Shining Stars deliver goods
Starlights 1-13 Naomh Eanna 2-7
Starlights rounded out a perfect nine-win season by beating Naomh Eanna to claim the Gorey Guardian Juvenile football Premier championship title in St. Patrick's Park on Wednesday.
The Bellefield boys came into the game with a point to prove after losing the hurling equivalent to their talented rivals but this was a different game completely, one they controlled and thoroughly deserved to win.
Right from the first whistle they showed their superior score-taking ability. In fact, some of the kicking from full-forward Lee Jordan was simply majestic, as from all ranges and angles he pinged points, from dead-balls and from play.
Much like the group game between the sides way back in May, goals kept Gorey in the game.
The thing is, without looking as polished with the big ball as the small one, they create several good chances and on another night maybe their major tally would have read four or five and they would have emerged victorious.
However, this was Starlights' night and they set about showing it in the opening minutes. Jack Kirwan and Ben Kidd kicked early settlers before the Lee Jordan Show began with a brace of points to make it 0-4 to nil after ten.
Darragh Canavan and Jack Doran hit back just before Callum Crehan forced Anthony Larkin into a sharp save. At 0-5 to 0-2 down, Gorey got back level when pressure by Barry Levingston on Larkin allowed Crehan's shot to slip into the net.
Despite a Cian Molloy point, Jordon clipped his sixth consecutive Starlights score to put his side 0-8 to 1-3 up. However, Darragh Levingston's perfect ball sent Darragh Canavan away and he calmly fired home Naomh Eanna's second goal.
Level at the break after Kirwan's point, Starlights produced a big moment just 30 seconds after the re-start. Oran Carty did all the damage, drifting into space between the two back lines before he fed Craig Peare at the perfect moment, and the corner-forward made no mistake with the finish.
Jordan made it 1-10 to 2-3 but his side then went 19 minutes without a score. Gorey pressed but Starlights defended extremely well and soaked up their opponents' energy reserves. Scores from Caellum Travers-Devlin, Darragh Levingston and Cian Molloy got their team within one.
Storm weathered, Carty cracked the post for the Enniscorthy club in the 50th minute.
He then scored two quick points to leave three between the sides (1-12 to 2-6) with eight minutes remaining.
Canavan pulled one back but Gorey couldn't find another clear route to goal. The closest they came was a near-perfect Travers-Devlin pass that was inches too long for an unmarked Cian Molloy inside.
Fittingly, Lee Jordan put the cap on the win with a late free and his Starlights side withstood relentless pressure from their opponents in injury-time to secure a memorable county title success.
Starlights: Anthony Larkin; Matthew Balfe, Michael McGrath, Marcus McCarthy; Kalem Dobbs, Seán Breen, Evan Murphy; Oran Carty (0-2), Michael Delaney (capt.); Floyd Murphy, Jack Kirwan (0-2), Cian Hanley; Ben Kidd (0-1), Lee Jordan (0-8, 5 frees), Craig Peare (1-0). Subs. - Aaron Browne for Murphy (56), Oisín Pepper for Hanley (60+3), also Adam Sheridan, Jack Walsh, Michael McVeigh, Craig Turner, Matt Kinnaird, Ronan Kervick, Pat Dwyer, Nathan O'Connor-Murphy, Darragh Breen, Jake O'Rourke, Bill Peare, Patrick Byrne.
Naomh Eanna: James Doran; Ryan Connolly, Cian Kenny, Dylan Molloy; Cathal Stokes, Seán Dowling, Micheál Kennedy; Ryan Keogh, Callum Crehan (1-0); Darragh Canavan (1-2), Caellum Travers-Devlin (0-1), Cian Molloy (0-2, 1 free); Jack Doran (0-1), Barry Levingston, Darragh Levingston (0-1). Subs. - Kevin Bedeanu for Crehan (53), Seán O'Brien-Murphy for Canavan (55), also Seán Quirke, George Slattery, Mikey Cushe, Seán O'Callaghan, Cian Browne, Seán Miller, Lee Cushe, Brian Cushe, J.J. Twamley.
Referee: James Flood (St Mary's, Maudlintown).