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McCann delighted as Cargin extend their reign

Cargin 3-16 Lamh Dhearg 0-23 (AET)

Michael McCann
Michael McCann

Cargin retained their Antrim Senior Football Championship title with a two-point extra-time win over Lamh Dhearg at Corrigan Park on Saturday.

The champions looked to have finally seen off a brilliant challenge from the Hannahstown men and led by four points with three minutes to go in the replay.

However, Lamh Dhearg battled back to force extra-time thanks to the steady nerves of Paddy Cunningham from frees and a superb point from the impressive Conor Murray.

Cunningham and Murray added further points in the second period of extra-time, but they were pipped by the Toome men with Tomas McCann (two), Kieran Close and Jamie Gribbin nailing vital scores as Cargin claimed their fourth title in fifth years.

Cargin captain Michael McCann said: "We were actually getting ready for penalties. Sometimes you just have that feeling that this is never going to end.

"Games like this and last week stand by you. They are the sort of games you want going into an Ulster Championship, those tight games. You learn more from them than a nine or 10-point hammering. We are just over the moon to come out of it.

"There is some character in our team but, to be fair to Lamh Dhearg, there's some in theirs too. They never lay down."

Lamh Dhearg suffered an early blow when a kick-out from John Finucane went astray and McCann nipped in to bag a goal.

The Red Hands regrouped well with the Murray brothers Conor and Ryan impressing. Yet they were caught on the stroke of half-time when Ciaran Bradley's attempted point dropped short to full-forward Michael Magill, who jinked across Finucane before firing into the net.

Magill bagged his second goal five minutes into the second half after a run from Paul McCann, who was black carded soon after.

Lamh Dhearg continued to chip away at the deficit but Cargin looked to have done enough, especially when Ben Rice picked up a black card and, having already been booked, it reduced Lamh Dhearg to 14. But then came the fightback.

In the end, though, it was a bridge too far for Lamh Dhearg. Cargin now face Fermanagh's Derrygonnely in Sunday's Ulster Club SFC opener at Corrigan Park.

CARGIN: J McNabb; D McKeever, M Kane, J Lavery; T Scullion, J Crozier, K O'Boyle; G McCann, M McCann; P McCann, P Shivers 0-1, C Bradley 0-1; T McCann 1-5 (0-2fs), M Magill 2-0, J Gribbin 0-3.

Subs: J Carron for G McCann (8), D Johnston for P McCann (black card replacement 35), K Close 0-4 (0-2fs) for Shivers (52), M Clarke for Scullion (56), K McShane 0-2 for M McCann (60mins), T Scullion for Johnston (ET), G McCorley for Kane (60).

LAMH DHEARG: J Finucane; C Nolan, P Mervyn, M McGarry; D Lynch, M Herron, R Rice; D Dunne 0-1 (0-1f), K Quinn; E McKeown 0-3, C Murray 0-7, M Jordan; P Cunningham 0-8 (0-8fs), T McCrudden 0-1, R Murray 0-3. Subs: P Larkin for Nolan (HT), R Stranney for extra-time, M Finnegan for McCrudden (60+13), C Maxwell for McKeown (60 +18mins).

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