Creagh Concrete Senior Reserve Football Cup Group 1
Portglenone 0-14-2-14 Lámh Dhearg
From Kevin Herron at Kelly Park
At the halfway point in Group 1 of the Antrim Senior Reserve Championship there is a three-way tussle for the two-remaining semi-final spots as Lámh Dhearg inflicted a first defeat on leaders Portglenone with a 2-14-0-14 win at Kelly Park on Friday evening.
Goals in each half from Ryan Diamond and Daire Larkin saw the Hannahstown men leave with all the spoils just two days after Portglenone opened up a gap at the top with victory over St Galls.
The hosts were hoping to build on their last gasp victory on Wednesday night as third placed Lámh Dhearg visited Kelly Park looking to build on back to back wins over St Enda’s and Gort na Mona.
Lámh Dhearg were first off the mark through Aaron Ferris who took an offload from Ross Murray and popped the ball over the bar.
Portglenone replied instantly as Michael Kelly jnr slipped the ball inside to Fergal O’Kane for the equalising score.
The next scores were equally shared as a Cormac Hannon free nudged the visitors ahead again, only for Michael Kelly jnr to level.
Hannon landed his second point on the 10th minute after some neat play from Ferris and on 12 minutes the opening goal fell to Lámh Dhearg.
Jack Trainor found himself in a promising position in the area and unselfishly laid the ball off to Ryan Diamond whose deflected shot looped past Brian McManus and into the net to give his side a 1-03-0-02 lead.
Portglenone halved the deficit as Niall Kelly converted a free and Aidan McAleese turned over a kick-out and popped the ball between the posts.
Lámh Dhearg then responded with back to back scores of their own- Francis Dugan exchanged passes with Ross Murray and finished off the move with a point. Cormac Hannon then slipped a quick free to Declan Straney who took advantage to open up a four-point gap once again (1-05-0-04).
Niall Kelly and Cormac Hannon kicked frees in the aftermath and further scores were traded before the interval through Stephen Kelly and Patrick Larkin as the Lámhs held a 1-07-0-06 lead at the midway point.
Portglenone started the second period brightly with three points on the spin, Aidan McAleese started his sides purple patch- Fergal O’Kane landed a fine score shortly afterwards and Corey McLaughlin then claimed a point after a neat build-up from Michael Kelly jnr.
It took Lámh Dhearg a while to find their feet with Daniel Murray combining with Declan Straney for a point and Francie Dugan winning back possession and confidently advancing forward to score his second point of the evening.
Just 60-seconds later and the Hannahstown side found their second goal of the evening, Dugan was involved again in slipping the ball inside to Daire Larkin who blasted to the net to give his side a 2-09-0-09 advantage.
Niall Kelly kicked his third free of the evening in response but Sean-Paul Gibson immediately replied after bursting forward from defence and showing composure to get on the scoresheet.
After a short water-break Cormac Hannon claimed the resulting kick-out and fed Dugan for a point before goal scorer Daire Larkin guided a terrific angled effort over the bar.
Francis Dugan then landed his fourth point of the evening with Cormac Hannon converted his third free to stretch the lead into double figures.
The game was up for Portglenone but the hosts finished with four unanswered points thanks to frees from Michael Kelly jnr.
In the end the goals were the difference between the sides as Lámh Dhearg joined Portglenone and St Galls in the three-way tussle for a top-two position.
Portglenone: B McManus, C Convery, D Dobbin, R McAleese, P Graffin, P Carey, A McKeever, S Kelly (0-01), F O’Kane (0-02), C McLaughlin (0-01), M Kelly jnr (0-05, 0-04f), A McAleese (0-02), D McErlain, N Kelly (0-03f),
Lámh Dhearg: D Hartley, R Fegan, C Nolan, C McVarnock, R Diamond (1-00), D Straney (0-02), SP Gibson (0-01), C Hannon (0-04, 0-03f), D Larkin (1-02), A Ferris (0-01), F Dugan (0-04), R Murray, B McCrudden, C McCloskey, J Trainor. Subs: D Murray for J Trainor (23), A Byrne for C McVarnock (35), T McKenna for B McCrudden (53).
Referee: Richard Leahy (St Comgalls)