Mid­fielder hits a hat-trick

O’Con­nor in scor­ing form as Clough­bawn coast home

Gorey Guardian - - SPORT - ALAN AHERNE in St. Pa­trick’s Park


A MID­FIELDER scor­ing a hat-trick in a foot­ball game is a rare enough oc­cur­rence, but Clough­bawn’s Darragh O’Con­nor re­ally en­joyed him­self as his side coasted to an easy 22-point win over Mon­ageer-Boolavogue in the Green­star En­nis­cor­thy Dis­trict Un­der-21 foot­ball Roinn 1 cham­pi­onship fi­nal at a rain-soaked St. Pa­trick’s Park on Fri­day.

The big num­ber 8 was ea­ger to get for­ward at ev­ery op­por­tu­nity, and he helped him­self to an im­pres­sive 3-3 from play as his team cap­tured this par­tic­u­lar ti­tle for the first time since 2011.

They had lost three fi­nals since then, to Duf­fry Rovers in 2013, Bal­ly­hogue in 2014, and Oyle­gate-Glen­brien last year, but this win marked the com­ple­tion of the Dis­trict dou­ble for 2017 and set them up for a clash with Geral­dine O’Han­ra­hans at the same venue next Satur­day.

O’Con­nor formed one key part of a very strong tri­umvi­rate along with the skil­ful Con­nal Flood and Bob Whitty, and be­tween them they gave the out­classed losers a tor­rid time.

An im­pres­sive 3-13 of the Clough­bawn tally came from that trio, and now they will be aim­ing to re­peat their hurl­ing win over the Bar­rowsiders which ar­rived at the same stage in early Septem­ber.

Mon­ageer-Boolavogue, seek­ing a first ti­tle since 2004 and bridg­ing a five-year gap since their last fi­nal ap­pear­ance, never stood a chance.

Their six points all came from frees by 2016 county Mi­nor Cathal Walsh, spread evenly be­tween both halves, but it was clear from an early stage that Clough­bawn were the com­plete masters.

Un­for­tu­nately, the light but per­sis­tent rain­fall for most of the evening in­ten­si­fied just be­fore the game started, and spec­ta­tors were happy to avail of the rel­a­tive com­forts of the stand as the play­ers bat­tled through mis­er­able con­di­tions.

Clough­bawn had early points from free-taker Bob Whitty and over­lap­ping full-back Gareth Mur­phy to set out their stall, and they net­ted for the first time in the 13th minute.

Kyle Mur­phy de­liv­ered a cross from the right to­wards the far post at the dress­ing-room end, and Darragh O’Con­nor got the vi­tal touch to di­rect it into the cor­ner of the net.

Although Cathal Walsh opened Mon­ageer-Boolavogue’s ac­count mid­way through the half, they went on to trail by 2-8 to 0-3 at the break.

Con­nal Flood claimed a mark and soloed for­ward for a Clough­bawn point di­rectly af­ter that score, and their lead was widened to 2-3 to 0-1 in the 19th minute when Darragh O’Con­nor drove a low shot to the cor­ner of the net af­ter good work by Flood and Whitty.

This tal­ented trio shared the re­main­der of the first-half points also, with Whitty (two, one free), Flood (two) and O’Con­nor all on tar­get while Cathal Walsh con­verted two more frees at the other end.

A Colin Mur­phy goal for Clough­bawn early on the re-start was dis­al­lowed, but they went on to add 1-5 with­out re­ply in the third quar­ter.

O’Con­nor, Flood, Whitty and Micheál Ka­vanagh - af­ter a goalline clear­ance by Diar­muid Fen­lon - raised fur­ther white flags be­fore the mid­fielder com­pleted his hat­trick in the 43rd minute fol­low­ing a pass from Whitty.

In­deed, O’Con­nor nearly hit a fourth goal when his shot shaved the cross­bar and went over af­ter an­other driv­ing run, while two sub­sti­tutes joined the list of marks­men be­fore the end.

Davy Casserly kicked a point be­fore Fer­gus Rooney drilled home a goal in the 54th minute, with three of the last four scores ar­riv­ing in the form of con­so­la­tion frees from Cathal Walsh.

Clough­bawn’s non-play­ing cap­tain, Lee Kee­ley, ac­cepted the cup after­wards, and it was great to see him togged out and pa­trolling the side­line af­ter re­cov­er­ing from se­ri­ous in­juries sus­tained in a car ac­ci­dent last March.

Clough­bawn: Ciarán O’Con­nor; Stephen Casserly, Gareth Mur­phy (0-1), Daniel Dempsey; Shane Greene, James Dempsey, Seán Keat­ing; Darragh O’Con­nor (3-3), Robert Kin­sella; Kyle Mur­phy, Con­nal Flood (0-4), Billy Wick­ham; Micheál Ka­vanagh (0-1), Colin Mur­phy, Bob Whitty (0-6, 4 frees). Subs. - Davy Casserly (0-1) for C. Mur­phy (40), Jack Wick­ham for S. Casserly (44), Shane Flood for Ka­vanagh (44), Fer­gus Rooney (1-0) for K. Mur­phy (46), Jack Flem­ing for D. Dempsey (48), James Flood for Keat­ing (48).

Mon­ageer-Boolavogue: Ar­ran Bres­lin; Ciarán Rochford, Shay Ga­han, Seán O’Leary; Lee McHale, Michael Ros­siter, Matthew Rochford; Seán Roche, Ian Hawkins (capt.); Pádraig Walsh, Rob­bie Don­nelly, Micheál Ga­han; Cathal Walsh (0-6 frees), Colm McGan­non, David Mer­nagh. Subs. - Noah Ros­siter for O’Leary (HT), Diar­muid Fen­lon for M. Rochford (HT), Darragh Walsh for McGan­non (42), Karl Row­some for C. Rochford (44).

Ref­eree: Bren­dan Martin (Bal­ly­hogue).

Non-play­ing Clough­bawn cap­tain Lee Kee­ley raises the cup af­ter re­ceiv­ing it from Rory Mur­phy. Kyle Mur­phy of Clough­bawn un­der pres­sure from Ian Hawkins and Matthew Rochford.

Seán O’Leary of Mon­ageer-Boolavogue moves away from Bob Whitty.

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