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2020 All-Ireland Junior Club Football Final – Na Gaeil 3-20 Rathgarogue Cushinstown 1-5
Na Gaeil (Kerry) defeated Rathgarogue Cushinstown (Wexford) by 3-20 to 1-5 in the AIB GAA Football All-Ireland Junior Club Championship Final on Saturday January 25th at Croke Park.
— Spórt TG4 (@SportTG4) January 25, 2020
Na Gaeil crowned All-Ireland junior football champions https://t.co/wYPvdBukr6
— Irish Examiner Sport (@ExaminerSport) January 25, 2020
Na Gaeil crowned All-Ireland junior football champions
Report By Paul Keane for the Irish Examiner newspaper
Na Gaeil (Kerry) 3-20 – 1-5 Rathgarogue-Cushinstown (Wexford)
Ian McCarthy enjoyed the freedom of Croke Park on a historic day for Na Gaeil, the former Kerry minor scoring a stunning 3-2 to keep the AIB All-Ireland club junior title in the Kingdom.
After taking the temperature of the game for the first 20 minutes, the Tralee outfit soon increased it to boiling point and ran out 21-point winners with McCarthy the hat-trick hero.
The big win matches Beaufort’s demolition of Easkey in last year’s decider and means a Kerry team has claimed the title for the fifth time in six seasons.
A 1-5 blast without reply late in the first-half put Na Gaeil in a strong position and another unanswered 1-8 in the third quarter broke the back of the Rathgarogue-Cushinstown challenge.
Powered on by their Kerry senior stars Jack Barry and Diarmuid O’Connor at midfield, Na Gaeil opened up with some stunning play in the third quarter during that 1-8 burst.
Aside from McCarthy, who netted at both ends of Croke Park either side of the interval, Mike Griffin and Diarmaid Herlihy impressed in front of the posts.
A bad afternoon for the Wexford outfit ended on the low note of a red card for full-back Peadar Cody who was dismissed in the 62nd minute.
Leinster champions Rathgarogue-Cushinstown hinted initially at major gains with a bright start, opening the scoring through Jason Dunne and moving 0-4 to 0-3 ahead after 20 minutes.
Na Gaeil had their chances at the other end but poor shooting cost them and they racked up seven wides in the first-half, 11 in total.
But the favourites did enough during an 11-minute spell between the 21st and 32nd minutes to wrestle control of the game.
They hit Rathgarogue-Cushinstown for 1-5 without reply in that period to surge into a 1-8 to 0-4 lead.
Na Gaeil implemented a high press on the opposition kick-out and penned them in at the Hill 16 end for long stretches, dominating possession and racking up the scores.
Eoin Doody, wearing number seven but positioned in attack as they piled bodies forward, got the scoring siege going with three points in a row.
McCarthy then reeled off 1-1, his goal coming from a kick-out that was turned over by Dara Devine who fed McCarthy on the right to rifle a shot into the roof of the net.
Corner back Ryan O’Neill fisted a point for Na Gaeil and suddenly a seven-point gap had opened up between the team with half-time fast approaching.
Rathgarogue-Cushinstown were thrown a lifeline in the last action of the half when Tadhg Cody broke free and won a penalty off Damien Bourke that goalkeeper Nicky Sinnott converted.
That left Na Gaeil leading at half-time by just 1-8 to 1-4 though Mike Griffin’s second point of the game early in the second-half reopened a five-point advantage.
That Griffin score was the first of a 1-8 burst which put Na Gaeil 2-16 to 1-4 ahead and ultimately killed the game.
Rathgarogue-Cushinstown scored just one point from play in the second-half, a converted free by Daire Bolger.
McCarthy completed his hat-trick for Na Gaeil when he rounded the goalkeeper in the 64th minute and blasted to an empty net.
Na Gaeil scorers: I McCarthy (3-2), E Doody (0-3, 1 free), M Griffin (0-3), D Herlihy (0-3), D Devine (0-3, 2 frees), R O’Neill (0-1), D Goggin (0-1), J Barry (0-1), D Reen (0-1), D Bourke (0-1), P Daly (0-1, 1 free).
Rathgarogue-Cushinstown scorers: N Sinnott (1-0, pen), D Bolger (0-2, 2 frees), J Dunne (0-1), D Martin Carroll (0-1), T Cody (0-1)
Na Gaeil: T Culloty; D Bourke, E O’Neill, R O’Neill; E Doody, A Barry, K O’Donovan; D O’Connor, J Barry; I McCarthy, D Devine, D Goggin; M Griffin, D O’Connor, D Herlihy.
Subs: K Dineen for O’Connor (42); E Walsh for E O ‘Neill (46); J Lowham for Griffin, D Reen for Goggin (48); J O’Connor for O’Donovan (49), P Daly for Doody (58).
Rathgarogue-Cushinstown: N Sinnott; P McGrath, P Cody, P Murphy; B Cody, E Porter, B O’Neill; D Martin Carroll, M Cody; T Cody, R Murphy, B Furlong; E Cummins, D Bolger, J Dunne.
Subs: M Power for O’Neill (24); O Bolger for McGrath (36); A Ryan for Cummins (42); L O’Connor for R Murphy (56); J Kelly for Sinnott, P Barron for Bolger (58).
Ref: S Lonergan (Tipperary)
— The GAA (@officialgaa) January 25, 2020