IFC final: Geraldines are champions

October 06, 2013

JIm McEneaney Geraldines

Geraldines turned in a magnificent performance to claim the Intermediate Championship title at Dowdallshill on Sunday afternoon at the expense of a St Brides team who were simply blown away by their inspired opponents.

The McGeough Park side were magnificent from the throw-in and had secured such a grip on the game that the result was never in doubt well before the half time whistle had blown.

The Gers went into the game carrying the burden of the favourites tag but they played like a side determined not to let their opponents get a foothold. Overall it was a brilliant team display and manager Eamonn McEneaney could not have asked for any more from his charges.

From the outset they linked superbly as a team and were assured in possession, despite the very greasy conditions. There were more decisive and committed when it came to the battle for the loose ball and their disciplined tackling made life very difficult for the Brides.

As a consequence, the Gers enjoyed a large share of quality possession and they made it count, and team captain Jim McEneaney once again led by example with a splendid first half that yielded no fewer than eight points.

It was by no means a one-man show as the majority of Geraldines players won their personal battles, and throughout the game they had players who took their turn to lead by example and inspire their colleagues.

Gerard Hoey won the Man of the Match title as he set the standards in a defence where his colleagues weren't too far behind. In the opening period, when the game was there for the taking, they barely conceded an inch to the Brides forwards, snuffing out the threat of the likes of Aaron Hoey, Kevin Hearty and Conall Devin.

The midfield of Michael Rogers and Stephen Reidy provided a platform to push their side forward and once in the opponents' third of the field, they always looked dangerous.

Again it was a brilliant combined effort that put the Brides under pressure with McEneaney's eye-catching scores and goals from Shaun Callan and Glen Traynor putting the gloss on a display where each individual played their part.

For a St Brides team who went into the game with high expectations it was a bitterly disappointing outcome. No doubt they will have regrets about not imposing themselves on the game but the reality is that they weren't allowed to by their opponents.

The showed great character to battle to the very end and got some reward in the form of two David Dunne goals but they proved little consolation.

The did get to within two points after 18 minutes of the game and will consider themselves unlucky not to have had a goal, but at that stage the Gers moved up a gear and ensured the Seamus Flood Cup was heading for McGeough Park.

The Geraldines made their intentions clear from the outset with two points from McEneaney in the opening four minutes, while it took a brilliant Darren Breen save to deny Shane O'Hanlon a goal.

Aaron Hoey opened the Brides account on nine minutes but further points from McEneaney (2) and Barry Hamilton increased the gap to 0-5 to 0-1.

Ross Kehoe missed a goal chance for the Brides but scores from Kevin Hearty and Shane Kerrigan reduced the arrears to 0-5 to 0-3 on 18 minutes. The game might have been different had Conor Deane's effort not been deflected the wrong side of the post, or if Hearty's flick from the resulting '45' had not come back off the upright.

That let-off provided a wake-up call for the Gers and the moved up the gears kicking three unanswered points before Shaun Callan cut in and sent a low shot in off the post for the opening goal of the game.

An injury-time free from McEneaney sent his side in very much on top with a 1-9 to 0-3 lead.

The Knockbridge men needed a bright start to the second half to have any hope of getting back in the game. However, it wasn't to be as the Gers refused to relax on their advantage and when Michael Rogers had a shot saved, Glen Traynor tapped in the rebound to make it 2-9 to 0-3.

From then on it was a long half for St Brides but they showed great pride to keep battling even though the Gers remained disciplined at the back to ensure nothing went their way. At the other end, they continued to pick off the points with Shane O'Hanlon, McEneaney, Traynor and fittingly, Gerard Hoey, all raising the white flag.

With ten minutes remaining the Knockbridge men did get some reward with a David Dunne and the same player, who started a full-back, added a second in injury time to complete the scoring.

However, there was no denying the Geraldines a deserved victory and a place back in senior football where the young team will be hoping to make an impression in the coming seasons.

GERALDINES: Nathaniel Cooney; Sean Watters, Nicky Mackin, Tiarnan Hand; James Craven, Gerard Hoey 0-1, Kevin Pepper; Michael Rogers, Stephen Reidy; Sean Thornton, Jim McEneaney 0-9 (4 fr, 1 45), Shaun Callan 1-0; Barry Hamilton 0-1, Shane O'Hanlon 0-2, Glen Traynor 1-1. Subs: Josh Arrowsmith 0-1 for B Hamilton, Patrick Hoey for S Thornton, Benny Connolly for S Callan, Johnny Breen for G Traynor, Aaron Murray for S Reidy.

ST BRIDES: Darren Breen; Andrew Smyth, David Dunne 1-0, Conor Deane; Greg Kehoe, Cillian Kirk, Niall Mackin; Paddy Reilly, Shane Kerrigan 0-1; Ross Kehoe, Ray Kelly, Joseph Hanna; Kevin Hearty 0-1, Aaron Hoey 0-2, Conall Devin. Subs: Aidan McNally for N Mackin, Richard Halpenny for K Hearty, Kevin Kirk 0-1 for C Devin, Padraig Marry for J Hanna, Paul Prendergast for C Kirk.

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