ST MARTINS 0-7
BAGENALSTOWN GAELS 1-2
By Kieran Murphy
St Martin’s edged a thrilling Feile Division 1 final at Netwatch Cullen Park on Sunday. The greasy conditions made it difficult for players and mentors but everyone adapted well and the supporters enjoyed a superb contest.
Early on it looked as if St Martin’s were set to push their momentum button as Edward O’Byrne, Dylan Ruane and Brian Maher all kicked a point each.
Coming towards the interval, the Bagenalstown side got a huge lift when referee, Brian Deering, consulted with an umpire and a penalty was awarded.
John Lillis’s spot-kick was expertly placed low into the bottom right-hand corner of the net at the scoreboard end of the ground.
Their rivals, St Martins, hit back to lead 0-4 to 1-0 at the interval.
Both teams had chances in the third quarter. Bagenalstown had more of possession but were unable to get a score which could well have turned the game in their favour.
Instead, O’Byrne raised a white flag for St Martins. Bagenalstown hit back with a free from Lillis while Rory O’Brien equalised to set up an exciting finish. As it turned out, St Martin’s rose to the challenge and turned on the pressure. Chances were missed. Defenders brought off some great tackles and blocks. The pressing game was bound to tell and Maher scored a great point.
Instead of settling for what they had, St Martins kept up the pressure. They hounded the Bagenalstown defence, making nothing easy for them. Right on full-time Aaron Dowling added the insurance point which allowed the St Martins faithful to celebrate a great victory. The defeated side could take great pride in their contribution too.
ST MARTINS: Dylan Cunningham; Kyle Meaney, Sean Hourihane, Robbie Ward; Richard Sheehan, Martin Carroll, Daniel Haskins; Rory McCaffrey, Ben Curry; Padraig Eustace, Aaron Dowling (0-1), Edward O’Byrne (0-2); Dylan Ruane (0-1), Billy Nolan, Brian Maher (0-3). Subs: Freddie Gibson.
BAGENALSTOWN GAELS: Mikey Fenelon; Frank Cushen, Alan Wall, Paddy O’Neill; Jack Farrell, Sam Griffith, Luke McGrath; Kelan O’Sullivan, Daniel Whelan; Adam Walsh, James Brennan, Rory O’Brien (0-1); John Lillis (1-1 pen free), David Reddy, Niall Power. Sub: Jake McAssey
REFEREE: Brian Deering (Rathvilly).
St. Martins celebrate after defeating Bagenalstown Gaels in the Feile Football Division 1 final in Netwatch Cullen Park. Photo: michaelorourkephotography.ie