Lennon calls tune as Harps steal the show
Armagh Harps 2-9 Maghery 0-11
Maghery's aspirations of landing back-to-back Armagh football crowns were left in ruins at the Athletic Grounds last night when Harps turned in a power-packed second-half performance to stride to their first title since 1991.
It was a transformation that had looked extremely unlikely in the first half as Harps laboured both in defence and attack, their cohesion and penetration stifled by a vigilant Maghery defence. But it was a different story in the second half when Harps took control and scaled a new peak in terms of performance.
Maghery led by 0-5 to 0-2 at the end of a tedious, lack-lustre first half yet had looked capable of exerting more influence after the break.
But instead it was Harps who held the whip hand after Shane Ryan and man-of-the-match Ultan Lennon drilled in goals within a three-minute spell on the resumption that revitalised their side. Indeed, such was Harps’ subsequent authority, that from the 39th minute until the end of the game they landed seven points to which Maghery could respond with just two.
Lennon helped himself to 1-5 in all, his imposing presence a constant threat to a Maghery defence that became more porous as the match progressed.
With Charlie Vernon at midfield and their defence much more vigilant, Harps palpably grew in confidence as they closed out the game, their virtual ownership of the ball cementing their authority.
Afterwards, the Armagh county ace hailed his team’s display and believes it could be the portent of even better things to come.
“I think we raised our game to a new level in the second-half,” he said, “and the way in which the guys up front took their scores served to inspire us.”
Scorers – Harps: U Lennon 1-5 (2f), R McShane 1-1, C White, J McElroy, C Murphy 0-1 each. Maghery: A Forker (2f), Stefan Forker 0-3 each; B Fox, J Lavery, C Mackle, R Lappin, Seamus Forker 0-1 each.
Maghery: J Montgomery; K Nugent, O Lappin, C Higgins; B Heavron, S Cusack, D Lavery; J Lavery, B Crealey; S Tennyson, C Mackle, R Lappin; B Fox, Stefan Forker, A Forker. Subs: P Forker for Tennyson (41), G Campbell for C Higgins (43), Seamus Forker for Fox (50), N Forker for Mackle (55).
Harps: P Morrison; S Farry, K Loughran, C Stevenson; R McGrath, D McKenna, M McConville; J Loughran, C White; R McShane, J cElroy, L Oliver; C Vernon, U Lennon, S McCoy. Subs: T O’Kane for McGrath (33), C Coulter for McCoy (51), C Murphy for White (59), Forker for Fox (63), P Kelly for Oliver (62).
Ref – Kevin Faloon.