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CJ McGourty returns in style to edge St Gall's into the Antrim title decider

By David Mohan

A strong finish saw St Gall's advance to the final of the Antrim Senior Football Championship thanks to a two-point win - 1-7 to 0-8 - over Lamh Dhearg in Ahoghill last night.

St Gall's made the early running but had a penalty shout turned down on 11 minutes when Karl Stewart was through on goal and went down under a challenge from John Finucane.

The opening score finally came 14 minutes in when Ryan Murray found Darren Bellew, who curled over Lamh Dhearg's only point of the half.

St Gall's were being frustrated by the Red Hands who had pulled 14 behind the ball, but they finally made the breakthrough on 21 minutes when Anto Healy floated a ball in and Sean Kelly caught, turned and fired low to the net.

The game still failed to come alive although St Gall's did tag on further scores from Karl Stewart and Niall O'Neill to take a 1-2 to 0-1 lead into the break.

The switch of Domhnall Nugent to midfield with Gerard Walls being replaced by Terry McCrudden paid dividends for Lamh Dhearg as they hit four scores in as many minutes through Ryan Murray (two), Conor Murray and McCrudden to level before a Ryan Murray free moved them ahead.

St Gall's were now on the back foot, but they grew into the half with the returning CJ McGourty kicking a free with his first touch.

McGourty and Conor Murray traded points before Michael Herron thumped over a score to edge Lamh Dhearg back ahead.

However, St Gall's didn't panic and after Micky Pollock tied the game once more, they went back ahead from a McGourty free as Mark McGarry picked up two yellow cards and McGourty sealed the win.

ST GALL'S: C Kerr; C Brady, A McClean, T Ó Ciarán; M Kelly, S Kelly (1-0), J McGreevy; S Burke, C O'Kane; N O'Neill (0-1), K Niblock, A Healy; K McGourty, M Pollock (0-1), K Stewart (0-1 free). Subs: B Bradley for A Healy (39 mins), CJ McGourty (0-4, all frees) for K McGourty (41 mins).

LAMH DHEARG: J Finucane; A McAufield, P Mervyn, D Bellew (0-1); M McGarry, M Herron (0-1), B McComb; G Walls, P Fitzsimons; C Murray (0-2), R Stranney, K Conroy; R Murray (0-3, 2 frees), D Lynch, D Nugent. Subs: T McCrudden (0-1) for G Walls (HT), K Quinn for R Stranney (44 mins), G Slane for K Quinn (60 mins).

REFEREE: Sean Lavery (Moneyglass).

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