Dunloy 1-20 Cushendall 2-11
Dunloy held their nerve to find the late scores - including a goal from Chrissy McMahon - as they made it four Antrim SHC titles on the spin at the expense of Cushendall at Corrigan Park.
The outsiders had put in a huge shift and were right in contention until McMahon profited from space finally opening up for Dunloy, ensuring that the defending champions remain on top in Antrim.
Cushendall couldn't have got off to a better start as just 20 seconds in, a long ball put Neil McManus in and although Ryan Elliott saved, Cormac McClafferty swept home.
Space was at a premium with Cushendall flooding the middle sector and this tactic was paying off as they led 1-02 to 0-01 with Eoghan Campbell landing a great score.
Dunloy began to get into gear with Aaron Crawford and Keelan Molloy finding their range alongside Conal Funning as they drew level and the sides were neck and neck as Cunning and McManus traded scores.
It just seemed Dunloy were beginning to find their groove with Nigel Elliott bursting through at pace to score after Eamon Smyth had put them in the lead for the first time.
They really ought to have had a goal on 29 minutes when Cunning popped off to the unmarked Ryan McGarry who swept wide right in front of the posts. They would be made to pay as straight after, a long free from Neil McManus dropped short and Sean McAfee just got enough on it to see the ball over the line, helping Cushendall into a 2-06 to 0-11 half-time lead.
It remained tight after the break with Cunning levelling early, but Cushendall were managing to stay ahead thanks to McAfee and a magical pointed sideline by McManus.
Ruairi Og led by two on 46 minutes, but they began to lose their way in attack with the wides stacking up. Crucially, they went scoreless for 10 minutes and in that time Dunloy moved three points clear with just four minutes left.
A McManus point left two in it before a huge moment arrived in stoppage time as the ball squatted away from Ryan Elliott with Fergus McCambridge there to gather and shoot towards goal, but Phelim Duffin cleared off the line with Dunloy going up the pitch for Keelan Molloy to point.
It was still a one-score game, but with Cushendall pushing up and room finally appearing for Dunloy, a long ball saw McMahon through to goal and seal the title for the Cuchullains.
Dunloy: R Elliott; P Duffin, R McGarry (0-01), O Quinn; A Crawford (0-01), Kevin Molloy, E Smyth (0-01); P Shiels, E McFerran; R Molloy, G McTaggart, N Elliott (0-01); Keelan Molloy (0-03), C Cunning (0-11, 0-09fs, 0-01 '65; S Elliott (0-01).
Subs: C McMahon (1-01) for G McTaggart (30), A McGrath for N Elliott (60).
Cushendall: E Gillan; L Gillan, P Burke; M Donaghy; S Walsh, E Campbell (0-01), R McAteer; A Delargy, R McCambridge; C McClafferty (1-00), S McAfee (1-01), N McCormack (0-01); A McNaughton, N McManus (0-07, 0-05fs, 0-01 ‘65), F McCurry (0-01).
Subs: C McNaughton for S McAfee (37), F McCambridge for C McClafferty (44), P McGill for F McCurry (57), C Carson for A McNaughton (60+2).
Referee: Kevin Parke (Naomh Éanna).
In Armagh, Middletown made it four titles in a row after a high-scoring 1-19 to 2-12 win over perennial rivals Keady at the Athletic Grounds.
Keady made the brighter start with three of the first four points through Shea Harvey, Tomás Galvin and Conor Corvan – and it got even better as Connor Renaghan's goal had them four points clear after five minutes.
That lead was out to seven thanks to a Fionntán Donnelly double either side of another Galvin score, but they were unable to maintain that momentum as the holders hit nine points without reply, free-taker Dean Gaffney responsible for five of those.
That left them 0-11 to 1-07 ahead at the break with Donnelly breaking Keady’s scoreless run just before the turnaround.
🏆 Comhghairdeas le @middletowngac Armagh Senior Hurling Champions 2022.#ArmaghClub22 pic.twitter.com/LaIBDOb4FB— Armagh_GAA (@Armagh_GAA) October 16, 2022
Middletown’s Nathan Curry and Keady’s Barry Molloy exchanged scores at the start of the second half before Keady moved back in front with their second goal, Seán Colton with the green flag.
Middletown struck for a goal of their own soon after through the experienced Ryan Gaffney to move three points clear.
Keady dug in though to draw level with three scores, and the sides were still level, 1-15 to 2-12, entering the final 10 minutes.
But it was Middletown who grabbed the initiative in the final stages with the last four scores through Dean Gaffney, Curry, Ben Toal and Cahal Carvill.