From referee to goalscorer
O'Loughlin crowns busy night
Referee turned star forward John O'Loughlin was the key man as Monageer-Boolavogue's Junior 'B' footballers earned a District title in the spills of rain at St. Patrick's Park on Friday at the expense of the wayward Starlights.
Monageer-Boolavogue 2-9 Starlights 1-9
O'Loughlin returned promptly to the pitch after officiating in the first game at the same venue earlier in the evening to claim a couple of goals and then mastermind the defence in the closing stages as his team held out for a three-point win.
Easily identified from the sideline by the fact that he was still wearing his black ref's shorts while all around had white knicks, he was influential from start to finish.
His side started the match on the back foot as the townies, with corner-forward Paddy Connors in lively form, clocked up four points in reply to the wily Daire Turner's opening score.
When Diarmuid Byrne was on hand to knock the ball to Colin Hawkins' net after good approach work by Stephen McGorman and Tom Ryan, the Starlights looked well in command despite playing into the first-half wind.
However, O'Loughlin then improvised a goal at the other end with a daisy-cutter of a shot kicked past Mario Salvetta on the volley off breaking ball to help leave the tie tied at 1-6 at the break.
The same player helped himself to a second with another ingenious effort which he lobbed over the goalkeeper immediately on the resumption to give the eventual champions a lead which they never surrendered.
With just two Enniscorthy teams contesting the grade, the District championship may not be the most prestigious on the roster but Monageer-Boolavogue showed plenty of spirit as they secured the title with a battling performance in the closing stages.
Their forwards added just two points to their tally in the concluding 25 minutes but the harrying work put in by the defence ensured that their rivals were offered no easy scores.
The frustration mounted in the ranks of the Starlights as their forwards clocked up wide after wide, while Connors hit a post on 44 minutes when going for goal from a close-range free and Seán Crotty extracted just a point from a 53rd-minute penalty.
Crotty's effort closed the gap to four points and Tom Ryan made it three with three minutes left but Monageer-Boolavogue held out successfully to retain their Enniscorthy District crown.
Monageer-Boolavogue: Colin Hawkins; Adam Dunne, Paddy Walsh, Graham Kelly; Noah Rossiter, Colm O'Loughlin, Michael Rossiter; Brian Dwyer, Dermot Breen (0-1); Larry Murphy (0-2), John O'Loughlin (2-1, 0-1 free), Mark Walsh (0-1); Dean Fenlon (0-1), Daire Turner (0-3, 1 free), Darragh Walsh. Sub. - Peter O'Brien for Dunne (37).
Starlights: Mario Salvetta; Fiacre Ryan, Maurice Donohoe, Jerry Wall; Mark Redmond, Mark Quigley, Barry Deegan; John Daly, Stephen McGorman; Garry Miller, William Dunne, Seán Crotty (0-1 pen.); Paddy Connors (0-5, 3 frees), Thomas Ryan (0-2), Diarmuid Byrne (1-1). Subs. - Shane Dunbar for Daly (49), Graham Doyle for Miller (49), Thomas O'Brien for Wall (61).
Referee: Seamus Whelan (Oylegate-Glenbrien).