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Dunloy seal Antrim three-in-a-row, Ballyhale complete Kilkenny semi-final line-up

Shamrocks Ballyhale are back in the last four stage in Kilkenny.

Dunloy players celebrate.
Dunloy players celebrate.
Image: Cathal McOscar/INPHO

Dunloy 3-23 

O’Donovan Rossa 1-14

IT’S NOT UNCHARTERED territory for Dunloy to win three consecutive Antrim hurling titles, but you can be forgiven for thinking that they can come easy when you look at this scoreline.

It doesn’t do the season any justice whatsoever. Antrim play their hurling Championship with group stages that feature absolute ferocity. So much so that their prized corner-back Phelim Duffy had to attend this one on crutches due to an injury picked up against St John’s in the semi-final.

Rossa were making their first appearance in a final since 2004. Perhaps there was an element of being caught somewhat in the headlights as they brought nothing of their fire and passion that brought them this far.

The damage was done by half time. Conal Cunning finished with a personal tally of 1-11 but he also was creator of their other two goals for his partners in the full-forward line, Chrissy McMahon and Sean Elliott.

By the break, Dunloy were ten points up. The game was already away on Rossa. Dunloy had deconstructed them and gobbled up their ball-winners in attack, Michael Armstrong and Christopher McGuinness. They tempted goalkeeper Donal Armstrong into short puck outs and applied immense pressure on the receiver. Their conditioning and smarts are on a level all of their own.

Come 12 December, it will be some battle as they meet the winners of the Derry Championship, expected to be Slaughtneil. Two times they have met, and twice the Derry side have been victors. The third instalment will be quite something.

Scorers for Dunloy: C Cunning (1-11, 0-8 frees), S Elliott (1-2), Kevin Molloy (0-5), C McMahon (1-1), P Shiels (0-2), Keelan Molloy, E O’Neill (0-1) each.

Scorers for O’Donovan Rossa: S Beatty (1-4), C McGuinness, T Morgan (0-3) each, D Murphy (0-2 frees), S Shannon (0-1), G Walsh (0-1 free)

Dunloy

R Elliott; A Crawford (O Quinn, 63mins), C McKinley, C Kinsella; R Molloy, K McKeague (E Smyth, 56mins), R McGarry; P Shiels, Keelan Molloy; E O’Neill (G McTaggart, 59mins), Kevin Molloy, E McFerran (N McKeague, 49mins); C McMahon (D Smith, 52mins), C Cunning, S Elliott.

O’Donovan Rossa

D Armstrong; C Orchin (N Crossan, 50mins), A Kenneally, A Orchin (C Shannon, 7mins); Stephen Shannon, M Armstrong, C McGuinness; G Walsh, Deaglan Murphy; Dáire Murphy ( D Rocks, HT), Seaghan Shannon (E Trainor, HT), A O’Brien; T Murphy (C McGettigan, 52mins), S Beatty, T Morgan.

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In Kilkenny the completion of this weekend’s quarter-final action leaves semi-final pairings of Shamrocks Ballyhale v James Stephens and Tullaroan v O’Loughlin Gaels.

Today’s quarter-final ties saw reigning champions Ballyhale defeat Bennettsbridge by 0-27 to 1-15 while James Stephens edged out local rivals Dicksboro by 2-16 to 2-15.

Earlier Tullaroan overcame Clara by 1-29 to 2-19, while yesterday O’Loughlin Gaels saw off Mullinavat by 2-19 to 0-19.

About the author:

Declan Bogue

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