There is simply no stopping Two Mile House. Having already collected the Dowling Cup; SFL (Div. 3), Junior Championship and the Leinster Club title they added the icing to the cake when taking the coveted Jack Higgins Cup on Friday night last at Naas, defeating St. Laurence’s by three points.
Jack Higgins Cup Final
Two Mile House: 1-10
St Laurence’s: 1-7
As the score line suggests this was a tight affair after initially looking like the junior champions would coast to victory, they had some anxious moments in the second half as The Larries give it their all and for long periods of the half had TMH on the back foot.
Seán Higgins, who had a fine game for St. Laurence’s, opened with a point inside a minute on a cold but dry night at the home of the late great legendary Jack Higgins.
After taking a little while to come to grips with the situation, Two Mile House, gradually worked their way into the game mainly through the impressive display at midfield of Niall Browne.
Niall McLoughlin had the sides level and Aidan Casey had them in front before Niall Browne hit the first of his four points from play, this one a brilliant long range left foot effort from wide on the right.
St. Laurence’s, however, got right back into it on eight when that great campaigner, Dom Grufferty, operating at full forward,gained possession some 35m out, used his strength to push past a few defenders before planting the ball in the left hand corner of John Goff’s net to make it 1-1 to 0-3. Adam Burke had the sides level soon after and Aidan Casey got the end of a tap down from Aidan Casey to put his side back in front.
The House were well on top at this stage and had The Larries hanging in for dear life. Another brilliant Niall Browne effort, this time off his right foot from close to other side line, extended the lead before the champions got when looked at the time to be the big breakthrough.
Adam Burke gained possession deep on the left, cut inside his marker before blasting a goal bound shot off the upright. Fortunately for The House the rebound came to Matt Stapleton and the former Ardclough man made no mistake from close range to make it 1-6 to 1-1 after eight minutes.
Four points were evenly exchanged before the break, Brendan Gorman and Seán Higgins for The Larries while Aidan Casey and Niall Browne ensured The House led by five at the break.
The second half was a bit of a slow burner and it took TMH all of six minutes to extend their lead. However they were not to score again for a full 20 minutes as St. Laurence’s took control around the middle and put their opponents under pressure, hitting four points on the trot from Cormac Byrne (free), Sean Higgins (2, one free) and Cormac Byrne again to make it 1-9 to 1-7 after 48 minutes.
No doubt Two Mile House were under the cosh and were forced to dig deep to keep their remarkable run in tact.
But that they did when Joe Darcy was fouled and Aidan Casey made no mistake to increase the lead to three with just four minutes of play remaining.
The result never really looked in danger after that and even the introduction of the veteran Liam Miley, who at 52 looked as eager as ever, could not prevent TMH adding to their silverware of 2013.
TWO MILE HOUSE: John Goff; Brian Byrne, Darran Casey, Aidan Dooley; Niall McLoughlin 0-1, Willie Burke, Nathan Sherry; Shane Darcy, Nial Browne 0-4; Tadhg O’Neill, Matt Stapleton 1-0, Ian Caffrey, Chris Julian; Adam Burke 0-1, Aidan Casey 0-4(2f), Sub: Joe Darcy for Ian Caffrey (half time); Mark Sherry (52 minute).
ST. LAURENCE’S: Stephen Hickey; Paddy O’Connor, Stephen Murphy, James McHugh; Shane Molloy, Paddy Kearney, Cormac Byrne 0-2(1f); Sean O’Driscoll, Colm Kane; Brian Doran; JP Byrne; Brendan Gorman 0-1, Seán Higgins 0-4(1f), Dom Grufferty 1-0, Tom Mulreid. Subs: Benny Keatley for Stephen Murphy (40m); Shane Bell for Brendan Gorman (45m); Robin Lawlor for Brian Doran (50m); Liam Miley for Dom Grufferty (51m).
REFEREE: Alan Lagrue.