Lámhs feel good factor continues with draw in Championship opener

Casement SC Junior Hurling Championship 

Lámh Dhearg 1-14-0-17 Shane O’Neills 

Kevin Herron reports from Hannahstown

Lámh Dhearg hurlers ensured that the feel-good factor around Hannahstown this weekend was maintained after they held on for a share of the spoils in Championship opener with Shane O’Neills on Saturday evening. 

The Division 3 champions made the trip to Hannahstown hoping to spoil the party atmosphere that had the club had experienced prior to throw-in and get their own Championship campaign off to a winning start. 

Dylan McLaughlin steered over an early point to edge Glenarm ahead, but Odrán Waldron restored parity from a free and Declan Lynch swung over a point from play after Sean-Paul Gibson and Fionn Mervyn linked-up to great effect. 

McLaughlin restored parity and doubled his account with a terrific effort from range and Shane O’Neills were ahead again through a converted free from danger-man Darren Hamill. 

The lead changed hands again, Declan Lynch’s free dropped short and Gerard Smyth gathered and fired over on the turn before Aidan McGuigan dropped a high shot between the posts to give his side a 0-04-0-03 lead. 

Aidan Scullion showed great determination to force an error from Declan Lynch and capitalise with a point, though Lynch atoned – swinging over a fantastic effort that went over at the near post. 

The theme of the half continued as the sides continued to cancel each-other out, Niall McGarrel angled over an equaliser, only for Lynch to fire over his third point of the half. 

McGarrel replied again to tie things up for the sixth time, at the other end Declan Lynch flighted in a 65’ that dropped short, Gerard Smyth gathered and helped it into the path of Daniel Murray- who popped the ball over.

Niall McGarrel pulled his side level with a third point on the spin and Shane O’Neill’s took the lead for the third time with a Daniel Black shot from distance dropping over the bar. 

As the half drew to a close Lámh Dhearg hit the front again courtesy of back-to-back frees from Declan Lynch, though Ciaran Magill would reply from the same scenario as the sides went in at the break with score evenly poised at 0-09 apiece. 

Magill would edge his side back Infront upon the resumption, but the lead lasted less than 60-seconds as Declan Lynch got to Rhys Camlin’s puck-out and guided a high effort between the posts to level. 

Back-to-back free’s from Darren Hamill opened up a two-point cushion- Michael Abram ensured his side stayed in front when a quickly taken Declan Lynch free fell to Odrán Waldron and the Kilkenny native’s goal bound attempt was helped over by the Shane O’Neills shot-stopper. 

The visitors could have found the net themselves at the other end, Darren Hamill slipped the ball through to Kevin O’Boyle- who advanced, and his shot rose over the bar. 

At the other end Declan Lynch harried and hassled a mistake close to the by-line and possession was switched to the path of Odrán Waldron to produce a sensational score to reduce arrears to the bare minimum (0-13-0-12). 

Darren Hamill restored Glenarm’s two-point lead from a converted free and Daniel Black then extended the lead further with ten minutes remaining. 

The visitors suffered a blow when goal-keeper Abram was forced off with an injury and one of understudy- Christopher Magill’s first tasks was to lift the ball from the back of his net as the Lámhs drew level. 

Sean-Paul Gibson takes aim for the goal that would draw his side level

Daniel Murray did enough to guide the ball into the path of Sean-Paul Gibson who showed neat footwork and took off towards goal before unleashing a fiercely driven shot into the top corner of the net to make it 1-12-0-15. 

For the first time in the half the hosts hit the front thanks to a Fionn Mervyn effort from distance that dropped over the bar. 

Ciaran Magill floated over an equaliser and Shane O’Neill’s went ahead for the last time on the 59th minute through a converted Darren Hamill free. 

Shane O’Neill’ tried to see the game out, but two minutes into added time Lámh Dhearg salvaged a share of the spoils when Aidan McGuigan sent a high angled shot over the bar. 

They pushed for the win in the aftermath but in the process lost Declan Lynch to a red card. The visitors were unable to make the use of their numerical advantage though as he sounded the final whistle shortly after the free was taken and in the end both sides were forced to settle for a point apiece. 

Lámh Dhearg: R Camlin, C Nolan, J Brady, M McGuigan, SP Gibson (1-00), P Mervyn, B Rice, A McGuigan (0-02), C Boyd, F Mervyn (0-01), D Lynch (0-07,0-02f),D Murray (0-01), O Waldron (0-02, 0-01f), G Smyth (0-01), T McKenna. Subs: C McGuigan for M McGuigan (HT). 

Shane O’Neill’s: M Abram, Kieran O’Boyle, B Hamill, L Og McLaughlin, P McDermott, D McDermott, A Scullion (0-01), D Black (0-02), Kieran O’Boyle , S O’Boyle, D Hamill (0-05f), D McLaughlin (0-02), Kevin O’Boyle (0-01), C Magill (0-03, 0-01f), N McGarel (0-03).  Subs: C Magill for M Abram (52), B O’Boyle for S O’Boyle (58). 

Referee: Darren McKeown (St Galls)

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