Too close to call as Lynch’s grab draw

Ten minutes from the end of this closely contested clash at Celtic Park, Caolan O’Boyle got a flick to a long ball from Ben Dodds and sent it to the net, the holders, now ahead 3-7 to 0-10, in prime position to record back to back wins for the first time since 2002.

Seamus Mullan was at Celtic Park

Photographs: Joe Boland

However Kevin Lynch’s rallied with points from Kevin Farren, Kevin Hinphey and a Paddy Kelly free, the referee indicating that there would be six minutes of additional time.

However before that could start the game was stopped after a 14-year-old boy was taken ill in the stand. There was then a ten minute delay while he received medical attention. Thankfully he recovered and the game restarted.

Paddy Kelly pointed his sixth free to reduce the margin to two points, the game now very definitely in the balance.

Then Kelly lobbed the ball into the goalmouth where keeper Pearse Magill seemed to have control but he lost possession and substitute Ciaran Mackle blasted it to the roof of the net to give the Dungiven side a dramatic 1-14 to 3-8 lead.

However Lavey staged a late rally and Sam Dodds pointed a free when O’Boyle was fouled to send the game to a replay on Wednesday night at Celtic Park (7.30pm).

After the game Lavey manager Ryan Cushnehan remarked, “I don’t know if we deserved to win it but the frees beat us. We were six points up and they just kept getting frees.

“They won a lot of breaking ball around the defence and we just let the game slip away but there were a few frees in that game that could have went our way and we didn’t get them at all.”

His Kevin Lynch’s counterpart Davie McCloskey admitted his side had got off the hook.

“We got out of jail there, definitely. We’re lucky to get out with a draw but I thought we did deserve it. We conceded a couple of soft goals and we maybe lost it around the middle a bit. The turning point was the stoppage at the end. If that hadn’t happened, maybe Lavey would have pushed on and won the game.”

On the keeper error that led to Kevin Lynch’s goal the Lavey man refused to blame his keeper.

“It’s okay if a corner-forward makes a mistake, nobody notices. It’s just unfortunate that if a goalkeeper makes a mistake, it’s a goal. I have no problem with Pearse Magill.”

The Lynch’s manager was just delighted that Mackle was on the field to grab the goal.

“We brought Mackle in and he was unfortunate not to start. He’s been there or thereabouts the last couple of years.”

Of the replay Cushenhan said, “Four days is not a long time but Dungiven have the same length of time. What’s good for them is good for us. We’ll have to regroup. We definitely didn’t perform the way we should have and we have a lot of lessons to take from that game. I’m definitely not happy with the performance. It comes down to me. If we lost that game, it’s maybe my fault, I should have prepared these boys better but we’ll wait and see what happens on Wednesday night.

The bookies had Lavey as underdogs going into the drawn game but the Lavey manager paid no attention to that.

“It’s maybe a good thing going into the game as underdogs but at the end of the day, it’s just peoples’ perceptions. It means nothing really.”

Of the replay the Kevin Lynch’s manager said, “We’ll just have to regroup now, go at it again and see what happens. We’re still in the championship.

“We’ll cross that bridge if we come to it, it might be Lavey worrying about that. We’ll see how it goes but at least we’re still there.”

Kevin Lynch’s scorers: Ciaran Mackle (1-0), Paddy Kelly (0-6, 5f, 0-1 ‘65), Kevin Hinphey (0-3), Paul Sweeney (0-2, 2f), Kevin Farren, Mark Craig and Niall Ferris (0-1 each).

Lavey scorers: Paddy Henry (2-3, 3f, 1-0 pen), Caolan O’Boyle (1-0), Colm Murphy (0-2), Sam Dodds (0-2, 2f) and Ben Dodds 0-1.

Kevin Lynch’s: Brian Lagan; Eoighin Farren, Aaron McCloskey, Donal Kelly; Kieran O’Kane, Liam Og Hinphey, Conal McCloskey; Paddy Kelly, Mark Craig; Kevin Hinphey, Paul Sweeney, Kevin Farren; Padraig McKenna, Paddy McCloskey, Kevin Farren. (Subs) Fergal McGuigan for P McKenna 26 mins; Ciaran Mackle for P McCloskey 36 mins; Padraic McCloskey for P Sweeney, 55 mins.

Lavey: Pearse Magill, Paul McVeigh, Shane Lagan, Paddy Dillon; Chrissy Henry, John Darragh, Colm Dillon; Ben Dodds, Paul Doherty; Dermot O’Neill, Paddy Henry, Colm Murphy, Caolan O’Boyle, Sam Dodds, Michael Drumm

(Subs) Kevin O’Neill for D O’Neill H-T, Caolan McGurk for C Dillon Blood Substitution 37 mins; Colm Dillon for Caolan McGurk, Blood Substitution Reversal, 43 mins

Referee: Eamon Hasson (Swatragh)