Mary's make it in a thriller
St. Mary's (Maudlintown) 6-11 Davidstown-Courtnacuddy 5-11 (AET)
Invariably the People Newspapers Coiste na nÓg finals series throw up some crazy title deciders along the way. It's usually hard to predict when they will happen, but this had all the hallmarks of a classic from the start and it didn't disappoint.
Eventually, St. Mary's (Maudlintown) outlasted Davidstown-Courtnacuddy to take the New Ross Standard Under-14 football Division 3 championship crown in Taghmon on Wednesday, but it was one monumental battle.
Defence? Why bother was the motto of these two sides.
They just went at it, jabbing with score after score as swarms of players moved up the field and back, like the tide rolling in and out on a dramatic timelapse video.
For the longest time St. Mary's were just barely holding on.
Davidstown-Courtnacuddy's Oisín Hayes drilled home a rebound from the post in the opening minute and his side led from that kick of the ball all the way through the second-half, into added time until Ola Sofola sensationally nailed an injury time leveller.
Darragh Furlong and Connell Kervick matched early points with Aaron Roche and Seán Carty at the other end as Davidstown-Courtnacuddy moved 1-4 to 0-3 ahead. There's hardly a more dynamic midfield at this level than John Hore and Roche, and they combined as the latter netted late in the first-half.
Still, a tidy David Tracey finish ensured his side took a 2-5 to 1-3 lead at the interval. Adam Myhal's rocket, as well as points from Cillian Harpur and Hore, closed the gap to one but back came Davidstown-Courtnacuddy with another Hayes major.
Despite a delightful Roche chipped goal, St. Mary's still trailed by four heading into added time.
Another trademark Hore run ended with the midfielder crashing past T.J. Kelly before Sofola scored a stunning equalising point to send the game to overtime (4-7 to 3-10).
Maudlintown kept getting in front in the first-half of extra-time, Hore's ball in was punched home by Finn Jager, and Roche drilled low to the net.
However, Oisín Cooney netted a rebound and then scored from long range, via Kyle Malone's fist, to ensure parity remained at the interval (6-8 to 5-11).
Yet it was the Mary's who had the extra reserves of energy. Hore scored two cracking points and Adam Myhal put the seal on victory in the 70th minute of a pulsating, memorable final for Maudlintown.
St. Mary's (Maudlintown): Dylan Sinnott; Graham Connors; Kyle Malone, Ciarán Shortle; Aaron Quigley, Andy Murphy, Barry Brown; John Hore (1-3), Aaron Roche (capt., 3-3); Conrad Malone, Cillian Harpur (0-1), Ola Sofola (0-1); Finn Jager (1-0), Adam Myhal (1-2), Seán Carty (0-1). Subs. - Darragh Kelly for Carty (44), Conor Culleton for Jager (44), Carty for Kelly (52), Jager for Culleton (52), also Bobby Furlong, Jamie McGrath, Aaron O'Connor.
Davidstown-Courtnacuddy: T.J. Kelly; Dylan Sharkey, James Doyle, Evan Power (0-1); Oisín Cooney (2-0), Fionn Doyle, Daniel Murphy (0-1); Barry Hassey, Cillian Doyle (capt.); Darragh Furlong (0-2), Connell Kervick (0-5, 3 frees), David Tracey (1-0); Craig Andrews, Oisín Hayes (2-2), Tom Quigley. Subs. - Shane Fehily for Tracey, inj. (48), Joe Doyle for Andrews, inj. (56), Ryan Whelan for Hayes (70), also Jack O'Regan, Evan Williamson, Calum Murphy, Seán Nicholson, Conor Hassey, Seán Fitzpatrick.
Referee: Damien Donovan (Volunteers).