Antrim SHC final: Dunloy make it a dozen

September 24, 2017

Dunloy star Paul Shiels in action for Antrim.
©INPHO/Presseye/John McIlwaine.

Dunloy 2-15

Cushendall 2-9

Dunloy were crowned Antrim senior hurling champions for the first time in eight years and a 12th time in all thanks to a surprise win over Cushendall at Ballycastle.

A dominant third quarter, in which the Cuchullains outscored their opponents by 2-8 to 0-1, proved decisive after they had trailed by 0-7 to 0-4 at the interval. Two goals in the space of a minute from Conor Cunning and Nigel Elliott, coupled with the sending off of county star Neil McManus, turned the final on its head, while late goals Conor Carson and Paddy Burke weren't enough to save Cushendall.

The winners took an early two-point lead through scores from Paul Shiels (free) and Eoin O'Neill before 'Dall levelled with points from McManus and Paddy McGill. The sides were still level after 18 minutes, but Ruairi Og grabbed the last four points of the half to put themselves in the driving seat.

Dunloy sprung to life after the restart when five unanswered points from Shiels (three placed balls), Nigel Elliott and Keelan Molloy edged them into a 0-10 to 0-9 lead. Carson briefly restored parity before Cunning and O'Neill added points. Cunning and Elliott both found the net in the 44th minute before McManus was dismissed following an off-the-ball incident.

Further points from Shiels and Nicky McKeague had put the winners 12 clear before the champions of two years ago got in for two late consolation goals.

Dunloy - R Elliott; P Duffin, J McKeague, O Quinn; K McKeague, C McKinley, K Molloy; C Elliott, P Shiels (0-7, 6f, 1'65); N Elliott (1-1), G McTaggart, K Molloy (0-2); E O'Neill (0-2), C Brogan, C Cunning (1-1). Subs: E Smyth for O Quinn, N McKeague (0-1f) for C Brogan, A Dooey (0-1) for G McTaggart, M Murphy for C Elliott.

Cushendall - E Gillan; R McCambridge, M Burke, S Delargy; A Graffin, P Burke (1-0), D Kearney; E Campbell (0-1), A McNaughton; C Carson (1-2), N McManus (0-3f), D McNaughton; F McCambridge (0-2), S McAfee, P McGill (0-1). Subs: C McClafferty for D McNaughton, E McKillop for S McAfee, E Laverty for E Campbell, R Delargy for P McGill.

Referee - M O'Neill.

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