Antrim Senior Hurling League
Sunday 14th of May
Ruairi Og V Loughgiel
Ruairi Og claimed the two league points on offer with a hard faught victory over Loughgiel. With a strong breeze blowing down Pairc Mhuire towards the Ardmoyle end this was the proverbial game of two halves. Cushendall were first to play with the aid of the wind but it was Loughgiel who started the sharper. Although Donal Mc Naughton got the first score of the game with a neat point the Shamrocks then hit the front with an excellent goal from corner forward Sean McGrath. Joey Scullion followed up with a point from the left wing to put Loughgiel a goal ahead. Cushendall burst into life when Neil McManus was first to a long ball, beat Odhran McFadden and finished to the net with applom. McManus then edged Cushendall in front when he fetched a high ball and fired over the bar. Sean McAfee doubled The Dall lead with a point following good work from Conor Carson. Ryan McCambridge, playing at centre forward got his first score of the game with a point after a good catch. From the Loughgiel poc out Neil Mc Manus gathered posession, played a fine pass to McCambridge and he fired a rocket passed Chrissy O' Connell and into the net. Barney McAuley stopped the rot for the Shamrocks with a pointed free but Cushendall were hitting a real purple patch. Ryan Mc Cambridge fired over another point and McManus, who was dominating his marker hammered home another 'Dall goal. Conor Carson got his name on the scoreboard with a point from the right wing. Enda Coen and Dan McCloskey got things going again for the away team but from a sideline ball Eoghan Campbell brilliantly found Paddy Burke who picked out Neil Mc Manus who finished a ground stroke to the back of the net to seal a first half treble. As the first half drew to a close Conor Carson traded points with Barney Mc Auley and Neil McManus cancelled out a Shea Casey point to leave the score at the short whistle Ruairi Og 4-8 Loughgiel 1-6.
Now it was Loughgiel's turn to play with the breeze at their backs and they set about their task with purpose. Joey Scullion, Mark McFadden and Sean McGrath all pointed within the opening ten minutes. Neil McManus answered back for Cushendall with a super score from distance but Loughgiel again pushed forward and their enterprise was rewarded when Barney McAuley scored a free and Mark McFadden got another from open play. A McManus free pushed Cushendall's lead to eight points but Loughgiel were not giving up without a fight. Barney McAuley sent two more frees between the posts to reduce Cushendall's lead to 6. McManus again steadied the 'Dall ship with a long range free. The Shamrocks again pushed forward and three quick fire points, two from McAuley frees and one from Sean McGrath had the game right back in the melting pot. But that man McManus again tapped over a free and although Loughgiel went searching for a goal they had to be content with the last point of the game from McAuley to leave Cushendall victorious. Final score Ruairi Og 4-12 Loughgiel 1-17.
How they played: The old saying goals win games certainly described this encounter. Both teams got plenty of scores with the breeze at their backs but crucially it was Cushendall's ability to raise the green flag that was the difference. For Cushendall David Kearney gave an excellent display at corner back. Paddy Burke has matured into a superb centre back and he did his reputation no harm today. Fergus McCambridge battled hard at midfield and up front whilst Cormac McClafferty might not have got his name on the scoresheet but he laid on a number of scores for his team mates with a playmaker type performance. However my man of the match goes to irrepressible Neil McManus who hit a stunning individual tally of 3-6, 3-3 of which came from play.
Cushendall team 1. E Gillan 2. S Delargy 3. M Burke 4. D Kearney 5. A Graffin 6. P Burke 7. E Campbell 8. P McGill 9. F McCambridge 10. C Carson(0-2) 11. R McCambridge(1-2) 12. D McNaughton(0-1) 13. S McAfee(0-1) 14. N McManus(3-6) 15. C McClafferty
Subs used: A McNaughton, E McManus