Ugly scenes and four off as MacCumhaills lose Ulster final to Lamh Dhearg

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UNSAVOURY SCENES marred the Ulster Junior Hurling final at Owenbeg, where Antrim’s Lamh Dhearg overcame Sean MacCumhaills.

Sean MacCumhaills 0-13 Lamh Dhearg 0-16

The Finnsiders were pipped at the post by Lamh Dhearg, but supporters came away from the County Derry venue talking not about hurling, but rather the incidents that sparked a fuse.

Three minutes from the end, players, mentors and even some spectators became embroiled in an ugly brawl, after which MacCumhaills players Paddy Hannigan and Gerard Gilmore were sent off, as were declan Lynch and Paddy Mervyn of Lamh Dhearg.

There were more unpleasant incidents at the end of the game and the referee, Barry Winters, has to take a fair dollop of responsibility and the MacCumhaills manager, Eamon McAuley, blasted the official afterwards.

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MacCumhaills had stayed on the coat-tails of Lamh Dhearg for the most part, but eleven points by Domhnall Nugent proved key.

Nugent’s four early scores had them 0-4 to 0-2 ahead by the 10th minute, by which stage MacCumhaills had a let-off when Jamesie Donnelly blocked on the goal-line after a high ball caught out goalkeeper Dylan Laverty.

Nugent moved Lamh Dhearg further ahead, but Lee Henderson’s points meant that MacCumhaills stayed in with a fighter’s chance and they were just four in arrears – 0-10 to 0-6 – at the break.

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Lamh Dhearg added to their tally with Nugent swinging over two points early in the secodn half.

Martin O’Reilly, the Donegal senior football player, came in to start this game with Ciaran Matthewson absent and O’Reilly – who has played minor and under-21 hurling for the county – arched over to keep up the Twin Towns hopes.

Nine minutes from the end, O’Reilly’s shot was half-blocked and then saved by the Lamh Dhearg goalkeeper, Paddy Joe Herron.

Henderson, the MacCumhaills captain, had kept his team in touch, although Nugent’s scores down the other end kept the scores ticking for Lamh Dhearg.

Mervyn had the final say when he drilled between the uprights after another Henderson free before all hell broke loose and the gap proved too much for MacCumhaills to close.

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Sean MacCumhaills: Dylan Laverty; Anthony Patton, Jamesie Donnelly, Bernard McMenamin; Martin O’Reilly (0-2), Gavin Browne, Conor Griffin; Paddy Hannigan, Lee Henderson (0-8, 8f); Barry McGranaghan, Conor Gallagher, Sean Curran; David White, Gerard Gilmore (0-1), Aaron McAuley. Sub: Kyle Tourish for Curran (45)

Lamh Dhearg: Paddy Joe Herron; Michael McGuigan, Mark Lynch, Conor Herron; Conor McConville, Michael Herron, Cathal Kelly; Brendan McComb (0-1), Paddy Mervyn (0-1); Terry McCrudden (0-2), Charlie McCloskey, Declan Lynch (0-1); Aidan McGuigan, Domhnall Nugent (0-11, 9f), Ryan Diamond. Sub: Jack Trainor for McGuigan (52).

Referee: Barry Winters.

For over two decades, has been regarded as the voice of sport in Donegal. Charlie is the former Head of Sport at Highland Radio – a role he fulfilled for 23 years. He is a former Managing Director at Highland Radio. Produced the Talking Sport Podcast upon leaving Highland Radio before helping to form Donegal Sport Hub in 2015.

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