GNEEVEGUILLA captured the O'Sullivan Cup for the second time at a wet and windy Fitzgerald Stadium on Sunday last when they carried too much forward power for a very tame Cordal side. With driving wind and rain being the order of the day, whoever adapted better to the prevailing conditions always stood the better chance of victory. Gneeveguilla hung in there for the first half hour and, on the turnover, they were able to stamp their authority where it mattered most on the scoreboard.
Wind assisted Cordal did get off to the better start with Eamonn John 0' Donoghue showing his side the way with a fine point inside the opening couple of minutes. Three minutes later Gneeveguilla captain and goalkeeper, Ger Cremin, saved excellently from James O'Donoghue at the expense of a point and the omens began to look good for Cordal. However with their half forward line picking up a lot of loose ball from a crowded midfield area, Gneeveguilla always had the facility to strike back and Liam Murphy and Ronan McAuliffe had the sides on level terms by the tenth minute.
The rest of the first half was to follow a similar pattern and the sides were locked together (0-4 each) with twenty minutes gone in the half. Tommy O'Connor gave Cordal hope with a great pointed free from over 65 yards but Liam Murphy again replied before James O'Sullivan's shot for Cordal went just over the bar to give his side a half time lead of 0-6 points to 0-5. Indeed, on the stroke of half time, Cordal goalkeeper, Mike Courtney, had to make a fine save to deny Arthur Moynihan when a poor ball fell kindly for the corner forward. It had been a very good competitive first half despite the conditions but the general feeling at half time was that, with the elements to their back, Gneeveguilla would go on to win the game convincingly.
It did turn out to be something like that in the second half but not as quickly as had been anticipated. Ronan McAuliffe had the sides on level terms soon after the restart but then. Cordal were awarded a penalty after Gneeveguilla keeper Ger Cremin fielded and came out to clear his lines.
Referee, Donie O'Connor, deemed that there was a third-man tackle on Cordal corner forward Tom O'Connor, however, and O'Connor shot home the resultant penalty in fine style. Gneeveguilla responded in style following this set-back and had three excellent scores, all from over 40 yards range courtesy of Liam Murphy (0-2) and Ronan McAuliffe to level the game once more by the 13th minute of the half.
The pendulum had definitely swung in Gneeveguilla's favour now, with Don Murphy and Sean Og O'Leary lording it around a crowded midfield area. Points by O'Leary, Mike Murphy, Ronan McAuliffe (2), Fergus McAuliffe and Mike Moynihan, all unanswered pushed Gneeveguilla into a comfortable winning situation during the final quarter and the Sliabh Luachra side were well worth their final winning margin.
The Gneeveguilla defence, as stated, coped well with the Cordal threat in the first half and was largely contested during a one-sided second half. Their midfield was sound and, up front, Ronan McAuliffe and Liam Murphy - who kicked five points between them from play - were back to their best form. Cordal gave it their best shot throughout but their lack of firepower up front was to cost them once again.
Tim O'Donoghue was magnificent throughout at centre back, Eamonn John had a good first half at mid-field and up front Tom O'Connor and Maurice Costello had their moments also in the first half. After the game, the Chairman of the East Kerry Board, Ger Galvin, presented the Owen O'Sullivan Memorial Cup to Gneeveguilla captain Ger Cremin.
Gneeveguilla: Ger Cremin, Conor Teahan, Tony Sheehan, John' Cronin, Eoin Lawlor, PJ. Murphy, Aeneas O'Leary, Sean Og O'Leary J (0-1), Don Murphy, Donie O'Connor (0-1), Fergus McAuliffe (0-1), Michael Moynihan (0-1), Ronan McAuliffe (0-5), Liam Murphy (0- 4), Arthur Moynihan (0-1). Subs. Mike Murphy (0-1), Aidan Donnelly, Ambrose O'Donovan, Gerard Moynihan, John Sheehan.
Cordal: Mike Courtney, Kevin O'Connor, Con Greaney, Willie Sugrue, John Brosnan, Tim 0' Donoghue , Sean Clifford, Eamonn John O'Donoghue (0-1), Mossie Enright, James O'Sullivan (0-2), Gerard Murphy, Tommy O'Mahony, James 0' Donoghue (0- 2), Maurice Costello (0-1), Tom O'Connor (1-1). Subs. Micheal O'Ciardubhain, Sean Og O'Ciardubhain, Brendan Brosnan, Darren O'Connor.
Referee: Donie O'Connor (Rathmore).