Antrim Hurling League Division 1
Dunloy 4-23 Loughgiel 0-20
A brilliant first half display by county champions Dunloy saw them put on an exhibition of hurling and set them up for a big win over arch rivals, and league leaders. Loughgiel in Wednesday evening’s Division 1 league game at Pearse Park. In what was the Cuchullains first game of the season with anything near their full side they tore their opponents apart with some sharp, fast and accurate play which saw them lead by 3-17 to 0-7 at half time, a nineteen point margin.
The Shamrocks, who also started well short of their regular side, could not match last season’s All Ireland finalists. In the second half they fared much better and hit a series of excellent scores, but it has to be said by this stage Dunloy had called some of their top marksmen ashore as they gave some of their fringe players some game time.
Starting with ten of the side who started against Ballyhale Shamrocks in the All Ireland Club final in January, Dunloy flew from the traps and full forward Eoin ‘Sammy’s O’Neill had the ball in the Loughgiel net inside 20 seconds, and the same player added a point before the clock had reached the one minute mark.
Ronan McCollum pulled a point back for Loughgiel on three minutes and added another soon afterwards, but by the time the Shamrocks got their third point Dunloy had 2-10 on the board, the second goal coming from Paul Shiels after a dreadful mix-up from a short Loughgiel poc-out. Some of the points during that period were spectacular as a much changed Loughgiel team failed to get to the pace of the game and by the time the half time whistle sounded they were nineteen in arrears (3-17 to 0-7) the third goal coming from man of the match Eoin O’Neill
Loughgiel made a few changes at half time, and though they fell further in arrears as the brilliant Seaan Elliott grabbed his team’s fourth goal, they began to find a bit of rhythm in their play and the scores began to come. Jack McCloskey, Rian McMullan, Ronan McCollum and James McNaughton were among the scorers, some of them right out of the top drawer, but they were never going to trouble the home side who by this stage had the league points safely wrapped up.