Toureen JFC Rnd 1
St Anthonys 0-16
By Damian Dolan
At McGovern Park, Ruislip
A first championship win for Parnells’ homegrown team, but it was a landmark victory largely overshadowed by five red cards, all brandished during a turbulent second half.
Parnells’ Sean O’Sullivan had already received his marching orders for a second yellow when an otherwise incident free game suddenly exploded in the 49th minute.
An off-the-ball altercation drew players like a moth to a flame, and prompted some ugly scenes.
The upshot of which saw Parnells’ Josh Obahor and Connor Spinks, and St Anthonys’ Jonathon O’Sullivan and Michael Laffey all receive straight reds.
Parnells led by 2-8 to 0-13 at that stage, and having continued to keep their noses in front during ten minutes of added time, finally secured victory through Jason Maguire’s goal.
A Parnells victory had looked unlikely for much of the first half, with Mark Kirwan especially dominating Frazer Beckles’ kick-outs.
The Reading side had first use of a strong wind and Parnells couldn’t win their own kick-outs for love nor money, although they persisted in going long and straight.
Spinks did have the ball in the back of the Anthonys’ net, only for it to be ruled out for steps, and Daniel Bracken saw his goal-bound effort well blocked by Richie Landy.
At the other end, Colm O’Sullivan fisted a dropping ball straight into the arms of the waiting Beckles.
Anthonys led 0-4 to 0-2 when Spinks cut in from the right and fizzed a low ball across goal, which Luke Horgan casually flicked to the net.
But with Anthonys tightening their grip on Parnells’ kick-outs, the Reading side eased into a 0-10 to 1-2 lead. Kirwan producing a couple of clean catches, and knocking over some nice frees.
In the first minute of injury-time, though, Parnells broke out and Bracken and Obahor combined to find Spinks.
He cut inside onto his right before unleashing a stinging shot which Jonathon O’Sullivan did well to save, but could only parry and Horgan palmed the rebound to the net.
Horgan tagged on a point leaving Anthonys to wonder how they only led by 0-10 to 2-3 at the break.
Despite Kirwan opening the scoring, with the wind now at their backs Parnells opened up a two-point lead.
Spinks nearly added a second goal, when he audaciously went for a goal from a free, when all and sundry expected him to just pop it over the bar. His shot, though, came back off the foot of the post.
Sean O’Sullivan then picked up his second yellow, but Anthonys couldn’t get back on level terms before the red mist descended in the 49th minute. Emotions ran high after that – a little too high at times, both on and off the pitch.
Horgan might have wrapped it up for 12-man Parnells, only for Niall Brennan to save well, having taken over the gloves from Jonathon O’Sullivan.
Despite their one-man advantage, Anthonys just couldn’t get back on level terms.
They came close when Liam McGovern’s shot was cleared off the line in a crowded Parnells goalmouth, and a break out saw Maguire seal victory.
Parnells: Frazer Beckles; James Donnellan, Neil McNamara, Harry Logan; Jack Flanagan, Daniel Bracken, Jason Maguire (1-0); Sean O’Sullivan, Josh Obahor (0-1); Alan Callanan (0-2, 1f), Jack Woulfe, Connor Spinks (0-3, 1f, 1’45); Kieran O’Connor (0-2), Luke Horgan (2-1), Ciaran Griffin (0-1). Subs: Lewis Dickinson (0-1f) for Griffin, Calum Diggins for Woulfe, Michael Walsh for Logan.
St Anthonys: Jonathon O’Sullivan; John McCaul, Richie Landy, Michael Laffey; Conor Moran, Shane Dowling, Hugh Towey; Mark Kirwan (0-5, 4f), Philip McCabe (0-2); Tommy Britton (0-4, 2f)), Jonathan Lyne-Roberts (0-2, 1f), Kevin Dowling (0-1); Liam McGovern, Colm O’Sullivan (0-2), Chris Gillen. Subs: Daniel Keenan for Dowling, Niall Brennan for McCaul, Matt Baldwin for Keenan (B/C).
Referee: Mattie Maher.