Hurling & Camogie

O'Hare's perfect 10 sees Craobh Rua into Ulster junior final

Craobh Rua player Oisin O'Hare celebrates at the end of the 2021 Ulster GAA Hurling Junior Championship Semi Final between Con Magee Glenravel and Craobh Rua at Davitt's, Belfast Picture: Philip Walsh.
Craobh Rua player Oisin O'Hare celebrates at the end of the 2021 Ulster GAA Hurling Junior Championship Semi Final between Con Magee Glenravel and Craobh Rua at Davitt's, Belfast Picture: Philip Walsh.

AIB Ulster Junior club hurling semi-final: Craobh Rua (Armagh) 0-14 Con Magee’s (Antrim) 0-11

FREE-TAKER Tiarnan O’Hare pointed Craobh Rua into their first AIB Ulster Junior club hurling final in Davitt’s in west Belfast on Saturday afternoon.

O’Hare was off-target with a few early frees and opted to go low from 25 metres just before the water break. But once he got into his rhythm he missed nothing as he initially chipped into Con Magee’s early lead and then kept the scoreboard running when they edged ahead in the final quarter.

Manager Paul Cunningham acknowledged the contribution of his free-taker.

“Conditions weren’t wonderful for expressive hurling, but as good as you will get at this time of year. It was slippery. We played rightly without playing well," he said.

“We hung in there, our frees were good, we were tight at the back. Our bench was very good. We got energy from the boys coming off the bench near the end.

“They went with a sweeper at the back. It’s not something we normally do, but that is the second week in a row we ended up doing it and we were happy enough to do it.

“They pushed us to the pin of our collar, but we stuck with them and it wasn’t until the last 10 minutes that we got our noses in front and Tiarnan’s frees made sure we stayed there.”

Jarlath og Burns trained with the Armagh footballers on Saturday morning and arrived just before throw-in amid rumours that he had been told by the football management not to play in case of injury.

Donnelly diplomatically side-stepped the issue.

“Ach, naw. Jarley og was there and available to play. We just felt that we hadn’t seen enough of him in the quarter-final to start him.”

Craobh Rua got the perfect start with a point from Ryan Lewis in the first minute, but Conleth O’Loan responded with a free and added a point from the wing.

Although Conor McKevitt hit back with a Camlough point, O’Loan with two frees and Declan Traynor from play opened a three-points gap at the water break.

O’Hare closed the gap in the second half with four frees with Traynor picking off two excellent scores for the Antrim champions to leave it 0-7 to 0-6 at the interval.

O’Hare levelled on the restart and the teams traded scores up to the second water-break with O’Hare edging his team ahead from a late free.

Sub Sean McKay hit a brilliant leveller in the 48th minute, but it was to be the north Antrim team’s only score of the quarter as they were bottled up around the middle and conceded possession or frees.

Fiachra Bradley, having been substituted in the 21st minute, returned to the Craobh Rua team in the 54th minute to land a point with his first possession and O’Hare turned the screw with two late frees.

The Armagh mean will now face Carrickmacross in the Ulster final as the Monaghan champions staged a second half comback to see off Na Magha. The Derry side took a five-point half-time lead, with Deghlan Foley contributing the bulk of the 0-11 to Carrickmacross's 0-6. The Monaghan side came storming back in the second half almost immediately when Shane Shevlin grabbed a goal within the first minute of the second half. Na Magha managed to retain the lead until Luke McKenna found the net again for the Monaghan champions and they finished strongly to record a 2-13 0-18 victory.

Craobh Rua: C Rowantree; D McCloy, S O’Keefe, B McKevitt; M Garvey, O O’Hare, M Doran; P Garvey, F Burns (0-1); F Bradley (0-1), T O’Hare (0-10 frees), S Watters; R Casey, R Lewis (0-1), C McKevitt (0-1).

Subs: D Harris for F Bradley (21), F O’Callaghan for R McKevitt (40), F McCann for R Casey (41), F Bradley for S Watters (54), C Brannigan for D Harris (60)

Con Magee’s: R Donnelly; B O’Neill, SL Kerr, J Fyfe; P O’Neill, E McCusker, M McDonnell; J Duffin, C Henry; D Traynor (0-4), N Donnelly, C Hynds; C O’Loan (0-5, 0-4 frees) R Lennon (0-1), D O’Hagan.

Subs: S McKay 0-1 for D O’Hagan (h-t), S Burns for N Donnelly (57)

Referee: A McAleer (Donegal)