Lissummon blitz Belleek in six minutes

Tuesday, 27 March 2018

Lissummon blitz Belleek in six minutes thumbnail

LISSUMMON pulled off a surprise and hard grafted victory over south Armagh rivals Belleek to kick-off the Armagh All-County League season.

BELLEEK ...0-07


Played in the countryside pitch of Lissummon on Saturday, Belleek looked to be cruising early on but a brilliant six-minute spell from the Yellow Bellies turned the game on its head.

Lissummon manager Seamus McParland, in his first game in charge, said he was delighted with the result and praised the commitment of his players.

"Any day you beat your rivals it is a good day," said McParland.

"Our lads worked their socks off and we knew it was going to be difficult because we are down to the bare bones, with so many injuries, but all the lads stepped up today and did what we had to.

"The boys have been great all pre-season but I have to commend Stephen Matthews who only last night captained his team [Bessbrook United) to a Cup victory, and Dara Noonan played for Newry City last night too, but they gave everything for their team today."

Lissummon had seven players injured before the game and nine before it was over, which was why Belleek went into the game as favourites.

And it was tag that suited them as early they seemed much more clinical in front of the posts as young Ryan Savage clipped over a point with Belleek's first attack on five minutes.

The pitch was heavy as expected given the recent snow and rain, but it held up well and was helped by it being the warmest day of the year so far. The clash of jersey's wasn't so helpful and Lissummon turned theirs inside out to avoid the clash of colours (green and yellow), which didn't do them any harm, just made it a pain for observers to identify some players, so I apologise in advance.

Both sides also had difficulty hitting the target but Belleek settled in quicker with Michael Finnegan impressing in midfield, Seamus Finnegan was lively up front and Sean McCreesh kicked two points in as many minutes to put his side three points to the good.

Lissummon's young defender Shea Trainor was moved to mark Seamus Finnegan and that helped stem the Belleek tide but still two further converted frees from McCreesh, including a 35-metre beauty from the side-line, put the green, white and yellow men five points ahead in 21 minutes.

Young Paul Quinn replaced the injured Damian O''Hagan and be it masterful tactics from the bench or organic necessity, Quinn won everything around the middle and his impact was immediate.

Lissummon had kicked four wides, but they got off the mark on 22 minutes, when Stevie Matthews pointed.

Lissummon adopted the long early long ball approach into Noonan and Caolan O'Hagan and it paid dividends as Noonan curled a lovely ball between the posts.

Stevie Matthews' converted free closed the gap some more and then on 26 minutes Noonan bagged the only goal of the game, as he cleverly flicked on Matthews' long ball to the edge of the square and the lively forward gave Belleek keeper Martin Brown no chance.

However, Brown had to be alert only a minute later as he denied Noonan a second goal, with a super save but Caolan O'Hagan converted the resultant 45' to turn the game on its head.

In that six minute spell Lissummon went from trailing by five points to seizing the lead, 1-04 to 0-05 and half-time couldn't come quick enough for Belleek.

The second half was tough going for both sides, it was hard hitting and scores were at a premium.

Noonan was first to register a score on 40 minutes but McCreesh replied with his fifth point seven minutes later. It was dogged football with both defences coming out on top. Feargus Quinn defended deep for Belleek while Patrick McVerry tried to inspire his team with several runs up his left wing.

Lissummon's Cathal O'Hare and Belleek's Kieran Connolly had their own battle throughout the afternoon and it wasn't a surprise when they picked up yellow cards.

McCreesh's long-range converted free closed the gap to two points but Lissummon responded with two finely struck points from the hard-working Michael Patrick McCaffrey and the temporary 'whites' battled for everything. The second arguably score of the match when Rogers floated a 40-metre pass into the chest of Matthews who threaded his cross-field pass to McCaffrey, who hardly broke his stride to stroke his shot between the posts. It was a score that oozed confidence and broke Belleek's belief.

Lissummon looked fitter in the dying minutes but still Belleek threw everything they had and McCreesh almost bagged a last gasp goal, but his low shot zipped narrowly wide.

It was a great win for Lissummon and while tougher tests lie ahead, they can take great confidence from crafting out this victory.

Belleek manager Pat Conlon has his side well organised but they lost too many individual battles against a Lissummon but they are better than they showed on Saturday.

In the only other game in the Armagh Junior League, Collegeland defeated St Michael's 2-09 to 2-05, which isn't a bad showing from the Newtownhamilton side.

LISSUMMON: Stephen Bagnall, Cathal O'Hare, Conor Murtagh, Gerard Murtagh, Ryan Rafferty, Paudie Rodgers, Shea Trainor, Damien O'Hagan, Michael Patrick McCaffrey, Brian Larkin, Stevie Matthews, Neal O'Hare, Dara Noonan, Caolan O'Hagan, Tom O'Hagan. Subs: Paul Quinn and Stevie O'Brien.

Scorers: D Noonan 1-02, C O'Hagan 0-2, 1 45', MP McCaffrey 0-2, S Matthews 0-2, 1f.

BELLEEK: Martin Brown, Cathal McShane, Ronan Davis, James McParland, Feargus Quinn, Patrick McVerry, Callum O'Neill, Michael Finnegan, Sean Og Boyle, Conor McKevitt, Kieran Connolly, Seamus Finnegan, Sean McCreesh.

Scorers: S McCreesh 0-6, R Savage 0-1.





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