A final score of 1-15 to 0-8 for Cushendall would usually indicate a routine victory but this game was competitive in every way. The only real difference between the sides was Cushendall’s greater spread of scoring forwards. Lorcan Donnelly opened the scoring for The Town with a pointed free but Aidan McNaughton tied the game when he got on the end of a Conor Carson pass to convert form 40 yards. Shane McNaughton, making his first appearance in a few years, hit two points, one a free and one from play to move The Dall into a 2 point lead.
Ballycastle answered back with a pointed free from Lorcan Donnelly and a point from long range from the stick of James McShane to tie the game. Scott Walsh then stamped his authority on the game with two points either side of an effort from Castle danger man Donnelly. As half time approached, aided by a stiff breeze Cushendall pulled clear with the final three points of the half from Aidan McNaughton(0-2) and Shane McNaughton to leave the half time score Cushendall 0-9 Ballycastle 0-5.
Scott Walsh was first to strike in the second half with a tidy point after being sent on his way by Aidan McNaughton but Ballycastle were giving it everything but they were finding the Dall defenders Joe McCurry and Paddy Sharpe tough nuts to crack. In the tenth minute Donnelly converted a free to give the home side hope, but the Dall had moved Dominic Delargy, starved of supply at full forward in the opening half, to wing forward and the move reaped immediate rewards when he tagged on a point for the visitors. Shane McNaughton pushed Cushendall’s advantage to six points with a free from an acute angle as the game entered the final ten minutes. Donnelly and McNaughton traded frees on two occasions as Ballycastle began looking for goals but it was The Dall who finished the stronger with closing points from McNaughton and Dominic Delargy and in injury time Conor Carson hammered home a superb goal to put the icing on the cake for Cushendall.
Cushendall scores: S McNaughton(0-7) C Carson(1-0) A McNaughton(0-3) S Walsh(0-3) D Delargy(0-2)
Ballycastle scores: L Donnelly(0-7) J McShane(0-1).