Lámh Dhearg recover from nightmare start to overcome St Gall's
By Anthony Gunning
LÁMH Dhearg recovered from a nightmare start to overcome St Gall’s in a thrilling Antrim SFC quarter-final at Corrigan Park last night.
Two goals in a minute from Niall O’Neill and CJ McGourty helped St Gall’s into an early 2-1 to 0-0 lead after just three minutes, but Lámh Dhearg battled back superbly and after Conor and Ryan Murray pointed in reply to O’Neill and Brendan Bradley points, the Hannahstown side stormed into the game when Ciaran Flaherty finished off a superb move on 11 minutes.
St Gall’s continued to lead the way and they were five ahead as the game approached the break when Flaherty kicked a fine score and then on 30 minutes, a great ball in from the right saw Conor Murray get his fist to the pass and divert it into the net to leave just one in it at the break, with St Gall’s leading 2-6 to 2-5 after a breathless opening half.
Paddy Cunningham kicked a couple of early frees after the break to give Lámh Dhearg their first lead, but this game was nip-and-tuck in the third quarter with a Cunningham free on 47 minutes leaving the sides all square at 2-10 apiece.
St Gall’s seemed to take charge when CJ McGourty fired over a beauty from range followed by another from Micky Pollock, but on 53 minutes the momentum swung again with Nugent’s shot for a point dropping short. Conor Murray read the ball to perfection to rise above Chris Kerr and divert it into the net to make it 3-10 to 2-12.
Ryan Murray and Cunningham added points as the game entered stoppage-time and while McGourty tapped over a free to leave just two between the sides, he was to see red for back-chat to the referee, with Lámh Dhearg breaking away and Flaherty thumping over the insurance score to seal a famous win for the Hannahstown men – their first over St Gall’s in the championship football since 1999 – and book a place in the last four.
Lámh Dhearg: P Cunningham (0-8, 0-7 frees), C Murray (2-1), C Flaherty (1-2), R Murray
(0-2), D Nugent (0-1, 45)
St Gall’s: CJ McGourty (1-5, 0-2 frees),
N O’Neill (1-1), M Cummings (0-2), B Bradley (0-2, 0-1 free), M Pollock (0-1), J McGreevy
(0-1), K McGourty (0-1)
Erin’s Own, Cargin.... 0-16
St Mary’s, Aghagallon.... 1-8
Holders Cargin reached the last four of the Antrim SFC at Ahoghill last night, but they didn’t have it all their own way.
The sides traded early scores through Shane Russell and Tomás McCann before the holders took a grip on proceedings and raced into a 0-6 to 0-2 lead midway through the opening half thanks to scores from McCann (two), Justin Crozier, John Carron and Ciaran Close.
Aghagallon dominated the remainder of the half with Ciaran Magee (two), Ruairi McCann and Oisin Lenehan all on target as they trailed by just one, 0-7 to 0-6, at the break.
The St Mary’s men had the perfect start to the second period when Mark McKenna goaled just three minutes after the restart, but the defending champions responded superbly to draw level hanks to two McCann points and he was to add another four with Close also chipping in to move them five clear before Aghagallon hit their first score in 24 minutes through Paul Mulholland.
Cargin responded through Tony Scullion and marched on.
Cargin: T McCann (0-10),
C Close (0-3), J Crozier,
J Carron, T Scullion (0-1 each)
Aghagallon: M McKenna (1-0), C Magee
(0-2), R McCann, S Russell, C O’Neill,
O Lenehan, P Mulholland, D Marshall (0-1 each)