Lavey crowned Derry Junior hurling champions but Na Magha progress to Ulster

Leadon Timberframe Derry Junior Hurling Championship Final

Lavey captain Shane McGill lifts the Derry Junior Championship trophy after their emphatic victory over Na Magha in Owenbeg on Sunday. (Photo: George Sweeney)
Lavey captain Shane McGill lifts the Derry Junior Championship trophy after their emphatic victory over Na Magha in Owenbeg on Sunday. (Photo: George Sweeney)

Lavey 2-24, Na Magha 0-13

Lavey were crowned Derry Junior champions at Owenbeg on Sunday but it's Na Magha who will advance to the Ulster Series such are the anomalies with junior hurling in the Oak Leaf county.

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The Erin's Own were in charge from start to finish, eventually coming home with a 17 point margin of victory but having been designated an Intermediate club before the beginning of the championship they are unable to advance to the provincial series at junior level. That leaves Na Magha with another shot at Ulster. Ciaran McCarron's men had run Lavey close, indeed, the should have defeated them in the group stages but without Deaglan Foley they were well short on the day, only showing in short passages what they were capable of.

Lavey looked a level above the city side for much of the encounter with Ciaran Hendry superb throughout the contest as he rattled up an individual tally of 1-12 for Liam Watson's team.

The loss of talisman Foley was keenly felt by his team in a first half dominated by Erin's Own who turned around with a healthy 2-13 to 0-06 lead that gave them one hand on the trophy.

With Foley a frustrated spectator on the Na Magha bench, the city side's scoring onus fell to Padhraig Nelis and he did his best to ensure they stayed in touch with 0-4 of his teams six first half scores. Indeed Nelis was one of the game's best players but a tendency to cheaply cough up possession in the attacking third meant too many Na Magha attacks ended in counter' which perfectly suited the pace of Hendry and Jack Shaw at the other end.

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Hendry was the game's best player, hitting 1-04 in the first half alone and giving the Na Magha backline a torrid first half. Indeed, the Lavey lead probably should have been more emphatic at the break given a first half wide tally of six.

The south Derry men got off to the best possible start with 1-01 inside the opening three minutes, PJ McAleese's opening point being added to by Danny Shaw's excellent low finish to the net after Ryan McGill's blocked shot had broken kindly to him.

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Four points up, Lavey rarely looked back after that opening salvo. Na Magha responded with a Nelis free but every score they managed was greeted by a response from Lavey that ensure their advantage continued to grow at a steady rate.

Lavey were already leading by 1-5 to 0-2 by the time their second goal arrived only 14 minutes in but there was more than a touch of fortune about it. Again Hendry was pivotal, winning possession and twisting and turning before engineering enough space to hook a shot over his shoulder than was aimed at a point. the effort was short but it deceived Na Magha keeper Barry Robinson who could only watch as it dropped beyond him and into the net for a nine point lead.

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That lead had become 13 by the break and already the destination of the trophy looked set.

Little changed after the break, a couple of early scores from Shaw and Hendry ensuring Na Magha never had the opportunity to build a head of steam. The city side did managed a burst of 0-5 without response midway through the second period as Adam Breslin, Tomas Lally and Ryan McAdams all got themselves on the scoreboard but it never looked like being enough.

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Substitute Cahal O'Loan and Ryan McGill rounded off the Lavey scoring after Robinson had redeemed his first half misjudgement with a breath-taking stop from Ronan McCloy's effort.

Lavey were champions but Na Magha progress. Such is the wonderful world of junior hurling.

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Lavey scorers: Ciaran Hendry (1-12, 7f), Danny Shaw (1-1), Dermot O'Neill (0-3), PJ McAleese (0-3), Ryan McGill (0-2), Jack Shaw (0-1), Cahal O'Loan (0-1), Ryan Mulholland (0-1).

Na Magha scorers: Padhraig Nelis (0-7, 4f, 1 '65'), Aidan Cutliffe (0-1), Ryan McAdams (0-2), Michael Lynch (0-1), Adam Breslin (0-1), Tomas Lally (0-1).

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Lavey: Michael Taggart; Colm Dillon, Dominic Duggan, Brendan Laverty, Cormac Collins, Aimon Duffin Liam Murphy; Shane McGill, PJ McAleese; Ryan Mulholland, Dermot O'Neill, Danny Shaw, Ciaran Hendry, Ryan McGill, Jack Shaw. (Subs) Cahal O'Loan for D Shaw, 48mins; James Crawford for C Collins, 54mins; Ronan McCloy for J Shaw, 54mins

Na Magha: Barry Robinson; Tomás Lally, Diarmuid Shiels, Aaron Campbell; Mark McCloskey, Fearghal Mac an Deanaigh, Mark McShane; Padhraig Nelis, Bliadhan Glass; Tommy Gallagher, Breandán Quigley, Tim Rankin; Ryan McAdams, Michael Lynch, Aidan Cutliffe. (Subs) Oisin Glass for A Campbell, 35mins; Adam Breslin for T Rankin, 39mins; Connor Shiels for R McAdams, 46mins; Adam Rankin for T Lally, 51mins; Aidan McSteen for A Cutliffe, 54mins;

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Referee: Niall Clifford