Fogarty fires O’Loughlin’s to final showdown!

Match winner David Fogarty gets in a Timely tackle on Joseph Mc Loughlin

Bergin leads side to narrow win over ‘Dall



AIB All-Ireland Senior Club Hurling Championship Semi-Final

Croke Park, Referee: Michael Kennedy

O’Loughlin Gaels 1-17 Ruairí Óg Cushendall 1-16

All-Ireland club finalists O’Loughlin Gaels!  They went to the well yet again and delivered following a pulsating encounter at Pairc Tailteann to crush the dreams of Ruairí Óg’s Cushendall. In truth, this game could have gone either way, Brian Hogan’s men created multiple goal chances but converted just one, while the Ulster champions notched several uncharacteristic wides and dropped a few other efforts short during a second half that they took a 3-point lead into.

With two minutes of additional time remaining, young Loughs wing-back, David Fogarty struck over a stunning long-range effort from tight to the sideline to nudge his side in front and the Kilkenny and Leinster champions held on to secure their place in the show piece decider at Croker next month where they will face-off against St Thomas’s who got the better of Ballygunner.

Brian Delargy’s charges started the encounter superbly and showed unbelievable hunger and desire as they stunned the St Johns Park outfit from the throw-in.  Niall McCormack surged forward and was fouled by Huw Lawlor which presented Neil McManus with an early opportunity to settle his sides nerves and the former county man popped the ball over for his first score of the day inside two minutes.  Ronan McAteer then pointed from play before midfield powerhouse Ryan McCambridge collected possession from the restart and punished the Noresiders with another quickfire score.

A blistering start by the glens men was about to get even better.  The hunting maroon clad men turned-over Mikey Butler as attempted to break out of defence and rising star Joseph McLaughlin sprinted clear of the trailing defenders before striking a fierce shot into the ground and past the helpless Stephen Murphy in the Loughs goal.  Five minutes gone in Navan, Cushendall were in dreamland, leading the match favourites 1-3 to no score.

Ruairí Óg’s centre-back Eoghan Campbell then channeled his inner Paddy Deegan and struck over a monstrous score from way out the field before O’Loughlin’s skipper, Mark Bergin converted a 21-yard free to get the scoreboard moving for the Kilkenny side.  The next couple of minutes illustrated the men from the North’s hunger and determination as they rattled into every challenge and swarmed around their opponents sensing blood.  Step forward Eoghan Campbell who rifled over another lovely score which was added to by an accurate placed ball from well inside how own half by talisman McManus.

Conor Heary then produced some lovely work before off-loading to his captain, who duly split the posts from play to cut the Antrim sides lead to 7 points.  O’Loughlin’s then fashioned a goal chance of their own after strong play from Luke Hogan saw Sean Bolger pulled down by ‘Dall full-back, Liam Gillan who saw yellow for his rugby-style foul.  Mark Bergin converted the resulting free and halfway through the opening period in Navan, the veteran forward was still his sides only scorer.  Some sloppy play from the Loughs saw the lively Ed McQuillan register a point before Paddy Deegan popped a nice pass to Conor Heary who composed himself to take a lovely point.  The hard-working Sean Bolger then struck a nice effort from out on the right side of the pitch to reduce the deficit to five points.  ‘Dall’s main man at the back, Paddy Burke then powered out of his defensive position before rifling over another booming score from distance, much to the delight of the Antrim Gaels in attendance.  Conor Heary, who again was covering every blade of grass in Pairc Tailteann cut in from the left before striking a shot that Ruairí Óg’s keeper Conor McAlister deflected over the bar.  Mark Bergin then pointed from a placed ball following a foul on midfielder Cian Loy and the gap was now cut to four points.

Then came the crucial score for Brian Hogan’s outfit.  Another great delivery into Luke Hogan saw the young attacker take a great catch before shaking off the attentions of the ‘Dall defence.  Paddy Butler’s replacement struck his shot hard and low which netminder McAlister initially stopped, only for the alert Sean Bolger to follow-up and poke to the net.  Game on.  There was still time for two more scores in an exhilarating first half, both placed ball efforts from Neil McManus that saw the 12-time Ulster Champions go into the break 3 points to the good, having played with the aid of a strong blustering wind.

Having failed to get to the pitch of the game in the opening quarter, Brian Hogan’s team started the second half with more vigor.  Three scores in the opening minutes, two from Mark Bergin, the second of which came from a lovely team move and a sweet Eoin O’Shea point saw the Noresiders level matters as the Loughs supporters rallied behind their team in Navan.  Neil McManus then struck a brace of points himself, including a quality effort from play to push the ‘Dall two ahead.  Mark Bergin then benefited from some battling work by his teammates and split the posts, but the opposition captain popped over two placed ball efforts to keep the Antrim side two clear.

Owen Wall then roamed way out the field to collect possession before slipping a pass inside to Paddy Deegan who fired over his one and only score of the game from just inside his own half.  Then came another major chance for O’Loughlin’s.  Sean Bolger was causing chaos close to goal and managed to strike an effort along the ground across the ‘Dall goal, but somehow Owen Wall failed to apply the finishing touch as the sliotar bobbled past.  Neil McManus then fired over another free after Ryan McCambridge was fouled by Conor Heary.

O’Loughlin’s then sent on Conor Kelly in place of Sean Bolger who had put in a great shift for over 40 –odd minutes.  Ryan McCambridge then left a bit on Conor Heary which gave Mark Bergin the chance to notch another score to leave the smallest of gaps between the teams.  Kilkenny panelist Heary then displayed some nifty stick work and skill to burst clear before offloading to David Fogarty who struck the first of his vital 2-point tally to deadlock matters with about 12 minutes remaining.  Some great pressure on advancing ‘Dall keeper Conor McAlister by Owen Wall, saw the keeper dispossessed and the ball worked to the brilliant Bergin who rifled over to edge his side ahead for the first time in the game.

Cushendall needed a reaction to falling behind, but they hit a series of bad wides that were punished by a lovely point from Jack Nolan after nice play from Conor Kelly.  Nolan was immediately called ashore and replaced by Jamie Ryan, while Paddy Butler came in for Eoin O’Shea.  Neil McManus then surprised everyone by going short from a free, but Joseph McLaughlin made no mistake in splitting the posts for his first point of the game with two minutes remaining, the Loughs just 1 point ahead.

Five minutes of additional time were signaled from the sideline.  Cushendall needed something special, and it came from that man Neil McManus.  Paddy Burke collected possession deep inside his own half and despite being put under pressure from Luke Hogan, the defender scanned for an option before passing to McManus.  The Ruairí Óg’s captain collected the pass before striking an effort from just inside his own half.  The sliotar appeared to be in the air for an eternity, but his teammates and supporters never doubted him as the umpire raised a white flag.  All square in Pairc Tailteann, extra time looking likely.  Hogan’s men didn’t want more minutes.  Following a little bit of a shemozzle, Paddy Deegan toe poked the ball towards Owen Wall who popped a short pass to David Fogarty.  Tight to the right sideline, Fogarty accepted the pass and only had one thing on his mind – a match winning score.  Fogarty struck right on halfway and the sliotar sailed between the Cushendall posts. Croker bound again for the Tommy Moore decider against St Thomas’s of Galway.  Final Score in Pairc Tailteann, O’Loughlin Gaels 1-17, Ruairí Óg Cushendall 1-16.


O’Loughlin Gaels scorers: Mark Bergin 0-9 (0-5f), Sean Bolger 1-1, David Fogarty 0-2, Conor Heary 0-2, Eoin O’Shea 0-1, Paddy Deegan 0-1, Jack Nolan 0-1.

Cushendall scorers: Neil McManus 0-9 (0-7f), Joseph McLaughlin 1-1, Eoghan Campbell 0-2, Ronan McAteer 0-1, Ryan McCambridge 0-1, Ed McQuillan 0-1, Paddy Burke 0-1.

O’LOUGHLIN GAELS: Stephen Murphy; Mikey Butler, Huw Lawlor, Tony Forristal; David Fogarty, Paddy Deegan, Jordan Molloy; Jack Nolan, Cian Loy; Conor Heary, Mark Bergin, Eoin O’Shea; Owen Wall, Luke Hogan, Sean Bolger.

Subs: Conor Kelly for Bolger 44, Jamie Ryan for Nolan 55, Paddy Butler for O’Shea 57.

CUSHENDALL: Conor McAlister; Liam Gillan, Paddy Burke, Martin Burke; Scott Walsh, Eoghan Campbell, Ruairi McCollam; Francis McCurry, Ryan McCambridge; Ed McQuillan, Niall McCormack, Ronan McAteer; Fergus McCambridge, Neil McManus, Joseph McLaughlin.

Subs: Sean McAfee for McAteer 23, Alex Delargy for McCormack h/t, Aidan McNaughton for Gillan h/t, Stephen Walsh for McCollam 48-f/t blood, Christy McNaughton for McCurry 59.

Referee: Michael Kennedy (Tipperary)

Previous MacDonagh Train Station recognised as Ireland's First Age Friendly Train Station at National Awards
Next Mike Denver and Guests in Concert at Hotel Kilkenny