All-Ireland club champions Loughgiel Shamrocks kept their 2012 Antrim title ambitions on track with a 2-26 to 4-10 quarter-final over Glenariff at Armoy.
PJ O’Mullan’s side led by two points at the break, 1-10 to 2-5, but had played into a stiff breeze for the opening half hour. Shay Casey got the Shamrocks’ opening goal, with Liam Watson coming off the bench midway through the second half to add another.
The tie of the quarter-finals however was served up by Dunloy and Ballycastle. A close game was predicted between the north-Antrim rivals and it took a late Sean Dowds free to seal a 1-13 to 1-12 win for Cuchullains.
The large crowd at Loughgiel were treated to a nip and tuck championship battle with no more than two points separating the sides throughout the first half.
A Kevin McQuillan goal just before the break gave Dunloy a one-point advantage, 1-4 to 0-6, but Ballycastle outscored their opponents 1-3 to 0-3 in the third quarter to open up a 1-9 to 1-8 lead.
The introduction of Conor Cunning proved decisive for Dunloy with the veteran adding back-to-back points to give Dunloy the lead. An injury forced the former county star off with two minutes to go, but from the resultant free Dowds stroked over the winner.
Last year’s beaten finalists Cushendall looked sharp against St Galls in yesterday’s clash at Casement Park. County stars Shane McNaughton (2) and Neil McManus bagged the goals in their 3-15 to 2-9 win over the Milltown men.
Cushendall led 2-9 to 2-4 at the break, but St Galls were kept at bay after the restart with excellent performances at the back from Aidan McNaughton and Aaron Graffin.
CJ McGourty scored 1-5 for St Galls — 1-3 coming from play — with Karl Stewart adding the second from a penalty.
St Johns and Lámh Dhearg clashed in an all-Belfast clash on Friday night. The Johnnies led |0-13 to 2-4 at the break and Conor Johnson added a goal for the winners after the restart.
The semi-finals are set for September 16th at neutral venues with St Johns taking on Loughgiel and Cushendall facing Dunloy.