Dunloy, Ballymena

© 2018 by Unit Updates.

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Ruthless Ruairí Óg Reach the Final


Both teams battle for the breaking ball in the Cushendall full-forward line.

Ruairí Óg Cushendall 2-17 Cúchullain's Dunloy 0-10


A virtuoso performance from centre-forward Fergus McCambridge saw Cushendall comfortably through to Sunday's Feis Cup final with Loughgiel Shamrocks with a thirteen-point victory over a young Dunloy side on Wednesday night.


Cúchullain's began the game with only four of the side who featured in last year's championship, while Cushendall took the field missing seven from that particular game.


Nicky McKeague put an end to a scrappy opening few minutes by firing over a free from the right flank to put the visitors ahead, before immediately being pegged back by points from Paddy McGill and Fergus McCambridge.


Just before his pointed free, McGill had drawn an excellent save from Cúchullain's custodian Ger Dixon, the full-forward coming on to a breaking ball and unleashing the shot, only for Dixon's hurl to parry the sliotar to safety.


Cushendall followed up with scores from Niall McCormick and Eoghan Campbell, the latter picking the ball up in his own half-back line, leading his man on a merry chase to the opposite 45 and shooting over on the run.


Dixon then pulled off a spectacular triple-save, first denying the lively Scott Walsh with a diving save, then scrambling back to his feet to block Paddy McGill not once, but twice. Exemplary shot-stopping from the Dunloy man.


Captains James McKeague (Cúchullain's) and Paddy Burke (Ruairí Óg) with referee Michael Hardy (St Mary's Rasharkin).

Sean Delargy, who swept up every speculative ball that entered the home defence, again emerged with the ball, firing low down the wing to Fergus McCambridge, who turned quickly and fired over from wide on the right for his second point of the day.


The hosts continued to dominate, Scott Walsh fishing a ball beautifully from the air and fizzing it over the bar while barely breaking stride, before Francis McCurry ended a quality move, Cushendall zig-zagging the sliotar hand-to-hand across the pitch with McCurry applying the accurate finish.


Ryan McCambridge, unmarked in the centre-forward position, split the posts before Nicky McKeague ended the half as he started it, knocking over a free for Dunloy, who, in the swirling breeze at Páirc Mhuire, had hit a disappointing number of wides.


With a five-point lead, the home side were keen to push home their advantage and began the second period strongly.


Some improvised tiki-taka ground hurling in the full back line between Delargy and Eoin Gillan, the ball eventually finding its way downfield for Cormac McClafferty to point and ensure all six Cushendall forwards were now on the scoresheet.


Fergus McCambridge and Niall McCormick followed up McClafferty's score to complete a quick-fire trio of points for the hosts before McCambridge netted his first goal, picking the ball and breaking through the Dunloy tackles before finding the top corner of Dixon's goal with the finish.


Liam McCann and Eoin O'Neill responded for the visitors, but there scores were both cancelled out immediately by Eoghan Campbell and Ryan McCambridge, who dropped deep to receive the ball and fire it between the sticks.


The brief run of point-for-point exchanges continued, Fergus McCambridge duelling this time with Liam McCann and Nicky McKeague of Cúchullain's before the impressive Cushendall centre-forward raised his second green flag.


Minutes earlier, Dixon had denied Paddy McGill with yet another excellent save and he was extremely unlucky with the second goal, yet again saving from McGill, only for the rebound to fall to the unmarked McCambridge, who tapped home the simplest of finishes to leave the home side leading by thirteen points.


Unit Updates Man of the Match Fergus McCambridge, who finished the game with 2-05 from play.

A quick response from a McKeague free was a brief reprieve for the embattled visitors as captain Paddy Burke raised a white flag of his own to cancel it out before Cormac McClafferty recovered from a thunderous Karl O'Kane shoulder to collect the ball on the run and fire low over the bar.


Eoin O'Neill showed a good touch to collect the ball and point to see Dunloy limp into double figures, but the away side were happy to hear Michael Hardy's whistle for the end of the match as Ruairí Óg progressed to Sunday's decider with Loughgiel Shamrocks in Ballymena.


Ruairí Óg Cushendall: Eoin Gillan, Joseph McCurry, Arron Graffin, Sean Delargy, Liam Gillan, Paddy Burke (c), Mark Donaghy, Eoghan Campbell, Francis McCurry, Scott Walsh, Fergus McCambridge, Ryan McCambridge, Cormac McClafferty, Paddy McGill, Niall McCormick.


Cúchullain's Dunloy: Ger Dixon, Phelim Duffin, Karl O'Kane, Adam Mullan, Eamon Smyth, James McKeague (c), Oran Quinn, Ciaran Elliott, Stephen McGuigan, Mícheál Murphy, Eoin O'Neill, Nicky McKeague, Tiarnan Elliott, Shane Dooey, Liam McCann.


Referee: Michael Hardy (St Mary's Rasharkin)


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