Lacken maintain senior status with narrow win
SFC relegation play-off
Paul Fitzpatrick at Crowe Park
Lacken maintained their senior status with this deserved win over Shercock in a poor match at Crowe Park this afternoon.
The Celtics started without star attacker Raymond Galligan, who was injured, but a stellar performance from fellow All-Star Thomas gave them a platform at midfield and they led for most of this encounter.
On a heavy pitch, the home side worked hard and created more chances over the hour. Their defence was on top against a blunt Shercock attack although when Killian Clarke went to full-forward in the closing stages, the hosts were made to sweat and they were probably relieved to hear the final whistle in the end.
Playing with the wind, Lacken started well with points from Paul Leddy and Micheál Shanaghy before Shercock got off the mark with a Ryan Clerkin point after Brian Sankey forced a turnover.
The O'Hagan Park men then hit the front when Killian Clarke's powerful run created a chance and Ryan Clerkin was on hand to hit the net from close range.
Killian Galligan, who caused Shercock plenty of problems, knocked over a free after a foul on Paul Leddy, who subsequently spent 10 minutes in the sin bin, as Shercock kicked four wides in the opening quarter.
The first score after the water break was crucial and fell to Lacken. Great work from the impressive Shane Moynagh and brother Philip cut Shercock open and Killian Galligan supplied the finish for a walk-in goal which made it 1-3 to 1-1 on 22 minutes.
The winners added two more white flags when Killian Galligan converted a free after a foul on Dylan Donohoe; Thomas Galligan won the resulting kick-out and his long delivery produced another free for Killian to make it 1-5 to 1-1.
Shercock hit back in style when Killian Clarke found Niall Clerkin with a free and the former county player used his pace to cut in along the end-line and hit the net but Lacken's response was exemplary as, from the resulting kick-out, Karl Clerkin pointed off the left boot.
Shercock lost midfielder Philip Clerkin to a second yellow card at this point and Lacken pressed on before half-time with Shane Finnegan and Killian Galligan (free) making it 1-8 to 2-1 at the midway point.
Employing much more defensive cover than had been the case in previous matches, Lacken made sure space was at a premium for the Shercock forwards.
The Celtics wasted two goal chances early in the third quarter before Killian Clarke stroked over a 47-metre free from the ground. A good point for Shane Moynagh made it 1-9 to 2-2 at the second water break and Shercock threw the kitchen sink at their opponents in the closing stages in an effort to preserve their status.
Clarke went to the edge of the square, where county teammate Thomas Galligan followed him, and immediately looked dangerous.
Niall Clerkin landed two points (one free) either side of a Killian Galligan effort to cut the gap.
Killian Clarke won and converted a free which was cancelled out by a left-footed point from sub Peter Galligan as the intensity, and the mistakes, increased.
A long ball from Damien McIntyre found Clarke, who pointed to make it a two-point game entering the closing stages but Lacken held on under heavy shelling to take the victory.
Shercock will now go down to intermediate ranks, after four years in senior, while Lacken hold on to their top-flight status for a 10th successive year.
Lacken: Daryl Buckley, Aoghan Halton, David Wilson, Kevin Shanaghy, Shane Finnegan (0-1), Damien McKiernan, Philip Moynagh, Thomas Galligan, James Galligan, Micheál Shanaghy (0-1), Dylan Donohoe, Karl Clerkin (0-1), Killian Galligan (1-5, 4f), Paul Leddy (0-1), Shane Moynagh (0-1)
Subs: Ryan Coyle, Raymond Galligan, Peter Galligan (0-1)
Shercock: Lee Clarke, Damien McIntyre, Dwayne Eakins, Killian Clarke (0-3, 2f), Colin Clerkin, Paddy McMahon, Michael Reilly, Brian Sankey, Philip Clerkin, Sean Clarke, Niall Clerkin (1-2, 1f), Shane Clarke, Daniel Clarke, Eoin Morrissey, Ryan Clerkin (1-1)
Subs: Darren Reilly
Ref: Joe McQuillan