Cuchulainns 1.09 Lacken 0.10
Cuchulainns and Lacken met in Mullagh on Saturday evening and the home team picked up two valuable points which ensures they will remain in the senior ranks next year, and also gives them an outside chance of finishing in the top four of the league table. It was an exciting game as there were rarely any more than a couple of points between the teams, a strong finish from Cuchulainns carried them over the line.
The home team got off to a good start, they won the throw up and Eugene Keating drove the ball straight into the danger area. Conor Smith won possession, laid it off to Shane Smith and his shot split the posts. This was quickly followed by two very good goal scoring chances for Cuchulainns but they were unable to find the net through a combination of poor shooting and quick closing down from the Lacken keeper. Lacken eventually settled and they registered their first score when Niall McKiernan broke through and curled a point over the bar. At the other end Cuchulainns responded when Eugene Keating fired over a fine point from a free. The impressive Niall McKiernan then put his side into the lead when he slotted two quick-fire points from play in the 12th & 14th minutes. Cuchulainns came back and when Conor Smith was fouled Seamus Clarke swung over a good point. Smith was causing a lot of problems for Lacken and Cuchulainns were trying to hit him with the ball at every opportunity. In the 20th minute Cuchulainns got a goal after Eugene Keating broke with speed from the midfield area. He drew the defenders and flicked the ball to Shane Smith, he passed it to the unmarked Conor Smith and he finished to the back of the net. Smith followed it up with a point from play a minute later putting his side a goal to the good. At the other end Christopher Magee pulled of a point blank save after Lacken created a very good chance. This chance seemed to spur Lacken on and they got two points from play as the first half wore on, one from J Brady and one from their danger man McKiernan. Cuchulainns then worked the ball back up the field and it looked like Shane Smith was going to raise the green flag for a second time only to be dispossessed just as he was about to pull the trigger. Keating tapped over a free in the 30th minute to leave the half time score 1.5 to 5 points.
Lacken sprung out of the blocks in the second half and rattled off 5 points without reply in the first 15 minutes. They were on top all over the field during this period, and Raymond Galligan was involved in everything. He scored two from frees and three from play to put his side two points clear. If it were not for more heroics from the big Cuchulainns keeper, who made two more brilliants saves, Lacken would have been further ahead. Cuchulainns changed their formation after 15 minutes in an attempt to steady the ship. The moved Keating in full forward and Conor Smith moved out the field. The moves had the desired effect and Cuchulainns came back into the game. Garry Daly broke up along the wing and curled over a very good point in the 17th minute. This was followed two minutes later by a point from Eugene Keating to level the match. The same player scored another point in the 20th minute from a free as Cuchulainns began to take control. Lacken kicked a couple of bad wides at this stage and when Keating tapped over another free in the 25th minute he put his side two ahead. Lacken tried in vain to get a goal in the last few minutes but Magee was not going to be beaten.
Cuchulainns have won three league games on the trot and have improved greatly since their poor performance in the championship. They have a chance of making a league semi final if other results go their way. After being relatively untested in their championship games to date a tough game like this will probably stand to Lacken as they look to claim the intermediate title.
Cuchulainns: 1. Christopher Magee, 2. John Flanagan, 3. Adrian Taite, 4. Marty Lynch 5. Rory O’ Connell, 6. Chris Tully 7. Garry Daly (0.1), 8. Paul Taite, 9. Eugene Keating (0.5), 10. Gavin Daly, 11. Seamus Clarke (0.1), 12 Diarmuid Foxe 13. Shane Smith (0.1), 14. Conor Smith (1.1) 15. Paul Tully.
Lacken: Niall McKiernan (0.4) J. Brady (0.1) .Ray Galligan (0.5)