Dunloy win Ulster Club Senior Hurling championship

Dunloy (Antrim) 2-16 Ballycran (Down) 2-11

Dunloy (Antrim) 2-16 Ballycran (Down) 2-11

Antrim aces Dunloy overcame a tough challenge from Down outfit Ballycran to be crowned AIB Ulster Club Senior Hurling champions for the tenth time at Casement Park today.

Having led by 0-8 to 1-4 at half-time, Dunloy found the net twice in the second half to eventually pull clear and dash Ballycran's hopes of a first title success since 1993.

Managed by Gary O'Kane and Shane Elliott, Dunloy were heavily favoured to win this provincial decider, given their recent form and dominance of the Championship in the 2000s.

Indeed, Cushendall's conquerors established a stranglehold on proceedings in the opening half-hour but could not transfer that dominance onto the scoreboard.

Ballycran, who played into the wind first, went ahead thanks to a Simon Wilson free before Dunloy seized control by scoring six unanswered points.

Wilson struck two more frees before the Mourne men landed their first point from play when Conor Arthurs split the posts in injury-time.

Even better followed for Ballycran, just seconds before the break, as Aidan Clarke cut through to crash a stinging shot beyond the reach of Dunloy goalkeeper Gareth Magee.

The possibility of a shock win grew when points from Arthurs, Wilson and Conor Woods took Ballycran into the lead, early in the second period.

But then Dunloy's greater experience came to bear. They got back on top when experienced forward Paddy Richmond found the net.

The 30-year-old, who was winning his seventh Ulster Club Championship, latched onto a long delivery from McGhee, turned and fired a well-placed shot to the net.

Into the final ten minutes, Ballycran replied with their second goal when a long range free from Wilson whistled its way past the unfortunate McGhee.

But, a goalkeeping error at the other end allowed Dunloy copperfasten the win - Ballycran stopper Declan Ennis was left with egg on his face when a sideline ball in from Sean Dowds beat him, going in off the underside off the crossbar.

This was Dunloy's second Ulster SHC triumph in three seasons and their sixth in all since 2000.

They won their first title in 1990 and since then they have never been beaten in an Ulster final.

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