Second-half display sees Lamhs into decider

U-21 B Football Championship semi-final

Lamh Dhearg 1-16-1-10 Aldergrove

From Kevin Herron at Colaiste Feirste

Lamh Dhearg turned in a solid second-half display to shrug off the challenge of Aldergrove and book their place in the next weekends U-21 B football final after defeating the Crumlin side 1-16-1-10 at Colaiste Feirste this afternoon.

A John Boyd goal had given the Hannahstown men the advantage – having trailed earlier on but Aldergrove regained the lead through a tidy finish from Caoimhin McConnell. The sides would eventually finish the half all square at 1-06 apiece.

Four early successive points after the restart had Lamh Dhearg in the box seat from the outset with Mark Finnegan contributing some glorious scores and try as they might, Aldergrove couldn’t force their way back into the proceedings as the Lamhs progress to a meeting with St Galls in next weekends decider.

Both sides came into the last four clash off the back of impressive wins against Gort na Mona and Con Magee’s respectively and it was Aldergrove who hit the front early-on through an angled Conall Quinn point.

Ciaran Keating replied at the other end to level things up but Adrian Mulholland popped the ball over the restore his sides earlier advantage.

With ten minutes on the clock the opening goal arrived at Colaiste Feirste, Declan Dunne’s free was tailing wide though Ross Murray kept possession in at the byline and tried to muscle his way to towards the target- the ball broke and John Boyd was on-hand to rifle the ball to the roof of the net past Oisin McGarry to make it 1-01-0-02.

Mark Finnegan converted his first free of the afternoon shortly afterwards, though back to back points from full-forward Kian Jones put the minimum between the sides midway through the half.

Aldergrove moved the ball around slickly during the opening thirty minutes and on 17 minutes cut the Lamh Dhearg defence open with Caoimhin McConnnell on hand to apply the low finish past Daniel Hartley to edge his side 1-04-1-02 ahead.

The Lamhs responded positively to their set-back and were quickly back on terms through successive scores from corner-forward Brendan Cunningham.

Kian Jones third point of the half nudged his side in front for the third time in proceedings, though Mark Finnegan brought his tally to 0-03 from the placed ball; converting back to back free within the space of sixty seconds and the Lamhs were 1-06-1-05 to the good.

But just before the break an excellent point from Conor Morris ensured that it was level pegging at the interval with the teams tied at 1-06 apiece.

Lamh Dhearg hit the front within sixty seconds of the restart as Mark Finnegan converted from the placed ball and John Boyd curled over an excellent point to double their sides lead.

Finnegan landed the most impressive of his afternoon’s scores from out by the sideline and it drifted all the way over – with Boyd adding his second point of the half as the Lamhs opened up a 1-10-1-06 lead.

Aldergrove refused to surrender though an halved the deficit through successive points from goalscorer McConnell.

Lamh Dhearg restored their four-point advantage as Mark Finnegan added two further points, the first of which came from play before kicking his sixth placed ball off the afternoon.

The game then entered a ten minute scoreless period which saw Aldergrove take the game to the Lamhs though a solid defence wasn’t to be breached with infectious and hard working Aaron Ferris turning over a couple of dangerous opportunities and setting his side on the front foot.

Eventually it was Finnegan who ended the games scoreless run through a free and Johns Boyd then popped the ball between the sticks after some smart work by Declan Dunne.

Conor Morris doubled his tally for the afternoon and Aldergrove almost had a grandstand finish on the cards when a high ball towards towering substitute Padraig Hanna caused confusion and Jack Summersgill almost turned the ball into his own-net but turned it behind at the expense of a 45’ – much to the relief of Summersgill and goalkeeper Daniel Hartley.

Mark Finnegan and Mervyn added injury-time points before Declan Gough kicked a consolation point for Aldergrove as it was Lamh Dhearg who prevailed to ensure they made the U-21 decider for the third year in succession – having lost the previous two (A final v Rossa, 2017 and B final v Moneyglass, 2018) they will be hoping it will be third time lucky on this occasion when they take on St Galls.

Lamh Dhearg: D Hartley, S McCullough, R Fegan, A Ferris, R Murray, D Smith, J Summersgill, E Mervyn (0-02), D Dunne, JJ Hawkins, M Finnegan (0-09, 0-08f), C Keating (0-01), B Cunningham (0-02), J Boyd (1-03), A Cunningham. Subs: M Pettigrew for A Cunningham (42).

Aldergrove: O McGarry, O Creaney, C Fogarty, L Rooney, D Gough (0-01), A Mulholland (0-01), F Hanna, D Bell, O Graham, C Morris (0-02), C McConnell (1-02), C Totten, C Quinn (0-01), K Jones (0-03), E Masterson. Subs: F McDonagh for E Masterson Black card (23), P Hanna for C Totten (50).

Referee: Sean Laverty (Moneyglass)

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