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Cargin fightback stuns Lámh Dhearg county final goes to a replay

Corrigan Park, Lámh Dhearg v Cargin Senior Football Final

0610JC19 Corrigan Park, Lámh Dhearg v Cargin Senior Football Final 0610JC19
By Paddy Tierney

Northern Switchgear Antrim Senior Football Championship Final
Lámh Dhearg 0-13
Cargin 1-10
From Paddy Tierney at Corrigan Park

FOR the third time in a remarkable Championship campaign, Lámh Dhearg must summon up the strength for a replay after being reeled in by reigning title-holders Cargin in an absorbing decider at Corrigan Park yesterday.
Lámh Dhearg were the better team in the first half and, playing with the aid of a typically strong breeze at the Whiterock Road venue, they took a well-deserved 0-7 to 0-3 lead into the half-time interval with the in-form Paddy Cunningham converting four frees.
They had extended their lead to five 12 minutes into the second half with the impressive Ben Rice landing his second of the afternoon.
With the influential Tony Scullion sidelined after picking up a hamstring injury in the first half, Cargin needed leadership to mount a comeback. And as it has in the past, it came via the McCann siblings with Paul setting up Michael for a stunning goal on 47 minutes.
That reduced the gap back to a single point and the sides traded scores as the game approached the hour-mark – although John McNabb was forced to make a fine stop to deny Lámh Dhearg’s Eoin McKeown five minutes from time.
Cunningham’s sixth free of the contest was enough to put his side 0-13 to 0-8 ahead as the game went into three minutes of injury-time.
A point from play from Tómas McCann left the minimum between the sides and when midfielder Gerard McCann won the resultant kick-out, he passed the ball to his cousin Tómas who was fouled.
Not one to shy away from pressure free-kicks, McCann coolly slotted the ball over the bar in the third minute of injury-time to claim a draw for Cargin.
The two teams will return to Corrigan Park on Saturday afternoon (4pm) for the replay and, if they finish level again after extra-time, penalties will deter who will lift the Pádraig McNamee Cup.
Speaking after the game, Lámh Dhearg manager Mairtín Lynch felt his side deserved to win the game, but was happy to have another crack at Cargin. “We’ve been here. We’re used to this now, doing it the hard way,” said Lynch.
“We are still in the Championship, we are still up for it in the replay. I think we deserved to win, but you don’t get what you deserve, you get what you earn. And we didn’t manage the game over the last 10 minutes enough to see the game out.
“We knew that in the second half Cargin would come back at us and we would be under pressure for spells. I don’t think that was the key indicator. I think the key indicator was that we made silly mistakes and gave the ball away in the final third, in the last 10 minutes.
“And I think if we hadn’t have done that, we would be sitting here as Championship winners.”

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