Mary's drive on after slow start
St. Mary's overcame a slow start to power to glory in the New Ross Standard Coiste na nOg Under-14 football Division 4 championship final in St. Patrick's Park on Monday of last week.
St.Mary's Maudlintown 1-7 Cloughbawn 0-2
The Maudlintown boys failed to score in the opening 18 minutes as they trailed by 0-2 to nil in a hotly-contested final, but they slowly found their feet and drove on to take an impressive victory against a talented Cloughbawn side.
In rainy conditions the sides sized each other up in the opening exchanges. St. Mary's missed a couple of frees in the sloppy conditions but their opponents nearly opened the scoring when Daniel Murphy fired wide.
Eanna Doyle and midfield partner Nick Walkden were the driving force for Cloughbawn throughout. Both were big and powerful when breaking out of midfield and both scored in the early stages to give their side the lead.
The Castleboro club were dealt a cruel blow when inspirational captain Gary Kehoe was forced off injured. While the rangy attacker hobbled back on in the second-half, he wasn't as effective while impeded and his loss was acutely felt.
Two frees from Kyle Scallan dragged St. Mary's back level by the 21st minute, the first of which saw Fionn Codd receive a yellow card for a foul on Jordan Donovan and left the Enniscorthy District side a man light for ten minutes.
Further drama followed with Shane Kehoe sin-binned for Cloughbawn in an incident that also saw Maudlintown's Emmet Nolan permanently barred from the field after picking up a red card for striking out at his opponent off the ball.
When Luke O'Rourke's shot smacked off the crossbar in injury-time, Jack Kehoe was on hand to fire to the net past Jack Feeney to give the Rocks club an invaluable interval advantage (1-2 to 0-2).
Nathan McDonald beat Byron Sweeney but not the alert Josh Long on the goal-line after the re-start and that was as close as Cloughbawn would come to getting a foothold in a game that St. Mary's bossed in the second-half.
Daniel Pender added the first and last points of the period while Scallan (two) and Donovan also registered as Maudlintown edged away from the Cloughbawn challenge the longer the game wore on to take a hard-earned but deserved county title.
St. Mary's: Byron Sweeney; Gavin Roche, Josh Kavanagh, Josh Long; Adam O'Connor, Kyle Scallan (0-4 frees), Stephen Doyle; Lee Nolan (capt.), Luke O'Rourke; Jordan Donovan (0-1), Emmet Nolan, Daniel Pender (0-2); T.J. Nolan, Jack Kehoe (1-0), John Hore. Subs. - Dylan O'Connor for T.J. Nolan (44), Cade Buggy for Kehoe (50+2), Mikey O'Dowd for Hore (50+2), also Daniel Tennent, Cian Connolly, Corey Carty, Conor Kehoe, Ben Kehoe.
Cloughbawn: Jack Feeney; Ciarán Murphy, Fionn Codd, Ryan Murphy; Michael Murphy, Liam Flood, Shane Kehoe; Eanna Doyle (0-1 free), Nick Walkden (0-1); Michael Fleming, Gary Kehoe (capt.), Darragh Kehoe; Neil Foley, Paddy Whitty, Daniel Murphy. Subs. - Darragh Redmond for G. Kehoe, inj. (14), Nathan McDonald for Foley (26), G. Kehoe for D. Murphy (33), Gary Kennedy for Fleming (46), Eamonn Byrne for McDonald (48), also Dylan O'Neill.
Referee: Pádraig Byrne (Kilanerin).