Cavan SFC: Kingscourt stun Gaels

September 27, 2010

Former county board chairman from Kingscourt Phil Smith joins in the celebrations as team captain Alan Clarke receives the Oliver Plunkett Cup after defeating Cavan Gaels in the final at Kingspan Breffni Park
Kingscourt Stars 1-13
Cavan Gaels 1-9

by Shane Corrigan
at Kingspan Breffni Park

Kingscourt Stars are the 2010 Cavan senior champions after stunning holders Cavan Gaels in yesterday's controversial county final at Kingspan Breffni Park.

Sean Johnston had the Cavan town side in the driving-seat after kicking 1-3 in the first quarter, but Dudley Farrell's men clawed their way back and levelled with 12 minutes to go before they were awarded a dubious penalty which 'Man of the Match' Ryan McCormack slotted to the net.

The Gaels never fully recovered from the blow and in the final ten minutes Kingscourt outscored them by 0-3 to 0-2 to clinch their first Oliver Plunkett Cup success in 17 years.

After a first-minute goal chance went by the wayside for the winners, it was the defending champions that had made sharper start with their captain Johnston striking the first two points (one a free) before the Stars lost key defender Daire McMahon to injury.

Ace forward Barry Reilly registered Kingscourt's first score in the 14th minute from a free, but when some quick thinking from Michael Lyng down the other end saw the centre-forward find Johnston inside he coolly shot to the corner of the net past Brendan McCormack for a five-point lead.

Johnston and Ryan McCormack swapped frees to maintain the difference and Kingscourt looked to have missed their big chance when brilliant approach play allowed the unmarked Reilly to shoot for goal but his effort was superbly cleared off the line by Gaels defender Marc Leddy and the Cavan town side went in at the break with the 1-5 to 0-4 advantage.

The Gaels made three switches in the opening seven minutes of the resumption, introducing young guns Martin Dunne, Dallan McCormack and Daniel Graham to the fray, but it didn't pay much dividends for them.

An outstanding piece of fielding from Enda King released speedster Niall Smith for a score to cancel-out McCormack's early free, but two overs from Reilly meant the deficit stood at two for the Meath border side. Another placed-kick from Johnston cushioned the Gaels' lead back to a goal, but down the other end the Stars hit their winning-streak with an unanswered 1-3.

Tomas Malone, Reilly (free) and substitute Mark McKeon sent over the points and in the 50th minute Reilly chased a ball in the square under pressure from opposite number Leddy and when referee Jimmy Galligan blew the whistle with horizontal arms the Gaels players were left irate as they were made watch McCormack calmly tuck away the penalty.

Now trailing by three, Garrett Coyle's team looked to bombard the far posts and earned two frees which outlet Johnston struck over under pressure but, to their credit, Kingscourt's response was sublime as his opposite number McCormack responded in kind before substitute Joe McMahon fisted over the insurance point three minutes into the added time to confirm a 10th triumph at this level for the Stars.

Kingscourt Stars - Brendan McCormack; Daire McMahon, Thomas Wakely, Keith McCabe; Barry Tully, Alan Clarke, JP Reilly; Colm Smith, Gavin Sheenan; Barry Reilly (0-5, 4f), Philip Smith, Philip Tinnelly; Daryl Martin, Ryan McCormack (1-5, 5f), Tomas Malone (0-1). Subs: Shane Gray, Joe McMahon (0-1), Mark McKeon (0-1); Sean Og Gargan, Neil McCabe.

Cavan Gaels - Eoghan Elliott; Marc Leddy, Cathal Collins, Karl Crotty; Eamonn Reilly, Gavin Duffy, Pauric Smith; Dominic Reilly (0-1), Enda King; Anthony Forde (0-1), Michael Lyng, Niall Smith (0-1); Conor McClarey, Niall Murray, Sean Johnston (1-6, 5f). Subs: Martin Dunne, Dallan McCormack, Daniel Graham, Robert Maloney-Derham.

Ref: Jimmy Galligan (Lacken Celtic)

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