Cuchulainns march into All Britain
St Brendans 0-07
By Damian Dolan
Cuchulainns will fly the flag for London in the All Britain Championship this year after upsetting the odds at Ruislip on Saturday.
The Junior champions may yet have more silverware to parade at the club’s 80th Anniversary dinner next month, after a commanding third quarter display saw them deservedly take the scalp of Intermediate winners St Brendans.
All square at half-time, six unanswered points at the start of the second half proved too great for an out of sorts and miss-firing Brendans to overhaul. Aidan Powell’s late goal capped off a memorable afternoon for DJ Bradley’s side.
Minus JFC final man of the match Johnny Kinch, Cuchulains dropped Sean Kelly into the middle of the park, but it was his midfield partner Anthony Teighe who would emerge to take the plaudits with a tireless display. But Cuchulainns would have heroes all over the pitch.
Ten minutes in and the sides were locked at 0-2 apiece, but the Junior champs were looking the more fluid outfit, while Brendans were struggling to find their game. Perhaps even more significant from the opening exchanges – Cuchulainns were clearly up for the challenge.
Chris Eastwood (free) and Teighe edged Cuchulainns into a two-point lead, but Niall Campbell’s strike clipped Sean Maloney’s crossbar on its way over with Killian Smith’s shot then deflecting perfectly to Finbarr O’Neill, who ensured the sides went in level at half-time, 0-4 apiece.
Brendans had been wasteful in front of goal in that opening 30 minutes – racking up seven wides to Cuchulainns’ two – but the junior champs were still worthy of going in at the break on level terms.
Cuchulainns grasped the initiative in the third quarter from the moment Lorcan Kinsella fired over inside the opening minute. They would proceed to camp themselves in the Brendan half for the next 12 minutes, as they dominated the midfield battle. While Brendans at times looked like a side at odds with itself, Cuchulainns were definitely all singing off the same hymn sheet.
Eastwood added a free before Teighe fisted over to round off the move of the game involving Tom Brennan, Sean O’Connor and Biggane. Eastwood struck twice more (one free) and Donal Kinsella blasted over with is first touch and Cuchulainns led by six. Each point was a dagger through the heart of Brendans, and they could sense the game ebbing away.
Brendans captain Shane O’Hare tried to inspire his team-mates with one lung busting run, and Niall Campbell did register his side’s first score of the second half after 22 scoreless minutes, but there was to be no way back.
In the first minute of injury-time Lorcan Kinsella’s run presented Powell with an easy finish and when he blasted the ball into the net Cuchulainns knew they were safe. Cuchulainns march on to the All Britain and an already memorable year may have more to offer.
Cuchulainns: Sean Maloney; Paul Cahill, Keith McGovern, Seamus Kinsella; Charlie Cawley, Tom Brennan, Sean O’Connor; San Kelly, Anthony Teighe (0-2); Kevin Keating, Lorcan Kinsella (0-1), Peter Phelan (0-1); Chris Eastwood (0-4, 3f), Aidan Powell (1-0), Padraig Biggane (0-1f). Subs: Subs: Calvin McSweeney for Phelan, Donal Kinsella (0-1) for Keating, Mick Denehy for Cahill, John Murray for Powell, Ciaran Melhorne for Biggane.
St Brendans: Conor Donnellan; Arthur Dunne, Joe Fadian, Shane O’Hare; Liam Sharkey, Damien Walsh, Colin Towey; Killian Smith, Conn O’Hanlon; Joe Coulter, Paddy Bowles, Shaun McGoldrick (0-1); Niall Campbell (0-1), Jarlath Harte (0-3f), Finbarr O’Neill (0-1). Subs: Ivan O’Connor for McGoldrick, Graeme Power for O’Neill, Barry Gallagher for Towey, O’Neill for Gallagher.