ACHL Division Four Cup semi-final
Lámh Dhearg 0-18 – 0-10 Ardoyne
Kevin Herron reports from Pairc Rossa
Pics by Paul Gibson
Lámh Dhearg progressed to Sunday’s league final and kept their promotion dreams alive with a comeback win over Ardoyne in Wednesday evenings league semi-final at Rossa Park.
The table-toppers looked in trouble at the break, trailing 0-08-0-04 but showed desire and determination to outscore Ardoyne 0-14-0-02 in the second half-hour.
Ardoyne almost made the perfect start when a clearance from defence fell nicely for Martin McLaughlin whose low drive was turned to safety by Francis Dugan.
It was Lámh Dhearg who drew first blood when Niall McGarry was fouled, and Daniel Murray converted the resulting free.
The North Belfast side levelled through Pearse Tully- who read the flick on from Jim Og McAuley and popped the ball over.
Sean-Paul Gibson restored Lámh Dhearg’s lead, floating the ball over after a nice layoff from Aidan Mcguigan and then after seeing his shot charged down- Ronan Fegan fed Daniel Murray with a cross-field pass and Murray sent his shot high between the posts.
Oisin McVicker pulled a score back from a converted free and robbed Paddy Mervyn in possession before steering over the equalising score a few minutes later.
Lámh Dhearg were ahead again after Fionn Mervyn found Daniel Murray and he directed his shot between the posts, it was to be his sides last score of the half as Ardoyne took over.
A foul on Pascal Clarke led to Oisin McVicker notching his third score of the evening and second from a free.
A third converted free would follow as his side edged ahead for the first time and an angled score from Daniel Moore ensured they were two to the good.
Daniel Murray almost found the game’s opening goal, though his shot was deflected over the bar by Paul Baker and the resulting 65’ drifted wide against the strong breeze on the Shaws Road.
McVicker was on hand to convert another free after Aidan McGuigan was adjudged to have clipped Christopher McShane and Ardoyne were 0-07-0-04 to the good.
Ardoyne increased their lead before the break as Cormac Curran swung over a terrific score as an upset was on the cards at Pairc Rossa.
Oisin McVicker converted his fifth free of the evening to extend his sides lead upon the resumption.
After a succession of misses against the swirling elements, Daniel Murray was finally back in luck- converting his second free of the evening after Fionn Mervyn was chopped down on route to goal.
Murray sent over his third from play in the aftermath and then converted his third free of the evening to reduce the deficit to two-points as momentum was in the Lámhs favour.
Declan Lynch was sprung from the bench at the break in place of Niall McGarry and he conjured up his first point since his introduction.
Parity was eventually restored on 45 minutes as Daniel Murray closed in on Oisin McVicker’s five points from free with another conversation to make it 0-09 apiece.
Lynch nudged side ahead shortly afterwards with a simple point from in-front of the posts after holding off the challenge of Oisin McVicker and their lead was doubled after Fionn Mervyn was taken out and Murray converted the free to make it 0-11-0-09 at the second-half water break.
Substitute Hugh Grieves converted a free to make it a one-point game upon the resumption of play.
The two-point gap was restored courtesy of Paddy Mervyn- who swung over from a nice Ryan Diamond pass.
Kealan McCallan’s chop down on Tiernan McKenna saw Daniel Murray overtake Oisin McVicker in the free taking contest and Declan Lynch hit back-to-back points- the second of which came after a flick-on from fellow substitute Ciaran Boyd.
The game was slowly drifting away from Ardoyne’s grasp with Murray converting his last two points of the contest, in-between a fine Paddy Mervyn point from range as the Hannahstown side progressed to Sunday’s final with eight points to spare.
Lámh Dhearg: F Dugan, C Nolan, M Lynch, T McKenna, SP Gibson (0-01), P Mervyn (0-02), P Fitzsimons, M Hamill, R Diamond, F Mervyn, A McGuigan, D Murray (0-11, 0-08f), R Fegan, E Murray, N McGarry. Subs: D Lynch (0-04) for N McGarry (HT), C Boyd for E Murray (52), A Ferris for A McGuigan (56).
Ardoyne: JP Agnew, S McGearty, P Baker, A Stewart, K McCallan, P Clarke, C McShane, C Curran (0-01), P McGuigan, D Saunders, D Moore (0-01), J Og McAuley, M McLaughlin, O McVicker (0-06, 0-05f), P Tully (0-01). Subs: H Grieve (0-01f) for M McLaughlin (41), E Slattery for J Og McAuley (41), S Searle for C Curran (54).
Referee: Barry Winters (Dungannon)