Duffry deny keen rivals
A determined effort from Duffry Rovers saw them collect the All-County Football League Division 6 title after a hard-fought battle in St. Patrick's Park on Friday.
Duffry Rovers 1-9 HWH-Bunclody 0-7
A 14th-minute goal from Matthew Flynn-O'Connor gave the Duffry a four-point advantage and, try as they might, HWH-Bunclody could never quite bridge the gap, with four second-half points from the pacy Tim Bowler contributing greatly to the outcome.
Minutes earlier Flynn-O'Connor had seen his penalty well saved by Bunclody goalkeeper John Byrne, but the miss didn't prove costly as Duffry Rovers built up a cushion and always looked like doing enough to keep their opponents at arm's length thereafter.
Bunclody full-forward Kevin Dunne got the first point on the board but the Duffry response was swift, when James Codd burst through and fired over the bar to draw them level within a minute - the start of a period of dominance for the eventual winners.
With five minutes on the clock Duffry Rovers were handed a gilt-edged opportunity to put daylight between the sides when Jason Rackard launched a long delivery into Larry Doyle and, as he tried to wriggle free for a shot, he was taken down in the area.
Matthew Flynn-O'Connor stepped up to take the spot-kick but netminder John Byrne got down well to his right to deny the penalty taker.
However, Flynn-O'Connor wasn't long about making amends, slotting over a free five minutes later, which was soon followed by the only goal.
The trio involved in the penalty were again to the fore with Jason Rackard finding Larry Doyle, who unselfishly handpassed to Flynn-O'Connor, and the corner-forward had the simple task of tapping the ball into an empty net to make it 1-2 to 0-1.
David Reck and Larry Doyle then exchanged points before goalkeeper Byrne made his mark at the other end, firing over a long-range free to leave a goal between the sides at the break (1-3 to 0-3).
Tim Bowler was the shining star of the second-half, impressively helping himself to four points to kick his side on to victory. His evening may have ended early when he was shown a second yellow card on 53 minutes, but by that stage his side held a 1-8 to 0-7 advantage, with Matty Flynn-O'Connor adding a late insurance point.
Thomas Dunne also got in on the scoring act for the winners, curling over a great point with his right boot early in the half, while David Reck (two), John Byrne and Jason Cowman replied for battling Bunclody.
A minute's silence was observed before the game for the late Mary Connors, mother of HWH-Bunclody player Michael Connors, who was buried on Thursday.
Duffry Rovers: Ben Nugent; Mattie O'Connor, Jim O'Neill, James Codd (0-1); James Howlin, Feargal Kenny, Thomas Dunne (0-1); John McCarthy, Tim Bowler (0-4, 1 free); Gavin Rafter, James Nolan, Stephen McGuire; Jason Rackard (capt.), Larry Doyle (0-1), Matthew Flynn-O'Connor (1-2, 0-1 free). Subs. - Paul Nolan for Rafter, Ted O'Brien for McGuire, Micheál Doyle for Rackard, Michael Doyle for L. Doyle.
HWH-Bunclody: John Byrne (0-2 frees); Paul Jackman, Fergal Kelly, Conor Hendrick; Andrew Kelly, Thomas O'Neill, Matthew Byrne; James Taylor, Gearóid Roberts (capt.); Darren Murphy, Timmy Bolger, Jason Cowman (0-1); David Reck (0-3, 2 frees), Kevin Dunne (0-1), James Fitzgerald. Subs. - Pádraig Sinnott for Roberts, Josh Martin for Murphy, Peter Atkinson for Fitzgerald, Diarmuid Crean for A. Kelly.
Referee: Philip Murphy (Faythe Harriers).