Maguire strikes late to seal Middletown title
Ulster Club IHC final: Middletown 2-16 Lavey 2-13
Martin Maguire's 60th-minute goal gave Armagh champions Middletown Na Fianna their second ever Ulster IHC title yesterday after a gripping contest against Derry's Lavey. Maguire got a touch to a free to decide a close and tense encounter.
Matchwinner Maguire was originally named to start on the substitutes' bench, but the big full-forward came in for Martin Moan and immediately let his presence be known. After being fouled for the opening score of the game, he then played in half-forward Cahal Carvill for a goal as Middletown raced into a 1-3 to no score lead after five minutes.
Lavey eventually settled into the game and led by midfield maestro Paddy Henry they started to eat away at the Middletown lead.
On 15 minutes Henry fooled everyone when he played a free short to Liam Murphy and he rattled the back of the Middletown net. It was all Lavey for the rest if the half as Henry picked off a further six points, including one exceptional score from play from 55 metres. That gave Lavey a slender half time lead of 1-8 to 1-7.
The momentum was still with Lavey at the start of the second half and in the 36th minute, it was looking good for the Derry side as Paddy Henry picked out the top left-hand corner of the Middletown net from the penalty spot.
But from then on the Armagh side took over and led by Gaffney and Maguire they began to claw their way back on the scoreboard before Maguire's late goal sealed Lavey's fate.
Scorers - Middletown: R Gaffney 0-9 (8f); C Carvill, M Maguire 1-2 each; P McBride 0-2, K McKernan 0-1. Lavey: Paddy Henry 1-11 (1-0 pen, 9f, 1 65), L Murphy 1-0, C Murphy, N Toner 0-1 each.
Middletown - F Woods; O Curry, P Gaffney, P Hughes; P Lappin, N Curry, T Nevin; P McBride, K McKernan; R Gaffney, C Carvill, D Carvill; D Gaffney, L Woods, M Maguire. Subs: S Toal for Gaffney (36), M Moan for Woods (36).
Lavey - M Taggart; D McPeake, C Henry, S Lagan; E McGill, D O'Neill, S McGill; C Dillon, P Henry; C Murphy, C O'Boyle, R Farren; S Dodds, B Dodds, L Murphy. Subs: KO'Neill for Murphy (38), N Toner for Farren (53), M Drumm for Dillon (56).
Ref - J Connors (Cavan)