McManus stars as Cushendall seal 11th Ulster hurling title

Cushendall 1-15
Ballycran 0-10

Declan Bogue reports from Athletic Grounds

THE FOUR SEASONS Cup rests under the shadow of the Lurig Mountain for the eleventh time as Ruairi Óg Cushendall made the wind advantage count to pull 1-15 to 0-10 clear of Down champions Ballycran in the Ulster club hurling final at the Athletic Grounds.

Star of the show, as he is most of these big days, was Neil McManus who drilled over nine points — seven of them from the dead ball which shows his remarkable powers of recovery having been taken off the duties throughout their Antrim campaign against St John’s and in the final win over Loughgiel.

Ballycran should have made a better game of it though. Their backs worked tirelessly in the second half and they were awarded with a rash of simple frees that they spurned, chalking up four wides in the third quarter before a lengthy stoppage in play for what looked to be a serious knee injury on Cushendall’s inspirational centre-back, Arron Graffin.

After that, the heart went out of a Ballycran side who had put previous champions Slaughtneil to the sword by 10 points in the Ulster semi-final and Cushendall — minus their towering full-forward Conor Carson who couldn’t secure a break in his air pilot training — added the last three points to win their province.

Scorers for Cushendall: McManus 0-9, (6f, 1x’65′), McAfee 1-0, D McNaughton 0-2 (1xSL), P Burke, S Delargy, E Campbell, F McCambridge 0-1 each

Scorers for Ballycran: C Woods 0-3 (1f), C McManus 0-3 (3f), S Nicholson 0-2, J Coyle and N Breen 0-1 each


1. Eoin Gillan

2. David Kearney
3. Martin Burke
4. Paddy Burke (C)

5. Sean Delargy
6. Arron Graffin
19. Stephen Walsh

8. Eoghan Campbell
9. Neil McManus

21. Sean McAfee
11. Fergus McCambridge
12. Ryan McCambridge

13. Alex Delargy
14. Donal McNaughton
15. Paddy McGill

Subs: 18. E McKillop for F McCambridge (42), 7. F McCurry for Graffin (51), 23. C McClafferty for McGill (57), 29. N McCormick for McAfee (64), 22. E Laverty for D McNaughton (73)

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1. Stephen Keith

2. Michael Hughes (C)
3. Patrick Hughes
4. Sean Ennis

5. Michael Taylor
6. Paudie Flynn
7. Brett Nicholson

8. Scott Nicholson
9. Phelim Savage

10. Cormac McAlister
11. Conor Woods
12. Liam Savage

13. Niall Breen
14. Colum McManus
15. James Coyle

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Subs: 17. A Bell for S Ennis (27 – 30, Blood sub), 18. C Egan for Breen (HT), 19. G Hughes for McAlister (HT), 26. P McSkimmons for Coyle (68), 17. A Bell for Taylor (69)

Referee: James Connors (Donegal)

Attendance: 3,742

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