Homefit Antrim Senior Football League Division 1
St Enda’s 0-05-0-06 Lamh Dhearg
Kevin Herron reports from Hightown
The scoreline didn’t do the game justice on Wednesday evening as Lamh Dhearg ground out a narrow 0-06-0-05 win over St Enda’s at Hightown.
Both sides suffered defeat in their opening league encounters on Sunday but Lamh Dhearg were able to call upon the experience of Paddy Cunningham for the opening half of the evenings encounter.
It was Cunningham who converted an early free to give his side the lead and doubled it after quickly switching a quick free to Michael Herron and the ball made its way quickly through the hands of Declan Straney, Daniel Murray and Fionn Mervyn before Cunningham executed a terrific curling point.
The Hannahstown side increased their lead almost instantly after Daire Larkin broke the resulting kick-out and was able to drive forward and run onto a Declan Smith pass- sell a dummy and pop it over to make it 0-03-0-00.
St Enda’s responded through an excellent point from Eoin Nagle who caught out Daniel Murray with a feigned shot before shooting over with the outside of the boot.
The hosts almost got in behind the Lamh Dhearg backline but Kristian Healy guided the ball to the back stick and there was enough cover to see off any significant danger.
After the first water break in proceedings the Lamhs restored their three point advantage with Michael Hynds slipping the ball to Terry McCrudden and the full-forward adjusted his body shape and stuck the ball over for the final score of the half.
Just before the interval the visitors had a glorious goal chance go a begging when Eoin Matassa released Terry McCrudden whose palm across the face of goal was sent goal wards by Daire Larkin- though somehow Larkin was denied on the line by Conor Maxwell.
St Enda’s had a golden opportunity to level proceedings early in the second period when Niall Heatley knocked Donall Clarke’s cross field pass into the path of Michael Morgan who raced through on goal, but Mark McIlvenny stood strong and parried the ball over at the expense of a point .
A point from Michael Herron re-established his sides three points advantage once more with Eoin Nagle claiming his second of the evening in response.
Lamh Dhearg were reduced to 14-men for ten minutes when Michael Hynds was black carded and St Enda’s made the most of their temporary numerical advantage as Donall Clarke converted a free to reduce the scores to the minimum.
It was backs to wall for the Hannahstown side but they countered St Enda’s and claimed a point from Declan Smiths’ pass to Terry McCrudden to put two-points in it.
The hosts went in search of a late goal but could only a muster a late point from substitute Philly Curran as Lamh Dhearg held on for a narrow win in Hightown.
St Enda’s: D Breen, F Eastwood, P Hamilton, N Heatley, C Lyttle, C Maxwell, R O’Neill, F O’Connor, M Morgan (0-01), D Clarke (0-01f), G Crossey, K Healy, M Devenney, E Nagle (0-02), F Nagle. Subs:P Curran (0-01) for F O’Connor (37), C Morgan for for K Healy (42), S McBride for M Morgan (53), M Kennedy for F Nagle (56), C Scott for M Devenney (57).
Lamh Dhearg:M McIlvenny, R Murray, P Larkin, M McGarry, E Matassa, D Straney, M Hynds, M Herron (0-01), P Fitzsimons, D Smith, P Cunningham (0-02, 0-01f), D Murray, F Mervyn, T McCrudden (0-02), D Larkin (0-01). Subs:D Smyth for D Straney (HT), F Dugan for P Cunningham (HT), C McVarnock for M McGarry (45), C Nolan for P Larkin (49), C Hannon for M Hynds (54).
Referee: Karol Doherty (Rasharkin)