An Ethan O’Donoghue inspired comeback for Clane in the last five minutes of this Minor B’ Football Championship Final last Saturday afternoon in St Conleth’s Park ensured that both these sides have it all do to again as the contest finished honours even.
Confey perhaps may be left kicking themselves and wondering how they managed to let a commanding six point lead slip, but all credit to their opponents who showed great determination and spirit to pull back and force a replay.
Confey started the brighter of the two and had the ball in the back of Robert Phillips’ net with a mere 10 seconds on the clock as some of the Clane defenders were still getting into position. Andy Doolin received the ball on the edge of the square after his side won the throw in and fisted it to the unmarked Conor Dennehy who had the easy task of finishing into an empty net.
Clane never managed to take the lead in this clash but responded well to the early set back with two points in quick succession through Simon Healy and Ethan O’Donoghue respectively.
Josh Collins, who scored an impressive 4 points from corner back for Confey, all from placed balls, got his first after nine minutes with a superbly landed free into the dressing room end of the County Grounds.
The remainder of the opening period was rather evenly matched as both sides traded some outstanding scores, but it was Dennehy’s goal after 10 seconds that separated the two at the interval with the scoreline reading 1-6 to 0-6.
The second half of this game was a much more exciting and enthralling affair with plenty of late drama for the paying spectators to savour.
Luke Quinn got the first point of the half inside the opening minute before Ethan O’Donoghue pulled one back with a left footed free from 21 yards out.
O’Donoghue then went on to score what was arguably the best point of the game from an extremely difficult angle, followed by a point from the boot of Simon Healy.
But when Conor Dennehy, Sean Kilbane and Luke Collins (free) all split the posts for Confey before substitute Conor Murphy played Colm McKiernan through on goal and the big full forward made no mistake with the finish, rolling the ball along the ground into the back of the net to put the men in green and white six points to the good, it looked to be curtains for Clane.
However Clane got a goal of their own just 40 seconds later through a direct free kick from Ethan O’Donoghue whose powerful effort evaded every Confey player on the line, meaning with three minutes left, there was only three points between the sides.
And Clane showed great character to score a point in each minute through O’Donoghue (2) and captain fantastic, Tommy Cribbin with virtually the last kick of the game to force a deserved replay.
Clane: Robert Phillips; Andy Malone, Darragh Callaghan, Sean Lynch; Enda O’Connell, Cathal Egan (0-1), Michael O’Reilly; Tomás Earley, Tommy Cribbin (0-2); Jake Devey (0-1f), Steven O’Connell, Mark Tutty; Kyle Devey, Ethan O’Donoghue (1-8, 1-3f), Simon Healy (0-2). Subs: Cathal O’Brien for Steven O’Connell, Daire McLoughlin for Lynch.
Confey: Aidan Kavanagh; Brad O’Donnell, Ciaran Lyons, Josh Collins (0-4 3f, 45’); Luke Quinn (0-3), Patrick Fox, Cian Donnell (0-1); Daire Casey, Dylan Slattery; Daragh Raymond, Michael Kelly, Sean Kilbane (0-1); Andy Doolin, Colm McKiernan (1-1f), Conor Dennehy (1-1). Subs: Conor Murphy for Kelly, Frank Bass for Kilbane.
Referee: Mick Spencer.