Category: Archive

Kingdom rule

February 17, 2011

By Staff Reporter

It was a year in coming but Kerry and Cavan finally took to the Gaelic Park pitch with the New York Senior Football final at stake and Kerry came away with the honors. After last year’s unplayed final, New York Gaels were hoping for a good one and they got it.
On this picture perfect autumn afternoon, conditions were just right for the big match. A crowd of at least 2,000 filled the Gaelic Park bleachers, and with the game officials including Ireland-based referee Pat McEnaney properly togged out, the big day mood was set.
Cavan were first off the mark, swarming the ball and creating chances early. Ryan McCormack opened the scoring in Cavan’s favor with an outstanding point after Colm Shannon found him with a perfectly weighted pass. Kerry were quick to respond with a fine point from Donnchadh Walsh, before Cavan capitalized on the first big break of the match.
Ryan McCormack ranged far from his corner forward position, before sending a long ball into the Kerry square. The ball bounced high and looked to be carrying wide, but Gareth Smith kept after it and his fisted effort ended up in the Kerry net. Fergal Shannon quickly followed with a point and Cavan were up 1-2 to 0-1 after nine minutes.
Kerry kept their cool and began to chip away at the deficit. Pa Murphy began winning a lot of possession from his wingback position pushing forward repeatedly. Donnchadh Walsh was doing well in the middle of the park with able assistance from Dave McSweeney as the Kerry attack began to hit its stride.
A Bingo O’Driscoll free kicked off a five-point Kerry streak. Bingo added a second pointed free and Dave McCarthy (2) and John Crowley (1) were Kerry’s other scorers.
Cavan were on the ropes when Gareth Smith scored a badly needed point off a great shot from the corner. They were soon level when Gareth Smith and McCormack combined to set up J.P. Smith for the equalizer. When Gareth Smith followed with a point-of-the-year candidate from far and wide, the momentum and the lead was suddenly back with the Breffni men.
The high quality of play in the first half was exemplified by great points from Bingo (Kerry) and Colm Shannon (Cavan) as sides went to the break with Cavan up a point, 1-6 to 0-8.
Kerry were all over Cavan on the restart, opening with unanswered points from Walsh and O’Driscoll (2). Cavan looked like a beaten team when Lawlor sprang Walsh, who picked out Crowley inside the Cavan defense. Crowley’s left-footed blast was unstoppable and Kerry were looking the same.
But Cavan refused to lie down and Gareth Smith, who gave a champion’s performance in a losing effort, found McCormack with a long pass. McCormack found the net from a near impossible angle and Cavan had life.
Gareth Smith pointed and Cavan were just 0-2 behind. Kerry responded with a point from a Bingo free after lively substitute Stephen Flynn was fouled.
Cavan were having a tough time winning possession even with Kerry playing a man down after Dave McCarthy’s second yellow card. Kerry were picking up virtually all the breaking ball in the middle of the park with Anthony Glackin especially effective as he chased far from his corner back spot.
Cavan’s last, best chance came when Gareth Smith floated another long ball goalward. John Paul Smith got his fist to the ball and for a moment Cavan’s hearts leapt while Kerry’s stopped. Then the ball carried high. It was a Cavan point, but that wouldn’t be enough and soon Kerry would be celebrating a title that must have felt like two.

Man of the Match: Pa Murphy.
Kerry: Finbarr Flood, Niall Corbett, Derek Riney, Anthony Glackin, Pa Murphy, Eoghan Lawlor, Collie Fearon, Donnchadh Walsh (0-2), Don Murphy, Dave McCarthy (0-2, 2 fr), Bingo O’Driscoll (0-6, 3 fr), Danny Downey, John Crowley (1-4), Dermie Foley, Dave McSweeney Sub: Stephen Flynn.
Cavan: Kieran Traynor, David Rooney, James McIntyre, Steven Maloney, Dennis McCarthy, Tomas Piercce, Alan Carolan, Sean Lordan, Cormac Kelly, Fergal Shannon (0-1), Paddy Smith, Colm Shannon (0-1), Gareth Smith (1-3), J.P. Smith (0-2), Ryan McCormack (1-1) Subs: Barry Annette, Shane Russell.
Referee: Pat McEnaney.

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