by Aimee McAtamney
Glen Rovers Armoy 1.10 Tír na nÓg 1.15
A Man of the match performance from Kevin Sheerin and a personal tally of 1-11 inspired Tir Na nOg to victory in a bruising ACHL Division 2 battle in Armoy on Sunday. In difficult conditions Tír na nOg started with the wind on their backs and Sean Duffin had the first shot of the game but his effort floated right of the post. After a short puck out from McBride, Pearse Sheerin turned the ball over and put it over the bar for the first score of the game. 30 seconds later Armoy responded with a point of their own through Jonathon McErlain. In the opening minutes Pearse Sheerin caused havoc from centre half forward and won a free which brother Kevin stroked over the bar after 4 minutes to give his side a lead they were not again to lose. Both teams threatened with no luck with Thomas Burns and Pearse Sheerin hitting wides. Ronan O’Neill got the ball rolling again in the 6th minute when he flicked a ball out of the corner to Kevin Sheerin stroked it over the bar. After missing a free, the ball broke back out to Kevin “Skimper” Sheerin who popped the ball to Ciaran McKeown who split the uprights and with Sheerin involved in everything that the visitors could muster the momentum was now with the Whitehill side. With the wind on their backs Tír na nÓg continued to push forward with further wides from Pearse Sheerin and Caoimhin Duffin and then Ronan O’Neill had his second shot only to see it drop short but Kevin Sherrin reacted quickly and pulled on the ball to find the back of the net with 9 minutes gone. Ronan McCarry tried to lift the Armoy men’s spirits from mid field only to see one shot go wide and a second drop short where Owen Kinney pulled across Caoimhin Duffin in the square. In the altercation that ensued Thomas Burns picked up a yellow card.
County full back John Dillon was acting as a sweeper against the strong breeze and saw his first attempt go wide. After 18 minutes O’Neill won a free which Sheerin dropped short, luckily the ball went out for a 65′ and he made no mistake of putting it over the bar second time around. Burns and McErlain linked up well for Armoy in an impressive 1-2 down the field but Daniel Martin stood strong and knocked the ball out for another 65′ where McErlain failed to find the target. Ciaran Logan was causing headaches for the home team with his speed, going through on goal he was dragged down and Sheerin again displayed his radar accuracy as he converted on 21minutes. A minute later Logan found the posts himself and got Tír na nÓg’s 7th point of the half but they weren’t finished yet. Colm Duffin held his defence together strong from centre half back and after being tackled around the neck by Ciaran McErlain he won a free and handed it to ‘Skimper’ Sherrin who hit the blues 6th wide of the half. As a result of this tackle brother Caoimhin Duffin received a yellow card for speaking back to the referee. Armoy got their second and final point of the half from Burns after 25minutes however McCarry continued to drive his team forward but super tackling from Ciaran McKeown and Colm Duffin forced him to strike the ball wide. From the puck out full back Charles McCormick picked the ball of the ground and once more free taker Sherrin pointed from the dead ball. Ciaran McErlain and Liam Dillon now tried to break down the visitors defence but brothers Daniel and Tony Martin had other ideas and cleared their line well. Tír na nÓg would finish the stronger of the half when Armoy were penalised for hitting a side line too short, again Sheerin stepped up and put it over the bar and after the home side conceded a free the same player split the uprights again as the half time whistle sounded.
As the second half action got under way Jonathan McErlain pulled a point back for Armoy and John Dillon also found the target, and with the wind now firmly at their backs the Armoy side were beginning to get a foothold in the game. Using the wind to their advantage Armoy began to play long balls into their full forward line and after a goal mouth scramble keeper Kerr knocked the ball out for a 65′. The visitors responded on 36 minutes when Conor Fitzgerald was fouled and Sheerin hit a short free to Sean Duffin who hit a fine strike straight over the black spot. Armoy responded and Burns found Dillon and though he was dragged down in the square he still managed to find the back of the net to reduce the gap to seven points.
Sheerin steadied the ship when he hit his 8th point of the game from a free but the introduction of substitute Trevor Linton, who went straight into full forward which gave Owen Kinney a more roaming role. This worked to their favour when he put the ball over the bar on 43minutes and narrowly missed the post immediately after. Tir na nOg responded and following a foul on Ciaran McKeown as he bore down on goal the ever reliable ‘Skimper’ Sherrin stepped up to punish the indiscretion and put a little bit of daylight between the sides.
The North Antrim men had the bit now firmly between their teeth and Ronan McCarry found Kinney on the edge of the square only for Kevin Kerr to pull off a great diving save to knock the sliotar out for a 65′ which Dillon converted. On fifty-three minutes a change in free taker seen Conor O’Kane knock the ball over the bar to reduce the gap to four and Tir Na nOg were battling hard to contain a rampant home attack.
Dillon took the game by the scruff of the neck and knocked a 65′ over the bar to narrow the visitors lead to just three and as the tempo increased the Tír na nÓg defence stood firm and forced PJ McBride to over carry as he went through on goal. The visitors, who were coming under relentless pressure brought McKeown back to help out his defence was fouled as he broke from defence and Sean Duffin sent a long ball into the edge of the Armoy square where the shot was blocked down by keeper McBride. Kevin Sheerin, who had moved in on the edge of the square in an attempt to win the high ball, reacted quickest as the ball broke and he struck an unstoppable shot off the ground and it whizzed over the Armoy crossbar. A minute later the man of the match brought his tally to 0-11 when converted yet another free from close range and seal the win, and the league points.
Tir na Nog
1-K. Kerr 2. S. Carey 3. T. Martin 4. D. Martin 5. C. Fitzgerald 6. Colm Duffin 7. Caoimhin Duffin 8. E.Martin 9. S. Duffin 10. C.Mckeown 11. P. Sheerin 12. C. Logan 13. R. O’Neill 14. K. Sheerin 15. K. McCann 17. D. Mallon 18. N. Shannon 18. E. Heffron
Scorers: K. Sheerin (1.11- 7frees/2 65’s), P. Sheerin (0:1), R. O’Neill (0.1), C. McKeown (0.1), C. Logan (0.1), S. Duffin (0.1
J. McBride 2. A. Devlin 3. C. McCormick 4. R. McErlain 5. C. McErlain 6. D. McPeake 7. M. McErlain 8. L. Dillon 9. R. McCarry 10. J. Dillon 11. T. Burns 12. J. McErlain 13. C. O’Kane 14. O. Kinney 15. PJ McBride 16. C. Devlin 17. T. Linton 18. C. McCormick 19. R. Stewart 20. S. Devlin 22. D. McMichael 24. F. McBride 25. S. McCarry
Scorers: J. Dillon (1.5- 1 65), J. McErlain (0.2), T. Burns (0.1), O. Kinney (0.1), C. O’Kane (0.1-free)