McCrudden’s goal is the difference at Hannahstown

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Lámh Dhearg 1-12-0-12 Naomh Éanna 

Kevin Herron reports from Hannahstown 

An early goal from Terry McCrudden proved decisive as Lámh Dhearg edged out Naomh Éanna 1-12-0-12 at Hannahstown on Sunday afternoon. 

The sides couldn’t be separated the midway point as the hosts battled from behind against the strong wind. 

Naomh Éanna were far more effective in front of the posts- following a 0-04 return in their midweek clash with Cargin-but ultimately, they fell narrowly short of claiming a share of the spoils. 

The visitors hit the front early-on through a converted free from Odhran Eastwood. The game’s opening goal was the next score to arrive with little over five minutes on the clock. 

Conor Murray played a diagonal switch to Declan Lynch and he in turn slipped the ball into the path of Terry McCrudden to slot past Paddy Flood and make it 1-00-0-01. 

The gale force wind on Black Mountain was favouring Naomh Eanna in the first half and they took advantage with Conor McAuley swinging over a fantastic point and Fionn Nagle claiming an advanced mark- which he converted to draw parity. 

Ruairi Scott dropped a 45’ over the bar to ensure his side regained the lead they possessed early-on, and Donal Walsh then kicked a magnificent point to double their advantage. 

The Lámhs first point of the half arrived courtesy of Conor Murray- who bustled his way into the shooting zone and popped a shot over. 

Scott doubled his account for the half with a fine effort from the outside of the boot that sailed over in the breeze. 

Lámh Dhearg responded positively and kicked three points on the spin to edge back in front. Declan Smith did well to keep Terry McCrudden’s shot from passing the end-line; before cutting in and firing over, then Terry McCrudden swung over the equaliser following great work from Padraig Mervyn. 

McCrudden swooped in and picked up a loose ball which led to Conor Murray guiding a high shot over to give the Hannahstown side a 1-04-0-06 lead. 

But Naomh Éanna restored parity before the break through a second Odhran Eastwood free of the half to send the sides in level pegging at midway.

The visitors regained the lead within 60-seconds of the restart, Fionn Nagle showed his impressive fielding skills, claiming a second mark of the afternoon and making no mistake with the conversion.

Padraig Mervyn surged forward and kicked with composure to level and the sides traded further scores in the aftermath through Odhran Eastwood (free) and an advanced mark by Conor Murray. 

Lámh Dhearg hit the front again when Terry McCrudden tried to pick out the run of Ben Rice, only for Conor McAuley to fist the ball over his own bar in an attempt to cut out the danger. 

Declan Lynch then landed back-to-back scores, the first from play and a second a converted mark with substitute Owen McKeown swinging over another to make it four scores without reply and give the hosts a 1-10-0-09 lead. 

Odhran Eastwood’s first point from play narrowed the margin with just over ten minutes remaining. 

Naomh Éanna’s task was made harder when Donal Walsh was black-carded, and they had to endure the final ten minutes a man light. 

The final four scores of the contest were evenly traded, Terry McCrudden converted a free that was replied to by a fisted point from substitute Callum Morgan. 

Ben Rice kicked a tremendous point with Eastwood also finding an impressive score in response as Lámh Dhearg ran out 1-12-0-12 winners at the conclusion. 

Lámh Dhearg:  J Finucane, A McAufield, M McGarry, R Murray, B Rice (0-01), P Mervyn (0-01), D Smith (0-01), C Hannan, D Lynch (0-02, 0-01m), N McGarry, S Tully, C Maxwell, T McCrudden (1-02, 0-01f), C Murray (0-03, 0-01m), S McManus. Subs: O McKeown (0-01) for N McGarry (HT), D Dunne for C Hannan (37), E Matassa for C Maxwell (41), R Diamond for S Tully (41), A Byrne for D Smith (52). 

Naomh Eanna: P Flood, F Eastwood, M McNamee, C Maxwell, C McAuley (0-01), C Lyttle, R O’Neill, M Morgan, R Scott (0-02, 0-01 45’), C Thompson, O Eastwood (0-05, 0-03f), G Crossey, D Walsh (0-01), F Nagle (0-02m), C Morgan. Subs: P Doran for F Nagle (46), Callum Morgan (0-01) for Cormac Morgan (51). 

Referee: Mark O’Neill (Armoy)

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