Sav­age an­swers Ire­landers call with vi­tal strike

Mid Louth Independent - - SPORT - JOHN SAV­AGE AT ST BRIGID’S PARK

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 came into the game 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

breeze.

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.

C ian 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.

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