Monday, August 26, 2013

Junior A Football Final: Wolfe Tones v Donegal

Wolfe Tones 2-13 Donegal 2-4

Kenny O'Regan hoists the
Pat Callaghan Cup.
Wolfe Tones reclaimed the junior A football championship, a title last won in 2011, with a devastating display against defending champions Donegal.  The Tones came out of the gate strong and kept Donegal to a solitary score for the first 25 minutes of the game.  With Declan McBride getting sent off in the first half Donegal's chances of a comeback were severely reduced.  The Tones were ruthless in the second half and kept the pressure on 12 man Donegal to ensure that no ray of hope would trigger a comeback.

The first half was noted for the sending off of Donegal center back, Declan McBride.  Things were not going Donegal's way.  The Tones had came out of the gate strong and did a great job keepiing the door shut on the Donegal forward line.  In doing so, the Tones established a six point lead that really should have been nine.  Christy McLaughlin had got Donegal's only score of the first 20 minutes with a goal from a free 45 yards out on the sideline that drifted under the crossbar.  Brendan Murray in goal for the Tones had just made a great save from Dean Kelly's shot, but will wondering how the ball made it into the net from the drifting free less than a minute later.  Lee Carr, Ger Molloy, and Brian Thornton had pointed for the Tones, and the South Boston side got the goal back from Sean Kelly.  The County Down native's low shot came off the crossbar but rebounded off the back of the diving Donegal keeper.  Then came the sending off McBride's reaction to a Michael O'Brien challenge on Christy Bell was deemed excessive.  The Tones looked like the efforts of the first 20 minutes were taking their toll.  Donegal knocked over 2 more points before the break from the boot of McLaughlin and it was a 1-7 to 1-2 half time score in favour of the Tones.

Wolfe Tones celebrate the junior A championship for the second time in 3 years.
The second half was all Tones who relentlessly kept up the pressure.  The Tones started the second half as strong as the first.  Brian Thornton and Carr pointed, as well as Dan McCabe before Carr got away from his marker and buried the ball low with 15 minutes to go.  The Tones lead was 12 po nowints and Donegal heads started to drop as hope of coming back were now totally dashed.  The northerners managed a consolation goal from a McLaughlin penalty with 5 minutes left.  A surprisingly one sided win for the Tones, but fully deserved as the South Boston men looked far hungrier.  So, after San Francisco 2 years ago it is off the Cleveland for the boys in blue to try and do a bit better than last time around.

Referee:  Pat Casey (Waterford)

Man of the Match:  Lee Carr (Wolfe Tones)

Tones:  B. Murray, K. Gill, K. O'Regan, M. O'Brien, D. Maguire, P. Collins, A. McEnerney, M. Breslin, B. Thornton (0-2), G. Molloy (0-2), S. Kelly (1-0), L. Carr (1-7), D. McCabe (0-1).  Donegal:  J. Byrne, S. Wogan, P. McNulty, N. McLaughlin, D. McBride, S. Doherty, M. McGinty, C. Bell, P. McLaughlin (0-1), E. Doonan, K. Curran, C. McLaughlin (2-3), D. Kelly.

By Rory O'Donnell

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