Co. League Div 1 Final: Austin Stacks 1-10; Rathmore 1-10 (Stacks win 4-3 on penalties).
The famous phrase in the Charles Dickens Novel ‘A Tale of Two Cities (1859)’ comes to mind – it was the best of times, it was the worst of times. The best of times was the win and the manner of the win. The worst of times was the dreadful weather we encountered – the worst at any game this year. Credit to both teams who were part of such an entertaining game in such terrible conditions, and to the gallant band of supporters from both Clubs who braved the cold, the rain and hail and the near gale force wind at times.
We got off to the perfect start. Coming up to two minutes of play a long diagonal ball by Dylan Casey was won by Kieraan Donaghy who found Fiachna Mangan for a tap-in goal. Just over a minute later it was Dylan himself who had the game’s first point after good work by Ronan Shanahan, Joseph O’Connor and Gearóid Fitzgerald. By the 5th minute both sides had a point each – ours converted by Michael O’Gara with our two corner backs Colin Griffin and Jack O’Shea involved in the build-up. After Rathmore registered their second point in the 11th minute from a free we then added two more in the 15th and 19th minutes, the first a long-ranged effort from Joseph O’Connor and the second from a well-taken free by Michael O’Donnell. Another Rathmore free a minute later yielded their third point of the game and this was followed by another Michael O’Donnell point from play in the 22nd minute. Then two minutes later Colin Griffin made a terrific run up field where he was eventually fouled and Michael O’Donnell again converted the resultant free.
Then Rathmore gave themselves a live-line when they goaled in the 26th minute but we finished the half the stronger with two late points, both from play by Seán Quilter and Michael O’Donnell to give us a five points lead at the break (1-8 to 1-3).
Rathmore now had the elements in their favour during the second half and they made full use of them, scoring four unanswered points during the third quarter, to whittle our lead down to the bare minimum (1-8 to 1-7). What turned out to be our only score of this half came in the 46th minute – a point from play by Jack O’Shea. In the closing quarter the home sideadded two more points to level matters for the first time (1-9 each) and send the game to extra time.
The first half of extra time saw both sides score a point each – ours coming from another Michael O’Donnell one from play and during the second half of extra time no side could add anymore scores and with a proposal from the Co. Board official present and the agreement of both Clubs the game went down in history to be the first one decided in the county by a penalty shoot-out.
With both sides missing a penalty each after the first four takes (our three scorers were Darragh O’Brien, Michael O’Gara and Seán Quilter) it then came down to the wire. Rathmore missed their 5th and with the score still at 3-3 up steps the one and only Kieran Donaghy and he sent his shot to the keeper’s right to win a famous and historic victory to the delight of all Rockies.
The winning trophy was presented to team captain Ronan Shanahan who thanked everyone involved in this win and in our other victories during year and Michael O’Donnell was deservedly presented with the Man of the Match Award for his performance on the day.
The win puts us back on top of the Roll of Honours again, with eleven titles, after sharing it with Dr. Crokes for the past year. Sixteen Clubs in total have won Division 1 of the Co. League and only four Clubs have won five or more titles. The other two Clubs (as well as ourselves and Crokes ) are Laune Rangers with nine wins and Kerins O’Rahillys with 5. Two Clubs have won two titles each (Desmonds and Milltown) and then ten other Clubs have won one title each.
One other stat which deserves mention – during the whole game which, between normal time, additional time and extra time, lasted just over 91 minutes, we had no wide. And that certainly must be a record as well.
Team: Darragh O’Brien, Colin Griffin, Dylan Casey (0-1), Jack O’Shea (0-1), Ciarán O’Reilly, Ronan Shanahan (Capt), Shane Walsh, Joseph O’Connor (0-1), David Fitzmaurice, Michael O’Gara (0-1), Fiachna Mangan (1-0), Michael O’Donnell (0-5 – two frees), Seán Quilter (0-1), Kieran Donaghy, Gearoid Fitzgerald.
Subs used: Shane O’Callaghan (37m), Darragh O’Brien (41m), John Dennis (45m), Ciarán O’Connell (5m ET).
Winning four out of the five competitions we contested at District and County level was no mean achievement even if the main event eluded us, and the eventual winners of that main event – the Co. Championship (East Kerry) were the team that knocked us out of that competition. So for the record we won the Town League and Championship together with the Club Championship and now the Co. League. Well done to the 42 players who lined out at one time and another during the 25 competitive games that were played during the season – a playing season which spanned a total of 47 weeks (27th January to 15th December). Thanks also to Team Manager, Wayne Quillinan and his gallant band of colleagues – Eoin Colgan, Jonathan Conway, John O’Sullivan, Tommy Naughton, Damien Ryall, Fionan Hallinan and Paudie McQuinn.
SPECIAL THANKS: also to the many others whose background work can go un-noticed at times – and these include Noel O’Connell and John Breen who will always have the playing facilities in tip-top shape, to Matthew & Aisling Browne who operate the scoreboard, to Eddie Barrett for his work on match days, to Jim Naughton, Nial Shanahan, Bernie Mannix and Mairéad who sell Lotto Tickets on match days and collect at the gate as well and to Elma and Ciara Nix for their brilliant work in making our Website and Twitter Account one of the best in the business.
Photographs Compliments of Adrienne Mc Loughlin: