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Dublin: 7 °C Wednesday 19 December, 2018

Antrim's Cushendall shock Galway's Sarsfields to reach All-Ireland club hurling final

Who saw this win coming in Navan?

Antrim's Neil McManus was a happy man in Navan today.
Antrim's Neil McManus was a happy man in Navan today.
Image: Colm O'Neill/INPHO

Ruairi Og, Cushendall (Antrim) 3-12
Sarsfields (Galway) 1-6

Paul Keane reports from Páirc Tailteann, Navan

ANTRIM ACE NEIL McManus did the damage with a 1-7 tally as Ruairi Og, Cushendall caused a major AIB All-Ireland club hurling championship shock today, sealing a St Patrick’s Day final place.

The Ulster champions were long odds outsiders to progress to triumph but dominated the Galway champions in Navan with a powerful performance.

McManus stole the plaudits with his big tally including a fourth minute goal that set them on their way in wet and wild conditions.

But there were several key performers with goal scorer Sean McAfee excellent also while Ryan McCambridge marshalled the defence superbly from the full-back line.

Veteran substitute Karl McKeegan grabbed their third goal in injury-time as he poked home from close range.

Karl McKeegan beats Niall Morrissey to the ball Karl McKeegan grabs possession ahead of Sarsfields Niall Morrissey Source: Colm O'Neill/INPHO

Poor Sarsfields managed just one point from open play in the entire game and were fortunate to trail by just 1-4 to 0-5 at half-time.

The fear was that Cushendall hadn’t hammered home their advantage early on but they restarted with gusto, adding another 1-2 within minutes.

McAfee scored the 33rd minute goal after a fine solo run and though Joseph Cooney pulled back a Sars goal with a clever flick from a 65, that was as good as it got for the Galway champions.

Cushendall players try to prevent a Sarsfields goal Cushendall players try to prevent Sarsfields finding the net in Navan Source: Colm O'Neill/INPHO

McManus scored two late points from play to the delight of the Cushendall fans before McKeegan poked in a third goal with time almost up.

Scorers for Ruairi Óg, Cushendall: Neil McManus 1-7 (1-0 pen, 0-5f), Sean McAfee 1-0, Karl McKeegan 1-0, Paddy McGill 0-3, Conor Carson 0-1, Alec Delargy 0-1.

Scorers for Sarsfields: Niall Morrissey 0-5 (0-5f), Joseph Cooney 1-0, Alan Ward 0-1.

Karl McKeegan celebrates a goal Cushendall's Karl McKeegan savours that winning feeling. Source: Colm O'Neill/INPHO


1. Eoin Gillan

2. Ryan McCambridge
3. Martin Burke
4. Aaron Graffin

5. David Kearney
6. Eoghan Campbell
7. Sean Delargy

8. Shane McNaughton
9. Alec Delargy

10. Conor Carson
11. Neil McManus
12. Sean McAfee

13. Paddy McGill
14. Donal McNaughton
15. Christy McNaughton

17. Karl McKeegan for C McNaughton (44)
19. Cormac McAllister D McNaughton (59)


1. Ciaran Dolan

4. Eamonn Cleary
3. Darren Skehill
2. Cathal Murray

5. Niall Quinn
6. Kevin Hynes
7. Ronan Quinn

8. Joseph Cooney
9. Ian Fox

15. Alan Ward
12. Kerril Wade
10. Niall Morrissey

13. Ian Skehill
11. Noel Kelly
14. Kevin Cooney


20. Ivan Kenny for I Skehill (45)
17. Joseph Burke for Wade (50)
18. Sean Kelly for Morrissey (52)
19. Eoghan Spellman for K Cooney (60)

Referee: Paud O’Dwyer (Carlow)

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About the author:

Paul Keane

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