Senior Football League Division 5 Final
Mount Leinster Rangers 1-4
By Kieran Murphy
AN excellent second-half performance from the recently crowned junior C football champions saw them annex the double in this Division 5 football final at Netwatch Cullen Park.
In an uneventful first half, a 22nd-minute point by Dean Grennan nudged Rangers ahead after his full-forward colleague, Niall Canning, levelled the scores when Jim Dunne opened the Ballinabranna account early on.
Seven minutes before half-time Brian Kinsella’s 40m effort tied the scores once more. Three minute later Shane Noonan shrugged off a number of tackles to nudge his side in front for the first time. That gave Ballinabranna a 0-3 to 0-2 interval advantage and it was a lead they were not to lose for the remainder of the game.
On 31 minutes Paddy Dunne lofted over another point while his midfield colleague, Paddy Meaney, also raised a white flag. It could have been worse for Rangers leading up to that score as their keeper, Paul Foley, did well to stop a shot from Jack Malone.
It was only postponing the inevitable as Malone eventually got on the score sheet with a point.
Veteran Jim Dunne continues to pull the strings for Ballinabranna at this level. It was he who was on the end of a quick passing movement and after securing the ball his shot found the top left-hand corner of the net. That all but ended the contest.
Another old stager, Brian Kinsella, added another point and shortly after making his entry, John Sheehan latched onto a kicked pass from Paddy Dunne to score Ballinabranna’s second goal. It was easy for Ballinabranna but they will have been disappointed to lose Liam Dunne who was red-carded for an incident involving Anthony Jordan. Whatever happened surely vexed the right-half back, but the Rangers midfielder walked as well.
In injury time, Derek Byrne enjoyed a purple patch which saw him score 1-2 without reply. His goal was hardly be a thing he will write home about as his effort was surely for a point but the ball dipped over the head of a surprised Cian McDonald.
For one Ballinabranna player it was a special evening. Jimmy Fitzpatrick completed a treble after winning a junior C football medal with the club and a junior hurling medal in the colours of Palatine last week.
Ballinabranna: Cian McDonald; Jody Brennan, Brian Mulleney, Jimmy Fitzpatrick; Liam Dunne, Willie Ryan, William Kavanagh; Paddy Dunne (0-2), Paddy Meaney (0-1); Ciaran Fitzpatrick, Jim Dunne (1-1), Liam Ryan (0-1); Brian Kinsella (0-3), Shane Noonan (0-1), Jack Malone (0-1). Subs: John Sheehan (1-0) for C. Fitzpatrick (49 mins), Ciaran Noonan for Brennan (55 mins), Enda Dunne for Noonan (57 mins), Evan Tunstead for J. Fitzpatrick (59 mins).
Mount Leinster Rangers: Paul Foley; Jack Flood, Colm O’Byrne, Daniel Ryan; Jack Ryan, David Grennan, James Kavanagh; Donald Coady, Anthony Jordan; James Quinn, Derek Byrne (1-2, 0-1 free); Eoin Fenlon; Shane O’Neill, Dean Grennan (0-1), Niall Canning (0-1). Subs: Jonathan Walsh for O’Neill (h/t), Seamus O’Brien for Dean Grennan (46 mins), Sean Murphy for Quinn, Shea Hayes for Fenlon, Michael Bible for Canning (all 55 mins).
Referee: Martin Murphy (Tinryland).