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Cushendall keep cool to seal victory over Middletown

Cushendall 1-17 Middletown 1-9

By David Mohan

Cushendall advanced into the final of the Ulster Club Senior Hurling Championship with eight points to spare over Middletown at Owenbeg.

The pre-match favourites trailed by one at the break and only for the dismissal of Mark Maguire this could have been a closer contest.

Cushendall pulled away in the final 20 minutes after Donal McNaughton's 39th minute goal helped them on their way as the Armagh champions ran out of steam.

The game opened with Neil McManus and Ryan Gaffney trading early scores, but Cushendall were in the ascendency as they moved 0-6 to 0-2 ahead at the end of the opening quarter.

The pivotal moment arrived in the 39th minute as Paddy McGill controlled a long ball and whipped on it, forcing a great save from Dean Gaffney who made several big stops throughout the game. However, he was unfortunate this time as the ball squirmed free and dropped to Donal McNaughton who kicked home to make it 1-12 to 1-9.

From this point, Cushendall didn't look back with substitute Karl McKeegan clipping over two scores, while Christy McNaughton was also on target as they eventually ran out comfortable winners to claim their place in the final.

Cushendall scorers: R McCambridge (0-1), S McNaughton (0-4),P McGill (0-2), N McManus (0-2), D McNaughton (1-3), C McNaughton (0-3). Subs: K McKeegan (0-2).

Middleton scorers: P McBride (0-1), M Maguire (1-0), C Carville (0-2), R Gaffney (0-6, 4 frees).

Yellow card: O Curry (49)

Red card: M Maguire (25).

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