Their first county title since a win in the same competition in 1995 left Mathúnas delighted, as chairman Tony O’Driscoll outlined: “It’s only our second adult county title,” he said, “Of course we’re delighted for everybody.
“We had only come down from junior A last year to get a bit of interest back in the football, and people were saying at the AGM that it was a bad idea, but thankfully we have managed to show it was a good one.”
Over the past decade, hurling had overtaken football in the club — they reached the 2008 JAHC final — but this could signal a return to a more equitable situation.
“There are some very good minors coming up,” O’Driscoll said.
“To see some of those older lads doing so well in Páirc Uí Rinn can only be inspirational.”
Mathúnas had a storming final quarter, kickstarted by JP O’Callaghan’s goal.
Kilmeen played a very impressive brand of football but kicked too many wides to make their possession count.
Dylan Coffey, Don McCarthy and Kevin O’Donovan were instrumental for Kilmeen in what was a very entertaining game but Mathúnas had the composure for the occasion.
Kilmeen opened the scoring with a point through John Clancy but Mathúna’s responded with a rasper from Sean Coughlan to give them a 1-0 to 0-1 in the 6th minute.
Kilmeen centre-forward Kevin O’Donovan kicked an immense point to buoy Kilmeen but the side had to settle for a point when Sean Murray’s effort was expertly tipped over the bar by Mathúnas goalkeeper Gavin O’Leary. Mathúnas held their lead to the half-time whistle, the score 1-3 to 0-4, but Kilmeen came out fighting in the second half.
James Clancy had them level by the 35th minute and Don McCarthy put them in front but O’Callaghan’s goal in the 41st minute restored Mathúnas’ lead.
Micheal Fehilly, key to Mathúnas’ victory, covered every inch of the pitch, while full-back Aidan Collins was imperious over the hour.
The final quarter produced points from O’Callaghan (0-3), David Nyhan and a gem from Ted Lordan to give Mathúnas a comfortable six-point victory in the end.
Scorers for Diarmuid Ó Mathúnas: JP O’Callaghan 1-4 (0-3f), S Coughlan 1-1, D Nyhan 0-2, T Lordan 0-2.
Scorers for Kilmeen: D McCarthy 0-3, J Clancy 0-2(0-1f), S Murray, K O’Donovan, D Coakley, J Clancy 0-1 each.
DIARMUID Ó MATHÚNAS: G O’Leary; C O’Mahony, A Collins, B Horgan; J O’Sullivan, B Lordan, A O’Leary; M Fehily, J Crowley; M Barrett, T Lordan, D Nyhan; S Coughlan, J O’Donovan, J.P O’Callaghan.
Subs: G Nyhan for M Barrett (48)
KILMEEN: G Twohig; B O’Donovan, B McSweeney, D O’Leary; D McCarthy, D Coffey, S Murray; J Clancy, J Coffey; R Collins, K O’Donovan, S Buttimer; D Coakley, F O’Sullivan, J Clancy.
Subs: M O’Donovan for R Collins (44), G Collins for F O’Sullivan (48)
Referee: J Buckley (Glanmire).