Antrim U21 Football Championship
Lámh Dhearg 1-11
Rossa edged this keenly contested contest at Woodlands thanks to second half goals fromDaire Matthews and Michael McGreevey, despite a goal from the penalty spot by Owen McKeown for the Hannastown side they withstood a late rally to claim their first win in this year’s championship.
Lamh Dhearg will rue a series of misses throughout the hour and Indeed, the Hannahstown men were the better team for much of the opening half.
Owen McKeown punished early fouls as he slotted over three frees for his side while Matthews landed Rossa’s first of the game.
Cameron Flynn opened Lámh Dhearg’s account from play, but Gerard Walsh replied at the other end, finishing off a slick counter attack.
It was the Hannastown side who were enjoying the better of the early exchanges however as midfielder John Boyd fired over an excellent long-range score as the Red Hands moved 0-5 to 0-2 ahead after 13 mins.
Remarkably, Boyd’s point would prove to be Lámh Dhearg’s last of the half as their shooting started to let them down and they hit a number of wides for the remainder of the first half.
Eoghan McMenamin placed Niall Crossan from a quick free for the wing-back to slot over before Matthews cut the gap to a point with a well-taken point.
At the other end, Lámh Dhearg’s just couldn’t buy a score despite promising approach play as they became increasingly erratic in front of the posts.
With four minutes of the half remaining, Rossa drew level when Crossan and Cormac McGettigan set up McMenamin for a point which tied the game at 0-5 each.
The Hannahstown men edged ahead again on the restart with full-forward Flynn landing a good scores before corner-back Ross Murray added another moments later and Lamh Dhearg looked to be back in form.
Two fine points from Cormac Murray and McGreevey drew Rossa level once more before Flynn was played through on goal at the other end by Morgan Pettigrew. However, his shot flew over the crossbar, rather than under it.
Rossa then struck with a great score from wing-back James Cooley.
Having taken possession on the half-way line, Cooley darted along the near sideline before cutting inside his man and unleashing a stunning long-range effort which curled inside the post at the last second.
This scored seemed too inspire the Shaw’s Road side as they hit
a purple patch which turned the game in their favour.
McGreevey followed it up with the game’s first goal when his powerful drive was deflected into the top corner of the net by the luck-less Lámh Dhearg full-back Jack Trainor.
Two minutes later Rodssa struck another telling blow as Cooley played a neat one-two with McGettigan before passing inside to Matthews, who finished well to put his side 2-8 to 0-8 ahead with 41 minutes played.
Centre-back Declan Smyth landed a much-needed score for the Red Hands while Michael Byrne made a smart save to deny Boyd moments later.
McMenamin then had a chance to plunder his side’s third goal, but he shot wide.
Rossa suffered a blow when midfielder Murray picked up a second yellow for a needless foul on 50 minutes but they had a fairly comfortable lead and, although midfielders Daire Larkin and Boyd landed points from play for Lámh Dhearg, they were cancelled out each time by points from the excellent McGreevey.
Lámh Dhearg were awarded a penalty on the hour mark following a Cooley foot block to deny Boyd’s shot on goal.
McKeown stepped up to take the spot-kick, but his effort was saved by Byrne. Yet, the Rossa ’keeper could do little to stop McKeown from scoring from the rebound.
Deep in injury-time, Lámh Dhearg attempted to snatch the win with a late free, but Bryne was equal to McKeown’s effort and there wasn’t time for the Red Hands to take the resulting 45.
O’DONOVAN ROSSA: M Byrne; M Smith, G McGrath, M McIvor; J Cooley (0-1), M McGreevey (1-3), N Crossan (0-1); G Walsh (0-1), C Murray (0-1); C McGettigan, E McMenamin (0-1), C McDonald; D Matthews (1-2), R O’Neill, M Cunningham.
Subs: L Fitzsimons for Cunningham (35mins), P Curran for McDonald (47mins).
LAMH DHEARG: B Rice; R Fegan, J Trainor, R Murray (0-1); N McParland, D Smyth (0-1), R Diamond; D Larkin (0-1), J Boyd (0-2); JJ Hawkins, O McKeown (1-3, 0-3fs), A Cunningham; P Fegan, C Flynn (0-3), M Pettigrew.
REFEREE: E Hamill (St Teresa’s)