AGB finish season off with league crown
Impressive showing puts Tinahely to the sword
THIS SFL Division 1A final, played at Ballinakill on Friday night last November 16, brought together two teams who were coming to the end of a very successful year for them both.
Tinahely captured the Intermediate football championship and will return to Senior ranks for 2019. AGB really lit up the Senior football championship and were probably unlucky not to reach the final.
They were both anxious to capture some silverware to crown an excellent year. It was a lovely balmy night and, unusually for Ballinakill, hardly a puff of breeze was blowing. Ground conditions were excellent, and the stage was set for a great battle.
Phil Healy got the Arklow men off the mark when he pointed a free after four minutes. Alan Dillon levelled matters on six minutes when his attempted chip over the head of the advancing Mervyn Travers just carried over the crossbar.
The game settled down into an even contest territorially. AGB were playing a short passing, possession game but they were taking their chances whenever they arose. They led by 0-5 to 0-1 by 20 minutes and had recorded no wides.
In direct contrast, Tinahely had left their shooting boots at home. They enjoyed as much possession as the Arklow men, but they recorded no less than ten wides by half-time.
Rory Stokes got their second point after 25 minutes to leave just a goal between the sides as we approached the break.
Two incidents in the final two minutes of the first half had a huge bearing on the final outcome of the game. Tinahely had a glorious chance of scoring the levelling goal but the ball broke just outside the goalpost.
From the kick-out AGB worked the ball downfield and corner-forward Darragh Culleton was in the right place to ram the ball home with his left foot.
In the space of a minute the game went from being possibly level to leave the half-time score standing at 1-5 to 0-2 in favour of AGB – a turnaround of six points in a minute. This left Tinahely with a bit of a hill to climb in the second half.
AGB began the second period playing a more direct game. Full-forward Chris O’Brien moved outfield and the ball was being kicked directly into the space in front of the Tinahely goal.
They increased their score to 1-10 by ten minutes with points from Phil Healy (2), Chris O’Brien (2) and Stephen Hurley.
Tinahely’s only response came with a pointed free from Tony Darcy. He pointed two more frees by the three-quarter stage but AGB got back on top and were leading by 1-14 to 0-5 as the game approached full-time.
Cormac O’Shea, Stephen Hurley, Andy Maher and Chris O’Brien had points.
A brief flurry from the Intermediate champions brought 1-1 from substitute David Dillon and another pointed free from Tony Darcy to bring the Tinahely total to a respectable 1-7. Nonetheless, AGB ran out convincing winners on a score line of 1-14 to 1-7.
County Cathaoirleach Martin Fitzgerald presented the AGB captain Karl Kirwan with the Corn na Sagart (Priest’s Cup) and thanked both sides and the referee and his officials.
Scorers: Arklow Geraldines Ballymoney (AGB) – Phil Healy 0-4, Cormac O’Shea 0-2, Darragh Culleton 1-1, Darragh Fitzgerald 0-1, Chris O’Brien 0-3, Stephen Hurley 0-2, Andy Maher 0-1.
Tinahely – Alan Dillon 0-1, Rory Stokes 0-1, Tony Darcy 0-4, David Dillon 1-1.
AGB: Mervyn Travers; Jack Hamilton, Tom Maher, Carl Kirwan; Tiernan McBride, Ciaran O’Shea, Andy Maher; Stephen Hurley, JP Hurley; Cathal Kelleher, Cormac O’Shea, Darragh Fitzgerald; Darragh Culleton, Chris O’Brien, Phil Healy. Subs: Shane O’Donoghue, Darragh McBride, Shane McBride, Garret Kenny.
TINAHELY: Alan Nolan; James Gilbert, Michael Byrne, Conor Hatton; Noel Mulhall, Curtis Keating, John Blake; Rory Stokes, Brian Walsh; Stephen Dillon, Jason Cush, Kevin Mulhall; Alan Dillon, Tony Darcy, Daniel Ging. Subs: Niall Byrne, Brian Hickey, Larry Keating, Willie Quaile, David Dillon, Roy McGlynn.
REFEREE: Darragh Byrne (Ballymanus)
AGB, who defeated Tinahely in the Arklow Bay Hotel Division 1A final replay in Ballinakill on Friday night last. Photos: Joe Byrne
Wicklow GAA Chairman Martin Fitzgerald presents AGB captain Karl Kirwan with the Corn an Sagart after the Division 1A final replay.