Lámhs stage late fight back to down Emmet’s

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Lamh Dhearg’s Michael Herron holds off a Cushendun challenge

By Kevin Herron

Robert Emmet’s, Cushendun 1-18-4-11 Lámh Dhearg

It was déjà vu at Cushendun on Sunday afternoon as Lámh Dhearg staged yet another late show against the Emmet’s to claim two crucial league points which could prove vital come the end of the league campaign as the red hands battle to claim their place in division three next season.

The last time the sides met in the Antrim junior hurling final at Armoy in September the Emmet’s had overturned a three point lead at the break and looked to be heading to junior championship success, only for Michael Herron to find the net from a late free and Domhnall Nugent to convert another to bring the trophy to Hannahstown.

There mightn’t have been the prize of a championship trophy dangled in front of either side on Sunday, but both sides served up a spectacle on the coast on Sunday afternoon. Despite goals from Micky McGuigan, Mark Finnegan and Conor McConville sending Lámh Dhearg in seven points ahead at half-time, Cushendun thought back and led through substitute Liam Hamilton’s 41st minute strike.

The Emmet’s had moved into a four point lead before the Lámhs battled back and with less than two minutes to go substitute Joe Doone unleashed a low drive which found the net. Mark Finnegan added the insurance point though the Lamhs had to negotiate almost six minutes of injury time in which referee Ryan O’Reilly failed to ender himself to either side. First appearing to signal for a Cushendun penalty in injury-time and then changing his mind to award a 21-yard free instead much to the dismay of the Emmet’s faithful.

Both sides traded early scores with Dominic McQuillan converting an Emmet’s free within the first sixty seconds only for Aidan McGuigan to quickly level for the Lámhs.

On four minutes it was the turn of the other McGuigan on the Hannahstown side to show his worth as Aidan’s brother Michael doubled upon Brendan McComb’s forward ball and found the net past Eoin Magee to make it 1-01-0-01.

Conleth McNeill responded with a second converted free for the Emmet’s and that was followed by a point from play Matthew McCartin before McNeill struck a twelfth minute free to level the game at 1-01-0-04.

Lámh Dhearg responded again however through the influential Domhnall Nugent who struck from play and then a converted free within seconds to put his side two ahead.

A point from Dominic McQuillan halved the deficit, but within seconds Lámh Dhearg’s young prodigy Mark Finnegan got in behind the Emmet’s full-back line and drove the ball past a helpless Eoin Magee to put his side 2-03-0-05 in front.

Harry Kilgore responded with a point, though it was Kilgore’s team mates at the back who were letting the front men down as ten minutes from the break Lámhs corner-forward Conor McConville poked the ball home at the back stick to give the Hannahstown men a 3-03-0-06 lead.

Cushendun once again responded through Kilgore and a converted Conleth McNeill free, but it was Lámh Dhearg who ended the half stronger with Nugent hitting two points; one from a free and the other from play, with Brendan McComb finding range in between to give the Lámhs a 3-06-0-08 half-time lead.

Cushendun made a blistering start to the second period, winning the break ball and pointing through Harry Kilgore to start their fight back and before sixty seconds had elapsed Dominic McQuillan added a second.

Domhnall Nugent replied for the Lámhs who were struggling to maintain their tempo from the opening half, Conleth McNeill added the Emmet’s third point inside the opening three minutes with a converted free and Aidan Delargy added another from play as the comeback trail gathered momentum.

Dominic McQuillan added another point from play and McNeill another free to leave two between the sides until eleven minutes into the second-half when Delargy’s cut back fell to substitute Liam Hamilton who found time and space to blast past Paddy Joe Herron and into the Lámh Dhearg net to give his side a 1-14-3-07 lead.

McQullian then added a further point from a free to put the Emmet’s two ahead with Nugent quickly replying from the same scenario for the Hannahstown contingent.

The Emmet’s had stemmed the first-half tide and with ten minutes to go led by four-points, the lively Dominic McQuillan was recipient of two scores with McNeill adding the third in between from a converted free to make the score 1-18-3-08.

Lámh Dhearg appeared to be down on their luck with second half wides from Aidan McGuigan, Finnegan, Nugent and Paddy Mervyn. However, Brendan McComb landed his second point of the afternoon with five minutes to go to give his side a chance.

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Nugent halved the deficit with a converted free and with a minute and a half remaining Lámh Dhearg completed what looked to be an unlikely comeback as substitute Joe Doone showed his strength and made time and space for a low shot which whistled past Eoin Magee and into the corner of the net to make it 4-10-1-18 for Lámh Dhearg.

The Hannashtown men needed to stay strong at the back and they did with the outstanding Sean Paul Gibson playing a pivotal role alongside Mark Lynch and Chris Nolan in the full-back line and Charlie McCloskey coming back to help alongside the experienced and strong half-back line of Terry McCrudden, Michael Herron and Cathal Kelly.

Mark Finnegan landed the final score of the game in the first minute of injury-time to make it 4-11-1-18 though there was late drama in six minutes of added time as referee Ryan O’Reilly appeared to signal for a penalty after a tangle between Mark Lynch and Liam Hamilton to the frustration of the Lámh Dhearg players. O’Reilly then angered the Emmet’s faithful by awarding a 21-yard free instead.

When protests were finally at an end Conleth McNeill saw his low drive repelled by Cathal Kelly on the crowded Lámh Dhearg goal line and when the ball was eventually scrambled away O’Reilly awarded another close range free, take two was from a narrower angle but McNeill was denied again and after seeing the ball to relative safety O’Reilly blew his final whistle and Lámh Dhearg held on to claim the two-points on offer and boost their hopes of claiming a place in division three next season.

Cushendun: E Magee, S Hamilton, A Corbert, M Dunne, L Morgan, O McMahon, P Bannon, E McQuillan, M McCartin (0-01), H Kilgore (0-03), C McNeill (0-06f), D McQuillan (0-07, 0-02f), J Morgan, S McNeill, A Delargy (0-01). Subs: L Hamilton (1-00) for S McNeill.

Lámh Dhearg: PJ Herron, SP Gibson, M Lynch, C Nolan, T McCrudden, M Herron, C Kelly, P Mervyn, B McComb (0-02), A McGuigan (0-01), C McCloskey, D Nugent (0-07, 0-05f), C McConville (1-00), M McGuigan (1-00), M Finnegan (1-01). Subs: J Doone (1-00) for C McConville.

Referee: R O’Reilly.

 

 

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