Scoil Mhuire of Clane produced a stirring second half comeback to pip Coláiste Choilm of Tullamore to the North Leinster Football “B” title last Thursday in Edenderry.
Brian Norris’ penalty in the first minute of the second half put the Offaly based school five points ahead and seemingly on their way to victory. Clane had only four points to their name at that stage of the game and hadn’t looked capable of staging such a comeback but they dug deep and found the scores at the right time to overcome their opponents.
The game didn’t start well for Clane although Cian Kilkenny did score the first point of the game through a free. Tullamore responded to that by Mark Hayes wriggling his way through the defence before firing low underneath Niall McCabe.
A neatly taken left footed point by Conor Herbert and another Kilkenny free levelled the scoreboard for the first time but Tullamore, despite the loss of full forward Jason Darby through injury, hit back with three unanswered scores to take control of the game once more.
Raheens’ clubman David Fiztpatrick ended the half with a point for Clane but it was clear that his team had a lot of work to do in the second half to get themselves back in the game as they headed for the dressing room 1-3 to 0-4 behind.
Their situation got even worse in the opening minute of the second half when Hayes’ shot dropped short and bounced off the crossbar. Martin Holleran reacted quickest to pick up the loose ball but he was dragged to the ground by goalkeeper Paddy McKenna and a penalty was award. Norris make no mistake.
Clane’s meek reply was to kick three wides but from the kickout to the third of those three, they were handed a way back into the game. Niall McCabe’s weak kick out only picked out Ciaran O’Connor, he quickly passed off to Kenneth Swords who picked out the bottom corner with unerring accuracy.
Swords and Holleran swapped points but Clane were just a solitary score behind when O’Connor got forward again and this time landed a point in the 41st minute.
Four minutes later, Stephen Keogh had a great chance for Tullamore only to be denied by McKenna. Buoyed by that let off, Clane worked the ball down the far end of the field and won a penalty of their own when Kilkenny was hauled down inside the square. Swords converted but Tullamore came back with two points to tie the scores with eight minutes to go.
The game was in the balance but it was Clane who showed the greater will to win and finished on top thanks to a third Kilkenny free of the day and a Martin Baneham point in injury time.
Scorers:- Scoil Mhuire, Clane: Kenneth Swords 2-1(1pen), Cian Kilkenny 0-3fs, Conor Herbert 0-1,Martin Baneham 0-1, David Fitzpatrick 0-1, Ciaran O’Connor 0-1.
Coláiste Choilm, Tulla-more: Brian Norris 1-0 (1pen), Mark Hayes 1-0, Declan Hogan 0-3fs, Stephen Keogh 0-1, Martin Holleran 0-1, Johnny Kavanagh 0-1.
Scoil Mhuire, Clane:
Paddy McKenna (Clane); Eoin Kelly (Clane), Stephen Byrne (Clane), Brian Dowling (Robertstown), Ciaran O’Connor (Sallins), Paul Cliffored (Sallins), Hugh Giffney (Sallins); Kevin Connor (Caragh), Sean Christiansen (Clane); David Callan (Sallins), David Fitzpatrick (Raheens), Martin Baneham (Na Fianna), Conor Herbert (Sallins), Cian Kilkenny (Clane), Kenneth Swords (Na Fianna).
Coláiste Choilm, Tullamore:
Niall McCabe; Ciaran Sheridan, Jack Keogh, Brian Maxwell, Brian Corcoran, Declan Hogan, Conor McNiff; Eoin Carroll, Shane Heffernan; Matthew Dempsey, Mark Hayes, Stephen Keogh, Willie Molloy, Jason Darby, Brian Norris.