Sparkling Shamrocks book date with Munster champions

IT took Loughgiel half an hour to come to grips with the conditions in yesterday’s rain-lashed Ulster Club SHC final against Ballycran at Casement Park, but once the Shamrocks turned on the style they demolished the Ards men.

Hot favourites Loughgiel ran out the easy winners and booked their spring All-Ireland semi-final place against the Munster champions with a classy second-half performance.

By half time they led by just 0-8 to 0-5 and it seemed a shock result could be on the cards but a different Shamrocks’ team emerged after the break.

By the end of the third quarter the winners had stormed into a 1-13 to 0-6 advantage and continued to dominate with Joey Scullion, Barney McAuley and James Campbell putting pressure on the challengers.

“Having been in the All-Ireland semi-final last year will stand to us this time,” insisted Joey Scullion.

“We have the Antrim and Ulster league finals to play over the next few weeks and after that we will take a few weeks off before getting down to prepare for the Munster champions.”

Scorers for Loughgiel: E McCloskey 1-2 (1f), M McCarry 1-1, Declan Laverty, B McAuley, D McCloskey (3fs) 0-3 each, J Scullion, James Campbell 0-2 each, Damian Laverty, M McFadden 0-1 each.

Scorers for Ballycran: S Nicholson 0-3 (2fs), J Coyle, S Wilson (1 65) 0-2 each, A Clarke 0-1.

LOUGHGIEL: D Quinn; P Gillen, N McGarry, R McCloskey; James Campbell, M Scullion, Johnny Campbell; B McAuley, M McFadden; S Casey, Declan Laverty, E McCloskey; M McCarry, J Scullion, D McCloskey.

Subs: B McFadden for J Scullion (53), Damian Laverty for D McCloskey (53), D McPeake for M McFadden (55), T McCloskey for Gillen (55), L Watson for McCarry (58).

BALLYCRAN: S Keith; M Hughes, S Ennis, P Brennan; A Bell, M Ennis, P Hughes; C Flynn, C Woods; C Dorrian, P Flynn, S Nicholson; J Coyle, S Wilson, A Clarke.

Subs: P Keith for Dorrian (ht), C McManus for A Clarke (40), J Power for P Flynn (44), E Gilmore for Coyle (49), N Torney for C Flynn (52).

Referee: E Hasson (Derry).

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