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Blayney take advantage of numbers game

By Staff Reporter

Castleblayney staged an increasingly dominant second half to pull away comfortably and clinch their second Ulster Junior club hurling championship title at the expense of a Na Magha side that finished the game with 13 players in O'Neill Park.

Played in difficult, blustery and greasy conditions this was not a contest for the purist with periods of scrappy play, particularly in the first half, although the conditions did affect the standard of hurling on show.

It was a close enough contest in the opening half at the end of which the sides were level, Castleblayney 2-4, Na Magha 1-7, the Castleblayney goals by Niall Garland in the 18th minute and Fergal Rafter in the 29th minute while Brendan Douban netted for the Derry men just on the stroke of half time.

Within a minute of the resumption, Na Magha were reduced to 14 players when full forward Breandan Quigley was sent off on a second yellow card and from there Castleblayney took increasing control to hold the centre and keep up the pressure.

And the extra man counted as Castleblayney swung over a series of points with two goals by substitute Tony Forde having victory wrapped up some time before the finish.

Na Magha were then reduced to 13 players in the final minutes of the game when substitute Mark MacShane was sent off on a straight red card, within a minute of being introduced to the action, for a dangerous pull on Castleblayney's Hugh Byrne but by then it was all over as a contest with Na Magha failing to raise even one white flag in the entire second half.

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