Homefit ACFL Division One
Ahoghill 0-11-1-12 Lámh Dhearg
Kevin Herron reports from Ahoghill
Lámh Dhearg secured back-to-back league victories and condemned Ahoghill to a third straight league defeat after coming out on top 1-12-0-11 on the Crosskeys Road on Sunday.
The sides weren’t to be separated at the break after a game of two quarters that saw the visitors come out of the traps quickest and Ahoghill finish stronger.
Ahoghill started the second half on the front foot, but Terry McCrudden would steer home the game’s only goal to give his side the edge of the remainder of the contest that boiled over at times and saw it finish 13 v 12 at the conclusion.
Terry McCrudden converted an early free to give his side the advantage and would double tally from the same scenario after Fionn Mervyn was felled.
McCrudden conjured up his first from play in the afternoon after good work between Declan Straney and Declan Smyth who guided the ball into his path.
Declan Smith then saw his run checked and McCrudden converted his third free of the half to make it 0-04-0-00.
It took Ahoghill until the 15th minute to eventually respond through James O’Connell’s high shot that dropped over the bar.
O’Connell would land a free for the hosts after the water break, but McCrudden would land his sides fifth score of the half.
Daire Larkin fed Declan Smith and he popped the ball inside to Declan Straney who slipped in McCrudden for his second from play. A second free from O’Connell would make it a two-point game once again.
Both sides had goal opportunities in the aftermath, Francis Neeson came long to kick a 45’ which dropped, and Eoin Graham thumped it goal wards- a scramble ensued but referee Jarlath O’Donnell was unconvinced that the ball had crossed the line.
Lámh Dhearg missed two gilt-edged chances of their own to extend their lead when McCrudden found the run of Declan Smith who claimed the mark and then advanced and lobbed the ball over Francis Neeson, but Bernard Graham was waiting to clear it on the line.
Another chance would go abegging when Michael Herron sent a looping ball into the square and Smith held off the pressure and was able to get a shot in on goal, but it crashed off the crossbar and out to safety.
Bernard Graham turned defence to attack and broke from deep to combine with James O’Connell for the corner-forwards fourth point of the afternoon.
Ahoghill would finish the half with a man’s advantage as Ryan Diamond was shown a black card for a foul and in a double whammy O’Connell converted to level at 0-05 a piece.
The half would end on a sour note with a coming together between players from both sides – which resulted in Declan Smyth and Conor Paul Crossey receiving their marching orders for their respective sides at the break.
Ahoghill made use of their numerical advantage early in the second period, taking the lead with a terrific turn and point from Donal Graham and extending it through attacking corner back Eamonn Brady.
Declan Smith halved the deficit after converting a placed ball from the ground and then the visitors regained the lead through a stroke of good fortune.
Substitute Francis Dugan took a pass from Declan Straney and set off towards goal, his shot was blocked by Francis Neeson and the ball bobbled with Terry McCrudden trying to fire the loose ball home his shot bounced off Ahoghill defender Patrick Dougan and was deflected into the net to give his side a 1-06-0-07 lead.
They then got the next two scores, Pearse Fitzsimons passed inside to McCrudden who had a sighting of goal- though his effort was deflected and lopped over the crossbar. The Lámhs talisman would conjure his next point thanks in no part from a slick pass by Declan Smith.
A further goal may have been in the offing for the Hannashtown men from a high shot from Smith than hung in the air and wasn’t dealt with, Pearse Fitzsimons attempted to fist it across the face of goal but there was nobody there to turn the loose ball to the net.
James O’Connell would convert his fourth point of the afternoon as Ahoghill sought a route back into proceedings and before the water break in the second half James Magee slotted one straight between the large posts to leave the game delicately balanced at 1-08-0-09.
Substitute Cormac Hannan would make an immediate impact with a smart point after linking up with Francie Dugan. James O’Connell hit back with a splendid score at the other end, however.
O’Connell landed his fifth free of the afternoon to bring it down to a single point, though Cormac Hannan landed a sensational point in response.
Terry McCrudden landed his fourth free of the afternoon to ensure the hosts would need a goal to salvage a share of the spoils.
But tempers frayed again towards the end with referee Jarlath O’Donnell dismissing Ahoghill’s Eamonn Brady along with Cormac Hannan and Declan Straney.
Lámh Dhearg’s insurance score arrived courtesy of Terry McCrudden who notched up his fifth free and ninth point in all to ensure his side headed back home with the two-points secured.
Ahoghill: F Nesson, E Brady (0-01), M Graham, B Graham, R Graham, P Dougan, F O’Neill, J Magee (0-01), T McGlone, D O’Neill, M O’Connell, E Graham, CP Crossey, D Graham (0-01), J O’Connell (0-08, 0-05f). Subs: C McDonell for E Graham (32).
Lámh Dhearg: M McIlvenny, R Murray, C McVarnock, P Larkin, E Matassa, M Hynds, D Smyth, M Herron, P Fitzsimons, D Smith (0-01f), D Straney, R Diamond, F Mervyn, T McCrudden (1-09, 0-05f), D Larkin. Subs: F Dugan for D Larkin (HT), C Nolan for M Hynds (43), C Hannan (0-02) for R Diamond (47), D Murray for D Smith (54).
Referee: Jarlath O’Donnell (Glenravel)