Antrim Senior Reserve Football – Group 1
Lámh Dhearg 0-15-0-07 Aghagallon
By Kevin Herron from Hannahstown
An inspired second-half display saw Lámh Dhearg claim victory in their opening senior reserve Championship game over Aghagallon at Hannahstown this evening.
Only a point separated the sides in an evenly matched opening half-hour but the hosts outscored Aghagallon 10 points to 3 in the second period to ensure a perfect start to the league-format.
It took almost five minutes for the opening score to arrive on a miserable Hannahstown evening, Carl Maxwell spotted Jack Summersgill in a promising position and the full-forward popped the ball between the posts.
Steven Branagan drew Aghagallon level after some smart work from Dessie Marshall and would add a second in-between a converted Ruairi Loughran free as the visitors seized control in the opening quarter.
Francie Dugan produced a splendid score to cut arrears and the game was level after 16 minutes.
The Lámhs turned defence to attack as Christopher Nolan charged down Callum Fitzpatrick’s skewed free and Declan Straney took up the spoils, a lightning counter attack saw the ball worked into the path of Eoin Matassa who slotted the ball over at the near post to level at 0-03 apiece.
Ruairi Loughran edged Aghagallon ahead for the second time through his second converted free of the evening, although Lámh Dhearg replied instantly as Cormac Hannon slipped in Ross Murray whose offload was turned over the bar by Cameron Flynn.
On the stroke of half-time Lámh Dhearg got their noses back in front, Eoin Matassa brilliantly red a kick-out from Anselm Henry and slipped the ball to Dugan who in turn found Jack Summersgill for his second point of the half to give his side a 0-05-0-04 half-time lead.
Lámh Dhearg turned the screw at the beginning of the second-half with three unanswered points.
Midfielder duo and cousins Cormac Hannon and Daire Larkin registered the opening two scores with the impressive Francie Dugan cutting inside and producing the score.
Although the Lámh’s lead was halved thanks to successive scores in response through Conor McKavanagh and Joseph Lavelle.
The game was almost put beyond doubt as Lámh Dhearg registered a further four unanswered points in a dominant 12-minute spell.
Francis Dugan turned over a kick-out and played a one-two with Daire Larkin before conjuring up his third point of the evening.
Eoin Matassa then doubled his account for the evening after some unselfish work by Carl Maxwell who got in on the act himself. Francis Dugan then played the providers role for Cormac Hannon to give his side a six-point advantage (0-12-0-06).
Aghagallon responded for the final time as Ruairi Loughran kicked his third free of the evening but Lámh Dhearg finished strongly.
Francis Dugan added a further two points to end the evening with 0-05 to his name, in-between there was almost a goal to show but Anslem Henry was on-hand to turn Jack Summersgill’s stinging effort over the bar after substitute Ronan Fegan spotted the full-forward unmarked.
In the end it was a comfortable victory for the Hannahstown men who make the trip to Milltown next Friday evening in a top of the table clash.
Lámh Dhearg: G McKeown, C Nolan, M Lynch, P Larkin, A Ferris, D Straney, J Trainor, C Hannon (0-02), D Larkin (0-01), E Matassa (0-02), C Maxwell (0-01), F Dugan (0-05), R Murray, J Summersgill (0-03), C Flynn (0-01).
Aghagallon: A Henry, D Mulholland, A Doherty, J Harbinson, S Branagan (0-02), C Fitzpatrick, K Hamill, N McShane, N Rodgers, C McKavanagh (0-01), D Marshall, N Lavery, P Tallon, J Lavelle (0-01), R Loughran (0-03f).
Referee: Paul Burns (St Comgalls)