Waterford Senior Football Championship Final – Stradbally 0-9 Ballinacourty 1-5

Stradbally defeated Ballinacourty by 0-9 to 1-5 in the Waterford Senior Football Championship Final on Sunday in Fraher Field Dungarvan.

Munster Intermediate Club Camogie Semi-final – Newmarket-on-Fergus (Clare) 6-9 Mallow (Cork) 0-3

Newmarket-on-Fergus (Clare) defeated Mallow (Cork) by 6-9 to 0-3 in the Munster Intermediate Club Camogie Championship Semi-final in Newmarket.

Limerick Senior Football Championship Final – Monaleen 1-9 Adare 1-5

Monaleen turn it round to claim crown

Monaleen 1-9 Adare 1-5

By Brendan Mooney for the Irish Examiner newspaper

Monday, October 18, 2010

A TALE of two halves in Newcastle West yesterday as Monaleen claimed their fourth Limerick SFC title at the expense of an Adare side bidding for their first. The opening 30 minutes pointed towards a fairytale success for a club more accustomed to hurling crowns in recent seasons. Boosted by a cracking Liam Costello goal in the 18th minute along with points from James Hickey and Mickey Lyons, Adare were 1-5 to 0-4 ahead at the interval as Monaleen fumbled and stumbled around the pitch. Only the free-taking of Gavin (3) and a Jason O’Brien effort kept the city outfit in touch.

Even winning manager Ger Lawlor admitted that many of his charges were fearful the game was slipping away from them as they gathered in the dressing room. Lawlor admitted: “We were nervous in the first half and we made an awful lot of mistakes – basic mistakes like giving away the ball. Their goal was from a mistake. But we had a bit of a chat at half-time. Some lads were sniping at one another and blaming one another. But we said we were good enough to win it and we stuck to our plan to get the ball in fast and it worked out. We got the goal off Jason (O’Brien) and Cormac (Joyce Power) kicked two great points that brought us back into it.”

Monaleen were a different force on the restart. Inspired by half-back trio Eoin Keating, Barry Fitzpatrick and sub Padraig Quinn, they began to eliminate the errors, suffocate the Adare attack, and crucially found their scoring touch at the other end. Excellent points from Jason O’Brien and Cormac Joyce Power and a great point from a free from a very acute angle by Muiris Gavin had them level (1-5 to 0-8) before the game’s turning point in the 49th minute. Monaleen midfielder Brian Geary found himself in oceans of space as Adare had lost their shape throughout the pitch. He flighted a long ball into O’Brien, who had dropped in behind the defence. He calmly rolled the ball past Barry Toomey for a goal which changed the complexion of the tie.

Monaleen defended brilliantly in the closing stages while Adare, who failed to score in the second half, were guilty of four terrible wides in the closing stages. Gavin landed his fifth point of the afternoon in the final minute to seal another title for Lawlor’s side. “Our backs were brilliant in the second half,” Lawlor continued. “Finbarr Nash was outstanding, Darren Burke did very well as did Barry Fitzpatrick. Padraig Quinn did very well when he came in for Jack (Hoare) and he is normally a half-forward but played wing back for Limerick minors. A lot of people give out about Monaleen saying we have lads from everywhere. We don’t. We had 13 lads out there today who were born and bred in Monaleen and we came out to the west to beat a west team. And we did that.”

Scorers for Monaleen: J. O’Brien 1-2, M. Gavin 0-5 (frees), C. Joyce Power 0-2.

Scorers for Adare: L. Costello 1-0, J. Hickey 0-3 (frees), M. Lyons and C. Fitzgerald (free) 0-1 each.

MONALEEN: D. O’Sullivan; D. Bourke, P. King, F. Nash; E. Keating, B. Fitzpatrick, J. Hoare; B. Geary, P. Kinnerk; P. Burrell, L. Kavanagh, C. Joyce Power; M. Gavin, J. O’Brien, M. Crowley.

Sub: P. Quinn for J. Hoare (29).

ADARE: B. Toomey; C. Cribbin, D. Mordan, M. Clifford; W. McNamara, S Lavin, F. Kelleher; P. Keane, J. Hickey; D. Sheehan, D. Lavin, C. Fitzgerald; L. Costello, M. Lyons, N. Mulvihill.

Subs: W. Griffin for P. Keane (6); D. Sexton for W. Griffin (55), P. Lavin for W. McNamara (59).

Referee: D. Enright (Dromin/Athlacca)

Kerry Senior Football Championship Final – Dr. Crokes 1-15 Austin Stacks 0-11

Clinical Crokes learn from painful past

Dr Crokes 1-15 Austin Stacks 0-11

By Fintan O’Toole for the Irish Examiner newspaper

Monday, October 18, 2010

THEIR pursuit over the last decade has been frustrating and fruitless but yesterday brought atonement for Dr Crokes in the form of their seventh Kerry football title. The Killarney club have endured plenty of anguish since they last held the Bishop Moynihan Cup in 2000 but no one amongst the 10,219 spectators at Austin Stack Park yesterday could deny the legitimacy of their success in this AIB Kerry SFC final. Austin Stacks brought a brilliant bunch of supporters who transformed the venue into a cauldron of colour and noise, but despite a committed effort on the pitch, they were squeezed out by a force with superior football nous.

Dr Crokes absorbed the lessons of the past wisely. The grandeur of county final day did not spook them as they took to the field for their fourth decider in six years whereas a large chunk of the Austin Stacks outfit were entering unchartered territory. That gulf in experience was reflected by the manner in which Dr Crokes settled better. In the opening quarter they had stitched together a 0-5 to 0-1 lead and though Austin Stacks eventually settled, there was an admirable calmness to Dr Crokes play in the finale as they closed the match effectively.

It was pertinent that a team performance won the day for Dr Crokes. In the past there have been accusations that they were guilty of pinning their hopes on the individual input of Colm Cooper. From throw-in yesterday Austin Stacks instructed John Dennis to act as the Gooch’s shadow and at various stages in the first-half, he received assistance in that department from Denis Costelloe and TJ Hogan. Any suspicions that Dr Crokes would struggle at the sight of their go-to guy being double-teamed were quickly dispelled as others picked up the scoring slack.

Midfielder Ambrose O’Donovan, who gave a terrific display, ended the game with four points, three of those fine efforts arriving in the opening period. Chris Brady, the latest attacking gem to roll off their production line, drew frees with his incisive running and he also arced over a stunning 9th minute point after a brilliant cross-field ball by Johnny Buckley. Dr Crokes utilised their spare man impressively with Shane Doolan frequently proving the launch pad for their attacks with his intelligent distribution.

Austin Stacks could have done without that wretched opening after being wounded with injuries before the game. The absence of county man Daniel Bohane’s defensive skills was well-flagged. But the late withdrawal of Graham O’Connell was an additional blow as they missed his presence up front. Their other best finisher Dara Long was well policed by John Payne and was unable to squirm free to come close to replicating the two-goal blast that had felled Dingle in the semi-final. Mikey Collins did prove a thorn in the Dr Crokes rearguard and his persistence and skill to stop a ball going over the sideline in the 27th minute was rewarded with a brilliant point. They sought Kieran Donaghy with frequency from midfield deliveries but the tenacity of Mike Moloney and the assisted covering provided by Luke Quinn and Doolan managed to thwart that danger. Austin Stacks’ decision to return to a more orthodox fifteen before half-time did pay dividends as the experience of Hogan and William Kirby hauled them back into the hunt. Adrift 0-8 to 0-6 at the interval, they were still in the hunt.

Upon the resumption Austin Stacks hopes soared further as they matched Dr Crokes for two points and then Dara Long popped over a free that saw them only trail 0-10 to 0-9. But Dr Crokes’ poise never crumbled and in the heat of battle, their marquee name shone brightest. The improved contributions elsewhere were important on the day but Colm Cooper’s ability to alter the course of the game was instrumental to victory. Not that he was totally anonymous in the first-half – one defence-splitting pass in the 14th minute paved the way for an Ambrose O’Donovan point. But in the second-half, Cooper cut loose with a couple of audacious points before pouncing for the killer blow of the afternoon in the 39th minute. Daithí Casey raced in from the left wing and when he punched a pass across, Cooper neatly slotted past Austin Stacks goalkeeper Martin Moriarty. From that moment Dr Crokes never looked like being overhauled. Austin Stacks required the revitalising tonic of a goal but they never threatened Kieran Cremin with a shot. They perhaps did have cause for complaint when Donaghy was grounded in the 44th minute near goal but after waving away those penalty appeals, Padraig O’Sullivan blew Dara Long for over-carrying in the resultant passage of play. There was to be no silverware bound for Rock Street then despite Austin Stacks relentless battling, man-of-the-match Cooper and O’Donovan supplied the grace notes to victory.

Scorers for Dr Crokes: C Cooper 1-5 (three frees); A O’Donovan, D Casey (three frees) 0-4 each; C Brady, B Looney 0-1 each.

Austin Stacks: D Long 0-5 (four frees); M Collins 0-3; TJ Hogan, S Carroll, K Donaghy 0-1 each.

Subs for Dr Crokes: S O’Neill for Brady (52); B McMahon for Kenneally (56); N O’Connell for Myers (60).

Subs for Austin Stacks: W Guthrie for Leonard (26); F Mangan for Carroll (35); F McNamara for McCarthy (41); D Clifford for Collins (44); Collins for Long (53).

Referee: Padraig O’Sullivan (Firies)

Clare Senior Hurling Championship Final – Crusheen 2-13 Cratloe 1-11

Meaney makes history for Crusheen

Crusheen 2-13 Cratloe 1-11

By Michael Moynihan for the Irish Examiner newspaper

Monday, October 18, 2010

CRUSHEEN made history yesterday in Cusack Park, collecting their first Clare SHC title at the expense of Cratloe, a late goal from Paddy Meaney finally killing off their opponents. It wasn’t all glamorous goals for Crusheen: their much-vaunted defence held Cratloe’s attack in check for long periods, and that strength at the back, spearheaded by the immense Cian Dillon, was a vital part of their victory. Cratloe – who made one change before the throw-in, with Martin Murphy in for Sean Chaplin at midfield – defended the scoreboard end in the first-half but were rocked on their heels by Crusheen’s opening attack. A long free from Ciarán O’Doherty wasn’t dealt with by Cratloe and Fergus Kennedy latched onto the loose ball, drove across field and finished well across Sean Hawes. Two minutes gone: Crusheen a goal to nil ahead.

Cratloe answered with Conor McGrath and Colin McInerney points before hitting a goal of their own on five minutes: McGrath made ground down the left before popping a cleaver pass to the unmarked Conor Ryan, who slotted calmly when one-on-one with Donal Tuohy. Almost from the puck-out Ciarán O’Doherty drove out from the Crusheen defence to point from halfway Five minutes gone, 1-2 to 1-1. Entertaining fare. That scoring rate wasn’t maintained, unsurprisingly, but the two teams served up an entertaining game nonetheless to the 8,000 spectators.

As the half wore on Clonlara were depending on Conor Ryan to win possession for them at centre-forward, and the big man did well in the early stages but Clare senior Cian Dillon settled at centre-back for Crusheen and came to grips with Ryan. When Dillon settled to anchor his side’s defence the Cratloe scores dried up – from the tenth minute until half-time they managed just one score, a Conor McGrath pointed free – and even though they created space up front they couldn’t convert that to hard currency on the scoreboard. At the other end of the field Crusheen punished indiscipline on the part of the Cratloe backs, with Paddy Vaughan pointing three frees – and a 65 – but the men in red didn’t get another goal chance, even though Gerry O’Grady almost worked an opening in the run-up to the break. At half-time it was Crusheen one up, 1-6 to 1-5.

Conor McInerney tied it up with a point on the restart but Paddy Vaughan swapped points with Conor McGrath before edging Crusheen one ahead with yet another free. Then came a vital surge for Crusheen, when Conor O’Donnell and captain Gerry O’Grady nudged them three ahead at the three-quarter stage. McInerney cut that to two with Clonlara’s first score in ten minutes before Vaughan – inevitably – pointed yet another free. With the game heading towards the closing stages Crusheen were visibly hungrier and quicker to the break. They were grateful to corner-back John Brigdale for one or two vital interceptions, and on 53rd minute Cian Dillon put down a marker with a huge blockdown on Conor McGrath to repel another attack.

It was hardly a surprise when they got the crucial score late on. Tony Meaney snapped up a break in the middle of the field before driving the ball long into his brother, substitute Paddy; the latter deliberated for a split-second before placing the ball beyond Hawes for the game-winner. McGrath and Enda Boyce had late scores for Clonlara, but the last word went fittingly to the goalscorer, whose point set off what tradition insists we refer to as scenes of unbridled joy for the Crusheen club.

Sub for Cratloe: S. Chaplin for Murphy, 45.

Subs for Crusheen: P. Meaney for G. O’Donnell, 40; A. Tuohy for J. Brigdale 55; P. O’Grady for Vaughan 58.

Scorers for Cratloe: C. McGrath 0-5 (0-3 fs); C. McInerney 0-3; C. Ryan 1-0; E. Boyce 0-2; S. Collins 0-1.

Scorers for Crusheen: P. Vaughan 0-7 (0-6 fs, 0-1 65); P. Meaney 1-1; J. Meaney 0-2; C. O’Doherty, C. O’Donnell, G. O’Grady 0-1 each.

Referee: S McMahon