Tense win puts Aggies on the brink

07 June 2012
                                
The senior footballers moved within touching distance of division 3 with a tense and hard fought win over Lamh Dhearg at Hannahstown on Wednesday. The Aggies' squad and versatility was tested to its very limits in a game dominated by Lamh Dhearg's physicality from the opening minutes. Naomh Una struggled to match the intensity of the home side's tackling and were dealt two huge blows in the opening ten minutes. Lamh Dhearg found the net to open a four point lead on a day when scores were at a premium, and then midfielder Conor McLean was forced off through injury. Either event could have swung the game in favour of the hosts, but the Aggies quickly regrouped with firstly Declan Crummey and then Ronan Carroll moving to midfield. 

The Aggies made early positional changes all over the park to get to grips with the tenacious home side, and the re-orginisation soon paid dividends as Declan McLarnon (free), Kevin Grieve and Declan Crummey all added points to bring the score back to 1-2 to 0-4 at half-time in favour of Lamh Dhearg.

Naomh Una have produced some strong second-half performances this year - most memorably at Eire Og and at home to Creggan and Naomh Comghall - and while this thirty minutes was by no means as comprehensive as those showings, it was no less important. Early scores from Declan Crummey and Kevin Grieve got the Aggies in front, and Lamh Dhearg never managed to regain the lead. Declan McLarnon added a point before substitute Cormac Flannery showed calmness beyond his years to lob over what would prove to be the match winning score.

Lamh Dhearg finished by far the stronger notching the last two points of the game to leave the Aggies sweating. Further late chances were squandered and even a game ending injury to goalkeeper Stephen Brennan could not stop the Aggies from gaining two more vital points. 

In a game with little structure or pattern, it was the Aggies' full-back line that shone in the last fifteen minutes, clearing every ball that came their way. It was all the more impressive in the difficult wet conditions that the fielding and handling in this area of the field was flawless. 

Stephen Brennan [Neil Gillespie]; Davy Caldwell, Diarmuid Kelly, Ryan Reilly; Ronan Carroll, Chris McKee, Brendan McLarnon; Mark Caldwell, Conor McLean [John Morgan]; Declan McLarnon, Fintan Carey, Neil Gillespie [Cormac Flannery]; Kevin Grieve, Declan Crummey, Willie Devine [JP Woods].