Mc Elligott Cup Final : Austin Stacks 2-18; Rathmore 2-7.
Hail our super heroes – winners of the McElligott Cup (County JF Championship) – played in a damp Castleisland on this Friday evening (7th Sept) – the first time we took part in this competition. This was as entertaining a game of football as we have witnessed all season. The first half was ‘nip and tuck’ and even though we opened the scoring in the second minute with a well-taken point from play by Alan Duggan it was the Rathmore boys who dominated play in the opening ten minutes after which they led by 1-3 to 0-2 – with our second point also coming from Alan Duggan from play.
But we were now coming more into the game and in the space of the next six minutes we had drawn level with four unanswered points from four different players. Alan Duggan was on target again, this time from a free after William Kirby was fouled going through, and the other three points came from play by Theo Diggin, Fergal Ryan and Donagh McKivergan.
The East Kerry boys had a slight edge over us for the rest of the half – putting over four more points to three for us. Fergal Ryan scored two and Alan Duggan the other after being put through by Donagh McKivergan with a quickly taken free. This left us trailing by one point at the break (1-7 to 0-9) after playing into a strong enough wind in that first half accompanied by continuous rain.
On the resumption Gearóid McCann won the throw-in and Donagh McKivergan raced forward to put over after just 12 seconds to level the game for the second time. Then four minutes later William Kirby put us back in the lead for the first time since our opening score of the game and this was followed in the 37th minute by a pointed free by Donagh McKivergan after Brandon Patterson was fouled. But the score that really put us on the road to victory came just over a minute later. It started with a brilliant run by Darragh Scanlon and when the ball broke in the square it was that brilliant veteran, William Kirby who coolly steered the ball to the net – what a super hero this man is – playing in his 24th season with the Club. Four more points followed – all from play – from four different players – Theo Diggin, Dale Counihan, Fergal Ryan and Alan Duggan – before another super hero really put the game to bed with our second goal of the game in the 48th minute – none other than Dale Counihan. So good was our performance in the second half that we just conceded one score in those closing 30 minutes – a goal in the 52nd minute. Our closing two points of the game came from Fergal Ryan to cap a fine performance by the wing forward who ended up chief scorer with six points in total – all from play. In fact all but two of our 2 goals and 18 points came from play.
So a near perfect performance by all twenty one who lined out on this Friday. Seamus Bastible couldn’t be faulted for Rathmore’s two well-taken goals in the 8th and 52nd minutes. Apart from his kick-outs being near perfect he was well protected by his three front men – the two Shanes (Kelliher and Walsh) and Paul Galvin and Barry Shanahan who moved into the number 3 spot in the second half. How many times did those four men make perfect turnovers throughout the hour and set up attack after attack. Our two wing backs, team captain, Andrew Morrissey and Eoghan Galvin didn’t put a foot wrong. What an inspirational captain Andrew is – both on and off the field. His pre-game team talks, for example, would rouse any team to perform at its best. Gearóid McCann and Darragh Scanlon dominated the centre all through and the five starting forwards were outstanding as can be seen from the stats below. Michael Linnane didn’t get on the score-sheet on this occasion but it was Michael’s hat-trick of goals in the semi final that contributed significantly to us getting to the final. All our six subs could easily have made the starting 15 with Dale Counihan on fire when introduced early in the second half – scoring 1-1 in the process. And all of the extended panel who were unlucky not to have performed in the final on this occasion played their part during the season in helping this weekend’s victory.
And very few teams will win anything without the help of our back room staff. Paddy Barry, Eamon O’Reilly, Kieran Kelliher and Brian Morgan took on the management of our Junior team this year and this victory was the culmination of what these men have achieved.
Team: Seamus Bastible, Shane Kelliher, Shane Walsh, Paul Galvin, Andrew Morrissey (Capt), Barry Shanahan, Eoghan Galvin, Gearóid McCann, Darragh Scanlon, Theo Diggin (0-2), Alan Duggan (0-5 – one free), Fergal Ryan (0-6), Donagh McKivergan (0-3 – one free), William Kirby (1-1, Michael Linnane.
Subs used: John Dennis (ht), Brandon Patterson (ht), Dale Counihan (35m) (1-1), Paddy Fitzgibbon (55m), James Quigley (55m), John Murphy (56m).
Photographs by Adrienne Mc Loughlin: