TARA 4-8 (20)
TIR CHONAILL GAELS 2-11 (17)
London Junior Football Championship Final
TARA survived two red cards to be crowned Junior Football Champions as they dispatched two of three penalties awarded to overcome Tir Chonaill Gaels 4-8 to 2-11.
Gaels were left ruing the misuse of an extra-man they had for the second-half, and had a two-man advantage for the final five minutes. Their extra man was used as a sweeper and when needing a goal in the dying moments, they opted to kept their sweeper system in place.
Despite the assistance of a strong wind, TCG were just two points ahead at the break. Liam Cunningham and Ambrose Stafford exchanged points in the opening three minutes, but Tara failed to score for the next quarter hour. Donal Geraghty, Cunningham and Ryan Elliott had Gaels 0-4 to 0-1 ahead.
The last point from Elliott came after Tara corner back Seamus Bolton received a yellow card for a pull down. A nice inter-change at the other end saw Dean Moore fire to the net and Paul McArdle tagged on a free for the lead.
Gaels finished strongly, with frees from Elliott and Cunningham edging them back in front Before Bolton saw red for an accidental clothes-line tackle. Rory Jennings burst through to round off the scoring as TCG led 0-7 to 1-2 at half-time.
Pictures: Mal McNally
Tara wasted no time as a hat-trick of points from McArdle and a monster point from Kieran Gill saw them get a hold in the game at the start of the second period.
Cunningham replied with a free and a burst from Jennings set up Elliott for his first goal. The problem throughout was that Gaels tuned out after periods of pressure, and immediately Tara were back in front.
A quick free found Conor Beirne in space and he fired to the net to make it 2-6 to 1-8.
Elliott drew the teams level on 43 minutes before referee Ger O’Shea took centre-stage. He awarded a penalty for Tara when a foul for charging might have been more appropriate.
Gill’s penalty was brilliantly saved by Gaels keeper Gavin McEvoy, who dived to his right. Within two minutes he pointed to the spot once more, this time for a foot block. Beirne blasted down the middle and Stafford knocked over his second as Tara led 3-7 to 1-9.
The tide looked to have changed once more as Gaels used the extra man to perfection as Ryan Elliott fired to the net and Cunningham and Kieran Clarke pointed. Added to that Darren Connolly was also sent off for Tara.
But Beirne pointed and in one final twist he buried his second penalty as a foot block saw the referee point to the spot one final time as Tara secured the title.
GAME AT A GLANCE
Man of the match:
Conor Beirne (Tara). The hat-trick hero was good value for his treble, even if two came from the spot.
Tara: A Redican; M McMahon, M Beirne (c), S Bolton; P McKenna, J Kelly, D McDermott; D Connolly, K Gill (0-1); C Kenny, P McArdle (0-4), A Ward; D Moore (1-0), C Beirne (3-1), Ambrose Stafford (0-2).
Tir Chonaill Gaels: G McEvoy; G Geraghty, J Elliott, J Nolan; R Jennings (0-1), B Rice, R Kearney (c); C McCarthy, Ewan Vassallo; Ryan Elliott (2-3), L Cunningham (0-5), D Geraghty (0-1); A McGarvey, P O’Connor, K Clarke (0-1).