ANOTHER All Ireland final, another disappointing defeat, surely the tide will have to change some time soon, Surely.
Last year it was heartbreak for Tony Kelly’s junior side as they went down to Cork at the home of hurling in Semple Stadium. On Saturday in the picturesque setting of Moyne, Templetuohy in the same county it was the turn of Declan Cryan’s Kildare Vocational side to take on the boys from the Rebel county and the result, unfortunately was similar. Defeat.
Heartbreak is obvious word that comes to mind but Cryan and his management team while bitterly disappointed can be immensely proud of what this side have achieved; can be immensely proud of the way they failed to lie down and roll over and can be immensely proud of the fighting qualities that brought them ever so close to All Ireland Vocational honours.
Looking dead and buried deep into the second half, Kildare dug deep, deeper than they have ever dug before and managed to cut back a four point lead to level up proceedings with less than three minutes remaining on the clock.
Then a Cork attack yielded a free, somewhat harsh it has to be said, but upped popped Gearoid Finn to hit his second free of the afternoon to put the boys in red back in the lead.
Kildare, as had shown on numerous occasions during this campaign did not let the heads drop. Back they came seeking the all important equaliser and a reprieve.
It looked possible when they were awarded a free some 33-35 yards out and up stepped Wayne Fitzpatrick who has been a revelation throughout this entire campaign.
On this occasion it was not to be as his effort went wide of the right hand upright and with it Kildare’s hopes of All Ireland glory.
It was a moment that all involved with this side, the menagement, the entire panel and their supporters will not forget for a long time.
The long whistle and the hopes vanish in the spring-like surroundings of Templetuohy.
Cork dominated early on but only had one point to show for their efforts, a converted free from Gearoid Finn, little did we know at the time that the only other point he would get on the day would be the winning one.
The impressive Neil Flynn opened Kildare’s accout and slowly but surely the boys in white began to settle and play to their strengths, opening up a two point lead with Kelvin McNally and another free from Neil Flynn making it 0-3 to 0-1.
Kildare had a major let off soon after when Gearoid Finn failed to get the ball past keeper David Byrne when a goal looked all but certain. It was the kind of miss that often comes back to haunt a team but on this occasion that miss and two other besides plus a couple of frees that you would expect to have been coverted, must have had the Cork sideline wondering if they would repeat the previous year’s disappointing loss in the final.
Cork eventually drew level, after seeing another goal opportunity rebound off the upright, with points from Mark Quinn and Georoid Barry. The latter had failed to find the empty net after rounding David Byrne but his effort incredibly came off the upright.
After these let-offs Kildare dusted themselves down and hit three points on the trot through Neil Flynn (2) and Kelvin McNally to seem them lead by 0-6 to 0-3 at the break.
It was a lead that could, and possibly should have been reading the other way around but such is the fortunes of football.
No doubt after getting a bit of a dressing down at the break it was Cork who took the game to Kildare on the resumption and reduced the lead with a fine effort from Dan Nylan and within ten minutes or so took the lead with white flags from Sean O’Sullivan Quinn (2) and Dan O’Connor to lead 0-7 to 0-6.
Although under pressure around the middle Kildare again knuckled down and restored their lead with ponts from Wayne Fitzpatrick (very well marshalled throughout)and Flynn, with 43 minutes on the clock.
Suddenly Cork regained the initiative hitting five points on the trot, thus opening the biggest gap between the sides, four points, in the entire game with some twelve minutes left on the clock.
It looked done and dusted for Declan Cryan’s side but back they came with points from Cathal Jennings, Neil Flynn, Wayne Fitzpatrick and Flynn again left the sides level.
The rest as they say is history with Cork converting that softish free while Kildare just failedto convert a similar one for the equaliser at the other end.
Overall though the result was probably the fairest one with Cork who have a fine record in this competition, again being crowned All Ireland champions.
Cork: Daniel O’Connor 0-2, Sean O’Sullivan 0-2, Mark Quinn 0-2, Gearoid Finn 0-2 (2 frees), Ian Walsh 0-2, Daniel Nylan 0-1 Gearoid Barry 0-1, Kevin Crowley 0-1.
Kildare: Neil Flynn 0-7 (2 frees), Wayne Fitzpatrick 0-2 (1 free), Kelvan McNally 0-2, Cathal Jennings 0-1.
Donal Casey; Keith Dennehy, Joe Lynch, Derek Canty; Kevin Crowley, Colm de HIde, Daniel Nyhan; Maurice Murphy, Gary Farrell; Gavin O’Shea, Daniel O’Connor, Sean O’Sullivan; Mark Quinn, Gearoid Barry, Gearoid Finn. Subs: Ian Walsh for Murphy (17 minutes); Richard Cahalane for O’Shea (53 minutes); Matthew Taylor for Canty (58 minutes).
David Byrne (Castledermot); Evan Dempsey (St. Farnan’s Prosperous), Thomas O’Connell cpt. (Rathangan), Jake Kennedy (St Paul’s Monasterevin); Cian O’Donoghue (Maynooth), Brian Nolan Castledermot CC), Eoin Farrelly (Confey CC); Aaron Bannon-Whelan (Rathangan), Gary Savage (Confey CC); Kelvin McNally (C&P Kilcullen), Wayne Fitzpatrick (St Paul’s Monasterevin), Ryan Casey (St. Farnans Prosperous); Cathal Jennings (Confey CC), Emmet O’Keeffe (Castledermot CC), Neil Flynn (Maynooth PP). Subs: Conor Davin (Maynooth Post Primary) for Eoin Farrelly (22 minutes); Dylan Hannon (St. Farnans Prosperous) for Ryan Casey (51 minute); Leon McCabe (Rathangan) for Cathal Jennings (56 minutes).
Derek O’Mahoney (Tipperary).
- Tommy Callaghan