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Bredagh overcome Gorts in thrilling league clash

The captains with referee Brendan Toland before the game The captains with referee Brendan Toland before the game
By Kevin Herron

Antrim Hurling League Division Three
Bredagh 2-22
Gort na Móna 4-12

BREDAGH inflicted a first league defeat on Gort na Móna at Cherryvale on Wednesday as they edged a breathtaking contest 2-22 to 4-12.

It was Bredagh who made the fast start on a wet and windy evening as Sean McGourty popped the ball between the posts within the first two minutes with Niall McFarland adding a second.

The first goal opportunity fell to Gort na Móna as Sean Doyle picked out the run of Darren Boyd whose low shot was parried by Eoghan Donnelly in the Bredagh goal.

Patrick McCaffrey’s angled point got the visitors off the mark, but three successive points courtesy of Ryan Curran, Sean McGourty and Mark Patterson had the hosts 0-5 to 0-1 ahead with 10 minutes on the clock.

Points from Declan Hughes and Darren Boyd gave Gort na Móna a lift, but Niall McFarland hit back at the other end to make it 0-6 to 0-3.

Darren Boyd’s link-up play was beginning to pay dividends as Brendan Quinn shot over from a tight angle and Dessie McClean confidently struck over the bar.

By the midway point in proceedings, Bredagh held a two point advantage thanks to Niall McFarland’s confidently converted free from range.

However, the opening goal of the game saw the lead switch hands for the first time. Niall Healy laid the ball off to Declan Hughes whose forward pass fell to Dessie McClean and the corner-forward powerfully rifled to the net to give the Turf Lodge men a 1-5 to 0-7 lead.

Niall McFarland’s second free of the half levelled proceedings and despite the corner-forward missing the opportunity to edge his side back in front from a 65, he atoned for his miss, converting a free to make it 0-9 to 1-5.

Gort na Móna missed the opportunity to regain the lead as Darren Boyd was somehow denied by Eoghan Donnelly, but on 23 minutes the visitors did hit the front for the second time.

Dessie McClean found a yard of space and confidently picked his spot, giving Donnelly no chance to make it 2-5 to 0-9.

Bredagh showed their powers of recovery and pegged Gort back for a second time in the aftermath.

Niall McFarland converted his fourth free of the half and midfielder Joe Hanrahan squeezed the ball over after a nice combination with Colin Lordon.

Gort na Móna immediately edged ahead once more through Neil Henry, but two late frees from the clinical free-taking of Niall McFarland ensured the Down men held a 0-13 to 2-6 lead at the interval.

McFarland increased his side’s lead upon the resumption from the placed ball, but the Gorts replied as Declan Hughes popped the ball to Brendan Quinn whose shot from range dropped over the bar.

The sides traded the next four scores as Bredagh twice took a two-point lead through Niall McFarland (free) and Malachy Scullion, but on both occasions Darren Boyd replied to leave the score 0-16 to 2-9 with a quarter of an hour remaining.

The hosts chances of victory were dealt a set-back on 46 minutes as Danny Robinson caught Brendan Quinn with a challenge and referee Brendan Toland had little choice but to give issue a straight red card to the Bredagh number four.

Darren Boyd converted the resulting free to level the score at 0-16 to 2-10 and with the numerical advantage, Boyd and his teammates would hope to press on for victory.

However, it was the 14-men of Bredagh who hit the front with little over 10 minutes remaining. Sean McGourty’s shot dropped short of the target and Colin Lordon angled the ball past Connor McCann to make it 1-16 to 2-10.

Niall McFarland converted two further frees with Lordon pointing in between as the hosts were back on the front foot.

Darren Boyd fizzed a free over the bar in response and a grandstand finish appeared to be on the cards of a breathtaking encounter as Dessie McClean popped the ball to Patrick McCaffrey with McCaffrey making space for a shot and rifled to the net to reduce the deficit to two-points.

However, any chance of a Gort fightback was ended almost instantly as Malachy Scullion poked the ball home from Joe Hanrahan’s high ball forward.

McFarland added his final two scores of the evening courtesy of a converted 65 and free, with Sean McGourty conjuring up his side’s final score in the aftermath.

There was still enough time for Dessie McClean to complete his hat-trick of goals two minutes into injury-time, but it proved to be a mere consolation as Bredagh claimed a massive scalp and inflicted a first defeat on the table-toppers.

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