Greencastle (Tyrone) 0-13 Duagh (Kerry) 0-12
JOY for Greencastle, agony for Duagh at Croke Park on Saturday night, just a kick of a ball separating two whole-hearted sides in an All-Ireland Club JFC final that simply buzzed.
For junior grade, the standard and quality of football was exceptional. But Duagh coach John Dillon was an unhappy man after Longford referee Derek Fahy ended a splendid contest with the Kerry side in possession and looking for an equaliser.
Said Dillon: "Nine substitutions in the game and just one minute of added time is hard to understand. Tom (Dillon) was in possession of the ball, we were in a good position and going forward when the referee stopped us in our tracks by blowing full-time. He gave us no chance at all."
Dillon was gracious in defeat. "Fair play to Greencastle, they are a good side and good champions. It’s been a great year for our lads, they’re disappointed, yes, but each and every one of them can feel proud tonight. We didn’t achieve our goal, but we gave it a mighty go."
Greencastle deserved their victory. Superbly marshalled by Damian O’Hagan and Martin Conway in defence, the towering influence of Enda Clarke and Patrick Keenan at midfield and the class of Terry McDermott up front, the Tyrone champions looked more comfortable all through. They also used the bench well, the advent of the speedy Daniel MacDiarmada up front in the second-half giving them extra thrust.
It took Greencastle just 12 seconds to open their account with a great point from McDermott. Two minutes later he had his second from a free, although Dinny Lane reduced the deficit in the seventh minute.
A needless free conceded by goalkeeper John Halpin allowed Barry Tracey stretch Greencastle’s lead, but once the Duagh half-back line settled, it was a different story as the Munster champions began to show what Kerry football is all about. Declan Griffin, who saw a lot of ball the left wing, was fouled and Tom Dillon popped over the first of his four first-half frees. Then Anthony Maher fired over a beauty from play and it was 0-3 apiece after the opening quarter.
Dillon kicked his second free, followed by a super point from Aidan Kelly, after great work by Tom Scanlon and Maher. Greencastle reacted with McDermott firing over two points before Duagh edged ahead again before half-time (0-7 to 0-6).
Duagh stretched their lead with Dillon’s fifth free. That score fired Greencastle into action with a five-point salvo which knocked the stuffing out of the Kerry men. Clarke, with another surging run, got the first; Tracey tied it up with a free; McDermott, now at full-forward, then fired over a peach, followed by Barry McNulty and another Tracey free and Greencastle led 0-11 to 0-8 entering the final quarter.
To a man, Duagh regrouped. Stung by those five hammer blows, twice they brought the deficit down to a single point. But all the time they were too reliant on Dillon’s free-taking for scores. Their front line trio were a huge disappointment. The exciting MacDiarmada again gave Greencastle a two-point cushion in the 53rd minute only for Scanlon to put the game back in the melting pot two minutes from time with Duagh’s 12th. But stern defending and the referee’s whistle put paid to Duagh’s great adventure.
Scorers for Greencastle: T. McDermott 0-6 (0-2 frees), B. Tracey 0-3 (frees), M. Conway, E. Clarke, B. McNulty, D. MacDiarmada 0-1 each.
Duagh: T. Dillon 0-6 (frees), A. Maher, A. Kelly 0-2 each, D. Lane, T. Scanlon 0-1 each.
GREENCASTLE: C. Tuohy; R. McDermott, Mark Conway, D. O’Hagan; Martin Conway, C Carson, R. Conway; E. Clarke, P. Keenan; K. Ferrity, T. McDermott, B. McNulty; B. Devlin, E. Clarke, B. Tracey. Subs: P. McAleer for McNulty (BS), G. McCullagh for Carson (22m), D. MacDiarmada for Ferrity (35m), S. Coyle for Devlin (43m), E. Clarke for McCullagh (45m), P. McAleer for Tracey (56).
DUAGH: J. Halpin; A. Carmody, J. O’Brien, D. Nolan; K. Quirke, T. Dillon, P. Sheeran; D. Griffin, A. Maher; J. Kelly, A. Kelly, B. O’Brien; A. O’Brien, D. Lane, T. Scanlon.
Subs: E. Horgan for Kelly (37m), D. O’Donohgue for Horgan (BS), C. Carmody for A. O’Brien (49m), T. McMahon for B. O’Brien (55m).
Referee: D. Fahy (Longford).