Northern Switchgear Antrim Senior Football Championship Group 2
Lámh Dhearg 1-11-0-11 St Johns
By Kevin Herron from Hannahstown
Brendan Herron came up with the decisive score upon his Championship return as his goal helped Lámh Dhearg to a 1-11-0-11 win over St Johns at Hannahstown this afternoon.
In a nip and tuck encounter that hadn’t more than two-points between the sides for large periods former Ballinascreen player Herron marked his return with a palmed finish from Ryan Murray’s assist.
To compound the Johnnies misery goalkeeper Ciaran McCloy was dismissed in the aftermath.
Ryan Murray would also depart late-on after picking up a second yellow-card and despite a late charge by the visitors it was the Hannahstown side who held on for victory.
Much anticipation surrounded the clash between the 2017 finalists and it was Lámh Dhearg who drew first blood from a converted Ryan Murray free.
Paddy McBride replied from the same scenario for St Johns but Eoin McKeown steered the ball into the path of Michael Herron who pointed and after brother Brendan was fouled- Ryan Straney converted the resulting free to put his side 0-03-0-01 to the good.
St Johns responded once again through back to back Paddy McBride frees- though again Lámh Dhearg led as Conor Murray broke the resulting kick-out for Marc Jordan and was waiting to take the ball back and point.
Younger sibling Ryan converted his second free of the half to have the Lámhs 0-05-0-03 ahead at the water-break.
The games flow continued with back to back frees from Domhnall Nugent, Nugent was felled by Marc McGarry and converted the resulting free and after older brother Padraig was brought to ground by Ryan Straney- Domhnall confidently pointed to make it 0-05 apiece.
St Johns had a marvellous chance of goal after breaking quickly Padraig Nugent slipped in Andy Magowan whose shot is repelled by John Finucane.
Instead Lámh Dhearg edged ahead after substitute Declan Dunne combined with Terry McCrudden who popped it over to ensure that his side held a narrow 0-06-0-05 lead at the midway point in proceedings.
St Johns pegged Lámh Dhearg back early in the second period after Michael Herron was adjudged to have pulled the jersey of Andy Magowan and Paddy McBride converted his fourth free of the afternoon.
It was then the turn of Ryan Murray to claim back to back points, evading heavy pressure and popping the ball over and then converting a free after Ciaran Johnston was adjudged to have lifted the ball off the deck.
Domhanll Nugent and Marc Jordan traded scores before the decisive score arrived on the 43rd minute.
Paddy Mervyn turned the ball over near midfield and popped the ball across to Ben Rice who fed Conor Murray, Murray attempted to slip in Ryan who outmuscled Liam Laverty and bore down on goal before the popping a high ball across for Brendan Herron to palm home and give the Lámhs a 1-09-0-07 lead.
Confusion then reined as referee Sean Laverty approached his umpire for a chat- after which Johnnies shot-stopper Ciaran McCloy was given a straight red-card and Pearce Donnelly occupied the goalkeeping gloves.
Despite their numerical disadvantage the Johnnies tagged on three-successive frees from Paddy McBride to leave a goal separating the sides in injury-time.
Momentum was very much with the Whiterock Road side and Lámh Dhearg looked slightly nervy but Declan Lynch appeared to have eased any nerves with a fine angled point.
It was level on the player county shortly after as Ryan Murray received his marching orders for a second bookable offence.
Domhnall Nugent responded at the other end with only his sides second point from play of the afternoon.
It wasn’t enough however as Brendan Herron’s goal proved the difference upon his Hannahstown return.
The Johnnies will hope for an immediate response when they take on rivals Rossa at Corrigan Park on Wednesday evening (7.30 throw-in).
Lámh Dhearg: J Finucane, M McGarry, P Mervyn, B Rice, D Lynch (0-01), M Herron (0-01), K Quinn, P Fitzsimons, M Jordan (0-01), E McKeown, R Straney (0-01f), C Murray (0-01), R Murray (0-05, 0-03f), B Herron (1-00), T McCrudden (0-01). Subs: D Dunne for R Straney (21), E Matassa for B Rice (47), C Maxwell for E McKeown (57), C Nolan for M McGarry (61).
St Johns: C McCloy, C Garland, C Carson, J Bohill, P Nugent, L Laverty, C Johnston, R McNulty, D Nugent (0-04, 0-02f), C Bohill, C Johnston, C McEvoy, A McGowan, P McBride (0-07f), C McGlade. Subs: L McCurdy for C Johnston (HT), C Kelly for L McCurdy (33), P Donnelly for A McGowan (39), S Wilson for C McGlade (48).
Referee: Sean Laverty (Moneyglass)