Seniors earn Antrim SHC Final place with 2-19 to 2-15 win over Dunloy


Back row (Left to right): Cathal Connor, Brian McAuley, Malachy Dallas, Paul McLernon, Conleth McCaughan, Eoin McAlonan, Ciaran Clarke, Saul McCaughan, Conall Brown, Shane Jennings, Ciaran Laverty, Caolan McCaughan, John McLister, Chrissy Boyle, Kevin Barry McShane, Conor Donnelly, Callum Boyle. Front row (Left to right): Shane Staunton, Fergus Donnelly, Stephen McAfee, Dermot Donnelly, Ryan McGarry (c), Matthew Donnelly, Stephen McGarry, Neal McAuley, James McShane, Paddy McHenry, Diarmaid McShane, Benny Connor, Tiarnan Butler.

For the first time since 2001, McQuillan GAC Ballycastle will take their place in the Antrim SHC Final after an incredibly committed and hard earned semi final win over Dunloy in Loughgiel on Saturday.

The final will take place on Sunday 27 September against either Loughgiel or Cushendall who face each other in the refixed semi final on Sunday 20 September.

Below is a match report from The Irish News with photos from John Curly McIlwaine and Frank McCaughan following

Ballycastle await in the final after a rousing comeback against Dunloy in Loughgiel on Saturday night sent the MacQuillan’s into their first county decider since 2001.

Five points in the opening four minutes of the second half put Ballycastle ahead for the first time and they never looked back. Ballycastle haven’t lifted the Volunteer Cup since 1986 and have only featured in the final three times in the past two decades but they shook favourites Dunloy to the core.

When Cuchullain’s began at a blistering pace and led 1-4 to 0-1 their favouritism looked well justified, but from the 11th minute onwards there was much more bite from ‘the Town’.

Alastair Dooey’s 10th minute goal looked to be the score that would dampen the Ballycastle enthusiasm but when Shane Jennings fired low to the net eight minutes from the break it was clear this was a battle to the end.

Five minutes later Kevin Molloy, set up by Nigel Elliott, made it 2-8 to 1-6 when he fired home a second Dunloy goal but when Matthew Donnelly and Ciaran Clarke slotted over points Ballycastle were only four back, 1-8 to 2-9 at the half-way point.

Points from Saul McCaughan, Clarke, Jennings, Caolan McCaughan and another Clarke effort in a four-minute spell after the resumption were the scores which set the McQuillan up and they went from strength to strength as the game progressed.

They managed to keep their noses in front, thanks mainly to a bundle of points from McCaughan and Clarke. Indeed, it was a Saul McCaughan goal eight minutes from time which clinched it. At this stage they held a six point advantage, 2-18 to 2-12 and looked unstoppable but they did have moments of anxiety before it was over.

Paul Shiels hit two further points and Kevin Molloy added a third as Dunloy tried to salvage something but an injury-time point from replacement PT Butler gave them their well-earned four-point victory.
While 34 points were recorded in the space of the hour, at times it became a shoot out between Clarke and Shiels.

Both converted four frees in their respective totals of nine and 11 but the man of the match performance came from Ballycastle’s full-forward Saul McCaughan who was close on their tails with 1-5.


Author: McQuillan GAC

McQuillan GAC Ballycastle is a Gaelic Athletic Association club located in the town of Ballycastle in County Antrim. Read more about the club here.