ROCK 1-11 GLENBEIGH-GLENCAR 1-14
TWELVE-MAN Rock came up short in their bid for the All-Ireland Junior Club Championship crown at Croke Park on Sunday.
The St Patricks trailed for much of the contest yet when supersub Padraig Ward rammed home a goal in the 48th minute, after good work from the excellent Conor McCreesh, they looked set to make amends for their previous final loss in 2008.
However they were outscored by six points to one during the remainder of the contest, as two quick-fire red cards, allied to some demoralising injuries to key men, eventually took its toll.
Glenbeigh-Glencar flew out of the traps and their Kerry county star Darran O’Sullivan led the way, darting onto Gavan O’Grady’s clever pass inside to drill a shot confidently past keeper Seamus Donaghy in the second minute.
It was will-o-the wisp O’Sullivan who extended the Kingdom side’s advantage with a razor sharp finish over he bar at the Hill end after neat approach work involving Caolim Teahan and Danny O’Sullivan.
Belatedly Rock opened their account in the tenth minute as Conor McCreesh swivelled onto Thomas Bloomer’s pass to drive over in style, a strike which injected some much needed belief and confidence into their game.
Two pointed Aidan McGarrity frees in quick succession brought the Rock right back into proceedings, after that hesitant start.
Midfielder Fergal Griffin banged over an excellent point, while Kieran Courtney, capitalised on a deft lay off from Tommy Cahill to float over a quality effort.
An injury to centre-half back Stephen Mullan and then the dismissal of Enda McWilliams, for a second booking after a clash with O’Sullivan, suggested that it wasn’t to be the Rock’s day as McCreesh exchanged scores with Gavan O’Grady.
Rock roared right back into contention in the closing stages of the half, driven on by Girvan and Gourley who both struck over monster scores.
Diarmaid Carroll also got in on the act, as St Patricks clicked through the gears, and with McGarrity also tagging on a couple of frees, as well as curling over a beauty with the last kick of the half, they went in at the break all-square at 1-6 to 0-9. The red card for Glenbeigh-Glencar corner forward Daniel Griffin, for an off the ball strike on Girvan meant that numerically it was also now even.
The quality of the fare dropped off somewhat on the restart, with the finishing of both sides struggling to replicate that produced before the interval. McGarrity (free) handed Rock the lead, but a brace from the lively O’Grady put the Kingdom boys in the box seat again.
When Rock sub Padraig Ward fired home a goal, the Tyrone side leapfrogged two ahead (McCreesh and Eamon Ward doing the spade work) but credit to Glenbeigh who rediscovered their earlier composure and zip.
Courtney and O’Grady slotted over terrific scores, and while O’Sullivan then eased them in front, McCreesh responded with a cracker off the outside of the foot to leave it 1-11 apiece.
The subsequent red cards in the space of a minute for Diarmuid Carroll and Niall Mullan (his was a yellow and black) seemed incredibly harsh in the context of a hard-hitting, competitive All-Ireland Final, and Glenbeoigh-Glencar made the most of the open space now afforded them.
Late points on the counter-attack from subs Bernard Murphy and Jason McKenna, as well as a fisted Darran O’Sullivan score, spelt more Jones Road misery at the end up for the gallant St Patrick’s.
Aidan McGarrity (0-5,4 frees), Conor McCreesh (0-3), Padraig Ward (1-0), Diarmaid Carroll, Ciaran Gourley, Aidan Girvan (0-1 each)
Darran O’Sullivan (1-3), Gavan O’Grady (0-6,3 frees), Kieran Courtney (0-2), Fergal Griffin, Berard Murphy, Jason McKenna (0-1 each)
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