Lamh Dhearg minor hurlers made history in 1992

Lamh Dhearg 1992

1992 was a special year for Lamh Dhearg Hanahstown as they completed a remarkable double by winning the Minor Hurling and Minor Football titles in the same year. Winning the football title may not have been regarded as an upset for a football based club, but collecting the hurling title for the first time was a truly remarkable achievement.

With current county Secretary, Frankie Quinn at the helm the boys from Hannahstown got their campaign underway with a convincing win over St Gall’s at Milltown, running up a big score in the process. The quarter-final saw them pitted against Rossa, always one of the big hitters in this grade. The boys in red had home advantage and with Donal O’Hara giving a fantastic display they made their way through to the semi-final.

Teams were starting to sit up and take notice of these new kids on the block. Their semi-final opponents were Cushendall, a club who were ruling the roost at senior level at the time, but the boys from the Glens were no match for the Lamhs on this occasion as they booked their place in a minor hurling final for the very first time.

Competition favourites Loughgiel were the opponents in the final. These two sides had met at Feile and Under 16 level in the years leading up to minor grade and thought the games had been closely contested the Shamrocks had come out on top. The went into the final as favourites to come through once again but on a historic day for Hannahstown boys, they upset the odds to write their names in the history book, their hero of the hour Gary Agnew turning in an outstanding display in goals.

Tomorrow we will take a look at the minor footballers achievement but today here is the report of the hurling final which appeared in the Ballymena Guardian at the tome

ANTRIM MINOR HURLING FINAL 1992

Lamh Dhearg 2-10 Loughgiel Shamrocks 2-8

The Lamh Dhearg team who made history by beating Loughgiel in the 1992 Antrim Minor Hurling final. Back row, L-R: Frankie Quinn (manager), M McGuigan, D Toland, C Carmichael, D Fegan, K Elliott, M Matthews, G Agnew (capt), D O’Hara, R Murray, P Maxwell, T Stanley. Front row, L-R: O O’Neill, P Tumelty, B Elliott, M McKenna, R Herron, G Murray, P McGuigan, E Kane.

In a welter of excitement the young hurlers of Hannahstown Lamh Dhearg wrote their names in the record books when they withstood a late rally by Loughgiel Shamrocks to take their first ever title as Casement Park on Sunday.

In a game that was exciting from start to finish the Hannahstown boys, from a parish more famed for its football prowess, showed just how well hurling is advancing in the club as they produced a polished display.

The final five minutes were heart-stopping as the Lamh Dhearg fought to defend a lead given to them by a brilliant goal from substitute Paul Maxwell in the 55th minute. The Shamrocks laid siege on the Lamh Dhearg goal looking for what would have been an equalising goal, but they were denied twice by outstanding saves by goalkeeper and team captain Gary Agnew, who pulled off two remarkable saves. The Shamrocks were denied twice by Agnew’s brilliance, and once by the crossbar as they battled to get back in the game, but a resolute Lamh’s defence held out to seal the win and take the title for the first time.

Playing with the breeze Loughgiel looked the more assured team early on and after PJ O’Mullan pointed them ahead from a free, corner forward Paddy Donnelly drilled the ball to the net to give the north Antrim boys a four point cushion.  Donal O’Hara settled the Hannahstown nerves with a point and when Kevin Elliott added one from a narrow angle it was clear they were not going to be overawed.

A point from PJ O’Mullan, following a great ground clearance by corner-back Joey McKendry, put Loughgiel a goal clear once again and when the stylish Aidan McCloskey added another from play the Shamrocks were four to the good. McKendry denied Lamh Dhearg a goal when he made a great clearance off the line, but the Hannahstown boys were having a good spell and two neat point from Kevin Elliott and one from Gary Murray brought them back to within a point.

PJ O’Mullan was proving a real handful for the Lamh Dhearg defence and he stretched his team’s lead to three with two well taken points, but just before the break midfielder Owen O’Neill gave the Lamhs a great boost when he fired the ball to the Shamrocks net to send the teams in at half time on level terms.

On the restart PJ O’Mullan gave Loughgiel back the lead with a point from a free, but Lamh Dhearg were soon back on terms when Michael McGuigan pointed from play. O’Mullan restored the Shamrocks advantage in the 42nd minute but once again the Hannahstown boys found a reply, this time through Donal O’Hara.

Loughgiel appeared to have made the breakthrough when right half forward Emmett McFadden goaled with fifteen minutes to go, but they were only able to raise one more flag in the final quarter as the Lamh Dhearg defence got on top. Patrick Tumelty started the Lamh Dhearg fightback with a point in the 50th minute and after Donal O’Hara had cut the gap back to a single point Tumelty struck again to bring things level.

Four minutes from time substitute Paul Maxwell send the Lamh Dhearg fans wild when he rifled a grounds shot to the Shamrocks net to put his side three clear. The tension was palpable as Loughgiel went in search of an equalising goal. They dominated possession but Gary Agnew was proving unbeatable in the Lamh Dhearg goal, and on the one occasion he was beaten PJ O’Mullan’s well struck shot from a 20 meter free rifled back off the crossbar. Still the game was in the balance and when Loughgiel full forward Aidan McCloskey cut through on goal it seemed they could still salvage the game. However Gary Agnew had saved his best to last and he somehow got his hurl to McCloskey’s goalbound shot and turned to over the bar to seal the title for the boys from ‘Up The Hill.’

Agnew was the star of the show but he was ably assisted at the back by stand in full back Raymond Herron, corner back Declan Toland plus half backs Carmichael and Elliott, who performed heroics at times. Patrick Tumelty and Owen O’Neill held sway at midfield, while in attack Donal O’Hara, Kevin Elliott and substitute Paul Maxwell were the stars.

Terence O’Mullan did well in goals for Loughgiel while in defence Joey McKendry had a great game, closely followed by Art Connolly, Colm McCloskey and Brendan McMullan. Up front PJ O’Mullan was the main man, though Aidan McCloskey and Emmett McFadden also did well.

Hurling Board Chairman Gilly McIlhatton presents the cup to Lamh Dhearg captain Gary Agnew while county chairman Oliver Kelly looks on

Lamh Dhearg scorers – Kevin Elliott 0-3; Donal O’Hara 0-3; Owen O’Neill 1-0; Kevin Maxwell 0-1; Michael McGuigan 0-1; Gary Murray 0-1.

Loughgiel scorers – PJ O’Mullan 0-6; Paddy Donnelly 1-0; Emmett McFadden 1-0; Aidan McCloskey 0-2.

Referee –  Dessie Gallagher

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