Antrim Hurling League Division Two
Bredagh 3-20 Clooney Gaels 3-25
A NINE-POINT deficit became a five-point win for Clooney Gaels at a sunny Cherryvale on Wednesday evening as the Ahoghill club claimed victory over Bredagh in Antrim hurling's Division Two.
James O'Connell top-scored with a magnificent haul of 1-12 on an evening where both sets of starting forwards and midfielders all registered in a game that flowed along superbly.
Bredagh were flying early on, but began to struggle in attack in the second period as Clooney's half-back line got on top and the chipped away before goals from the O'Connells - James and PJ - down the hoe straight saw them push for home.
The hosts couldn't have wished for a better start as they had 1-2 on the board before the visitors had registered, the goal arriving on four minutes as Ben Christie put Kealan Power in to give Francis Neeson no chance in the Clooney goal.
Ronan Graham got the visitors off the mark, but two of the next three came from the hosts and Mel Lavery got both before James O'Connell got his night underway with a pair of his own.
Bredagh would find their second goal on 12 minutes as although Neeson made a fine stop from Christie, Power followed in to sweep home and his two goals were the difference.
It soon became three as after an exchange of points, Christie finally got his goal as he took down a high ball and scampered in to finish low, making it 3-5 to 0-5 after 14 minutes.
Clooney didn't panic and began to chip away with the next three points and although Bredagh responded with two of their own, the Ahoghill side were in for their opening goal of the night on 19 minutes as Patrick Graham got on the end of a loose ball to burst in and finish.
The scores continued to flow for both in a very open first half as Tiernan Sheehan and Chris Hobbs landed for Bredagh, but Clloney's scores were now more plentiful with the O'Connells and Ronan Graham on target to whittle the gap down to three.
However, the hosts finished the half well as Christie converted a free and Hobbs added another from play to put the South Belfast men into a 3-11 to 1-12 advantage.
The sides traded early points to begin the second period, but Clooney were now getting on top with three points on the spin through Eoin Graham, Owen Neeson and Eamon Brady that sandwiched goal chances for both with both Christie for Bredagh and Graham for the visitors shooting across the face of goal when in the the left, both within seconds of each other.
Tiernan Sheehan kept the hosts ticking with a long-range point to push the gap back to three, but the momentum with with Clooney who completed the comeback with the next four points through O'Connell (two), Donal and Ronan Graham.
Chris Hobbs temporarily levelled, but when O'Connell restored the Clooney lead there was no looking back as on 49 minutes, Ronan Graham zipped a pass into Ronan Graham who in turn fed O'Connell to finish.
They would hit two of the next three points to push the gap to five, but Bredagh hit back with three of their own through Ryan Curran, Jarlath McCollum and Christie to leave two between them with as many minutes of normal time remaining.
Those points were cancelled out on 59 minutes as PJ O'Connell shrugged off a couple of challenges on the right and availing of the advantage, produced the Finnish to the net.
Bredagh did make it a one-score game with points from Christie and Mark Patterson, but Clooney say it out as O'Connell completed his evening's work from a free and Owen Neeson drilled over.
The visitors did finish with 14 when Bernard Graham disked up a seance yellow in stoppage time for w wild pull, but the points were secure as the remain in the promotion hunt, while Bredagy now sit second from bottom.
BREDAGH: I Galway; E Maguire, A Carey, L Smyth; M Woods, N McFarland, T Sheehan (0-3, 1 free); M Patterson (0-1), N Smyth (0-1); B Christine (1-5, 0-4 frees), M Lavery (0-2), C Hobbs (0-4); J McCollum (0-2), K Power (2-0), R Carson (0-1).
CLOONEY GAELS: F Neeson; H O'Donnell, G Grahan, Diarmuid Graham; F O'Neill (0-1 free), B Graham, D O'Neill; E Brady (0-1), O Neeson (0-2); R Graham (0-4), E Graham (0-1), P Graham (1-1); PJ O'Connell (1-1), Donal Graham (0-2), J O'Connell (1-12, 0-6 frees, 0-1 65).
Sub: C McGarry for G Graham (55)
REFEREE: Brendan Toland (Lámh Dhearg)
O'Neills Sportswear Antrim Hurling League Division One
Cushendall 0-19 Portaferry 0-19
Carey 0-22 Ballycastle 1-11
Ballygalget 4-18 O'Donovan Rossa 1-12
St John's 1-11 Loughgiel 4-23
Glenariffe 3-22 Sarsfield's 2-12
Bredagh 3-20 Clooney Gaels 3-25
Glenarm 0-19 Tír na nÓg 2-17
Carryduff2-12 Cushendun 0-19
St Paul's 3-15 St Gall's 2-14
Gort na Móna 0-15 Lámh Dhearg 2-20
Armoy 5-11 Rasharkin 1-15
Cloughmills 2-18 Na Magha 4-9
Glenravel 0-20 All Saints, Ballymena 0-11
Ardoyne 6-15 Belfast Saints 1-15
Loughbeg Harps1-9 Davitt's 9-17