Cloughmills win Antrim Junior Hurling Championship
Antrim Junior Hurling Championship
Cloughmills 1-16 Cushendun 3-7
CLOUGHMILLS won the Antrim Junior Hurling Championship when they beat Cushendun in Sunday evening’s final in Loughgiel.
In a closely contested game the sides were level on a number of occasion but the ‘Biddies’ got their noses in front at the end to claim the coveted Junior title. Cushendun made the first major breakthrough when ace marksman Dominic McQuillan rounded his marker and blasted the ball to the Cloughmills net.
Cloughmills kept picking off their points and despite the fact that the Emmets grabbed a second goal through Brendan McSparran some fine scores from Liam Kearns and Aaron Smiley saw St Brigid’s go in level at the break. (2-3 to 0-9)
Cushendun edged ahead after the restart and but they were punished for their indiscipline and Cloughmills pulled ahead with some well taken points. Mickey Devlin stepped up and blasted a twenty metre free to the Emmets’ net to give his side a firm grip on the game, but Cushendun hit back with a goal from the veteran Brendan McSparran to cut the arrears to three points.
In the final minutes Cushendun pushed hard in a bid to save the game but St Brigid’s held out for a win that signalled great celebrations among the Cloughmills fans.
Cushendun were pipped at the post by a youthful Cloughmills side on Sunday in Loughiel. It was a nip and tuck game and both sides asked questions of their opponents several times throughout the game. With a slight breeze favouring Cloughmills in the first half, they got off to a great start however Cushenduns Dominic Mc Quillian did what he does best early in the game when he rounded his marker and finished to the back of the net. The game ebbed and flowed and at half time the teams went in level, 2-3 to 0-9, Cushendun's second goal coming from the evergreen Brendan Mc Sparran.
With the breeze in their favour, the Emmets were finding their range a lot better with the ball being delivered beyond the congested midfield area and when Shane O' Connell pointed early after the re-start, it seemed Cushendun were on track to avenge their defeat in this competition last year. However Clougmills held their nerve and forraged a lot of scores from frees, punishing Cushendun for their indescretions.
Another opportunist’s goal from Brendan Mc Sparran should have re-ignited the flame for Cushendun reducing the Cloughmills lead to three points. However Cloughmills held out and luckily for them the referee failed to notice their defender apparently picking the ball of the ground in stoppage time, only to be awarded a free out, which denied Cushendun the opportunity of trying for a last chance score.
In all, it was an entertaining match and Cushendun, going in as underdogs, proved they are capable of playing against the best that Division 3 can offer. Cushendun now have several league games and at least three wins will secure their position in Division 3 and hopefully next year they can improve again and may see silverware in the not too distant future.
Niall Campbel, Sean Hamilton, Rory Mc Quillian, Gerard Magee, Niall Mc Auley, Mark Scally, Stephen Mc Neill, Conor Mc Kay, Rory millar (Paddy Mc Sparran), Eugene Duffin (Dominic Sharkey), Shane O' Connell (0-1), Barry O' Hara, Dominic Mc Quillian (1-5), Brendan Mc Sparran (2-0), Robert Laverty (0-1)
Final Score 1-16 to 3-7