ACHL Division 3
Lámh Dhearg 5-18-4-11 All-Saint’s Ballymena
Kevin Herron reports from Hannahstown
Lámh Dhearg claimed their first league win in five attempts after seeing off All-Saint’s Ballymena 5-18-4-11 in a high scoring affair at Hannahstown on Sunday afternoon.
The sides had shared the spoils the last time out in Quinn Park and another lively encounter was in store in the Belfast Hills.
Paddy Mervyn nudged the hosts ahead early-on, though Ciaran Neeson offloaded to Damian Gillan to float over the leveller.
The opening goal of the afternoon arrived after five minutes. Ciaran Boyd dropped a high ball on top of Gerard Smyth, his initial shot was blocked before Smyth slammed the follow-up low to the net.
Cormac Magill responded with a point for the Saints, but they found themselves further in arrears when Adam Murray converted his first free of proceedings and Niall McGarry and Micko Herron landed points from play.
Lámh Dhearg stretched their lead with a second goal on the 12th minute. Again, Ciaran Boyd was involved in directing a pass to Daire Cunningham – who took on his man and fizzed an effort into the corner of the net to give his side a 2-04-0-02 advantage.
A second converted Murray free made it 1-04 without reply for the hosts, though Ballymena hit back.
Luke O’Rawe conjured his sides first response with a fine angled effort and Ciaran Neeson dropped over his first of the afternoon.
A goal then arrived on the 17th minute as Eoin McGuigan sent a low drive past Rhys Camlin to move within five-points of the Hannahstown side.
That was a wake-up call the Lámhs needed, and they regained the initiative with 1-02 in a flash.
Adam Murray swung over his first from play and then Gerard Smyth doubled his goal account at the third time of asking- having saw two initial efforts kept at bay.
A fourth goal may have presented itself almost immediately, but Dan Murray’s stinging drive rose over the bar instead.
Lámh Dhearg would find a fourth goal before the interval. Odrán Waldron dropped in a free from range that Adam Murray gathered and dispatched to the net – the goal coming in-between points from Ciaran Neeson as the hosts held a 4-07-1-06 lead at the midway point.
The hosts extended their lead with five points on the trot inside the opening four minutes of the restart.
Donal Martin started and ended the run, with Adam Murray, Fionn Mervyn and older sibling Paddy all scoring from play in-between times.
All-Saint’s talisman Ciaran Neeson would get his side up and running through a converted free and Damian Gillan burst through and fired home a second goal with little over twenty minutes still remaining.
Any potential thoughts of a potential comeback was partially shelved as Adam Murray converted a free in response and 60-seconds later Daire Cunningham ran onto a through ball and netted his second of the afternoon. Donal Martin then popped over his third of the half to give his side a 5-14-2-07 lead with the midway point approaching in the second period.
Ballymena continued to plug away as Ciaran Neeson dropped over two frees and Eoin McGuigan claiming a point between times.
Paddy Mervyn’s 51st minute point was his third of the afternoon and stopped the visitor’s momentum briefly, although they would soon regain it.
Five minutes from time, McGuigan dropped a high ball into the square and Ciaran Neeson was there to meet it and steer a shot past Rhys Camlin.
He would add a further free a minute later and on 57 minutes Cormac Magill nipped in and flicked home his sides fourth goal to ensure they had halved the deficit in the space of two minutes and made it 5-15-4-11.
The Lámhs would recover and closed out the game with three scores on the spin courtesy of Adam Murray, Fionn Mervyn and Daniel Murray to ensure they ran out 10-point winners at the conclusion.
Lámh Dhearg : R Camlin, M McGuigan, D O’Brien, SP Gibson, F Mervyn (0-02), O Waldron, D Murray (0-02), C Boyd, N McGarry (0-01), D Martin (0-03), P Mervyn (0-03), A Murray (1-06, 0-03f), D Cunningham (2-00), M Herron (0-01), G Smyth (2-00). Subs: A McCague for M Herron (37).
All-Saint’s: F Brady, D McKee, Colum Neeson, K Brady, A McGreevy, L O’Rawe (0-01), P Magill, P McKendry, J O’Boyle, C Magill (1-01), E McGuigan (1-01), J Magill, D Gillan (1-01), Ciaran Neeson (1-07, 0-05f), J O’Rawe. Subs: L Walsh for J Magill (46).
Referee: Aidan Kelly (St Johns)