All County Football League Division One
St Teresa’s 1-08-2-08 Lamh Dhearg
By Kevin Herron from McDonnell/ Doherty Park
St Teresa’s will be left scratching their head and wondering just how they spurned two late chances to salvage a point, after going down 2-08-1-08 to Lamh Dhearg at McDonnell/ Doherty Park this evening.
Robert Gallagher rifled the hosts in front early on but Lamh Dhearg would battle back to lead at the break thanks to Pearse Fitzsimons strike.
Terry McCrudden powered home his sides second shortly after the restart and the visitors were in command heading down the home straight – however a brace of converted John Mallon frees left a goal separating the sides before the late drama unfolded.
Referee Paul Hughes signalled for a late penalty after a foul by Ryan Diamond – Gallagher seized responsibility but was thwarted by John Finuchane who was forced to bring Gallagher down at the expense of a further penalty and his marching orders due to a black-card.
It was Roy of the Rovers stuff in the dying seconds as Gallagher had the chance to atone for his original miss – but was denied a second time by stand-in goalkeeper Declan Lynch as the Lamhs held out after a grandstand finish on the Glen Road.
Both sides went into this evenings rearranged encounter depleted and short on numbers – but the game certainly wasn’t short on incident and talking points.
The first arriving inside of two minutes as Robert Gallagher saw his shot bravely blocked down by Ben Rice – the corner-forward showed determination and his low drive fizzed past John Finucane and into the net to give St Teresa’s the early advantage.
Paddy Mervyn drove forward and split the posts in response with Mark Finnegan closing the gap further with his first converted free of the evening; in the absence of Paddy Cunningham.
Finnegan conjured up his second score of the evening and drew the sides level with little over ten minutes gone – though the hosts regained the lead through a converted John Mallon free and a Robert Gallagher point.
St Teresa’s may even have had a second goal inside of the first quarter of an hour – but for a combination of John Finucane and Ryan Diamond – the later scrambling John Mallon’s low shot off the goal line.
Mark Finnegan watched his 45’ drop short but Michael Herron’s high shot dropped over the crossbar – John Mallon converted his second free of the half in response to preserve his sides two-point advantage (1-03-0-04)
Pearse Fitzsimons evening looked to have came to a premature end after going down in agony with an apparent knee injury – however the midfielder ran of his knock and gave his side the lead for the first time in the game.
Gerard Slane ran at the heart of the St Teresa’s defence but was met by a wall of yellow and blue jerseys and opted for a pop off to Pearse Fitzsimons who showed composure and shot to the net to give Lamh Dhearg a 1-04-1-03 lead.
Slane would coolly register his first of the evening in the aftermath and Ben Rice capped a fine attacking move to edge the Hannahstown men three ahead.
But late in the first half, St Teresa’s substitute Anthony Varndell hit back to keep the hosts on the Lamhs coat-tails at the break with the score 1-06-1-04.
The first-half rain gave way to a shade of blue sky and faint sunshine and it was Lamh Dhearg who made the brighter start after the break.
The energetic Owen McKeown shaped for a shot that crashed off the top of the crossbar and into the hands of Gerard Slane – Slane picked out Terry McCrudden unmarked and McCrudden rifled high off the crossbar and gave Aaron Thompson no chance to make it 2-06-1-04.
McCrudden’s goal should have been a platform from which his side could have built upon – though the full-forward hit ones of three wides which followed his goal.
Mark Finnegan would eventually extend the lead thanks to a converted free and Ryan Straney found range to open up a seven-point advantage heading into the final quarter of an hour (2-08-1-04).
St Teresa’s were still without a second-half score until the 47th minute when Robert Gallagher conjured a fine score.
Gallagher would claim his second of the half sandwiched between John Mallon’s third converted free of the game as the hosts were firmly on the comeback trail and in the ascendancy.
Mallon made it a three point game with little under five minutes remaining and a grandstand finish was on the cards.
The Lamhs were struggling and on the back-foot late on when disaster struck – St Teresa’s exploited the gaping gaps and looked to be through on goal, only for Ryan Diamond to take down Conor McCann.
Diamond was shown a black-card by referee Paul Hughes who signalled for a penalty that would potentially give the hosts a share of the spoils.
After clearing the area Hughes allowed Robert Gallagher to have his chance at glory – but Gallagher could only watch as John Finucane flung himself to the left and turned his spot-kick onto the bar.
Gallagher reacted quickest and was about to turn the ball home at the second time of asking, only to be dragged to ground by Finucane at the expense of a further penalty and black-card for the Lamhs skipper.
With no-sub goalkeeper amongst the one remaining Lamh Dhearg substitute that had already departed ten minutes previous – it was Declan Lynch that volunteered to stand between the posts for take two.
Gallagher bravely stepped forward once more for a second battle of wits and was again denied – this time Lynch stopped with his feet and the stand-in keeper was fouled in the follow-up to take the sting out of the situation and buy his side some time to regroup.
The visitors saw out the remaining sixty seconds and claimed the spoils after a dramatic finish to proceedings.
St Teresa’s: A Thompson, P O’Rawe, E Connolly, M Mallon, P McGoldrick, C O’Rawe, C Mallon, J Rainey, N McCann, L Gault, J Mallon (0-04f), P Maguire, R Gallagher (1-03), A Taylor, C McCann. Subs: A Varndell (0-01) for C O’Rawe (23 mins).
Lamh Dhearg: J Fincuane, R Fegan, C Nolan, R Diamond, P Mervyn (0-01), M Herron (0-01), B Rice (0-01), P Fitzsimons (1-00), D Lynch, O McKeown, G Slane (0-01), D Bellew, M Finnegan (0-03, 0-02f), T McCrudden (1-00), R Straney (0-01). Subs: C Flynn for M Finnegan (52 mins), E O’Neill for R Diamond (black card substitute – 61 mins), M Finnegan for J Fincuane (black card substitute – 63 mins).
Referee: Paul Hughes (O’Donnells)