AIB ULSTER CLUB JUNIOR HURLING CHAMPIONSHIP.
Castleblayney HC 4-9, Burt (Donegal) 0-13.
A more clinical Castleblayney deservedly booked their place in the semi-final of the Ulster club Junior hurling championship at the expense of Donegal champions Burt in O’Donnell Park Letterkenny on Sunday afternoon last. Castleblayney were deserving winners on the day as they were the more cohesive team and always had the ability to cut out any threat at source, while Burt were left to bemoan the loss of the influential Enda McDermott, who was ruled out through injury and James Dowd, who has emigrated to the USA since winning the Donegal final with the club. That said though the Monaghan champions carried the game to the home side right from the start and settled to the task early on to build up a four points to 2 lead after twenty minutes, Fergal Rafter on target for the visitors. Goals win championship matches and Castleblayney now struck for two in quick succession, both from the stick of Hugh Byrne, who, along with Fergal Rafter did most of the damage on the day, scoring a total of 3-9 between them, Hugh Byrne with 2-2 and Fergal Rafter with 1-7. Those two goals helped Castleblayney to go in with a six points lead at the break, 2-4 to 0-4.
On the resumption Burt put in a lively start to the second-half with veteran Niall Campbell hitting three quick fire points to cut Castleblayney’s lead back to four. That however was as good as it got for the Donegal champions as Castleblayney always had the ability to respond any time the home side threatened. Burt, to their credit kept plugging away but as they drove forwards in search of scores they left gaps at the back that Castleblayney were able to exploit and the Monaghan champions killed the game off completely with goals by Brian McGuigan and man of the match Fergal Rafter sealing a comfortable, eight points victory.
Teams and Scorers: Castleblayney HC: Paddy Collins; Colin Merrick, Eoin Leonard, Bernard Connor; Hugh Byrne (2-2), Peter Treanor, Jim McHugh; Patrick Finnegan, Mark Treanor; Brian Flanagan, Fergal Rafter (1-7,(0-3f), Nathan Adair; Fintan Finnegan, Craig Callan, Brian McGuigan (1-0). Subs: Jack Deasy for C Callan (49); Jordan Carville for N Adair (59); James Lavelle for B Connor (60).
Burt: Paul Burns; Padraig Doherty, Martin McGrath, Dara Grant; Brendan Harrigan, Joe Boyle, Stephen Gillespie; Ciaran Finn, Ronan McDermott (0-2); Caolan McDermott, Christopher McDermott, Piaras Harrigan, Niall Campbell (0-8,6f), Conor Carlin, Ciaran Dowds (0-1). Subs: Ciaran Brady (0-1) for P Harrigan, Mickey McCann (0-1) for C Carlin, (Both HT) Kevin Glenn for M McGrath (57). Referee: Kevin Parke (Antrim)