Time Runs out for Minors against the young men of Mell

25 Nov 2012

A full seven weeks after it should have been played, the minor championship final eventually took place today in the Gaelic Grounds in Drogheda. So on a bitterly cold winter afternoon, the last Sunday in November, we did get the eagerly anticipated match. Despite the fog early in the day, conditions cleared as the game progressed. The pitch was in great condition for the time of year and with not a breath of wind, a good size of a crowd settled in to cheer on their respective clubs. When the two sides had met in the league earlier in the year there was only a point between them.

 

It was a bright start from the Joes/O Connells/ Stabannon side, as Colm Giggins set up Craig Doherty for a good opening score within the first minute. This could have gotten even better a minute later if Colm Duffy had not pulled off a point blank save from Cian Doyle. Indeed they would dominate the first quarter, without translating this into a lead on the scoreboard, as the Drogheda men pointed with both of their first two attacks. A Luke Haggins free was followed soon after by a good point from play for corner back Daire Fanning, to give them an unlikely lead. Another goal chance came for the mid Louth men, when Dean Matthews was put straight through on goal, on this occasion referee Gerry O Connor pulled him back for a free out. However, Craig Doherty was proving to be as economical as the Plunketts forwards, as when the lively Conor Mc Gill set him up, he hit over another fine point. This left the sides level after the first quarter of play. But the Plunketts started to come into the game at this point and their second quarter display was their best period in the game and turned out to be crucial. In the twentieth minute a shot towards goal from Aaron Kirwan dropped on the square, where Luke Haggins appeared to get a boot to it as it made its way to the back of the net. There was no doubting who got the next score, as Kirwan was rewarded for his good work with a fine point from play. Haggins added a point from a free hit from nearly 50 yards out. Indeed their half time lead could have been even greater, if it had not been for Jordan Mackin pulling off a very good double save from Josh Cormican.
Half Time Score: St Josephs/ O Connells/Stabannon 0-2, Oliver Plunketts 1-4

 

Similar to the start of the first half, Cian Doyle had a chance to bag a major. On this occasion he was set up by Craig Doherty, Doyle saw his rasping shot through a scrum of players crack off the crossbar. This however would be the only action worth mentioning from the opening 14 minutes of this half, as the game failed to produce a score in this period. There were several stoppages during the period, some flared tempers and substitutions, but very little in the way of quality play. A bit of life was brought into the game at the three quarter mark though. A big punch forward from Conor Mc Gill sent the ball on to Shane Mc Quillan, he played an interchange with Doyle, before firing to the bottom corner of the net. When Doyle hit over a free after a personal foul on himself, there was just the minimum between the sides and ten minutes of play left. The momentum was very much with the favourites. But no sooner had the margin been reduced than it was stretched back out again. In what was only their second or third attack of the half, a ball in from the right wing was sent towards Luke Haggins. His marker was doing a good job of ushering him away from goal, but despite this, the quick thinking Haggins pulled on the ball and sent a rocket of a shot that clattered off the back stantion of the goal. Doyle frees after 25 and 27 minutes brought the margin back down to two points as the clock ticked down. As the game entered injury time Eimhin Caldwell took down a ball close into goal, turned and shot, the shot was blocked and desperate calls from the attacking side that it was blocked by a foot were not heeded. More bad news for the mid Louth side came when the announcement over the loud speaker said that there would only be two minutes of injury time. This stunned most of the crowd who were expecting at least three or four additional minutes. Never the less only one and a half minutes of injury was all that was played in the end. None of this should take away from a good win for the Plunketts, who were tight in defence, economical in attack and put their game play into action. It was said that they were the biggest victims of the semi final debacle, they will not worry about that tonight as they belied their rank outside odds and took the Fr Larry Murray cup home to Mell for the third time in their history.
Full Time Score: St Josephs/ O Connells/Stabannon 1-5, Oliver Plunketts 2-4

 

St Josephs/O Connells/Stabannon: Jordan Mackin, Sean Halpenny, Michael Cairns, Declan Byrne, Thomas Campbell, Liam O Leary, Daniel Bannon, Conor Kiernan, Shane Mc Quillan, Dean Matthews, Cian Doyle, Craig Doherty, Conor Mc Gill, Robert Quigley, Colm Giggins.
Substitutions: Eimhin Caldwell for Declan Byrne, Andrew Kennan for Daniel Bannon

 

Oliver Plunketts: Colm Duffy, Conor Early, Conor Papp, Daire Fanning, Padraig Mc Hugh, Tadhg O Brien, Kevin Murphy, James Guinn, Gary Keogh, Adam Brodigan, Kenneth Hurley, Ben Donnelly, Aaron Kirwan, Luke Haggins, Liam Ryan, Josh Cormican.
Substitutions: Fiachra Doherty for Daire Fanning, Andrew Morgan for Josh Cormican.

 

Referee: Gerry O Connor (Geraldines)


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