Gortnahoe/Glengoole have claimed the County Junior B Football Championship following a comprehensive victory over West champions Eire Óg Annacarty in the final at a very mild Littleton on Saturday afternoon last.
The Mid side had six points to spare over their opponents at the final whistle and were full value for their victory. This despite being down to 14 men from as early as the fifth minute when wing forward Karl Collins saw red following an off the ball altercation.
Even the numerical disadvantage couldn’t halt a superior Gortnahoe side claiming victory that sees them re-enter Junior ‘A’ status for next year.
The game itself was played in good spirits and couldn’t be faulted for endeavour from either side, although the quality of football was not always of the highest standard. Indeed both sides were particularly nervous for the opening ten minutes as the players looked very tentative in front of the posts.
Both teams was guilty of squandering decent scoring opportunities. It took 11 minutes before the opening score was registered. This came courtesy of man of the match, Gortnahoe’s scorer-in-chief Paul Hanrahan.
The full forward proved a constant thorn in the side of the Annacarty defence. His reliable free taking and pacy runs caused the Annacarty defenders problems throughout, as he finished the game with a personal tally of 1-6 from his side’s final total of 1-9.
It took him another four minutes before he doubled his side’s tally to give them a narrow lead after the opening quarter.
Then came a key moment in the match as Gortnahoe grabbed a goal from the penalty spot.
Following an inch-perfect pass inside to Paddy Skehan from Jonathan Guilfoyle, the resulting run saw Skehan fouled en route to goal, which led to Hanrahan coolly converting from the spot.
This gave Gortnahoe a comfortable five point cushion in a game where scores were very hard to come by. It gave the men from the Mid a major platform on which to build for the rest of the game. And this they steadily did as they slotted over another fine point from play, this time from the boot of Paddy Skehan.
It was a lead Gortnahoe never relinquished as they defended resolutely throughout the game and when presented with the scoring chances at the other end they duly converted them.
Annacarty never gave up the ghost, however, and played with pride and this was epitomised in the 24th minute when they opened their account through the boot of the hard working Michael Buckley.
They doubled their tally soon after as Sean Breen converted a close in free before Gortnahoe responded with a converted free from that man Hanrahan once more, to leave the half time score at 1-4 to 0-2 in favour of the men in red and white.
Like the first half, Gortnahoe opened the scoring in the second half with a point from their captain Adrian Maher. Annacarty found a response almost immediately through a point from Philip McGrath to keep his side in the hunt. Gortnahoe kept the score board ticking before Annacarty received a lifeline when they were awarded a penalty in the 11th minute of the second half. Up stepped wing back John Ryan and his shot rocketed to the net to give the men in blue and white some much-needed hope going into the final 20 minutes.
However this was as good as it got for Annacarty, who failed to capitalise on this momentum as Gortnahoe shut up shop in defence, limiting their opponents to half chances that were easily snuffed out by a rigid Glengoole defence.
They managed to hit their opponents on the break and played some attractive counter-attacking football at times that resulted in Paul Hanrahan adding three more unanswered pints before the final whistle to leave Gortnahoe crowned county Junior “B” football champions.
Gortnahoe/Glengoole: 1. Keith Corbett 2. Kieran Tobin 3. Ronan Stanley 4. Brian Purcell 5. Enda McCarthy 6. Shane Hanrahan 7. Jamie Moriarty 8. Kevin Slattery 9. Adrian Maher (0-1) 10. Karl Collins 11. Jonathan Guilfoyle 12. Tommy Duggan 13. Paddy Skehan (0-1) 14. Paul Hanrhan (1-6 3fs) 15. Willie Coleman.
Subs: Stuart Hanrahan (0-1) for J.Guilfoyle Liam Lanigan for W.Coleman.
Eire Óg Annacarty: 1. Donie Horan 2. Mike Fox 3. Garrett O’Brien 4. Michael O’Brien 5. Michael Bradshaw 6. Cathal Coughlan 7. John Ryan (1-0) 8 Pat Ahern 9. Patrick Crowe 10. Thomas Coughlan 11. Michael Buckley (0-1) 12. Phillip McGrath (0-1) 13. Sean Breen (0-1f) 14. Brian Ryan 15. Michael McGrath.
Subs: Josh Quinn for B. Ryan, Gearoid Loughman for T.Coughlan.