A goal by substitute Ronan McAteer nearing the end of the third quarter of this Reserve Hurling Cup game proved the decisive score which game the Ruairis a bit of a cushion and saw them safely home against Loughgiel in Thursday evening’s game at Pairc Mhuir.
McAteer struck within a minute of coming on the field and after initially losing control of the ball he regained control and drove a low angled shot across goal which seemed to be deflected to the Loughgiel net. Seconds later and full forward Colum McKeegan added a point and one minute after that top scorer Eoin Laverty sent over another point a free to give the home team a six point cushion at the second half water break.
Up until that stage there was little between the two sides, with the shamrocks looking strong in the early stages. Two quick points in the 12th minute from Michael McGarry and OD Laverty had actually put the visitors 0-5 to 0-2 ahead, but in the three minutes before the water break Frein Laverty, Paddy Sharpe, Colum McKeegan and Andrew Delargy all hit points to edge the Ruairis one point ahead.
The gap was still a point at half time as both teams added three points each, two of them from Laverty frees for Cushendall and two in reply from Loughgiel’s Michael McGarry.
The second half started in a similar vein with Laverty adding three more the home team’s tally with some great striking, and McGarry answering on each occasion to keep the gap to a single point. McAteers goal nearing the end of the third quarter saw a big momentum swing towards the home team and the six point cushion it help create was still there at the final whistle.
CUSHENDALL – Emmet Laverty, Joe McCurry, Seamus McNaughton, Liam Gillan, Mark Emerson, Ruairi McCollum, Conor McCollum, Scott Walsh, Francis McCurry, Shane McKenna, Senan Black, Andrew Delargy, Eoin Laverty, Colm McKeegan, Paddy Sharpe
Subs – Ronan McAteer, Conan Brown, Matthew McCann
LOUGHGIEL – John Francis Connolly, Caolan Blair, Daniel McPeake, Ronan McCloskey, Declan Gillan, Enda Og McGarry, Odhran McMullan, Ryan McKee, OD Laverty, Cormac McFadden, Paul Boyle, Aidan McFadden, Christy McGarry, Michael McGarry, Damian Quinn.