The CityJet Senior Football Championship Final saw joy for Fulham
By Fiona O’Brien at McGovern Park
Fulham Irish: 0-15
Tir Chonaill Gaels: 1-11
Fulham Irish celebrated a double championship win at the weekend, as they came back late on to claim the senior title, just hours after collecting the reserve trophy.
Owen Mulligan kicked the deciding point in a close final against Tir Chonaill Gaels, to cap off a comeback from three points down. A Joe Roberts goal in the first half looked like it would be the deciding factor, with the Gaels playing with a wind advantage after the break but despite some excellent scores from corner forward Killian Butler the Gaels never dealt with the numerical disadvantage once they lost Kevin Rafferty to a second yellow card.
Fulham’s bench were key to their victory, with Daniel Eastwood pointing twice after coming on and Anton McCardle also making a significant contribution to his side’s improved second-half performance.
Power and pace
The Gaels, losing their second final in two years, had opportunities to win the game with some late frees put wide, but it was Mulligan that would hold his nerve to kick the telling score in additional time, giving his side their first championship victory since 2011. The Gaels registered first, on four minutes, after Killian Butler put a good ball down the line to his captain Liam Gavaghan who twisted and turned away from the reach of Conor Hyde and John Gilfedder for the opening score.
The Butler-Gavaghan partnership was integral to the next attack too, before the final result was put wide, and Fulham equalised after a superb Mulligan ball into Rowan Turley caused Shaun Burke problems and the resultant free was popped over by Liam Stuanton.
John McGrath set up Gavaghan next, and his power and pace looked like he would get a chance on goal before he was fouled by Hurl Dockry, with McGrath scoring the free.David O’Connor and Marty Hughes cut through the Gaels’ defence with the next attack, with the full-forward equalising on eight minutes. McGrath claimed the resultant kick out well in the middle of the field before immediately laying it off to Mark Gottsche.
The midfielder surged up the field and laid the ball off to Gavaghan in front of goal, who set up Killian Butler, who had done well to find space, for a goal shot.A superb save from Jonathan Tavey looked as if the chance had passed, but with the Gaels forwards pushing up on the posts, late addition to the starting team.
Joe Roberts was on hand with the rebound to give his side a three-point lead.