Kevin Lynch’s 5-11
Kevin Lynch’s cruised to their 22nd title at Celtic Park on Wednesday night an outclassed Lavey simply swept aside with consummate ease in the first half when the Dungiven side were in control in every area of the pitch, none more so than at midfield where the outstanding Paddy McCloskey was superbly supported by Paddy Kelly.
McCloskey gave an imperious display in the middle third, sweeping away all the frustrations of the drawn game when his form was indifferent and he was replaced. In this game there was never any dangerous of that as he utterly dominated the aerial exchanges, opened up the fragile Lavey defence with lung-bursting runs and provided Kevin Hinphey with the kind of supply he thrives on.
For the past couple of seasons Lynch’s have been unable to score goals with any regularity but on Wednesday such inhibitions disappeared as they plundered four goals for a 4-07 to 0-04 interval score.
Kevin Hinphey destroyed the Lavey defence to score three superb goals, Niall Ferris grabbing the fourth and really there was no way back after 30 minutes of bristling determination and outstanding hurling that Lavey simply could not match.
And this absolutely stunning display was rolled out against a stiffish wind that blew towards the dressing room end and in soft conditions that made ground hurling almost impossible.
Whatever fleeting hopes Lavey might have harboured of making County title inroads into the fifteen point lead in the second period were banished within minutes of the restart.
No quarter had been asked for, or given, in a hard-hitting first half, referee Owen Elliott giving a very assured display as he allowed for the conditions and showed composure and common sense when the challenges became a tad over robust at times.
Kevin O’Neill was booked three minutes from half time for an over zealous challenge on the Kevin Lynch’s keeper Brian Lagan but there was no escape for him three minutes after the break for a similar challenge on Aaron McCloskey, the referee showing him a second yellow card and then the red one.
A minute later Paul Sweeney was alert when Lavey keeper Pearse Magill fumbled the ball on a Niall Ferris cross and he deftly clipped the sliothar to the net for 5-09 to 0-04.
There was no way back for Lavey now. They tried to engineer a goal but with Ciaran Mackle, Liam Og Hinphey and Mark Craig defending stoutly the Kevin Lynch’s defence was not breached until the 56th minute when Caolan O’Boyle netted.
They did get another goal chance in added time when they won a penalty after O’Boyle was fouled but Paddy Henry’s low shot was parried, Caolan McGurk’s follow up hit the bar and substitute Ryan Farren scored only their fourth point from play.
It was Lynch’s best display for years and made up for their poor display of last year when Lavey blitzed them in the first half.
Even against a strong wind, the winners played with such passion and determination that Lavey had no answer to the constant supply of ball that rained down on their goalmouth and four goals put the game beyond Lavey’s reach as they powered to that 15 point interval lead.
Lavey took the lead after seven minutes from a free, the strong wind very much favouring the 2010 champions but that was as good as it got.
With Paddy McCloskey absolute mastering in the middle of the field and Kevin Hinphey utterly destructive close to the square, Kevin Lynch’s began the first half demolition when Hinphey took a pass from McCloskey and blasted the ball low to the net,
Mark Craig and Paddy Kelly, from a free, added to the lead before Niall Ferris beat Magill to the ball in the goalmouth and slipped it to the unguarded net,
Midway through the half Lynch’s were in seventh heaven when Paddy Kelly played the ball to the goalmouth and Hinphey pounced to net for a second time.
In the 25tn minute Hinphey took a pass from Fergal McGuigan to nail the fourth goal, Kevin Lynch’s ahead 4-07 to 0-04 at half time.
Two minutes into the second half Lavey woes multiplied when Kevin O’Neill picked up his second yellow card and was headed for an early shower.
They were in even deeper trouble two minutes later when Sweeney pounced on a loose ball in the goalmouth and flicked the ball to the net for the fifth goal.
Lavey played with plenty of determination against the wind but they were unable to penetrate a rock solid Kevin Lynch’s defence until five minutes from time when O’Boyle latched onto a loose ball in the goalmouth and knocked it to the net,
Al the while Kevin Lynch’s picked off a few points ensure a 16-point victory, their determination exemplified in the final minute when they denied Henry from the spot, substitute Ryan Farren getting their last point on the rebound.
Kevin Lynch’s scorers: Kevin Hinphey 3-0, Niall Ferris 1-2, Paddy Kelly 0-5, 4f, Mark Craig 0-3 and Paddy McCloskey 0-1
Lavey scorers: Caolan O’Boyle 1-1,Paddy Henry 0-3f, Colm Murphy 0-2 and Ryan Farren 0-1
Kevin Lynch’s: Brian Lagan; Eoighin Farren, Aaron McCloskey, Ciaran Mackle; Kieran O’Kane, Liam Og Hinphey, Conal McCloskey; Paddy Kelly, Mark Craig; Fergal McGuigan, Paddy McCloskey Kevin Farren; Paul Sweeney, Kevin Hinphey, Niall Ferris. (Subs) Padraig McKenna for F McGuigan, 58 mins; Turlough Henry for P Sweeney 62 mins
Lavey: Pearse Magill; Paul McVeigh, Shane Lagan, Paddy Dillon; Chrissy Henry, John Darragh, Colm Dillon; Ben Dodds, Paul Doherty; Kevin O’Neill, Paddy Henry, Colm Murphy; Caolan O’Boyle, Sam Dodds, Michael Drumm. (Subs) Caolan McGurk for P Doherty, 52 min; Dermot O’Neill for S Dodds 52; Ryan Farren for M Drumm, 55 mins
Referee: Owen Elliott (Antrim)