By Annie Driver
At Pairc na hEireann, Birmingham
Scotland won a thrilling All-Britain Inter-County JFC final with Warwickshire at Pairc na hEireann on Saturday having only made the decider thanks to the generosity of the GAA community.
A GoFundMe page set up by secretary Jennifer Treacy raised £2,000 to cover the team’s travel costs to Birmingham.
It was Scotland’s first All-Britain since they won their first title in 2014 – ironically against the same opposition and on the same ground.
The Scots now advance to an All-Ireland meeting with Kerry in Glasgow on Saturday.
Scotland captain Paul Duffy told The Irish World: ‘It was a great game and this year we have got all the clubs in Scotland involved.
“I would like to say a special thank you to all those who contributed to our GoFundMe page.
“We are expecting to be challenged in the next round. Kerry have 19 titles and four titles in a row. We will be the underdogs.”
For Warwickshire, it was a third consecutive losing final, and the sixth time in the last 12 years that they’ve ended up as the bridesmaids.
Their wait for a first provincial junior title since 2006 goes on.
It was evident from the first whistle that this would be a tooth-for-tooth game when Jack Keogh scored within the first few moments, and Scotland quickly replied through Ian Feerick.
Feerick then had a great goal chance but narrowly skimmed the ball over the crossbar.
Warwickshire fought to regain possession and Keogh evened the score as he burst through and perfectly placed his point.
Warwickshire weren’t holding back and good interplay between Joe Owens and Conal Dowling, resulted in Conor Lenihan coming off the shoulder to finish to the back of the net. Warwickshire led.
Unperturbed, Scotland hit back through Adrian Dawson (free) and John Daniel Loftus to bring them to within one-point.
With their second wind, Scotland powered on and captain Paul Duffy palmed the ball off to Loftus to goal, as the lead changed hands again.
Less than a minute later, and from Warwickshire goalkeeper Macauley Felgate’s kick-out, David Comiskey sent the ball to Brendan Parsons, who added another a second goal for Scotland.
Scotland dominated the last five minutes of the first half with Warwickshire only managing to score one point in the final minute. Half-time score; Scotland 2-8 v Warwickshire 1-5.
At half-time, Michael Lyons was presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award for his dedication to football in Britain.
Warwickshire remerged for the second half in determined mood and were immediately awarded a penalty when Keogh was pulled down.
James Loney’s spot-kick hit the right post, but he reacted quickly to despatch the rebound to the net.
Five minutes later, another challenge in the square resulted in another Warwickshire penalty.
Substitute Ethan Mannion took it, only to see his spot-kick saved by Scotland ‘keeper Adam McKeever. But once again Warwickshire were quickest to react with Mannion putting the loose ball into the back of the net.
As the legs tired, and the sides traded points, the introduction of Simon Holland and Dan O’Brien transformed the Scotland forward line.
A goal from Holland brought Scotland to within reach of Warwickshire, who now led by 3-10 to 3-8.
Dawson’s free made it a one-point game and then Brendan Parsons equalised with ten minutes to go.
With the pressure mounting, it was all up for grabs, and a challenge from Michael Hagan on Loftus gave Scotland the chance for what would prove to be the winning score.
Dawson stepped up to score the point which would see Scotland over the finish line, and into the All-Ireland.
Warwickshire went in desperate search of a levelling score, only to twice shoot wide. Lenihan found Mackin with a late free into the dangerzone, but Warwickshire couldn’t manufacture the point they needed.
The final whistle confirmed more provincial heartache for Warwickshire, and All-Britain joy for Scotland.
Noel O’Sullivan, Provincial Council of Britain vice-chairman, presented the cup to Scotland captain Paul Duffy.
Scotland: Adam McKeever; Fintan Kearney, Hugh Conlan, James Murphy; Patrick Cremin, Brian McAteer, Eoin Leonard; Paul Duffy, Brendan Parsons (1-0); John Daniel Loftus (0-2, 1f), David Comiskey, John Stewart (0-1); Ian Feerick (0-3), Adrian Dawson (1-5, 4f), Aidan Kerlin. Subs: Simon Holland (1-0) for Stewart, Patrick Brady for Feerick, Dan O’Brien for Cremin, Shane Ryan for Parsons.
Warwickshire: Macauley Felgate; James Connolly, Cruise-Kelly Evans, Michael Mannion; Patrick Kilkenny, Niall Gilbride, James Loney (1-1, 1’Pen, 1f); Conor Lenihan (1-0), Craig Goodbody; Michael Hagan, Gareth Mackin (0-2), Joe Owens; Michael Harrigan, Conal Dowling (0-2), Jack Keogh (0-5, 5f). Subs: Ethan Mannion (1-0, 1’Pen) for Harrigan, Shane Lundy for Michael Mannion, Daniel Boyce for Kelly-Evans, Callum Brown for Kilkenny, Joel Parcy for Ethan Mannion.
Referee: Mark Walsh (replaced by Bernie McMenamin at h-t).