Erin's Own Cargin 0-05 Kickham's Creggan 0-04
A 53rd minute Michael McCann point proved the decisive score in a low-scoring Northern Switchgear Antrim SFC Final in Ahoghill on Sunday afternoon as Erin's Own Cargin claimed their eighth Antrim crown.
With the teams tied on 0-02 apiece at half time, the game was not one for the purists, with both sides hitting a combined nineteen wides throughout the course of the game at a windswept Fr McGuigan Park.
It had taken Creggan 41 years to get back to a SFC Final, and Cargin made them wait a few minutes more before letting them get their hands on the ball, by which time they were a point down, Mícheál Magill ending a fine move with a huge looping score that had the huge crowd purring in anticipation of what might be in store.
After a few minutes of patient probing, which was to be a theme in the remainder of the game, Kevin Small got the Staffordstown Road men off the mark, beating his man to a neat ball in and swinging between the posts to level matters.
With both sides carrying the ball into each other's walled defences, the turnover count began to rise, with neither team able to penetrate, the ball simply moving between the two 45m lines in sequence.
A burst of speed from corner forward Liam Quinn then drew a foul and Small again tapped over the dead ball to put his side into the lead. The Creggan lead didn't last long however as Ciaran Bradley broke through to slot over a neat point for the Erin's Own men.
With ten minutes still to play it was to prove the last score of the half, with both sides guilty of hitting poor wides in the remaining time as the parish rivals remained deadlocked at 0-02 each at the break.
The second half began in the same ilk, with the teams trading wides before hero of the Semi-Final Tomás McCann raced down the right flank and arrowed an effort between the Creggan uprights to give them the lead. Ciaran Bradley then followed McCann with a neat effort wide on the right as the Toome men looked to take control of the game.
Marty Johnston fired over for the Loughshore men as they closed the gap to the minimum, before midfielder and county hurler Conor McCann levelled the score once again at 0-04 apiece as this titanic chess battle rumbled on into the 45th minute.
With the game entering the final ten minutes, both teams continued their patient build up, and it paid dividends for Erin's Own as Mícheál Magill claimed a ball in and found Michael McCann, who played a neat one-two with Ciaran Bradley and swung over what proved to be the final score of the game.
Creggan worked hard to try and force the issue in the final minutes, but Cargin used all of their experience to close out the game, only troubled by one moment when John McNabb fumbled a high ball across the face of his empty goalmouth, but corner back Donagh McKeever read the danger well and was in place to spare McNabb's blushes.
Despite forcing a turnover in the final minutes, the Kickham's were unable to make it count and Karol Doherty's final whistle saw the Pádraig McNamee Cup return to Toome after its year in Hannahstown with Lámh Dhearg.
Erin’s Own Cargin: John McNabb, Donagh McKeever, Kevin O’Boyle (Gerard McCorley 46), James Laverty, Tony Scullion, Justin Crozier, Martin Kane, Gerard McCann (Kevin McShane 49), Michael McCann (0-01), John Carron (Kieran Close), Jamie Gribbin, Ciaran Bradley (0-02), Enda McGrogan (David Johnston 42), Mícheál Magill (0-01), Tomás McCann (0-01).
Kickham’s Creggan: Oisín Kerr, Aidan Maguire, Richard Johnston, Conor McCann, Sam Maguire, Thomas McCann, Ruairí McCann, Conor McCann (0-01), Kevin Rice, Odhran McLarnon (Tiarnan McAteer 37), Kevin Small (0-02f), Fintan Burke (David McGuckin 46), Matthew Rodgers (Martin Johnston 11, 0-01), Conor Small, Liam Quinn.
Referee: Karol Doherty (St Mary's Rasharkin)