SEAN MCDERMOTTS 2-12 (18)
ROGER CASEMENTS 2-9 (15)
Warwickshire SFC Final
SEAN McDERMOTTS have retained their Warwickshire crown but only after navigating their way through some choppy waters thanks to a stern Roger Casements challenge, claiming both senior and junior titles at a packed Warwickshire headquarters on Sunday.
The Coventry challengers asked some serious questions of the reigning champions to leave them five points adrift at half-time. However, thanks to some rapid scoring at the outset of the second-half, a Stephen Monaghan-inspired McDermotts clawed their way back into the game to eventually run out the winners by three points as the Casements quest fell by the wayside.
Even so, Sunday’s final at Pairc na hÉireann was testament to how far Casements have come over the course of a season in which they celebrated their 60th anniversary since their founding back in 1956.
Remarkably, after scoring a brace of goals against John Mitchels in the semi-final, Mark O’Hare repeated the exact same trick in the opening 10 minutes of the final. The Sligo man tucked a shot beyond Macauley Felgate before pouncing on a spilt ball by the McDermotts goalkeeper to ram home a second to cement a lead extended by points from Jack Keogh and Kevin Ryan.
Wing-forward Keogh was the star of the opening half hour, scoring an excellent long range free before adding a tremendous point from a side line effort. McDermotts, meanwhile, were struggling to make inroads, although they did strike their opening goal when Chris Hayden squared the ball to the waiting Conal Dowling, who rolled a low shot past Callum Browne.
Monaghan started to show his threat when he soloed his way in from the right wing towards goal, only to have a goal-bound shot deflected wide of the near post as the sides ended the half five points apart.
McDermotts regrouped, with Niall Gilbride reverting back to the engine room alongside Willis and Bennett, and they struck some vital early scores to completely change the complexion of the game. First up was a sweet strike on the left by James McDowell, before a turnover in a dangerous position enabled Macs to cycle the ball across the face of Browne’s goal where a waiting Monaghan tapped into the net.
All of a sudden, the momentum had completely flipped and McDermotts almost took the lead when Dowling latched onto a long ball only to see his close range shot smartly stopped by Browne.
Nonetheless, Casements were struggling to clear their own ‘45 and they lost possession once more to allow Gilbride to strike over the equalising point.
Moments later another loose ball out of defence presented Monaghan with the chance to strike for the lead and the full-forward made no mistake with a clinical effort.
Casements finally managed to hold onto possession up the field and their main target man Keogh popped up to land the fourth of five points for the afternoon.
A teasing free from Daniel Walsh needed some firm goalkeeping from Felgate to prevent a third Casements goal, but the scoring continued down at the clubhouse end as McDermotts kicked through the gears, that man Monaghan striking two points in a row including one spectacular effort from the trickiest of angles out on the left wing.
Keogh continued to take the game to McDermotts, cutting in from the left he tucked over another point from play but by this stage the chances were starting to run out and with Liam Gilbride and captain Niall McCooey popping up from defence to land two long range points the day and the title belonged to Sean McDermotts once again.
GAME AT A GLANCE
Man of the match:
Stephen Monaghan (Sean McDermotts)
Just when his side needed it, Monaghan answered the call with an early second-half goal alongside some crucial points to turn the game around.
Sean McDermotts: M Felgate; M McMahon, N McCooey N McCooey (0-1), S Meaney; L Gilbride (0-1), N Gilbride (0-2), J Langan; R Bennett (0-1), A Willis A Willis (0-1); C Hayden, T Duffy, J McDowell (0-1); S Monaghan (1-4, 1f. Yellow Card, 32mins), C Dowling (1-0), J Owens. Subs: E Blake for Duffy, (41mins); R Kiely (0-1) for Dowling (53mins) M Quinn for Owens (60mins).
Roger Casements: C Brown; J Phillips, C Dolphin, S O’Sullivan; D Harte, C Goodbody, D Harnett; R Harrington, J Meagher; P Kilkenny, M O’Hare (2-1, 1f), J Keogh (0-5, 1f); D Walsh, K Ryan (0-3), P Reynolds. Subs: T Massey for Harrington (30mins); C McMullan for O’Sullivan (45mins).
Referee: M McLoughlin