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Northern Switchgear Antrim Senior Football Championship Group 3

Lámh Dhearg 0-14-2-05 Aldergrove 

Kevin Herron reports from Hannahstown 

Lámh Dhearg saw off the challenge of a spirited Aldergrove side to claim top spot in Group 3 of the Northern Switchgear Antrim Senior Football Championship after a 0-14-2-05 win at Hannahstown this afternoon. 

The hosts were pushed all the way with Seamus McGarry netting two first half penalties to draw his side level at the break, though Conor Murray provided four second half scores to help his side see off the Crumlin men and book a place in the last eight in three weeks time. 

 An early Ben Rice score had his side on the front foot at a wet and windy Hannahstown and they doubled their lead through an angled Kevin Quinn score. 

Visitors Aldergrove hadn’t picked up a point from their campaign to date but were a danger in the early stages, Seamus McGarry dragged the ball across the face of goal and wide- although he did conjure up his sides opening score in the aftermath. 

McGarry missed another glorious goal chance straight after his score as Lámh Dhearg were being sliced open too easily in the early stages. 

At the other end the hosts forwards were firing as Terry McCrudden took the ball on the loop and floated the ball over, Daire Larkin then seized upon the resulting kick-out and fed Conor Murray for his first score of the afternoon and Pearse Fitzsimons fisted over shortly after to move his side 0-05-0-01 ahead. 

Shane O’Neill was the first keeper called into action- turning away Daire Larkin’s snapshot after the water-break. 

On 20 minutes Aldergrove were awarded a penalty when Seamus McGarry was adjudged to have been clipped as he tried to get off a shot in the area. 

McGarry himself would seize responsibility and fired low to the net past John Finucane, despite the Lámhs shot-stopper guessing the right way and it was 0-05-1-01. 

The hosts responded with a nicely taken point from Cormac Hannan, but at the other end Aldergrove almost found a second goal. 

Ryan Owens charged forward and fisted the ball across to Declan Gough, though Aaron McAufield cut out the resulting danger. 

Lámh Dhearg moved three to the good through a converted Terry McCrudden free, however their defensive frailties would give the visitors a chance to draw level. 

Seamus McGarry played a forward pass into the area where Ronan Hanna capatalised on a mix-up and attempted to round Finucane- the Lámh’s keeper clipped the full-forward and referee Conall Roberts had no hesitation in signalling for a second penalty in the space of less than ten minutes and in a double whammy for the hosts – Finucane was black-carded. 

Although Carl Maxwell would put himself forward for a stint between the posts for ten minutes; Declan Lynch stood in for the resulting penalty which McGarry arrowed into the top corner to draw the sides level at 0-07-2-01.

The Crumlin outfit almost made the most of their numerical advantage and McGarry almost had a hat-trick- though Carl Maxwell scrambled away a low drive and Ronan Hanna spurned another promising goal chance as it was deadlocked at the interval. 

The 14-men edged ahead early in the second half through a converted Conor Murray free, but from the same scenario Seamus McGarry restored parity at the other end. 

A second Ben Rice score and back-to-back Conor Murray free’s gave the hosts a three-point cushion again. 

That deficit was eaten into as Declan Gough popped up with his first score of the afternoon and Seamus McGarry then swung over his second point to play to leave the bare minimum separating the sides at 0-11-2-04. 

A fifth Conor Murray point and second from play got his side moving again, Terry McCrudden followed along with a free shortly after and hoisted over his second from play in the aftermath to stretch the lead to four.

Talisman McGarry tagged on the game’s final score, but it mattered little as Lámh Dhearg had three-points to spare in the end against the dogged and determined Crumlin men. 

Victory secured top spot for the Hannahstown outfit and a quarter-final clash with Portglenone in three weeks’ time. This time to be settled on the day with no prospect of the 2019 trilogy to come. 

Lámh Dhearg: J Finucane, E Matassa, A McAufield, C Nolan, M McGarry, D Lynch, B Rice (0-02), D Larkin, M Jordan, C Maxwell, K Quinn (0-01), P Fitzsimons (0-01), T McCrudden (0-04, 0-02f), C Hannan (0-01), C Murray (0-05, 0-03f). Subs: M Hynds for E Matassa (HT), P Mervyn for C Nolan (HT), R Diamond for P Fitzsimons (43), C McIlvenny for C Hannan (46), A Byrne for D Larkin (48). 

Aldergrove: S O’Neill, E Gough, T O’Callaghan, D Aiken, C McVeigh, C Browning, G Mallon, C Fogarty, R Owens, D Gough (0-01), S McGarry (2-04, 2-00p, 0-02f), C Browning, O Creaney, R Hanna, A O’Connor. Subs: C O’Toole for C Browning (14), R McCarthy for C Browning (43), D Bell for O Creaney (48). 

Referee: Conall Roberts (St Johns)

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