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McCloskey keeps Loughgiel on track

All-Ireland club champions Loughgiel are intent on holding on to the silverware it seems, as they clinched the Ulster title for a third consecutive year.

It took a shock goal, seconds before the break, to give them a commanding lead as Portaferry gave as good as they got early on.

The teams were level for the fourth time over the opening 15 minutes, when Man of the Match Eddie McCloskey rifled over his second score. He finished with eight points, all from open play.

The game-changing goal came in the 29th minute. Liam Watson sent a probing shot into the Portaferry goalmouth, 'keeper Karl Keating seemed to have the sliotar under control but the in-rushing Shay Casey knocked it out of Keating's hand and over the line.

That gave Loughgiel an interval lead of 1-12 to 0-7 and they dominated the second half of what was a rather scrappy contest, in conditions not conducive to top-drawer hurling.

Entering the last quarter, the holders were 1-18 to 0-9 ahead before sharpshooter Watson, after a storming run down the right wing by Casey who tossed the ball into the centre, whipped in another goal to end the contest with 12 minutes still to go.

SCORERS -- Loughgiel: E McCloskey 0-8, L Watson 1-5 (3f), J Scullion 0-5, S Casey 1-1, B McCarry 0-3, D Laverty 0-2, B McAuley 0-1. Portaferry: P Braniff 0-7 (6f), E Sands, J Convery, C Coulter, N Kelly, A Savage 0-1 each.

LOUGHGIEL -- D Quinn; P Gillen, N McGarry, M McFadden; James Campbell, M Scullion, Johnny Campbell; B McAuley, T McCloskey; L Watson, D Laverty, E McCloskey; B McCarry, J Scullion; S Casey. Subs: K McGarry for N McGarry (49), D McKinlay for B McCarry (51), C O'Connell for Quinn (53), D McCloskey for Laverty: T Coyle for McFadden (57).

PORTAFERRY -- K Keating; C O'Prey, Barry Coleman, J Trainor; M Conlon, C Coulter, C O'Neill; A Savage, F Rodgers; S Murray, J Convery, A O'Prey; C Mageean, P Braniff, E Sands. Subs: N Kelly for Mageean (26), P Smyth for Coleman (30), Brendan Coleman for A O'Prey (49),

REF -- E Hasson (Derry).

Irish Independent