Cushendall stall the Portaferry celebrations

Antrim Hurling League Division 1

Cushendall 5-19 Portaferry 5-15

Cushendall kept their slim chances of winning the Division 1 league title alive when they beat Portaferry in Saturday’s high scoring game in Cushendall. However the men from the Ards are still firm favourites to win their first title in almost 20 years, for if they beat St John’s in their final game in Portaferry on Wednesday evening the title will be theirs. Cushendall on the other hand would need to beat Dunloy in their final game and hope that the Johnnies do them a favour in Portaferry.

In the game itself Portaferry got away to a strong start and after Sean McAfee and Neill McManus put them two ahead the visitors came back strongly and goals from Daithi Sands and Tom McGrattan, plus points from Callum Smith and Fionn Turpin had them six clear after eight minutes. A minute later McManus hit back when he fired a free to the net and after adding a point, Scott Walsh was also on target to cut the gap back to a single point.

A special word of praise for this man. Ryan McCambridge got married on Friday but turned out of the Ruairis 24 hours later, and played his part in a winning performance.

Ronan Blair pointed for Portaferry to put them two ahead again but two goals from play from Alex Delargy and Sean McAfee swung the game back in the home team’s favour.  The goals weren’t finished yet however and on 22 minutes Tom McGrattan got his second and his team’s third. Ronan Blair and Daithi Sands pointed to bring the Down men level on 29 minutes, but Neill McManus edged the Ruairis back in front at the end of a thrilling first half.

Cushendall’s Liam Gillan and Portaferry’s Ronan Blair exchanged points early in the second half before McManus got his second goal from play which heralded a change. Ronan Blair replied with a point but the home team got eight of the next nine points, six of them from McManus and two from Niall McCormick to open a six point gap as the game went into injury time.

Portaferry came back with a goal from centre back Caolan Taggart to keep their hopes alive, but McManus slammed the door on their chances when he landed the last score of the game from a free.

Cushendall goalkeeper Eoin Gillan in action during his team’s win over Portaferry at Paric Mhuire on Saturday. Pic by Sean Paul McKillop

CUSHENDALL

Eion Gillan, Liam Gillan, Aaron Graffin, Ronan McAteer, Mark Donaghy, Eoghan Campbell, Ryan McCambridge, Scott Walsh, Niall McCormick, Dominic Delargy, Sean McAfee, Francis McCurry, Alex Delargy, Neill McManus, Paddy McGill.

PORTAFERRY

Pearce Smyth, Ronan Smyth, Callum Smyth, Ryan Convery, Barry Trainor, Caolan Taggart, Ciaran Savage, Matthew Conlan, Fionn Turbitt, Conor O’Prey, Ronan Blair, Niall Milligan, Tom McGrattan, Daitihi Sands, Eoghan Sands

Referee – Colum Cunning (Dunloy)

Cuchullains Edge Old Rivals

ACHL Division One

Dunloy 2-18 Loughgiel 1-16

Saturday 23 July

Brendan McTaggart reports from Pearse Park, Dunloy

It mightn’t have been pretty for long periods of the hour on Saturday afternoon but it was every bit the intense and exciting affair you expect from these two rivals.  Dunloy and Loughgiel served up another drama filled 60 minutes with the result only decided by a touch of brilliance from Nigel Elliott deep into injury time.

The momentum swung both ways with both sides showing glimpses of their best form.  The home side defensively looked a step up from what they have shown at different times this season.  Phelim Duffin and Oran Quinn yielding very little while the experience of Kevin Molloy at the heart of the Dunloy defence told as the game progressed.

With six minutes of the hour remaining, Dunloy took a five point lead and looked odds on to see out the time that remained but Loughgiel dug deep and turned the screw.  Rian McMullan instrumental from open play and had Shan McGrath bagged his goal chance, the Shamrocks could have been gone ahead before Elliott’s major in the fifth minute of added time.

The Shamrocks started brightly and did all the early running.  Eddie McCloskey was playing in a deeper role with the two Ryan’s, McKee and McMullan occupying the Dunloy full back line.  Points from Paul Boyle, Rory McCloskey and Donal McKinley opened a three point lead inside the opening five minutes.  McKinley would finish the hour with four points beside his name in an excellent performance.

The game was held up when Dunloy full back Conor McKinely had to come off injured with what looked like a shoulder injury and when referee Tarlach Conway resumed play, Ryan McGarry and Ryan McMullan swapped scores before the home side scored the opening goal of the game in the 11th minute.  Deaglan Smith pressurising the Loughgiel defence before forcing a turnover and finding Conal Cunning.  Coby still had plenty to do but he finished well to get the home sides challenge a shot of adrenaline.

From then, the next quarter of the game belonged to the home side.  Despite playing into the wind, they held Loughgiel scoreless for 12 minutes while keeping the scoreboard ticking at the other end of the pitch.  Points from Gabriel McTaggart (two), Nicky McKeague (two frees), Nigel Elliott, Cunning and Deaglan Smith were only answered by McKinely and a ’65 from Declan McCloskey.  The Cuchullains leading by five with three minutes of the first half remaining.

The Shamrocks finished the half well on top however scoring 1-3 in next to no time.  Ciaran McKay beginning the onslaught raising the white flag before combining well with Eddie McCloskey and scoring Loughgiel’s goal in the 30th minute.  Further scores from Declan McCloskey and Ryan McMullan gave the visitors to Pearse Park a one point lead at the short whistle.

The home side looked like they needed half time and they definitely took their eye off the ball in the closing stages of the first half.  Loughgiel took full advantage and would have been content to go in with the score board reading in their favour given how the first half unfolded.  The introduction of Odhran McFadden and Caolan Blair in defence seemed to tighten the Shamrock defence, allowing their forwards to make hay.

The second half started like a run away train with six points on the board in the opening five minutes.  Conal Cunning, Eoin McFerran, McKeague (free) and McTaggart finding their range while a brace of scores from McKinley was the response from the Shamrocks.

Dunloy seemed to turn the screw once again and looked to gain an element of control as they reduced Loughgiel to just two points in 17 minutes.  McKeague with four points (two frees) and scores from Nigel Elliott and Kevin Molloy came while McMullan and Declan McCloskey (’65) replied for Loughgiel. 

With time running out, Dunloy held a five point lead and Loughgiel kept going.  A brace of frees from Ryan McMullan preceded a mammoth free from Declan McCloskey to reduce the Dunloy lead to two points in the third minute of injury time.  They were increasing the pressure on the Dunloy defence and when Odhran McFadden’s pointed effort came back off the upright, the sliotar fell for McGrath but his effort went wide.

Dunloy breathed a sigh of relief and with the next attack ensured they took the derby bragging rights.  Eoin McFerran’s effort for a point dropped short and Nigel Elliott timed his run to perfection, leaping highest among a crowd of players to deflect the sliotar from the most acute of angels.  The touch of an angel to defy an angle and ensure a win for the Cuchullains.

TEAM

Dunloy: Ryan Elliott; Phelim Duffin, Conor McKinley, Oran Quinn; Aaron Crawford, Kevin Molloy, Eamon Smyth; Nicky McKeague, Ryan McGarry; Eoin McFerran, Gabriel McTaggart, Deaglan Smith; Chrissy McMahon, Conal Cunning, Nigel Elliott

Subs: Ciaran Elliott for C McKinley (8); Karl O’Kane for A Crawford (60)

Scorers: N McKeague 0-7 (all frees); C Cunning 1-2; N Elliott 1-2; G McTaggart 0-3; K Molloy 0-1; R McGarry 0-1; E McFerran 0-1; D Smith 0-1

Loughgiel: Cormac McFadden; Tiernan Coyle, Tony McCloskey, Ruairi McCormick; Declan Gillan, Declan McCloskey, Rory McCloskey; Ciaran McKay, Enda Og McGarry; Shan McGrath, Donal McKinley, Paul Boyle; Ryan McKee, Ryan McMullan, Eddie McCloskey

Subs: Odhran McFadden for R McCormick (29); Caolan Blair for D Gillan (29); Maol Connolly for P Boyle (HT); John Francis Connolly for E Og McGarry (46); Finn Henry for R McCloskey (60)

Scorers: R McMullan 0-5 (2 f’s); D McCloskey 0-4 (2 ‘65’s 1f); C McKay 1-1; D McKinley 0-4; R McCloskey 0-1; P Boyle 0-1

Referee: Tarlach Conway (Ballinascreen)

Naomh Eanna win well in Cushendun

Antrim Hurling League Division 1

Cushendun 0-12 St Enda’s 1-20

Naomh Eanna collected both points when they visited Cushendun on Wednesday evening and beat the Emmet’s by 1-20 to 0-12.

St Enda’s hit the first three points from Matthew O’Hare and Joe Maskey (2) but Cushendun got back into the game and points from Harry Kilgore, Conlaoth McNeill (2) and David Sharkey put them ahead by the 14th minute. Maskey pointed again for St Enda’s but points from McNeill, Conor Bannon and McNeill again had the home team in a strong position. However St Enda’s put a run together before half time and two points from Joe Maskey and one from Cormac Rossa from a free helped them to a 0-9 to 0-8 half time lead.

St Enda’s took control of the game after the break and they hit six of the first seven points, with Joe Maskey very much to the fore. Harry Kilgore with two and Conlaoth McNeill kept things ticking over for Cushendun but the Glengormley men were well on top and they put the seal on a convincing win with a Philly Curran goal in injury time.

CUSHENDUN

Gareth McGhee, Sean Hamilton, Donal O’Hara, Michael McHugh, Tom Scally, Conor McHugh, Jack McKay,    Pearse Bannon, Dominic Sharkey, Harry Kilgore, Conlaoth O’Loan, C Bannon, Conrad McDonnelly, David Kilgore.

ST ENDA’S

Martin Curran, Dara Maguire, Ryan Gillan, Ruairi Diamond, Cormac Ross, Rian Bogue, Matthew O’Hare, Oisin Curran, Killian Jennings, Manus Mullan, Daniel Lowry, Brendan Cormican, Joe Maskey, Eoin Conlan, Killian Jennings.

Cusendall’s late rally see them snatch the win

Antrim Hurling League Division 1

Loughgiel 0-19 Cushendall 1-19

Five minutes before the end of Sunday’s Antrim Hurling League Division 1 game in Fr Healy Park Loughgiel appeared to have the points wrapped up, as they led by five points. However the home team failed to raise another flag in the five minutes, plus injury time, that remained and Cushendall slowly but surely clawed their way back. A Ryan McCambridge point two minutes into injury time tied the scores up at 0-19 apiece and it appeared the points would be shared, but there was still time for a winner and substitute Niall Cormick snatched victory from the jaws of defeat when he fired home the only goal of the game.

Loughgiel had started the game well and were 0-4 to 0-0 ahead after si minutes as Michael McGarry, Maol Connolly (2) and ‘Bickey’ McGarry fired over.

Mark Donaghy got Cushendall on the board by the seventh minute but Eddie McCloskey and Donal McKinley pointed for the Shamrocks to put them 0-6 to 0-1 clear. By the quarter hour mark it was 0-8 to 0-2 but five in a row from the visitors through Eoghan Cambell, Andrew Delargy, Paddy Burke, Scott Walsh and Fred McCurry cut the gap to a single point, before Eddie McCloskey came back with one in first half injury time to give the Shamrocks a two point cushion at the short whistle

Points from Eoghan Campbell and Paddy Burke in the first two minutes of the second half put Cushendall ahead for the first time, but the Shamrocks responded well and three from Eddie McCloskey and two from Maol Connolly swung the game back the home side’s favour.

Loughgiel held that lead for the next fifteen minutes and when they went five clear with the finish line in sight the smart money would have been on them. However when their back were to the wall the Ruairis showed their experience and points from Ryan Cambridge (2), Fred McCurry, Scott Walsh and Paddy Burke brought them level before Niall McCormick delivered the killer blow.  

Ruairs win convincingly at Corrigan

Antrim Hurling League Division 1

St John’s 1-10 Cushendall 3-20

Cushendall travelled to Corrigan Park on Sunday and beat St John’s in Division 1 of the Antrim Hurling League. Leading by 2-6 to 0-4 at half time the Ruairis pushed on in the second half to win convincingly.

St John’s started with a Domhnal Nugent point but Cushendall were soon ahead as Dominic Delargy levelled soon afterwards, and they went ahead when full forward Sean McAfee got his team’s opening goal. Points from Michael Bradley and Dannan McKeough kept St John’s in touch but a goal and three points without reply pulled Cushendall clear, the goal coming from Cormac McClafferty after a fumble by the Johnnies goalkeeper.

2-6 to 0-4 ahead at half time there was no stopping the Cushendall men and two points from Scott Walsh, one from distance from Eoghan Campbell, and a second goal from Sean McAfee meant there was no way back for the Corrigan Park men.

An Aaron Bradley goal gave the home side some hope and he and big brother Michael kept battling away at midfield, adding four scores between them, but Cushendall were in fine form and two from Scott Walsh, two from Paddy Burke and one apiece from Mark Donaghy, Sean McAfee, Seamus McNaughton and Eoghan Campbell had them 16 clear by the end.

ST JOHN’S

Colum McFall, Odhran Carleton, Conal Bohill,  Louis Boyd, CJ McKenna, Padraig Nugent, Ciaran Johnston, Michael Bradley, Aaron Bradley, Michael Dudley, Domhnal Nugent, Dannan McKeough, David Robinson, Ruairi Galbraith, Luke Loughlin.

CUSHENDALL

Eoin Gillan, Liam Gillan, Aaron Graffin, Martin Burke, Mark Donaghy, Eoghan Campbell, Ronan McAteer, Scott Walsh, Fergus McCambridge, Dominic Delargy, Scott Walsh, Andrew Delargy, Fred McCurry, Sean McAfee, Cormac McClafferty.

Referee – Patrick Tumelty (Lamh Dhearg)