McArdle helps Burren to fly through late turbulence
Burren 1-10 Latton 0-11
Thirteen-man Burren held on at the Athletic Grounds in Armagh yesterday to set up an Ulster final showdown with All-Ireland champions Crossmaglen next Sunday.
Eoin McCartan's stoppage-time red card rules him out of the decider, but centre-back Ciaran McGovern will be available for the Down side despite picking up a second yellow four minutes from the end of a tense encounter. The Monaghan men will regret a rash of wides in the first half when they controlled the game but still trailed by 1-4 to 0-6 at half-time.
Burren stepped up the tempo in the second half, and with wing-backs Kevin McKernan and David McEntee providing a solid platform, they took the game to their opponents. Shay McArdle's ninth-minute goal was in the end the difference, keeping the Down champions in front throughout a testing final quarter.
Shane Coyle and Hugh McElroy converted early frees for Latton, but they struggled to profit from the advantage provided by Owen Lennon's dominance at midfield.
Burren's short-passing, fast-moving game proved more efficient, but Latton were in front by the eighth minute when Dermot O'Brien landed a superb point after Anton McArdle and Paudie Poland had scored for the Down men.
And the Mourne champions grabbed a superb goal in the ninth minute, Shay McArdle blasting to the net. Latton quickly regained control to go level through Lennon and Stephen Fitzpatrick, but their lack of composure saw them shoot a succession of wides.
With McKernan beginning to spark things, Burren responded for Donal O'Hare to land a free, but fortune smiled on them when Lennon got in behind the last defender to collect Stephen McElroy's long punt. With the goal at his mercy, he fumbled the ball at the crucial moment.
Conal McGovern hit three splendid points in the space of 10 minutes as Burren pushed into a six-point advantage midway through the second half.
Shane Coyle answered the call for Latton by starting to run at the Burren defence, and they had the Mourne men under pressure. Owen Duffy (2) and Lennon hit the target, and McElroy left just two points in it with two minutes left. But despite the two dismissals, Burren held on, with manager Frank Dawson indicating that McCartan's red card will be appealed.
SCORERS -- Burren: S McArdle 1-1 (1 '45), Conal McGovern 0-3, P Poland 0-2, A McArdle, K McKernan, D O'Hare (f), S Murdock 0-1 each. Latton: S Coyle 0-3 (3f), H McElroy (2f), O Duffy, O Lennon 0-2 each, S Fitzpatrick, D O'Brien 0-1 each.
Burren -- C Murdock; R McGovern, D McCartan, G McCartan; K McKernan, Ciaran McGovern, D McEntee; A Higgins, A McArdle; Conal McGovern, S Murdock, P Poland; D O'Hare, J McGovern, S McArdle. Sub: E McCartan for R McGovern.
Latton -- S Farmer; P Fitzpatrick, E Lennon, O Coyle; D O'Brien, K Duffy, S Fitzpatrick; O Lennon, A Farmer; N Traynor, O Duffy, J Kingston; S Coyle, H McElroy, S McElroy. Subs: B O'Brien for Kingston, P Shannon for Traynor, T Connolly for D O'Brien.
Ref -- B Cassidy (Derry).