Rafter shines as Castleblayney triumph
Castleblayney 1-14 Cushendun 0-16
Castleblayney dug deep to chisel out a dramatic last-gasp victory in this entertaining final at the Athletic Grounds yesterday.
Trailing by 0-7 to 0-2 at one stage in the first-half, Castleblayney looked set to bow the knee to Antrim champions Cushendun, but their second-half recovery was marked by remarkable tenacity and endurance.
They played second fiddle during the first-half and were still in arrears by 0-9 to 0-5, but it was a different story after the break.
A goal from Mark Treanor in the 45th minute breathed new life into Castleblayney and from then on they were in the driving seat.
Fergal Rafter's haul of 11 points highlighted a sublime individual display and it was fitting that he should have had the final say when he flighted over the winning point deep in injury-time.
By then Cushendun were forced to pay a heavy penalty for numerous missed chances late on.
SCORERS - Castleblayney: F Rafter 0-11 (11f), M Treanor 1-2, F Finnegan 0-1 Cushendun: C McHugh (2'65's, 2f), C McNeill (4f) 0-4 each, D McQuillan, J Morgan, D Kilgore 0-2 each, E Duffin, P Bannon 0-1 each
Castleblayney - P Collins; C Merrick, E Leonard, C McNally; B Connor, P Treanor, J McHugh; B Flanagan, P Finnegan; H Byrne, F Rafter, F Finnegan; C Callan, B McGuigan, M Treanor Subs: A Kenny for Callan (40)
Cushendun - E Magee; S Hamilton, A Corbett, J McKay; M Scally, D O'Hara, T Scally; M McCartin, C McHugh; P Bannon, E Duffin, D McQuillan; J Morgan, C McNeill, D Kilgore Subs: E McQuillan for Duffin (35), N McAuley for Bannon (40), R J McQuillan for Morgan (52)
Ref - T Conway (Derry)