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Antrim hurling rivals set for final showdown

It will be a repeat of the 2011 Antrim Senior Hurling final after defending champions Loughgiel Shamrocks and Cushendall Ruairi Og emerged victorious from this weekend's semi-finals.

Loughgiel, chasing a fourth successive title, had a 2-20 to 1-10 win over Ballycastle in Cushendall yesterday to secure their 10th final berth in 11 years.

Much of the pre-match talk was that Ballycastle – backboned by some of the Antrim U21 side that reached the All-Ireland final – could cause an upset but it was not to be despite the underdogs making a fine start and going three points ahead thanks to Stephen McAfee.

However, the 2012 All-Ireland champions roared back with Eddie McCloskey leading the charge. The county vice captain hit some fine scores while talisman Liam Watson also chipped in to give Loughgiel a 0-11 to 0-6 half-time advantage.

Ballycastle's hit back with a goal from Peter Dallatt.

Loughgiel steadied and a fortuitous goal from man of the match McCloskey, after Ballycastle goalkeeper Ryan McGarry missed the flight of the ball, reasserted the Shamrocks dominance.

A second major from Watson ended the argument as PJ O'Mullan's men pulled away.

In the first semi-final, Cushendall withstood a fine Dunloy rally for a 1-18 to 2-10 victory.

Paddy McGill opened the scoring for the 'Dall but the sides were locked at 0-3 early on.

An Eoghan Campbell goal gave Cushendall the advantage but Dunloy came storming back with a goal from the outstanding Paul Shiels helping his side to cut the lead, 1-8 to 1-5, at the break.

After the break, Dunloy goalkeeper Gareth McGhee blasted a penalty to the net but the men from the foot of the Lurig advanced into the final.

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