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Cargin defeated Lamh Dhearg following a gripping Antrim SFC Final replay at Corrigan Park.
Cargin defeated Lamh Dhearg following a gripping Antrim SFC Final replay at Corrigan Park.

Antrim SFC Final replay: Cargin edge thriller


Antrim Senior Football Championship Final replay

CARGIN 3-16 LAMH DHEARG 0-23

By David Mohan at Corrigan Park

Cargin made it back-to-back Antrim Senior Football Championship titles, but they required a strong finish in the second period of extra-time to deny Lámh Dhearg on another day of high drama at Corrigan Park.

It appeared the Toome side had pulled clear at the end of normal time when leading by four, but Lámh Dhearg's never say die attitude again came to the fore as they battled back to level and force the additional period.

Cargin got off to a dream start when Tomás McCann pounced on a mistake by Padraig Mervyn who failed to gather John Finucane's short kick-out as he blasted to the empty net.

Lámh Dhearg responded well and were level as Paddy Cunningham kicked a free followed by points from Conor Murray and Eoin McKeown.

The sides were level at 1-1 to 0-4 after 20 minutes before this game really exploded into life.

Cargin held a two-point advantage late on before Declan Dunne and Conor Murray levelled, but Cargin got in for a second goal when Ciaran Bradley's shot for a point dropped kindly into the arms of Michael Magill and momentum took the big full-forward clear to roll into the empty net.

Lámh Dhearg responded brilliantly with Terry McCrudden shooting over and then Ryan Murray fired over from out on the left to narrow the gap to one at the break with Cargin holding a 2-4 to 0-9 lead.

After the sides traded points early in the second period, Cargin struck for a third goal when Ciaran Bradley burst in on the right and squared the ball with Magill again the man to divert it home.

After another exchange of points, Lámh Dhearg began eating into the lead with the magnificent Conor Murray kicking a brace with younger brother Ryan and Cunningham adding one apiece to level the game with 13 to play.

However, they were dealt a blow when Ben Rice - booked earlier in the half - was shown a black card and then red for trailing back Tomás McCann and this appeared to be the turning point as Cargin took charge with Kieran Close kicking three points and Bradley adding another to leave them four ahead on 58 minutes.

There was still plenty of time and Lámh Dhearg didn't hit the panic button with Cunningham converting frees either side of Murray's sixth of the day to leave just one it with time almost up.

Cargin tried to keep possession, but they coughed it up and Lámh Dhearg broke with Justin Crozier trailing back Kevin Quinn for a free in front of the posts and Cunningham held his nerve to level at 0-19 to 3-10 and send this game into extra-time.

The first period saw the teams add two points apiece, but Lámh Dhearg really should have been ahead when Murray's deft flick sent Cunningham away, but he appeared in two minds whether to go high or low and in the end, hit a tame shot at head height that McNabb gathered and cleared.

Tomás McCann and Close sent Cargin two clear early in the second period as they controlled possession and ran down the clock, but Murray brought it back to one late on.

McCann and Cunningham swapped frees, but Lámh Dhearg couldn't engineer the equalising chance as Cargin broke forward with Gribbin fisting what seemed the insurance point.

There was still a little time left and with one last charge, Lámh Dhearg went in search of the winning goal and the door was slightly ajar for Eoin McKeown who burst through, but he shot high and wide as the whistle blew to confirm Cargin as winners for the fourth time in five years.

Scorers for Cargin: T McCann 1-5 (2fs),, M Magill 2-0, K Close 0-4 (2fs), J Gribben 0-3, K McShane 0-2, P Shivers 0-1, C Bradley 0-1.

Scorers for Lámh Dhearg: P Cunningham 0-8 (8fs), C Murray 0-7, R Murray 0-3, E McKeown 0-3, D Dunne 0-1 (f), T McCrudden 0-1.

CARGIN: John McNabb; Donagh McKeever, Marty Kane, Kevin O'Boyle; Tony Scullion, Justin Crozier, James Laverty; Pat Shivers, Gerard McCann; Paul McCann, Michael McCann, Ciaran Bradley; Tomás McCann, Michael Magill, Jamie Gribbin. 

Subs: J Carron for G McCann (9), K Close for K McShane (53), M Clarke for T Scullion (56), K McShane for M McCann (60+1). ET subs: T Scullion for D Johnston (start), P Shivers for M Magill (1), G McCorley for M Kane (8). Black card: P McCann (35, replaced by D Johnston).

LÁMH DHEARG: John Finucane; Christopher Nolan, Padraig Mervyn, Marc McGarry; Declan Lynch, Michael Herron, Ben Rice; Declan Dunne, Kevin Quinn; Eoin McKeown, Conor Murray, Marc Jordan; Paddy Cunningham, Terry McCrudden, Ryan Murray.

Subs: P Larkin for C Nolan (HT). ET subs: M Finnegan for R Murray (13), C Maxwell for E McKeown (17). Black card: Ben Rice (49, not replaced as previously booked. Ryan Stranney started extra-time).

REFEREE: Darren McKeown (St Gall's).

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