Dunloy power past Loughiel in Antrim SHC Final
Antrim SHC Final
DUNLOY: 2-20 LOUGHGIEL: 2-13
By Declan Bogue at Ballycastle
There's a debate to be had as to how teams best handled lockdown, but on the evidence of Ballycastle and the Antrim hurling final, few could dispute that defending champions Dunloy did a lot right as they blew Loughgiel away.
With a gale blowing out towards the coast and Rathlin Island beyond, Dunloy won the toss and opted to defend the wind. Manager Greg O'Kane reasoning that they had the pace and youth to work through the lines and carry the ball into the wind.
It worked beautifully as they went into half-time level, 1-7 to 0-10. Their goal came as the break approached when a sideline cut from Sean Elliott made it to Kevin Molloy. His effort was parried initially, but Eoin O'Neill was on hand to tap home.
With the players being exhorted to squeeze up when they had the breeze, they racked up eight points to Loughgiel's two in the third quarter. With Paul Shiels dropping back and his first touch making him the ideal conductor, they hurt Loughgiel with the athleticism of Seann Elliott and Keelan Molloy prevalent.
A second goal arrived to put them ten points up when Kevin Molloy latched onto a loose ball and despite a desperate lunge from Tiernan Coyle, he was able to round goalkeeper Chrissy O'Connell to tap home.
Loughgiel were to add two late goals from Liam Watson and substitute Benny McCarry, but Greg O'Kane's side capped a remarkable and strange season by taking the trophy known as 'Old Big Ears' in these parts, back home.
Scorers for Dunloy: C Cunning (0-8, 6f), Keelan Molloy (0-5), Kevin Molloy (1-2), E O'Neill (1-2), S Elliott (0-2), P Shiels (0-1f)
Scorers for Loughgiel: L Watson (1-4, 1-0f, 1xSL), J McNaughton (0-4f), B McCarry (1-0), Donal McKinley (0-3) E McCloskey, S McGrath, S Casey 0-1 each
DUNLOY: R Elliott; P Duffy, A Crawford, C Kinsella; R Molloy, C McKinley, R McGarry; P Shiels, N McKeague; S Elliott, Kevin Molloy, Keelan Molloy; C Cunning, G McTaggart, E O'Neill. Subs: E Smyth for McKeague (51m), C McMahon for McTaggart (56m), Kevin McKeague for Crawford (63m)
LOUGHIEL: C O'Connell; T Coyle, N McGarry, S Dobbin; Declan McCloskey, D McMullan, T McCloskey; D McKinley, Daniel McCloskey; J McNaughton, C McKendry, E McCloskey; S McGrath, L Watson, S Casey. Subs: B McCarry for McKendry (40m), R McKee for Casey (40), O McFadden for T McCloskey (55m)
Referee: Darren McKeown (St Gall's)