Best performance of the season could put Naomh Comhghall back in the race

ACFL Division 3

Naomh Comhghall 2-14 Laochra Loch Lao 0-10

Naomh Comhghall produced their best performance of the season to overcome the challenge of high flying Laochra Loch Lao at Dunsilly on Wednesday night. The Irish language side have been in good form recently and a win here would have moved them into second place in the table but it was a win they never looked like gaining.

The Antrim town side dictated the contest from early in the game as they raced into a 0-5 to 0-1 lead by the 14th minute with the excellent Miles Divine leading the way with 0-3 and the other points coming from a James McCabe free and one from play by Tom Patchett.

Laochra Loch Lao’s only point at this stage came from Tarlach Barclaigh but two from Caoimhin O’Daimhin and Aaron Strain in reply to one from Tom Patchett had them back in contention and it seemed like they were coming into the game.

Both sides exchanged scores in the period leading up to half time with James McCabe and his midfield partner Louis Higgins adding to the Naomh Comhghall total and Conor McGucken and Tarlach Barclaigh replying for the Falls Road side to leave three in it at the break.

McGucken closed the gap to two with a point on the restart and for the first time Naomh Comhghall looked under a bit of pressure but they reacted positively and when Cian Devine rose with visiting keeper, Sean O’Heachain to get his fist to a tantalising delivery and finish to the net in the 5th minute the game changed dramatically.

Suddenly the home side were moving the ball around with great accuracy and breaking at pace as they opened up the visitors defence and James McCabe, Tom Patchett, Ruairi Higgins, Miles Divine and Patchett again hit unanswered points to open up a commanding 10 point lead by the 13th minute.

Two minutes later it was as good as over when the home side produced a great defence splitting move with Tom Patchett and Ruairi Griffin combining to set up Louis Higgins who drilled his shot low to the corner of the net.

Both sides emptied their bench at this stage and Laochra kept battling to the end and were denied a goal by a timely intervention from Cathal Donnelly and they kicked three of the final points of the game through the excellent Conor McGucken (0-3) but the final point of the half from Naomh Comhghall’s substitute Oisin Crilly brought the biggest cheer of the evening.

Despite this defeat Laochra Loch Lao remain in joint third place, one place above their conquerors on Wednesday night but the Antrim town men have a game in hand and on this performance could make a push for a promotion place during the second half of the season.

Naomh Comhghall: 1 Peter McAuley, 2 John Brady, 3 Cathal Donnelly, 24 Ryan McAuley, 5 Danan O’Hara, 6 Caolan McKeown, 7 Jarlaith McKeating, 8 James McCabe, 9 Louis Higgins, 10  Ruairi Griffin, 11 Miles Devine, 12 Patrick O’Connor, 13 Cian Devine, 14 Tom Patchett, 15 Niall Taggart, Subs: 16 Oisin Crilly,

Laochra Loch Lao: 1 Sean O’Heachain, 2 Liam MacTreinfhir, 3 Conor McCaffery, 4 Eamon O’Coinn, 5 Sean MacAnbheatha, 6 Connla O’Coinn, 7 Jack MacLomhair, 8 Eamonn O’Ceallaigh, 9 Cathal O’Ceallaigh, 10 Conor McGucken, 11 Padraig Fryers, 12 Tarlach Barclaigh, , Caoimhin O’Daimhin, 14 Aaron Strain, 15 Oisin MacCrabhagain  17 Niall MacAodha

Referee: Martin Quinn

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