Lancashire SFC Final
John Mitchel’s: 2-09
By Martin Mannering at Old Bedians
Conor King’s majestic performance led Oisin’s to the Lancashire Championship title, ending the club’s eleven-year drought and derailing John Mitchel’s bid to complete a five in a row. King had plenty of help as Oisin’s put in an excellent all round team performance from start to finish and were full value for their triumph.
Craig Owen opened the scoring for the defending champions with a first minute point but the response was emphatic and set the pattern for what was about to come.
A sweeping move with pace and power ended with Fintan McCluskey racing on to Chrissy O Connor’s pass and blasted the ball to the corner of the net. Oisin’s pushed up on Peter Farrelly’s kick-outs, who invariably had to go long with the options limited.
Although Paddy Mulligan and Denis O Neill won their fair share of those kick-outs for Mitchel’s any attacks were snuffed out by a tireless back unit ably led by Aiden McVerry and Rory McLaughlin.
The half back line of Ryan Devlin, McLaughlin and Thomas Finlay were instrumental in creating a platform with fast accurate long range passes into the rampant full forward line and captain Niall Donnelly was also having a telling influence. Chrissy O Connor, Conor King and PJ McGee caused the Mitchel’s back line angst all day long and it was the latter who fisted over their first point when he intercepted Farrelly’s kick-out and broke through.
Eight minutes in King fired over from out in the left corner and immediately hit a free from the same area.
By the time another ten minutes elapsed the man of the match had taken his total to 1-4, the goal coming when he collected another defence splitting pass from Donnelly, giving Farrelly no chance. Ryan Devlin also chipped in with a point by this time after one of his trademark breaks from defence and with an eleven-point gap a rout looked on the cards.
Mitchel’s have been the dominant force in recent times for a number of reasons and one of those is a refusal to panic in adversity. Niall McCartan moved out to midfield and helped to steady the ship by gaining more possession and they began to get a foothold in the game.
Ten minutes from time he swept through and placed Darren Russell for a simple tap in and promptly hit a point himself.
Ryan Devlin went up the other end to hit a fine point but two Michael Molloy frees closed the gap again. David Hernon got on the scoresheet for Oisin’s only to see Cormac Crowe and Mc- Cartan again make it a five point game at the break on a scoreline of 2-8 to 1-6.
If Mitchel’s were to complete a miracle recovery a good start to the second half was vital but it was the challengers who upped the ante again.
Three points in the first five minutes, two of which came from the unerring boot of King and one from O Connor, had them well clear again. Paddy Mulligan pulled one back for the Liverpool side but King again and PJ McGee tightened the noose with further points. Molloy and Johnny Reilly responded in kind but Reilly’s score in the 41st minute was to be their last of the day.
The winners now had the game in a stranglehold and were in no mood to let it go.
Mitchel’s chased and harried to the end but there was never any likelihood that they would get back in the game. Johnny Garrity and Ciaran Harper came off the bench to inflict further punishment before Darren Russell scored a consolation goal in the dying seconds.
It was an excellent performance from the winners packed with skill, pace and power and above all that vital ingredient an insatiable hunger. From back to front every man played his part but it was that man Conor King who reigned supreme.
OISIN’S: Paul Noone, Aodhon Byrne, Aiden McVerry, Alan Armstrong, Thomas Finlay, Rory McLaughlin, Ryan Devlin (0-2), Michael Comney, Niall Donnelly, David Hernon (0-1), Ger McCaughey, Fintan McCluskey (1-0), PJ McGee(0-2), Conor King (1-9), Chrissy O Connor (0- 1) SUBS: Johnny Garrity (0-1) for David Hernon, Ciaran Harper (0-2) for Conor King
JOHN MITCHEL’S: Peter Farrelly, John O’Hagan, Jason Conway, Niall McShane, Johnny Reilly (0-1), Craig Owen (0-1), Shaun Walsh, Paddy Mulligan (0-1f), Denis O’Neill, Cormac Crowe (0-1), Paddy Murphy, Darren Russell, Michael Molloy (0-3,2f), Niall McCartan (0-2), Darren Russell (2-0) SUBS: Edward Jackson for Crowe, Alan Brown for Healy, Tony Goggins for Murphy