Beaufort take All-Ireland Junior title with record win

Beaufort celebrate after the game. Pic: INPHO/Oisin Keniry

Beaufort (Kerry) 3-15 Easkey (Sligo) 0-5

Beaufort eased to a record 21 points win in the All-Ireland Club JFC final as they dismantled Easkey’s challenge with ease at Croke Park.

A one-sided final was all but over as soon as Ronan Ferris slotted home the first of three first half goals, and the Sligo side’s resistance was irreparably broken.

A polished Beaufort side, which became the ninth Kerry club to win this title, had many outstanding performers, including centre back Mike Breen and man of the match Liam Carey, who displayesd his silky skills on his way to a 1-5 tally, all from play.

The Kingdom champions dominated in every sector, solid and composed at the back, dominant at midfield and unplayable in the attacking sector.

Easkey’s workrate kept the game for the first eight minutes, but once the Kerry men began to get their running and support game going, there was only going to be one winner.

After Carey had opened the scoring, Beaufort claimed the first of their three first half goals in the ninth minute. Fergal Hallissey;’s fisted effort came back off a post, and Ronan Ferris seized the opportunity to beat Shane Kilgallon with a low finish, albeit with the aid of a slight deflection.

The Connacht champions were forced to defend deep and attempt to raid on the counter-attack, but their efforts came to little as they were confronted by a well organised defence in which centre back Mile Breen was outstanding.

Skipper Eugene Mullen scored Easkey’s only first half point, but that brought little in the way of promise or encouragement for the first team from Sligo to appear in an All-Ireland club final at any level.

They were bombarded by a Beaufort team growing in confidence and menace, and at the end of the opening quarter, a second goal made the task almost impossible, as Ciaran Kennedy buried his shot in the net.

Ferris, Kennedy and Carey all swept over scores as the margin grew, and while Mullan, Dylan Sloyan and Joe McHugh did everything they could to kick-start the Connacht champions’ challenge, they were unable to halt the Kingdom men.

Ronan Murphy, a towering figure at midfield, was at the centre of his side’s third goal, firing in a shot that was parried by ‘keeper Kilgannon, for Carey to volley home.

Beaufort led by 3-8 to 0-1 at the break, all but a point of their haul coming from play.

When Padraig Doona thumped over a brilliant point, all six Beaufort attackers had registered, and there was more to come from a dominant Kingdom side.

Carey added two more classy efforts to his collection, and the midfield dominance of Nathan Breen and Murphy remained unbroken, and while Easkey did enjoy a spell of possession, they were unable to find the finishing touch.

Late on they did get scores through Joe McHugh and Kevin Duffy as the champions in waiting took their collective foot off the pedal, but man of the match Carey had more to offer, bringing his tally for the day to 1-5 with a delightful point.

Beaufort: M Moriarty; MJ O’Connor, G Hartnett, S Kelliher; J O’Sullivan, M Breen, J Kissane; N Breen (0-1), R Murphy; P Doona (0-1), L Carey (1-5), F Hallissey (0-5, 4f); D Healy (0-3), C Kennedy (1-1), R Ferris (1-1).

Subs: C O’Connor for Kissane (17), D Coffey for Healy (40), J O’Reilly for O’Sullivan (40), P O’Sullivan for N Breen (47), N O’Connor for Ferris (49), I McGillycuddy for M Breen (51)

Easkey: S Kilgannon; I Barrett, N McGuire, J Feeney; E Moylan, R McHugh, J Lindsay; E Mullen (0-1), M Gordon; D Sloyan, J McHugh (0-1, f), E Healy; A Kilcullen, R McKenna, K Duffy (0-1).

Subs: B Feeney for Lindsay (33), B McGrath for Kilcullen (36), J Scott (0-1) for Moylan (45), J Conway (0-1) for McKenna (47), H Gilroy for Sloyan (49), J Dunphy for Healy (55)

Referee: S Laverty (Antrim).

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