Determined Davitt’s gain revenge for Group defeat

Junior B Hurling Championship

Davitts 3-8 Latharna Og 0-8

When these sides met in the Group stages of the Junior A championship at Davitt Park it was visitors Latharna Og who came away with a six point win to finish above the West Belfast men in Group 2 but with neither teams qualifying for the quarter finals they both automatically went into the Junior B competition and were drawn against each other.

Latharna Og would probably have gone into this game as favourites but it was a very focused and determined Davitt’s who took the game their opponents right from the throw in.  Stephen McGivern pointed them ahead with only 30 seconds gone but Latharna Og replied from a free by Cathal McKillop to draw level with only a minute on the clock.

Man of the match Stephen McGivern shows his delight at the final whistle

Mark Peticrew added a fine point to put Latharna Og ahead and the Falls Road men suffered a further setback when referee, Rab Lappin dismissed Caoimhin Heaney following an off the ball coming together with Larne’s Conor Matthews with the Lamh Dhearg official consulting with his umpire before issuing Red.

It failed to dampen the fire that the Davitt’s men were showing however as they came roaring back and Michael Og Rowntree brought them level before Cormac Maguire shot them in front with 11 minutes gone.

Despite being a man down it was Davitt’s who continued to take the game to their opponents and Anthony Rowntree looked in for a goal but opted to hand pass the sliotar out to Charlie McHenry who was closed down at the expense of a free.

Stephen McGivern went for goal from the resulting award but his shot was saved and cleared but the same player made amends from another free to put his side two in front with 15 minutes on the clock.

The game was being played at real championship fervour and some of the challenges certainly weren’t for the faint hearted as the Larne side fought to get themselves back into contention and Joseph McCaffery in the Davitt’s goals had to be alert to deny Michael Lismore in the 20th minute.

Four minutes later the first goal of the game arrived but it was to the Belfast side as a long searching ball over the top fell perfectly for Anthony Rowntree and the big full-forward made no mistake as he fired past Barry Peticrew from close range to move his side six in front.

The seasiders were doing all in their power to get back into contention but were being quickly closed down by a no nonsense Davitt’s defence but Cathal McKillop shook of the shackles of his marker to raise their third white flag in the 25th minute.

It was Davitt’s who were calling the tune however and they finished the half with a flurry as the superb Stephen McGivern replied with a point and then Peter Og Carleton drilled a low shot through the legs of Larne keeper, Barry Peticrew to leave them 2-6 to 0-3 ahead with two minutes remaining to the break.

Larne’s Cathal McKillop in action against Davitt’s Stephen McGivern

Colm McKee added a great long range point and Cathal McKillop replied from a free for Latharna Og to leave the South Antrim side leading 2-7 to 0-4 at the short whistle and they were full value for that lead.

The question on everyone’s lips was, could 14 man Davitt’s sustain this level of intensity in the second half and it was Latharna Og who made the early running and they looked to have made the perfect start when an umpire signalled that the ball had crossed the Davitt’s line but referee Rab Lappin waved play on despite protests from the Larne side.

They continued to take the game to their opponents for the next ten minutes however and began to get some reward for their efforts as Michael Lismore fired over four frees in quick succession, punishing some over-zealous tackling by the Davitt’s defence.

Lismore’s fourth closed the gap to five by the 13th minute and a comeback looked on the cards but the excellent Stephen McGivern put paid to that notion as he responded with a point with 18 minutes gone. McGivern’s score got his side going again and before the Larne men could recover Peter Carleton got in for a goal from close range and that was that.

That ended the hostilities and the scoring as order was restored and it is Davitt’s who now advance to the next round as worthy winners. Their defence in which Joseph McCaffery, Thomas Og Toland and Thomas Maguire excelled, gave the opposition little time or space throughout the hour.

Floyd the Davitt’s fan, complete with club jersey, dances a victory jig with a young supporter after the game

Stephen McGivern at mid-field was the outstanding player on view while Peter Og Carleton, Anthony Rowntree and Cormac Maguire were a handful in attack.

Last year’s Junior B champions Latharna Og never really got going. They went into this game minus a few regulars but in truth never really matched the intensity of the opposition though Conor Matthews, Mark Peticrew, Michael Lismore and Cathal McKillop gave it everything.

Michael Davitt’s: Joseph McCaffrey, Alan Rainey, Thomas Og Toland, Jason Park, Ruairi McIlroy, Thomas Maguire, Colm McKee, Stephen McGivern, Michael Og Rowntree, Peter Og Carleton, Caoimhin Heaney, Christopher Gallagher, Charlie McHenry, Anthony Rowntree, Cormac Maguire. Subs: Gerard Cosgrove for Charlie McKendry, Darragh Maher for Cormac Maguire, Christopher Mulligan for Anthony Rowntree

Latharna Og: Barry Peticrew, Thomas Carson, Kellan McAuley, Darren Martin, Ciaran Martin, Conor Matthews, Mark Peticrew, Caolan Shields, Phil McKendry, Michael Lismore, Ciaran Mulvenna, Cathal McKillop, Jack McAlister, Anthony O’Neill, Conor O’Boyle. Subs: Daniel Heggarty for Ciaran Shields, Conor O’Boyle for Ciaran McKillop

Referee: Rab Lappin (Lamh Dhearg)

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