By Michael McMullan
A GREGORY O’Kane free saw Dunloy clinch victory with the last puck of the 2003 county final to clinch the four-in-a-row in the dying embers of their clash with Loughgiel.
Now as Dunloy boss, he leads his native club to Corrigan Park on Sunday in search of a similar feat after a new-look side emerged from their underage production line.
Dunloy have failed to make the breakthrough on the Ulster stage, but they have a chance to get back in the provincial race when they take on Cushendall on Sunday in a repeat of 2019 decider when they unseated the ‘Dall as champions.
Dunloy accounted for Ballycastle, Rossa and Carey in the group stages before a convincing semi-final win over the Johnnies.
Conal Cunning (3-7) and Keelan Molloy (1-3) – two of their county contingent – were on song and will figure prominently in Cushendall manager Brian Delargy’s thoughts this week.
It’s their lively attack that have kept them ahead of the game, with their sizeable county contingent having the extra bonus of hurling all year round.
Goalkeeper Ryan Elliott and Ryan McGarry form a strong spine at the back.
They’ll need to be on their guard against Neil McManus and Sean McAfee in the Cushendall attack, with Christy McNaughton also in the mix as their impact against Loughgiel in the semi-final.
Close to a dozen of Gregory O’Kane’s squad were on football duty last weekend in their Intermediate Championship final win over Glenravel, with hurling dangermen Molloy and Cunning amassing all but four points of their 0-14.
The chasing pack have got closer in the race to land the Volunteer Cup, but Dunloy are fancied to take a fourth successive title.