Cushendall's late surge enough to see off Portaferry in Ulster hurling semi-final
Cushendall (Antrim) 4-28 Portaferry 3-19 (Down)
Cushendall managed to find an extra gear in extra-time as they pulled away from Portaferry in what turned out to be a thrilling Ulster senior club semi-final at the Box-It Athletic Grounds in Armagh.
It seemed that the Down champions were eon course for a shock win in normal time when leading by five late on and three deep in stoppage time thanks to their ability to find the net, but as he has done countless times before, Neil McManus - who led the way with 1-14 - buried a last-gasp free to force extra-time where Joe McLaughlin hit two majors of his own and set -up Alex Delargy for another.
The margin of victory was extremely cruel on Portaferry, but perhaps the psychological blow of seeing victory slip from them in normal tie played a part with Cushendall making the most of their reprieve.
Portaferry were quicker to get to the pitch of the game and they were rewarded with Paudy Doran pointing a free and Caolan Taggart thumping over from play.
Neil McManus got Cushendall on the board with a 65 seven minutes in after Taggart had prevented Joe McLaughlin from finding the net and although Daithi Sands found his range at the other end, McManus and McLaughlin would bring the Antrim champions level.
Indeed, Cushendall will have been disappointed with the amount of chances they passed up in the opening period with nine wides, one of those coming when Alex Delargy overcooked a pass into Sean McAfee who couldn't control when stretching high to gather.
Portaferry would made the most of a goal chance of their own on 12 minutes as an exquisite reverse pass from Daithi Sands into his brother Eoghan put him in and although he was fouled, Niall Milligan followed in to divert to the net.