playing some great hurling as Conn Sweeney and Dermot Begley from a free moved them five ahead by the 23d minute.
The Tyrone side continued to press and added their fourth goal of the evening when a long range effort from Conn Sweeney dropped into the corner of the Creggan net.
By half time they led 4-7 to 1-8 with Conor McCann and Oran McCann adding late Creggan points but with the wind in their favour after the break they would have harboured hopes of a comeback.
It never looked like materialising and indeed it was Carrickmore who struck the first two points of the second half through Bryan McGurk and the superb Dermot Begley.
Conor McCann from a 20 meter free and Kevin Rice from his second sideline cut of the evening cut the gap to nine by the 13th minute and two more from the Creggan number 14 and another from substitute Tiarnan McLarnon had it back to six but even at this stage the Kickham’s needed a goal and it never looked like materialising.
Indeed it was Carrickmore who had the ball in the net when Aidan Kelly finished a Sean Og Grogan cross home but the score was ruled out for ‘square ball’,
Creggan pressed to the end but a couple of points from Liam McCann and a Ruairi McCann ‘65’ was all they could manage and it’s Eire Og Carrickmore who go through to the final where they will meet Satanta of Derry, who defeated Middletown in the other semi-final.
Creggan: Cormac Rice, Aiden Maguire, Aidan McKeown, Jake McAteer, Sam Maguire, Kealan McCann, Liam McCann, Sean Duffin, Ruairi McCann, Morgan Nelson, Kevin Rice, Oran Mccann, Thomas McCann, Conor McCann, Diarmuid Mulholland. Subs Used: Ethan Carey-Small, Tiarnan McAteer.
Carrickmore: Conor McElhatton, Michael Kelly, Oran McKee, Dean Rafferty, Jonathan Muroe, Dermot Begley, Anthony Crossan, Bryan McGurk, Ruairi Slane, Conor Grogan, Justin Kelly, Con Sweeney, Cormac Munroe, Sean Og Grogan, Seamus Sweeney.
Subs Used: Aidan Kelly, Tony Hughes, Enda Grimes
Referee: James Connors (Donegal)