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Top gun McNaughton fires Loughgiel into final

By John Campbell

A superb display of finishing from James McNaughton helped Loughgiel hurdle Dunloy (0-14 to 0-8) in yesterday's semi-final of the Antrim senior hurling championship.

But they will have a to wait a little longer to discover the identity of their opponents in the decider as Cushendall and St John's finished all-square (1-16 each) in the other semi-final.

Loughgiel certainly needed McNaughton's scoring touch against a defiant Dunloy who were only one point in arrears at the break (0-7 to 0-6).

It was in the second half, though, that McNaughton with assistance from Joey Scullion and Shay Casey in particular turned up the heat.

In the other semi-final, passion, tension and commitment were the dominant elements as flair was sacrificed to a great extent in the draw between Cushendall Ruairi Og and St John's

There was little between the sides at any stage of the game with Cushendall ahead by a single point at the break (0-9 to 0-8).

It was seasoned veteran Neil McManus who kept Cushendall ticking over by scoring eight points in all while the accurate Johnston duo, Ciaran and Conor, shared ten of St John's points.

Cushendall's greater experience looked as if it would tell a tale in a tempestuous finish but St John's marksman Ciaran Johnston held his nerve as he stepped up to convert a last-gasp long-range free which earned his side the right to fight another day.

In the Antrim senior football championship quarter-final replay Erin's Own Cargin overcame current champions Lamh Dhearg by 0-11 to 0-5.

Cargin led by 0-5 to 0-4 at half-time with Tomas McCann to the fore when it came to putting points on the board while Paddy Cunningham was the essence of accuracy for Lamh Dhearg.

But when Erin's Own lost midfield dynamo Michael McCann to a second yellow card, it appeared initially that they might lose their grip.

Instead, the side became reinvigorated. Justin Crozier marshalled the defence superbly well, and Tomas McCann continued to pick off points in the second half.

Lamh Dhearg were restricted to a solitary point after the break as Damian Cassidy's side began to focus even more firmly on a return to their glory days.

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