Andersonstown SC IHC
Sarsfields 2-15 Glenariffe 1-16
A Kevin McKernan goal from the penalty spot in the 59th minute turned this bruising Intermediate Hurling Championship Group 2 encounter at the Bear Pit very much in favour of Sarsfield’s as they overcame the challenge of Oisin, Glenariffe to qualify for a semi-final meeting with Cushendun.
Five minutes previous an Aaron Cosgrove point had moved the visitors three ahead and it looked like the Waterfoot side were on their way to to the semis, but it was Sarsfield’s who would finish the stronger.
It was Glenariffe who edged the opening exchanges as Seanie McIntosh pointed after 20 seconds with Donal McKernan replying for the ‘Paddies’ with two minutes gone.
The Oisins came back strongly and Caolan O’Connor pointed a ‘65’ and Kieran McKendry struck another from play to move them 0-3 to 0-1 ahead with only five minutes on the clock.
The hits were going in thick and fast and were certainly not for the faint hearted as Sarsfield’s replied through Daniel Smyth and a Niall McKenna free to draw level for the second time by the 9th minute.
Both sides were enjoying periods of ascendancy and it was Oisins who came back again with points from Caolan O’Connor and Kieran McKendry to lead by two but this brought another response from a determined home side.
A foul on Gary Lennon saw McKenna close the gap to one and further points from Daniel and Kevin McKernan had the home side ahead for the first time but Glenariffe replied immediately and Brogan O’Connor levelled with a point in the 17th minute.
Neither side were given time to settle on the ball as the intensity of the game stepped up another notch as McKenna and Oliver Kearney exchanged two excellent points before Conor Patterson edged he North Antrim side one ahead again in the 21st minute.
Caolan McKernan then took a heavy challenge from his namesake, Caolan O’Connor but was able to continue after treatment before the visitors struck a vital blow when Conor Patterson raced clear before setting up Daniel Kearney for the game’s opening goal with five minutes remaining to the break.
The home side looked in a bit of trouble but responded strongly and the superb Niall McKenna soloed through for a goal in the 28th minute to close the gap to one.
McKenna would send over an equaliser but the final score of the half fell to Caolan O’Connor who pointed a free from out near the touchline to leave the visitors one ahead as Lorenzo McMullan sounded his half time whistle.
The lead continued to change hands on the restart as Daniel McKernan and Niall McKenna struck two fine early points to restore the ‘Paddies’ lead but it was short lived as the excellent Caolan O’Connor brought it all square again with only seven minutes of the second half gone.
As the ferocity of the exchanges continued it was Niall McKenna who hit two on the bounce to move the home side two in front and they appeared to be gaining a bit of momentum but once again the visitors would find a decisive response.
Caolan O’Connor came back with two pointed frees and Conor Patterson added another from close range and might have had a goal and two more from Brogan O’Coonor and substitute, Aaron Cosgrove had the Waterfoot side three in front with six minute of normal time remaining and they looked to have taken control.
It was Sarsfield’s who would finish on the front foot however, inspired by two long range frees from Niall McKenna before Gary Lennon rounded his marker and was hauled down as he fired the ball to the net.
Despite protests from the home side, Lorenzo McMullan called play back for a penalty and Kevin McKernan fired past Seanan McToal for the second time from the spot.
Glenariffe were rocked but they tried desperately to respond in the closing minute with Brogan O’Connor pointing to close the gap to one but the final score of the game would fall to Niall McKenna who’s late pointed free brought his personal contribution for the evening to 1-10 and see his side victorious by two points.
Sarsfield’s: 1 Gerard McKernan, 2 Niall McAlea, 3 Jack Daniels, 4 Mark McCavanagh, 5 Michael Johnston, 6 Caolan McKernan, 7 Enda McCartan, 8 Kevin McKernan, 9 Daniel McKernan, 27 Hames Cunningham, 11 Niall McKenna, 12 Daniel Smyth, 13 Donal McKernan, 14 Garry Lennon, 15 Anthony McGarrigle. Subs: 28 Nicola O’Mullane, 21 Oisin Coleman, 29
Oisins: 1 Seanan McToal, 2 Michael Haughey, 3 Niall Murray, 4 Ronan Leech, 5 D Haughey, 6 Daniel Kearney, 7 Cathan Graham, 8 Kieran McKendry, 9 Oliver Kearney, 10 Seanie McIntosh, 11 Caolan O’Connor, 12 Brogan O’Connor, 13 Daniel Kearney, 14 Conor Patterson, 15 Patrick McIlwaine, 17 Aaron Cosgrove, 20 M McAllister
Referee: Lorenzo McMullan