Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Junior A Football Final: Cork v Shannon Blues

Cork v Shannon Blues

Cork relied on an injury time penalty last week to reach this final, and the Rebel men made it interesting once again as they scored a last minute goal to claim this thrilling decider by a single point. It was the club’s first win in this competition in twelve years, which will make the refreshments tonight in Cambridge taste all the sweeter. 

Cork made it all the way in 2017 o win the junior A championship.
Neither team had been in this final recently, and it took a few minutes for the nerves to ease and the game to open up. Shane Connaughton created the match’s first point with a silky run through the middle that ended in a free for the Blues. Cork’s Colm Daly tried to answer quickly but his fisted effort dropped under the bar and the goal was disallowed. Still, Cork won the midfield battle early and pressed their advantage with three smooth points off Cathal Arnold’s left boot. Arnold was a handful for the Blues defense all day, and he played a huge role in keeping them within striking range at the end. 

Stephen Conway replied with two frees off the ground for the Blues each side of a Mark Dalton point. Connor Fitzgerald shifted the dynamic of the first half as he spun past his marker and slipped the ball past Cork’s outstretched keeper to send the Blues into a 1-05 to 0-07 lead at the break. 

A Cathal Arnold free kicked off the second half for Cork, and he added to his growing tally with a beautiful looping point moments later. However, the Blues had a strong breeze at their back and made the most of it. Jack Goulding and Michael Rolston pointed for the Shannon side from play, and Stephen Conway was deadly accurate from dead balls off the ground. 

The Blues led by a point with ten minutes to go, and Cork threw numbers forward in search of an equalizer. They were nearly caught out at the back as Ollie Murphy was forced into a diving stop, but the keeper in red and white held Michael Rolston to a point. 

Cork drove forward again and, with the whistle to the referee’s lips, Jack Lynch had the ball in his hands. A swarm of Blues’ jerseys closed in on him, but the American kept his head and found Colm Daly unmarked on the edge of the square. Daly didn’t hesitate. He blasted past the Shannon Blues’ keeper and sent the Cork crowd into a frenzy. The Blues had one more chance to level the match, but their last kick of the ball went wide and it was the Rebel men raising the silverware as the scoreboard read 1-12 to 1-11.

Cork: Ollie Murphy, I. Crowley, M. Corolon, S. Loftus, C. Cagging, D. Donovan, J. Long, J. Lynch, S. Flynn, C. Arnold, L. Cunningham, C. Daly, M. Dalton

Shannon Blues: M. Moriarty, S. Kelly, S. Connaughton, C. Mullen, M. Young, P. Murray, C. Fitzgerald, P. Moriarty, S. Conway, M. Rolston, J. Goulding

By Mark Dunphy

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