Rathmore B 1-08 Dr Crokes B 0-10
Conditions were tough and demanding as cold icy showers of rain, close to sleet, combined with a strong blustering wind to test the mettle of Rathmore and Dr Crokes in this Junior Football final for the O’Sullivan Cup played at Rathmore on Sunday. This was Rathmore’s first win in the competition which honours the memory of the late Owen O’Sullivan former chairman of the Firies Club. Dr Crokes started well with wing forwards Shane O’Neill and Shane Myers putting two points on the board within three minutes. Rathmore’s Tim Cronin and Ian Kelliher took control at midfield. They propelled their side into action as Rathmore put four points on the scoreboard courtesy of John Moynihan (0-2)and Patrick McCarthy (0-2 from frees) to leave the score 0-4 to 0-2 after fifteen minutes. The impressive Shane O’Neill and Shane Myers worked hard to free Ruari Mangan for a point and O’Neill levelled matters after twenty minutes. Indeed Dr Crokes could have gone a goal clear but for an alert Padraig McCarthy who saved a Shane O’Neill effort. A Denis Galvin free gave the lead to Dr Crokes with a minute left. However, Patrick McCarthy launched a high ball into the danger zone and Rathmore’s John Moynihan punched over to leave the sides level at 0-5 apiece at half time.
Dr Crokes introduced Chris Egan and Pa Moloney at half time and within a minute Shane Myers Dr Crokes best forward gave his side the lead. Then the key score of the game arrived in the second minute. Mark Nagle won a ball at midfield and sent a searching ball into the corner which John Moynihan won. He rounded defender Kieran Ward and slipped the ball under David Neeson in the Dr Crokes goal. Dr Crokes responded with style. They attacked upfield and Shane Myers shot a rasper which he hoped to see hit the net, but the ball glanced off the top of the crossbar for a point.
Rathmore led by a point - 1-5 to 0-7. Donal Casey increased their lead to two points. A Dr Crokes effort dropped short, was fielded by keeper Padraig McCarthy who set up a full field move which ended with Damien Casey hitting over a point to put three between the sides. There followed a six minute period of see-saw action with defences dominant in the poor conditions. Kevin Smith put his body on the line to prevent a certain Rathmore goal. A magnificent high catch in midfield by Ian Kelleher saw him deliver a high ball into the Crokes square. The wet ball glanced of David Neeson’s hands and Neeson was relieved to see the ball die in the muddy goalmouth. He cleared his lines only to see Rathmore wing forward Shane O’Keeffe hit a powerful shot against the upright. Dr Crokes lifted the siege and burst upfield where substitute Keith O’Leary danced his way through the defence for a lovely point. A Shane Myers free, followed by another point by Myers from a very acute angle, had the sides all level with one minute of normal time left. Extra time looked a distinct possibility.
Captain Tim Cronin edged Rathmore ahead when he struck for a point from forty five metres out along the wing a score worthy of winning any game. Dr Crokes retaliated and Shane O’Neill won a free fifty metres out. He hoisted the ball goalwards but that man Cronin was perfectly positioned in defence to reach into the sky and claim what was the last ball of the game, and awell earned victory for Rathmore. Rathmore looked the better balanced team throughout the field. Their midfield general and captain Tim Cronin was outstanding all through playing a very measured, unhurried and effective game for which he won the man-of-the-match award.
Rathmore Captain Tim Cronin accepted the Owen O’Sullivan Cup from Mrs Kathleen O’Sullivan and Tim was also presented with his man-of-the-match award by Con O’Sullivan. Board vice chairman Tim Ryan thanked the officials led by referee James O’Sullivan himself a nephew of the late Owen.