TWO MILE BORRIS 2
ST. NICHOLAS FC 2
(Two Mile Borris won 4-1 on penalties)
Two Mile Borris had to survive a late-late show and then a penalty shoot-out to overcome the gallant challenge of St. Nicholas and etch their name on the Shield Division 1 title for the first time in their history at a rain and windswept Cooke Park, Tipperary last Saturday night.
St. Nicholas, who were runners-up last season in this competition, were not only battling the elements from early on, as newly crowned Division 1 champions Borris, with the wind and rain at their backs, forced the breakthrough after 15 minutes. Colm Riordan was forced to head Aidan Healy’s cross behind for a corner and from a Michael Ivors in-swinger Matt Shorthall rose at the back post to head powerfully home.
St. Nicholas, despite that setback, began gaining a foothold, with Darren Stokes setting up Aidan Riordan who delayed his shot and the ball was cleared. As the half-hour mark was reached the ball broke in the area to Eoin Riordan from a Joe O’Brien centre but he dragged a good opportunity wide from close range. Although playing into the teeth of a gale force wind and driving rain St. Nicholas continued to turn the screw, but timely interceptions from Matt Shorthall on Brian Hartnett and David Duggan on Aidan Riordan saw Borris hold onto that slender 1-0 lead at the halfway stage.
Borris almost gifted St. Nicholas the equaliser when Michael Byrne’s attempted back-pass went behind for a corner-kick and from the set-piece Byrne got his head to the ball, but the wind took it towards goal and Borris net-minder Jim McDonnell produced a top-class finger-tip save to push the ball over the crossbar for another corner that was cleared. After those early scares Borris doubled their lead on the hour mark. A quick-counter attack saw Martin Darmody being released down the right flank and his low cross across the six yard box was steered home by Noelie Burke from close range.
While most sides would have thrown in the towel, St. Nicholas refused to be rattled and clawed their way back into this contest. After 75 minutes Eamon O’Dwyer was sprung from the bench and minutes after coming on the former St. Michael’s striker scored when getting on the end of a Darren Stokes flick-on from a Colm Riordan free-kick. Borris battened down the hatches, as wave after wave of St. Nicholas attacks began putting the Mid Tipp side under pressure and they looked to have weathered the storm as the final minutes were reached. Well into stoppage-time Richard McCarthy rounded Mark Lowry in the St. Nicholas goal and laid the ball on a plate for Martin Darmody, but he fired over when he should have scored the insurance goal. At the other end of the park a free kick by Colm Riordan into the danger zone saw Brian Hartnett in amongst a number of bodies scoring to bring the sides level at 2-2, and as this was a Shield Final it was straight to a penalty shoot-out.
With the weather deteriorating by the second the drama continued. Borris went first with Michael Butler successful; then it was the turn of St. Nicholas’ reliable penalty taker Mark Lowry but to the dismay of the crowd he drove his penalty wide. With Eamon O’Dwyer’s shot hitting a post the only player to score for a St. Nicholas side that faced disappointment yet again was Colm Riordan. With Martin Darmondy, Ken Ryan and David Duggan scoring for Borris the ecstatic Mid Tipp side completed a League and Shield double.
Two Mile Borris: J. McDonnell, M. Byrne, J. Maher, D. Duggan, M. Shorthall, M. Darmody, A. Healy, M. Butler, M. Ivors, N. Burke, R. McCarthy Subs: K. Ryan, R. Quinlan, M. Kavanagh, C. Ryan, J. Grace.
St. Nicholas: M. Lowry, JJ. O’Brien, J. Ryan, C. Riordan, P. Doherty, Aidan Riordan, J. O’Brien, B. Hartnett, D. Stokes, E. Riordan, D. Riordan Subs: K. Ryan, Alan Riordan, J. Riordan, E. O’Dwyer, T. Sheridan.
Referee: P. Keane; Assistants: M. Freiberg, J. Hadnett.