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Nugent makes a big point as St John's keep the dream alive

 

Neil McManus
Neil McManus
John Campbell

By John Campbell

The Antrim Senior Hurling Championship is building towards a fascinating climax with Dunloy booking their place in the final by beating Loughgiel yesterday (0-20 to 0-17), while St John's and Ruairi Og, Cushendall must meet again in the other semi-final after finishing all square.

Padraig Nugent turned in a spectacular display of free-taking for St John's and racked up 0-11, half of his team's 0-22 total, including a sublime strike from a '65' in the closing seconds .

But the experienced Neil McManus was not too far behind him in helping himself to nine points as Cushendall compiled 2-16 to ensure stalemate at the finish.

Meanwhile, Connor Cunning's late brace of points proved crucial for Dunloy, who also benefited from big contributions from Kevin Molloy, Conor McKinley and Paul Shiels in their win over Loughgiel.

Molloy's work rate allied to McKinley's experience at the back and the ability of Shiels to link defence and attack were key as Dunloy took a 0-7 to 0-6 interval lead before managing to keep a determined Loughgiel side at arm's length.

Liam Watson, Shan McGrath and James McNaughton tried their best to turn the tide but Dunloy's finishing burst proved crucial.

In the Down Senior Hurling final, Ballycran beat Ballygalget by 0-20 to 0-17 with Colum McManus landing nine of their scores, while Conor Woods and Christopher Egan scored three each. Daniel Toner hit 0-14 for Ballygalget.

In the Armagh Senior Football Championship play-offs, Silverbridge edged to yet another narrow win when they overcame Sarsfields by 1-16 to 3-9.

It took a vital goal from Brendan Byrne to copper-fasten their passage into the quarter-finals against a Sarsfields outfit for whom Paul McGeown, Paul McGaughey and Caolan Skelton registered goals in what was a one-point win for Silverbridge.

Ballymacnab remained on course to appear in their second final in succession by beating Armagh Harps by 1-10 to 0-12 with Jack Grugan's first-half goal proving the most crucial score of the match.

In the Down Senior Football Championship, Clonduff became the first side to book their place in the semi-finals when they beat Carryduff by 0-15 to 2-7 with Patrick McConnell grabbing their last two points.

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