A huge thanks to John Whelan our erstwhile colleague in Carlow GAA who is back with his reports for the busy Championship season ahead.
Carlow Senior Football Division 1 League Final
ire g 4-15
Old Leighlin 0-09
At Netwatch Cullen Park
The sight of red ire g jerseys climbing the steps in Netwatch Cullen Park is a far from unfamiliar one, but it had been four years since the first team got their hands on any silverware.
After an impressive league campaign ire g saved their very best for last. A stellar team performance saw them rack up 4-14 from play.
ire g hit the ground running with Sen Gannon opening the scoring before the end of the first minute. A long range one-two with Chris Blake allowed Gannon to find space and convert the score. It was a sign of things to come.
In the opening exchanges Old Leighlin struggled to hold onto possession in the opposing half. Seamus Kinsella got their first score after five minutes with a converted free. A well finished Sen Gannon goal prevented any shift in momentum. He added another point to bring his tally to 1-2 after just ten minutes and give ire g a six point lead.
Old Leighlin settled into the game and prevented ire g from scoring for a ten minute period. They will regret that they only managed to add a Cathal Coughlan free in that time.
A stoppage time score in the first half for Seamus Kinsella saw the deficit reduced to six at half time.
Old Leighlin got what looked like the perfect start to the second half with a Willie Minchin point in the opening seconds. ire g responded very strongly and kicked into a higher gear.
A Cormac Mullins point followed by a goal and two points from Chris Blake in quick succession put them firmly in the driving seat. Cormac Mullins finished a well worked team effort as he palmed the ball to the back of the net. Seamus Kinsella responded with a free before Mullins was on hand to finish off another goal. A Niall Quinlan sidestep had allowed ire g to break at pace and put the tie to bed.
Points from Sen Gannon saw the ire g lead extended to eighteen points. On an energy sapping warm evening the high paced game began to slow down. Niall Quinlan converted ire g’s first free of the day with a minute remaining.
Robbie Moore, Cathal Kelly, Mark Fitzgerald, Kelvin Chatten, Jordan Lowry, Paul McElligott, Benny Kavanagh, Sen Gannon (1-5), Eoghan Ruth (0-2), Eoin Maddock, Darragh O’Brien, Derek Hayden, Cormac Mullins (2-1), Chris Blake (1-3), Niall Quinlan (0-3, 0-1f)
Subs Harry Hynes, Reece Denieffe( in for P McElligott 43 mins)(0-1), Shane Kelly( in for E Maddock 43 mins ), Fiach O’ Toole ( in for S Gannon 54 mins ), Eric McCormack, James Ruth, Corey Harmon (in for C Mullins 51 mins), Dean Hayden, Mark Kelly, Lee Moore ( in for B Kavanagh 58 mins )
James Clarke, Pauric Coughlan, Michael Meaney, Ger Hickey, Declan Kelly, John Hayden (0-1), Willie Minchin (0-1), Ian Atkinson, David Bambrick ,Hugh Gahan, Paddy Hickey, Michael Meaney, Seanie Bambrick, Cathal Coughlan (0-1,0-1f) Seamus Kinsella (0-6, 0-3f)
Subs Kevin Carpenter ( in for D Kelly 30 mins ), John Ryan ( in for D Bambrick 47 mins ), Declan Gough (in for G Hickey 55 mins )