Burt fall once again to Antrim champions in first round of Ulster Intermediate Hurling Championship

Burt fell at the first hurdle when losing to O’Donovan Rossa in the Ulster Intermediate Club Hurling Championship in Ballybofey.

Burt fell at the first hurdle when losing to O’Donovan Rossa in the Ulster Intermediate Club Hurling Championship in Ballybofey.

O’Donovan Rossa 1-17

Burt 3-7

For the second year in-a-row they have lost out in the first round to the Antrim champions. Last year, it was Creggan Kickhams who were their conquerors and they went all the way to claim the Ulster title and on the evidence of this showing O’Donovan Rossa - Ulster senior champions in 2004 - could go all the way again this year.

The men from the Shaw’s Road in Belfast were the better and more stylish hurlers. But Burt, renowned for their battling qualities and never say die attitude, were with them all the way.

It took a late scoring salvo from O’Donovan Rossa, including a 57th minute goal from second half substitute Pearse Finnucane, to finally clinch the place in the last four of the championship.

The Antrim men came from behind in the last ten minutes after twice being rocked by third quarter goals from Burt and their player manager Ardal McDermott. The first of McDermott’s strikes was a bizzare goal, as it came after referee Noel Mullaney from Monaghan seemed to blow up after a mad scramble in the O’Donovan Rossa goal mouth. But as the official made his way towards the goalmouth the ball broke and McDermott pulled first time and the green flag was raised.

And the goal stood after the referee consulted with his umpires. That was on 43 minutes and it tied up the game for the third time Burt 2-6, O’Donovan Rossa, 0-12.

The sides had also been level at half-time, Burt 1-6, O’Donovan Rossa, 0-9. Jonathan McGrath had struck for the first Burt goal three minutes before half-time when a long delivery into the O’Donovan Rossa goal area was broken by Stephen Boyle.

The goal edged Burt ahead for the first time 1-6 to 0-7, before Stephen and Shane Shannon knocked over points for the Belfast side to send the sides in all square at break.

Overall the first half was a pretty even affair with Michael Armstrong, Stephen Beaty and Michael Turley all landing points and Nial Campbell from frees, four in all, and Stephen Boyle and Christopher McDermott posting points for the Inishowen men.

Finnucane and Turley responded to Burt’s second goal with good scores and the Antrim men, playing with the aid of a stiffish breeze, seemed to have assumed control ahead as they led 0-14 to 2-6 as the entered the final quarter.

But the fat was in the fire again and Burt were back in front on 49 minutes when McDermott was on the end of another long delivery to first time to the O’Donovan Rossa net.

And Burt were two up when Campbelll pointed his first from play with ten minutes remaining.

But that proved to be Burt’s last salvo and it was the Antrim champions who finished the stronger with points from Stephen Shannon, Finnucane and Declan Murphy and the goal for Finnucane.

Burt: P Burns; D Grant, M McGrath, J Downey; C Dowds, J Boyle, P Doherty; C McDermott (0-1), A McDermott (2-0); J McGrath (1-0), S Boyle (0-1), N Campbell (0-5,4f); R McDermott, M McCann, E McDermott.

O’Donovan Rossa: C McDermott; K McDonnell, E O’Neill, A Orchin; J McGuinness, C McClelland, Stephen Shannon (0-2,2f); T Morgan, M Devlin; S Deegan, M Armstrong (0-2), C McGuinness; Shane Shannon(0-5,5f), S Beatty(0-3), M Turley (0-2). Subs: G Walsh for T Morgan; P Finnucane (1-2,1f) for Shane Shannon; D Murphy (0-1) for S Deegan; C McVeigh for M Devlin.

Referee: N Mullaney (Monaghan).