Savage answers Irelanders call with vital strike
ANGLO PRINTERS JFC FINAL Dundalk Young Irelands Glyde Rangers 1-4 0-6
IT won’t go down as the most memorable game in Dundalk Young Ireland’s long and proud history, but sometimes the destination really does trump the journey.
A double promotion back to the intermediate championship and Division 2 of the league put the hurrah firmly back into the YIBH slogan emblazoned on the back of their rain-sodden shirts.
The game itself was much like the weather, dull and uninspiring, but a Mark Savage goal four minutes into the second period ultimately edged the Irelanders over the finish line.
Typical of a stop-start contest, the strike came from a rebounded penalty as Savage reacted quickest to slot home after David Brennan had saved his initial spot kick quite comfortably.
For Glyde it was Groundhog Day. For the second year running they tripped at the final hurdle, but this one was even more frustrating than their defeat to Glen Emmets 12 months ago as they spurned more than enough chances to win comfortably.
A combination of their own poor decision-making, combined with an heroic interception by Peter Nixon ensured they didn’t at least force a replay in the closing seconds and even their opponents could scarcely have begrudged them a second chance.
Glyde game came into the in the same position as their conquerors of 12 months ago, Glen Emmets, holding their own in Division 2 and defeating Lannleire in the semi-finals in what was their first real test of the Championship campaign.
But momentum is crucial and it was the Irelanders who held their nerve in a nail-biting showdown.
On mature reflection Glyde will rue a tally of just two points from open play, both dispatched by midfielder Brian Duffy in either half, but by and large the men in blue were too easily thwarted by Young Irelands well-honed defensive shape.
But the big difference between the sides was that in attack, Young Irelands took far more of their chances, even if they did only manage five scores throughout the hour, and if you discount the rebounded peno, they too only conjured two from open play.
They started well and well and Brennan had to be alert to tip over a Cian O’Donoghue strike as they opened the scoring.
It didn’t take long for Glyde to exert a bit of authority and start to control proceedings, but that spell of dominance before they opened the scoring in the 18th minute will haunt them just as much as the dying moments.
They kicked three poor wides, clipping an upright with two of them, and dropping further chances two short into Fergal Sheekey’s arms, albeit shooting into the teeth of a stiff
They eventually found their range and were deserving of a 0-3 to 0-1 lead after 24 minutes, thanks to frees from Trevor O’Brien and Gareth Moran and Duffy’s first of the match from play.
Young Irelands were by no means prolific at the other end, kicking five first-half wides, but Dermot Mone’s persistence paid off with a late point to make it 0-3 to 0-2 at the break.
Mone was the winners’ biggest threat up front and along with Louth star Derek Maguire, they ran official man-of-thematch Cian O Naraigh mighty close.
It was Mone who won the all-important penalty early in the second-half, duping Fiachra Sheridan into a clear foul.
Savage stepped up to take on the spotkick. His tame effort was easily saved by Brennan, but the rebound fell straight back at the feet of Savage who made no mistake second time around.
This Irelands team are hard to pass when they get their noses in front and so it proved in a scrappy second period.
Trevor O’Brien and Jordan O’Donoghue swapped frees, but a Mone free at the end of the third quarter put three points between the sides, a fairly substantial gap given the circumstances.
Glyde looked in serious trouble when Trevor O’Brien fired wide from a chance he would normally gobble up, but he closed the gap to two points with his third free in the final minute of normal time.
Duffy quickly added a fourth to set up a dramatic finale, but Mark O’Brien shot wide from distance when he possibly should have tried to work it closer.
But the Irelanders still had to survive two more scares as Nixon performed his late heroics to deny Gareth Moran and the ensuing ‘45’ dropped short and saw Yougn Ireland win a free out.
The Dundalk side’s bench mistook Shevlin’s whistle for the free as the call for full-time, but after clearing the pitch, the Stabannon man only allowed enough time for the Irelanders to take the free and this time the celebrations were real.
They no doubt continued long into the night and the rest of the week as the Irelanders quite rightly rejoice at bouncing straight back from the misery of a double relegation to win the Division 3 title and now the Junior Championship. DUNDALK YOUNG IRELANDS: Fergal Sheekey; Peter McCourt, Ciarain Murray, Stephen Bellew; Peter Nixon, Derek Maguire, Cian O Nairaigh; Derek Rogers, Sean McLaughlin; Aidan Sheekey, Dermot Mone 0-2 (1f), Jordan O’Donoghue 0-1f; Dean Maguire, Mark Savage 1-0, Cian O’Donoghue 0-1. Subs: Johnny Lynch for A Sheekey (49), Shadam Azeez for C Murray (59), Aaron Murray for Dean Maguire (60+).
GLYDE RANGERS: David Brennan; Conor McCullagh, Cein Sheridan, Gerard Farrell; Alan Brennan, Mark O’Brien, Fiachra Sheridan; Brian Duffy 0-2, David Devaney; Aaron Devlin, Ciaran Sheridan, Dion Conlon; Trevor O’Brien 0-3f, Gareth Moran 0-1f, Niall Sharkey. Subs: Conor Sheridan for A Devlin (40), Paul Noone for A Brennan (41), Kevin Moran for D Devaney (51), Gavin Duffy for D Conlon (53).
REFEREE: Aidan Shevlin.
Cian O’Donoghue and Mark O’Brien clash during Sunday’s Anglo Printers JFC final, while (right) Cian O Naraigh receives the man-of-the-match award from Anglo’s Donnach Callan.