Hurling and camogie

Magnificent Dunloy make three in a row look easy

Dunloy celebrate after beating Rossa in yesterday's Antrim SHC final at Corrigan Park Picture by Mal McCann.

Bathshack Antrim Senior Hurling Championship final: O’Donovan Rossa, Belfast 1-14 Cuchullain’s Dunloy 3-23

MAGNFICENT. No other word does Dunloy’s performance justice as they made it three Antrim titles in a row at a packed Corrigan Park yesterday afternoon.

With each passing year the Cuchullain’s are making county finals look easy. They stumbled over the line against Cushendall two years ago, it was a little easier against Loughgiel Shamrocks last year while yesterday they swept aside final rookies O’Donovan Rossa with the minimum of fuss.

Fifteen points separated the sides at the end. The scoreboard didn’t in the least bit flatter Gregory O’Kane’s side. They were that good.

They pulverized the west Belfast men, hitting three first-half goals to effectively wrap up this final with 30 minutes to spare.

Full-forward line Seann Elliott, Conal ‘Koby’ Cunning and Chrissy McMahon helped themselves to a goal apiece to completely demoralise Rossa.

Although they didn’t raise any more green flags, the second half turned into an exhibition of score-taking from the Dunloy forwards and midfielders.

Impassive as ever on the field, Dunloy captain Paul ‘Shorty’ Shiels’ voice quivered as he delivered a short and sweet victory speech from the new stand at Corrigan Park before declaring that they were bringing “Big Ears [the Volunteer Cup] back up the M2”.

Cue the now mandatory green flares and joyous Dunloy celebrations.

In the build-up to yesterday’s eagerly anticipated final, ‘Shorty’ Shiels described Gregory O’Kane as the “most passionate hurling man” he knows.

To the media, Dunloy’s affable manager never lets you in to tell you what it’s like to be manager of this brilliant three-in-a-row team.

King of the understatement, O’Kane was bear-hugged by Gary O’Kane before speaking to reporters.

O'Kane said he was looking forward to “chilling out with the wife and family”.

“The support they give me is second to none. We set out what we want to achieve and everybody just buys into it. People talk about clubs, really and truly, it’s just families when you think about it. Without that we are nothing. And that’s the GAA.

“We beat ourselves up and we are critical, but the GAA: where else would you want to be?”

O’Kane has always let his team do the talking on the field.

Yesterday, they “walked the walk”, according to defeated Rossa manager Colly Murphy.

“It’s a very difficult day for us,” said Murphy, who has pulled Rossa up by their bootstraps over the last three remarkable seasons to turn them into title contenders.

“We underperformed and Dunloy were excellent. We’ll take the positives out of it, we went one step further than last year by making the county final.

“It’s our first county final in 17 years. People say you’ve to lose one to win one - I don’t buy into that. There are no words of comfort that I can offer to the players that’ll ease their pain. We’re all hurting.

“Dunloy were flying today. They’ve walked the walk. It was new to us. But that’s one under our belt. Every other team in the county wish they were playing here today; we were the lucky team to be here and we were there on merit and hopefully we’ll be there on merit next year as well.”

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Hurling and camogie