Cushendall were crowned Ulster Club senior hurling champions for the 11th time at the Athletic Grounds today courtesy of a 1-15 to 0-10 final victory over Ballycran.
Antrim star Neil McManus top scored for the winners with 0-9 (two from play) while Sean McAfee netted the game’s only goal in the 24th minute.
Backed by the wind in the opening period, the eventual winners built up a 1-11 to 0-6 lead by the half-time whistle.
Try as they might, Down’s Ballycran were unable to repeat the heroics which saw them send two in-a-row champions Slaughtneil packing at the semi-final stage last time out but the win came at a cost for Cushendall who lost the services of Arron Graffin to what looked like a serious knee injury in the second-half.
They will be hoping he can recover in time to line out against the Galway champions, which will be either Liam Mellows or St Thomas, in the last four of the All-Ireland Club SHC next February.
Cushendall - E Gillan; D Kearney, M Burke, P Burke (0-1); S Delargy (0-1), A Graffin, S Walsh; E Campbell (0-1), N McManus (0-9, 7f, 1'65); S McAfee (1-0), F McCambridge (0-1), R McCambridge; A Delargy, D McNaughton (0-2), P McGill. Subs: F McCurry for A Graffin, N McCormack for S Afee, E Laverty for D McNaughton.
Ballycran - S Keith; M Hughes, P Hughes, S Ennis; M Taylor, P Flynn, B Nicholson; S Nicholson (0-2), P Savage; C McAllister, C Woods (0-3, 1f), L Savage; N Breen (0-1), C McManus (0-3f), J Coyle (0-1). Subs: C Egan for C McAllister, G Hughes for N Breen, A Bell for M Taylor.
Referee - J Connors.