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Cargin on cloud nine after McCann double seals glory over Lamh Dhearg

Lamh Dhearg 1-05 Cargin 2-11

By David Mohan

Cargin are celebrating their first Antrim Senior Football Championship success since 2006 following their nine-point win over Lamh Dhearg at a sunny Ahoghill yesterday.

Goals from the penalty spot in each half from Michael McCann were the key scores for the Toome outfit who finished the game with 14 men when McCann was sent off on a black card, but this made no difference to the course of this final as John Brennan's side were out of sight with a quarter of the game remaining.

Having lost in the past two finals, perhaps the Erin's Own players could have been forgiven for being a little nervy, but this certainly wasn't the case as they settled into the game immediately and raced into an early four-point lead with Ciaran Close and Tomas McCann kicking two points each.

The Hannahstown men finally settled into the game with a Paddy Cunningham free getting them off the mark after 11 minutes and the former Antrim captain then kicked a '45' to really get them into it.

However, Cargin hit back with a Tomas McCann free and on 19 minutes they were awarded their first of three penalties when a Lamh Dhearg hand touched the ball on the ground after Michael Magill had two efforts at goal saved by John Finucane.

Up stepped Tomas McCann, but his effort was high and came back off the post and was cleared. From the counter-attack, the city club broke forward with Cunningham working his way towards goal on the left before squaring for Gareth Galway who got his first to the ball ahead of Cargin goalkeeper, Colm O'Reilly and diverted it into the net to tie the game at 1-2 to 0-5.

This setback did not affect Cargin however, as two minutes later they were awarded a second penalty when Magill's high punt was caught by Ryan McKernan who was dragged to the ground by Michael Herron. This time, Michael McCann stepped up and he made no mistake, thumping the ball high into the net.

Paddy Cunningham did hit back with a free, but Cargin finished the half strongly with Close and Paul McCann splitting the posts to give their side a 1-7 to 1-3 lead at the interval.

Cargin held the advantage and they were not going to let it go as they picked up where they left off after the break.

Magill set-up Close for a point within a minute of the restart and while Cunningham kept Lamh Dhearg in the hunt with two fine scores, Cargin were keeping the scoreboard ticking over at the other end with Close and Tomas McCann on target.

With 44 minutes gone, Cargin then got their third penalty of the day when John Finucane took down Ciaran Close - earning the goalkeeper a black card also - and again Michael McCann took responsibility with the result the same, hitting the roof of the net past substitute goalkeeper, Mark McIlvenny to make it 2-10 to 1-5.

However, the midfielder was issued a black card minutes later for what seemed to be back-chat and with McCann already on a yellow for an earlier challenge, he could not be replaced.

Still, Cargin did not suffer as a result as Close kicked his fifth of the day on 48 minutes to complete the scoring.

And Cargin enjoyed the final few minutes, safe in the knowledge that the Padraig McNamee Cup was returning to Toome for the first time in nine years.

CARGIN: C O'Reilly; M Kane, J Laverty, K O'Boyle; T Scullion, J Crozier, P McCann (0-2); M McCann (2-0, both penalties), J Carron; C Close (0-5, 3 frees), T McCann (0-4, 2 frees), E McGrogan; R McKernan, G McCann, M Magill. Subs: M Clarke for M Magill (40 mins), M Kelly for G McCann (45 mins), B Laverty for E McGrogan (54 mins), D McKeever for J Laverty (57 mins).

LÁMH DHEARG: J Finucane; C Nolan, A McAufield, M McGarry; P Mervyn, M Herron, B McComb; C Murray, G Galway (1-0); M Jordan, K Quinn, P Fitzsimons; P Cunningham (0-5, 2 frees, 1 '45'), D Lynch, R Murray. Subs: G Slane for B McComb (HT), G Walls for G Galway (37 mins), B Rice for P Fitzsimons (42 mins), M McIlvenny for J Finucane (black card, 45 mins), C McIlvenny for C Nolan (46 mins).

Referee: Sean Laverty (Moneyglass)

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