Intermediate/Junior Football Championship Play-off
Thomas McCurtains 2-09
By Damian Dolan
Thomas McCurtains upset the apple cart as they edged out intermediate champions Cuchulainns in a thriller for the right to represent London in the All Britain Provincial Championship.
Goals wins games, and two sublime first half strikes, from Conor Murphy and Mark McGirr, proved the difference for McCurtains at Greenford on Saturday.
A McGirr goal had been the difference when the east Londoners overcame Dulwich Harps to be crowned junior champions, and the half back was again pivotal against Cuchulainns, top scoring with 1-4.
In McGirr, McCurtains had the best player on the pitch. Not too far behind him, though, was Niall Coffey, who was dominant under the high ball and claimed some excellent scores, and then the lethal Conor Murphy.
The full forward needed less than four minutes to make his presence felt, firing low past Sean Maloney, despite a nudge in the back as he let fly. It was in keeping with the game’s blistering start.
Any assertions that either side might be content to settle for their respective championship success, were dispelled within those opening minutes as they went at each other hammer and tongs. It was end-to-end stuff from the off.
By the 15-minute mark McCurtains led 1-3 to 0-3 during which time both sides had slotted over some truly exceptional points – McGirr and Brendan Breen in particular.
Pick up a copy of this week’s Irish World to read the full match report
THOMAS MCCURTAINS: Conor MulRennan; Paudi O’Shea, Kevin Delhaunty, Rich Ellis; Tom Lynagh, Brian Hourinhane, Mark McGirr (1-4); Paddy O’Neill, Tom Clark; Niall Coffey (0-4, 1f), Gerry Flynn, James Searson; Gavin Gallagher, Conor Murphy (1-1), John Winters. SUBS: Tommy Kane for Flynn, Sean Murphy for Gallagher.
CUCHULAINNS: Sean Maloney; Brian White, Camillus Donnelly, Conor Harrington; Conan O’Brien (0- 1), Gary Walsh, Sean Dirrane; Cianan Byrne (0-1), Gerard Byrne (0-1); Anthony Tighe, Darren McManus (0-2), Oisin Gatley; Brian McVeigh (0-2), Brendan Breen (0-2), Fiachra McCardle (0-4, 2f). SUBS: Kyle Feehily for Tighe, Padraig Biggane for McVeigh.