Lámhs limp over the line against luckless Aghagallon

Northern Switchgear Antrim Senior Football Championship Quarter-final

Lámh Dhearg 1-10-0-12 St. Mary’s Aghagallon

From Kevin Herron at Corrigan Park

Brendan Herron’s 54th minute goal gave Lámh Dhearg the lead for just the second time in the game as last year’s beaten county finalists advanced to the last four of the Championship after a thrilling 1-10-0-12 win over Aghagallon at Corrigan Park this afternoon.

The Hannahstown side were chasing for the vast majority of a nip and tuck affair on the Whiterock Road and Aghgallon will scratch their heads and wonder just how they didn’t at least force additional time.

St. Mary’s had the better of the early runnings with Adam Loughran bursting down the field and having the composure to slot the ball over the bar. They then doubled their lead through a converted Gareth Magee free.

Paddy Cunningham replied with a free of his own but Magee would double his tally in response.

Five of the opening six scores arrived from the placed ball as Paddy Cunningham converted back to back frees to level at 0-03 apiece.

Lámh Dhearg spurned a glorious opening approaching the midway point in the half, Marc Jordan slipped the ball across the face of goal where Brendan Herron was waiting but his palmed effort was turned away by Luke Mulholland in the Aghagallon goal- Ryan Straney then saw his pointed effort blocked and the danger fizzled out.

Marc Jordan nudged his side ahead for the first time after freeing himself and anticipating a Ryan Murray diagonal switch and lofting the ball over the bar.

His sides lead lasted for less than 60-seconds though as Gareth Magee levelled from a free and then edged his side back in front from the same scenario.

An excellent Ryan Straney point had the sides level for the fifth time, though Aghagallon continued to punish fouls in their attacking third as Magee landed his fifth placed ball of the half.

Ben Rice and Eunan Walsh traded scores but in first-half injury-time Conor Murray angled the ball over the bar to ensure the sides were level at 0-07 apiece at the midway point.

Gareth Magee had his side back in front after the break and Lámh Dhearg suffered the blow of losing Ben Rice to a black-card for 10 minutes after the tenacious wing-back was adjudged to have deliberately tripped Adam Loughran.

Magee would double his sides lead from his seventh free of the afternoon before Rice returned to proceedings.

Paddy Cunningham landed a fantastic free to get his side off the mark in the second-half on the 45th minute and Conor Murray floated over the equaliser to square the game up for the sixth time in the game.

Half-time substitute Kieran Hamill kicked Aghagallon into the lead once again but it was to be for the final time as the only goal of the game swung the pendulum in Lámh Dhearg’s direction.

Paddy Cunningham lofted a high ball into the danger area, it fumbled around and was eventually fisted on by substitute Declan Dunne into the path of Brendan Herron and the experienced midfielder guided his low shot into the corner of the net to give his side the lead for just the second time at 1-09-0-10.

Aghgallon were in the unfamiliar chasing position and closed the deficit through Gareth Magee’s eighth free of the contest.

The resulting kick-out was won by Declan Dunne who charged forward and offloaded to Ryan Murray who squeezed the ball inside the large posts to restore his sides slender advantage.

Adam Loughran replied with a late-point but there was no-time for an equaliser as Sean Laverty sounded his full-time whistle and Lámh Dhearg got over the line to make the last four where they will meet the winners of Tuesday evenings clash between Cargin and Rossa.

Lámh Dhearg: J Finucane, M McGarry, P Larkin, K Quinn, D Lynch, M Herron, B Rice (0-01), P Fitzsimons, B Herron (1-00), M Jordan (0-01), R Straney (0-01), R Murray (0-01), P Cunningham (0-04f), C Murray (0-02), T McCrudden. Subs: E McKeown for R Straney (46), D Dunne for T McCrudden (53), P Mervyn for P Larkin (59), D Smyth for M McGarry (60+1).

Aghagallon: L Mulholland, P Branagan, D Donnelly, R O’Neill, J Lamont, D McAlernon, P Mulholland, O Lenehan, J Lenehan, E Walsh (0-01), A Loughran (0-02), M McAfee, G Magee (0-08f), R McCann, C McAlinden. Subs: K Hamill (0-01) for C McAlinden (HT), S Russell for M McAfee (60+3).

Referee: Sean Laverty (St Ergnat’s, Moneyglass)

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