AIB All-Ireland Club JFC final: Brosna (Kerry) 0-8 John Mitchels (Lancashire): Jimmy Keane raced up the steps of the Hogan Stand to join his son Cillian.
Turning to face the Brosna supporters, father and son thrust the All-Ireland junior trophy into the cold February sky.
A thunderous roar ensued, a hugely emotional moment for the Brosna manager and all associated with the North Kerry parish.
Greeted by various tangerine clad well-wishers on his descent back to pitch level, Keane was at odds to describe the club’s rise from football minnows to All-Ireland champions.
As for having his son by his side on the greatest afternoon in the club’s history? “It was a special moment for me to lift the cup with my son,” he said.
“He has been a great help to me. He is part of the panel, even though he is not old enough to play as he is just 17. He really helps me, telling me things I should and should not be doing.
“I said if the occasion did come, it is a once in a lifetime opportunity for a father to do that with his son, I wouldn’t let it pass.”
And when Adam Barry kicked his third point on 50 minutes, moving the Kerry champions 0-7 to 0-3 clear, Brosna’s fairytale campaign did look set for a fairytale ending.
From there to the finish, though, the Exiles enjoyed near total dominance – Brosna content to sit on their advantage. Defence had served them well en-route to Saturday’s decider and Keane again trusted in his rearguard.
Corner-forward Michael Molloy kicked wide in the first of several raids on their opponent’s goal. In the subsequent action, Brosna corner-back Shane Fitzmaurice threw himself in front of Kevin Kane’s goal-bound drive. Conal McGlade was next on scene in the hunt for a green flag, his shot diverted out for a 45. McGlade converted the resulting kick, John McDermott narrowing the gap to two-points (0-7 to 0-5) soonafter.
Brosna’s charmed existence reached a crescendo on 59 minutes, Aaron Cahill taking McGlade’s free off his own goal-line. Up the field swept the winners, Timmy Finnegan landing the insurance score.
“All year our game has been based on our defence. All year we’ve been able to contain the forward units we’ve met,” continued Keane “We knew these guys had good inside forwards, but we always had faith in our own boys and today our defence was on top. “I didn’t care what the scoreline read so long as we got over the line. We were disappointing in attack and our defence kept us in the game at all times. Our philosophy all year has been hard work. That is what we are built on. There is no fancy stuff with us. Every fella that goes out there has to be prepared to work. Numbers don’t make a difference. When we don’t have the ball we have 15 defenders on the pitch. “When we have the ball we try and play as 15 forwards.”
In a tentative first-half, Brosna certainly enjoyed the upper-hand – Tom McGoldrick (0-2) and Adam Barry translating early superiority into scores.
John Mitchels, defeated finalists at the hands of Skellig Rangers in 2009, were struggling to impose themselves both on the field and scoreboard. And aside from one or two wayward efforts that fell short of the target, their first shot on goal didn’t arrive until 22 minutes — Patrick Mulligan kicking wide.
The umpire at the Hill 16 end was eventually called into action three minutes from half-time, to confirm a Kieran Lynam effort. It was a brief respite. Mike Finnegan and a superb Dave Curtin returned Brosna to the dressing room four clear — a black card to full-back Michael Murphy failing to upset their rhythm.
Michael Molloy and Francis Cassidy signalled John Mitchels intent early in the second-half, but inability to draw level proved their undoing.
Scorers for Brosna: A Barry (0-3); T McGoldrick (0-2, 0-1 ’45); D Curtin, T Finnegan, D Curtin M Finnegan (0-1 each).
Scorers for John Mitchels: M Molloy, C McGlade (0-1 ’45), J McDermott, F Cassidy, K Lynam (0-1 each).
BROSNA: E Prendeville; S Fitzmaurice, M Murphy, A Cahill; T Fitzgerald, E Kelly, F McAuliffe; D Curtin, S Curtin; T Finnegan, T McGoldrick, P Curtin; D McAuliffe, M Finnegan, A Barry.
Subs: P O’Keeffe for Murphy (27 mins, bc), J O’Donnell for P Curtin (42), G Nash for D Curtin (59, bc).
JOHN MITCHELS: M Deeney; A Murray, P McGuirk, N McShane; C Owen, S Rice, M Carey; P Mulligan, D O’Neill; C Murphy, J McDermott, F Cassidy; K Lynam, E Jackson, M Molloy.
Subs: C McGlade for McShane (HT), K Kane for Murphy (48), A Browne for Rice (52).
Referee: P Neilan (Roscommon).
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