Portglenone top the table with win at Hannahstown

Senior Reserve Football Cup Group 1

Lámh Dhearg 1-06-1-09 Portglenone

Kevin Herron reports from Hannahstown

Portglenone bounced back from defeat at Milltown two days earlier as they ended their Senior Reserve Group campaign with a 1-09-1-06 win over Lámh Dhearg at Hannahstown on Friday evening.

Defeat on Wednesday was the Bannsiders second reversal of the season- having suffered defeat at the hands of their up and coming opponents at the conclusion of the first round of matches.

Playing into a strong first-half breeze the visitors forged a few early chances but were off colour until they hit the opening goal after 7 minutes.

A terrific move through the hands sliced the Lámh Dhearg defence and Adrian McKeever slipped the ball inside to Corey McLaughlin who hammered the ball high into the roof of the net from close range to give his side the early advantage.

James McLarnon added a converted free in the aftermath and it took the hosts until the 12th minute to respond.

Sean-Paul Gibson carried the ball from defence and switched the ball to Daniel Murray who blasted over the top to get his side off the mark.

Corey McLaughlin added to his goal with a point and Mark McIlvenny was forced to turn over Aidan McAleese’s dipping shot as Portglenone stretched their lead.

McAleese doubled his account, the wing-half forward was the recipient of a quick free which caught the Lámh Dhearg defence napping and he steered the ball between the posts.

McLaughlin and added two more points to his tally as Portglenone had opened up a 1-06-0-01 lead before the break.

But with the last action of the first-half Lámh Dhearg grasped a lifeline- Cormac Hannon floated a high side-line ball into the area where cousin Daire Larkin ghosted in to fist the ball to the net and ensure five-points separated the sides at the midway point (1-06-1-01).

Lámh Dhearg came out with renewed hunger at the beginning of the second-half and began to close-in on Portglenone.

Sean-Paul Gibson again carried the ball from defence, played a one-two with Aaron Ferris and popped the ball over the bar.

Cormac Hannon then linked up with Francie Dugan for the next score and goal-scorer Larkin travelled with possession and landed the score.

Confidence was flowing through midfielder Larkin and a monster point approaching the midway point in the half-reduced arrears to the bare minimum (1-06-1-05).

The Lámhs momentum was halted however as Stephen Kelly slipped the ball inside to James McLarnon whose shot crashed off the bar and went over.

After the second-half water break a further point from Aidan McAleese restored the Ports half-time advantage.

Cormac Hannon converted a 45’ to reduce arrears again, but a McAleese free in the aftermath ensured that his side would run out 1-09-1-06 winners to top Group 1.

With the permutations still to be applied it is uncertain whether Portglenone will hang onto top spot ahead of St Galls and Lámh Dhearg.

Lámh Dhearg: M McIlvenny, SP Gibson (0-01), M Lynch,  R Fegan, J Jones, C Nolan, R Diamond, D Larkin (1-02), A Byrne, J Summersgill, F Dugan (0-01), A Ferris, D Murray (0-01), C Hannon (0-01 45’), R Murray. Subs: G McKeown for M McIlvenny (HT), C McCloskey for J Summersgill (40), C Fitzsimons for J Jones (46).

Portglenone: B McManus, C Convery, D Dobbin, R McAleese, P Graffin, C McGhee, A Kearney, S Kelly, C Lynch, A McAleese (0-04, 0-01f), P Carey, C Lynch, C McLaughlin (1-03), A McKeever, J McLarnon (0-02, 0-01f).

Referee: Marty Quinn (St Endas)

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