Evergreen A 4
Freebooters B 0
A POWERFUL final quarter performance saw Evergreen A grab the three points that secured the Premier Division title.
The league leaders looked a little nervous in the opening stages, but provided a late rally that made sure the trophy will reside on the Kells Road for the third successive season.
It wasn’t a sigh of relief, but there was a notable change in the mood when Joe Mulcahy steered a low shot beyond the outstretched arm of Freebooters B goalkeeper Craig Cummins to make it 2-0 on 65 minutes.
Up to that stage Evergreen had just a single goal to show for their effort in a game where the opposition were well in contention.
Needing a win themselves to settle relegation nerves, Freebooters B played a good attacking brand of football in the opening 45 minutes. Young midfielder Paddy Cahill was solid in the centre for the Blues, who also had the pace of Aidan Nolan as another attribute.
That said, they were lucky not to fall behind from the penalty spot inside 13 minutes. Awarded the kick after Joe Mulcahy was felled in the box by Cummins, David Grincell stepped up take the penalty - Mulcahy was off-field receiving treatment - but the winger drove his effort beyond the right post.
Freebooters took note of the let-off, hitting back with a renewed attacking effort. Dean Woods sent a great ball up the line for Chris Valentine to knock inside for Paddy Kiely, but although he cut inside his marker the shot was well held by netminder Robbie Quan.
They had another pop at the target after the half hour. Eamon Byrne highlighted the confidence flowing through the team when he connected with an Evergreen clearance on the volley, but Quan was equal to his shot.
The game was heading towards half-time when Evergreen made the breakthrough five minutes before the interval. Grincell was the provider, digging out a low cross from the right corner. Mulcahy read the delivery, connecting inside the D with a half-volley that found the inside of the left post.
The goal was a tonic for Evergreen, who played with more of a threat in the second half. They had two early chances, the first of which saw Craig Cummins go full stretch to push a powerful Joe Mulcahy shot over the bar.
Sixty seconds later Declan McQuillan provided the perfect lay-off for Vinny O’Brien, who timed his run to perfection as he latched on to the ball, but he lashed his shot just over.
The action spilled back down the other end, when Aidan Nolan fired in a menacing corner. Stephen Dawson had the ball in the net, but the ‘goal’ was erased as Dean Woods was adjudged to have fouled ’keeper Robbie Quan in the build-up.
Evergreen’s grasp on the title was all the more tighter when Mulcahy doubled his tally with 25 minutes to go. It was tighter yet again when David Grincell drilled a dropping ball past Cummins five minutes later.
The morning got worse for ’Booters as they lost Woods to a second yellow six minutes from time but not Evergreen. On the stroke of full-time they confirmed their champions tag, Mulcahy completing his hat-trick from the penalty spot to complete a memorable season for him - he has reached the 50 goals target - and the club.
Evergreen A: Robbie Quan, Jack Poyntz (Jason Quan, 76 mins), Chris Whearty (Sammy Johnston, 76 mins), Matthew Wong, Oisin Corr (Andrew Hickey, 76 mins), Niall Andrews, Vinny O’Brien, Declan McQuillan, Joe Mulcahy, Jamie Owens, David Grincell.
Freebooters B: Craig Cummins, Dean Woods, Jamie Lynch, Stuart Delaney, Stephen Dawson, Eamon Byrne (Nicky Walsh, 66 mins), Julian O’Keeffe, Paddy Cahill, Aidan Nolan, Paddy Kiely, Chris Valentine.
Referee: Ollie Falsey.