Thomastown, last year’s champions of the Allianz Cumann na mBunscol Toymasters Roinn A football championship, had reservations going into this year’s final because their form was sketchy. A surprise defeat in the quarter-finals of the Country Cup against well drilled Carrickshock was unsettling.
Their rivals were St Canice’s, who won 12 of the last 14 titles. Thomastown had the benefit of the breeze in the first half. They drew first blood with a well taken point by Eddie Donnelly.
Canice’s settled into their own rhythm and shot four great points from play per Cillian Hackett, Timmy Clifford, Kevin Fitzpatrick and Liam Moore. The influence of Canise’s full-forward, Aaron Murphy, was huge. The ’Town goalkeeper, Darragh Skehan was on his game as he prevented Canice’s rattling the net on a couple of occasions.
The key score arrived just before half time. A deflected shot by Mikey Clifford saw the ball end in the net to leave the half time score 1-4 (St C) to 0-1.
In the second half Thomastown produced a powerful defence and enjoyed spells of dominance. Their best play could have paid dividends but for slick goalkeeping by Cian Rowe and stout defending by Canice’s.
When Canice’s weathered the storm they went after the game in earnest. Eoin Dalton pointed and when an enormous kick from out the field by Aaron Murphy went all the way to the net it sealed victory.
St Canice’s - C. Rowe (capt), D. Delahunty, P. Moylan, R. Lavelle, P. O’Shea, D. Fwamba, N. Rowe, L. Moore, S. Mc Evoy, K. Fitzpatrick, T. Clifford, M. Clifford, C. Hackett, A. Murphy, E. Dalton, I. O’Keeffe, D. Conway, D. Kelleher, L. Morrissey, D. Walsh, S. Maher, R. O’Connor, E. O’Neill, K. Phelan, E. O’Reilly.
St Canice’s - D. Skehan, C. Morrissey, L. McNena, L. Treacy, R. Wemyss, D. Galway (capt), T. Holden, P. McDonald, Z. B. Hammond, F. Brennan, E. Donnelly, L. Connellan, R. Coady, P. Connellan, N. Dempsey, B. Begley, G. Whelan, T. Buckley, R. Sheehan, L.W. Vaughan, S. Forristal, J. Skehan, J. Knight, B. Carroll, J. Babu, R. Malone.
The last of this year’s Allianz Cumann na mBunscol football finals was played in perfect conditions at O’ Loughlin Gaels pitch on Saturday. This Top Oil Roinn B decider produced thrilling fare.
Bennettsbridge enjoyed a dream start when impressive captain, Ciaran Brennan, goaled. The losers defended wel. Their first score came from Aidan Tallis and it was added to by Christian McInerney. The game swung in Lisdowney’s favour when the accurate Aidan Tallis scored 1-1 from two frees.
Ciaran Brennan narrowed Lisdowney’s lead to the minimum but the industrious Martin McEvoy added two smashing points to open up a three-point advantage. Bennettsbridge enjoyed a late purple patch and had a goal from Ciaran Brennan and points from Lawrence Mahon, Rachel Kelly and Adam Walsh Brennan to lead at half time by 2-4 to 1-4.
Lisdowney started the new half in determined fashion, adding points from Aidan Tallis (free) and Martin McEvoy. The winners defence dug deep. Goalkeeper, Daire Cassin, produced two wonderful saves to deny Lisdowney.
With four minutes remaining Ciaran Brennan broke clear and scored a fantastic goal to stretch the ’Bridge lead to four points. Hard though they fought, Lisdowney couldn’t get back. It was the ’Bridge’s Jamie Harkin who pointed the last free.
Scorers: Bennettsbridge - Ciaran Brennan (3-1); Lawrence Mahon, Adam Walsh Brennan, Rachel Kelly, Jamie Harkin (0-1 each). Lisdowney - Aidan Tallis (1-2); Martin McEvoy (0-3); Christian McInerney (0-1).
Bennettsbridge - Daire Cassin, Emily Hughes, Mike Lewis, Matthew Treacy, Lawrence Mahon, Ciaran Mullen, Hannah Kelly, Ciaran Brennan (capt), Jamie Harkin, Rachel Kelly, Padraig Connery, Dylan Kenny, Adam Walsh Brennan, Ben King, John Doyle. Subs - Michael Molloy, Conor Nolan, Charlie Nolan, Ellen Hughes, Aodhan Kent, Conor Power.
Lisdowney - Michael McInerney, Jack Grace, Evan McEvoy, Eddie Cahill, Eoin Kenny, Luke Campion (capt), Oisin Quirke, Eoin Delaney, Dean Brophy, Luke Moore, Martin McEvoy, Aidan Tallis, Hugh Murphy, Christian McInerney, Alan Dunphy. Subs - Killian Dunne, Luke Holohan, Jack O’Sullivan, Willie Cahill, Jonathan Queally, David Herlihy, Charlie Brennan, Harry Kennedy, Daire O’Sullivan, Kalem Muldowney, Richard McEvoy, Sam Walshe, Cosmo Walshe.