South Antrim Football McDermott Cup Final
Lámh Dhearg 4-7 St Gall’s 1-6
LÁMH Dhearg clinched the South Antrim double with a 4-7 to 1-6 victory over St Gall’s in Sunday’s McDermott Cup Final at Corrigan Park.
On a cold and at times blustery afternoon on the Whiterock Road, the league champions started the brighter and opened the scoring through a Daire Larkin point after Ciaran Boyd saw his shot blocked.
With little under five minutes on the clock, the opening goal fell to the Red Hands. Ciaran Boyd picked up possession and switched the play to Brendan McCrudden who attempted a shot. It was blocked and McCrudden subsequently played a reverse pass to Daire Larkin to blast to the net and give his side a 1-1 to 0-0 lead.
St Gall’s hit back with Kieran McGourty landing a free and Anto Healy doing likewise to halve the deficit.
The Milltown side appeared to be settling into proceedings but were hit with a further set-back approaching the water-break as Francie Dugan burst forward and slipped the ball off to Ciaran Boyd. He advanced towards goal and drew out the St Gall’s ’keeper before fisting to Brendan McCrudden for a palm to the net to make it 2-1 to 0-2 at the midway point in the opening half.
Dugan was a danger to the St Gall’s defence and hit three points on the trot for his side. The first was a fantastic curling effort between the posts and he then guided another from close range and landed a third after Sean Paul Gibson won back possession and found Ryan Diamond who would play the provider’s role.
Despite their commanding opening half display, the Hannahstown side was reduced to 14-men with Cormac Hannon dismissed for a second yellow card offence.
Kieran McGourty swung over a fantastic point before the break, but his side required a big lift in the second period, trailing 2-4 to 0-3 at half-time.
Playing with the breeze in the second half, Lámh Dhearg extended their advantage with an early second-half goal.
Daire Larkin picked out Brendan McCrudden with a magnificent pass and the Lámhs’ captain fisted the ball into the small area where Ronan Fegan palmed to the net.
A super point from industrious Ciaran Boyd followed, but Sean McAreavey responded at the other end for the Gall’s.
Boyd conjured up his second of the half despite being dragged back en route to goal, Advantage was afforded and the corner-forward steered the ball between the posts.
Substitute Shane McKenna assisted in Daire Larkin guiding over his second point of the afternoon to move their side 3-7 to 0-4 ahead.
But just when things looked comfortable, St Gall’s grabbed a lifeline before the second half water-break.
Sean McAreavey attempted to find a pass across the face of goal, but it fell short and in a scramble for the loose ball Brendan Guiney shot low to the net to give the Milltown men a glimmer of hope.
Guiney followed his goal with a point upon the game’s resumption and a converted free from Ruairi Wilson had St Gall’s on the comeback trail.
They were beginning to turn the screw and put the 14 men under the cosh for long periods in the last quarter.
However, the insurance score arrived on 56 minutes when Mark Lynch got a vital interception in defence and picked out Fionn Mervyn to burst forward and find run of Ciaran Boyd to Boyd made no mistake, guiding his shot to the net, making it 4-7 to 1-6.
Thereafter, the Hannahstown men shut up shop and cut out a number of dangerous opportunities with the experience of Chris Nolan and Conor McIlvenny in defence. In the end, Lámh Dhearg closed the game out to secure a League and Championship double and end the season on a high.