Bray People

Daly de­liv­ers in spades for Donard/Glen

In­jured Alan turns game in sec­ond half

- BREN­DAN LAWRENCE Sports · Football League Championship

DONARD-THE GLEN COOLKENNO 0-9 0-8

‘HE loves to put on a show,’ was how Donard-The Glen man­ager Mickey Daly de­scribed his sec­ond-half sub­sti­tute Alan Daly af­ter the fi­nal whis­tle in the Darcy Sand In­ter­me­di­ate Foot­ball Cham­pi­onship fi­nal, and what a show it was!

Listed as num­ber 13 but with a shadow of doubt sur­round­ing his fit­ness fol­low­ing an Achilles in­jury in the semi-fi­nal against Carnew, Daly was re­placed in the start­ing team by club stal­wart Brian Len­non. How­ever, Donard-The Glen had lit­tle op­tion but to call on their sharp­shooter at half-time given that they had failed to score in the open­ing pe­riod when play­ing into the tricky wind that was blow­ing up the field in Aughrim to­wards the Red­nagh Hill end.

Within 30 sec­onds Daly had Donard-The Glen off the mark to leave them a point be­hind Coolkenno at 0-2 to 0-1. Ob­vi­ously, this wasn’t a high-scor­ing game but it was a county fi­nal be­tween two com­mit­ted and brave teams and de­spite the lack of scores it was a thrilling en­counter from start to fin­ish with lots of sub­plots to keep the blood flow­ing.

‘It was hard work. The wind, we’re not used to it blow­ing into the Red­nagh Hill end. Nerves too, on both sides. Both sides were very ner­vous. If you had told ei­ther our­selves or Coolkenno that we would only score two points be­tween us in that first half, would we be­lieve you – prob­a­bly not,’ was joint cap­tain Conor Healy’s open­ing re­marks when asked for his im­me­di­ate thoughts on the game.

Healy was a class act all day for his team. He was al­ways will­ing to make prob­ing runs and was never found want­ing when it came to de­fend­ing. His in­tel­li­gence on the ball was very im­pres­sive and he used his county ex­pe­ri­ence to help steer his side to a won­der­ful vic­tory. He was also very sport­ing in vic­tory.

‘There was very lit­tle in it. It’s fan­tas­tic. The boys (Coolkenno) are ab­so­lute gentlemen. We have a great affin­ity to­wards them. We’re from very sim­i­lar parts of

the world, sim­i­lar strug­gles, sim­i­lar pos­i­tives. Look, it’s just fan­tas­tic to get over the line,’ he said.

Conor’s best friend is Alan ‘Froggy’ Daly, and no­body was hap­pier or prouder of the at­tacker’s per­for­mance in that sec­ond half than the young lad who used to play with him in the sand pit in Donard as a child as the foot­ball matches were go­ing on around them.

‘Out­stand­ing! Out­stand­ing. I’m just de­lighted for him. He’s had a tough year, per­son­ally, but he’s an ab­so­lute leader of a man, he re­ally is. He’s fan­tas­tic. The stage out there was set for him. I can’t speak highly enough of him as a man. We’ve been friends, my­self, Kev (Kevin Kealy) and Froggy are as tight as any­thing. I’m ab­so­lutely de­lighted for him, I re­ally am. He was hum­ming and haw­ing all week about whether he would come on or not. And then he came on like a de­mon. He’s prob­a­bly in a bit of pain now. There’s no doubt­ing Froggy’s tal­ent. The man has a wand of a left foot, and he stood up there to­day as a man, as a per­son and I can’t be any­thing other than

proud,’ said Conor.

For Conor Healy this cham­pi­onship vic­tory is about the com­mu­nity of Donard and The Glen, it’s about the peo­ple of the area who’ve had to en­dure a dif­fi­cult spell.

‘It means every­thing. It re­ally does. The scenes last night in Donard and Dunlavin with our Mi­nors and our un­der-14 girls. I haven’t seen that many peo­ple in Donard for a long time. It’s fan­tas­tic. I’m de­lighted. It’s 20 years. We’ve lost a cou­ple of stal­warts, as hap­pens, life doesn’t go on for every­body. But it’s fan­tas­tic. With the year we’ve had, it has been dif­fi­cult for peo­ple, and I’m just de­lighted to be able to put a smile on some of their faces,’ he added.

Mickey Daly’s men would record eight wides in the open­ing half of this game as they failed to come to terms with the un­usual wind and the un­com­pro­mis­ing Coolkenno de­fence.

The Donard-The Glen men were ex­tremely for­tu­nate not to con­cede an early goal when a poor ball was col­lected by Ea­monn Ros­siter out the field. He found Jim Cushe who lobbed in a bomb on top of Conor Walker. ‘Ducky’ broke it to Pau­ric Cole­man who was put un­der pres­sure by Jack Grace and Cole­man’s shot was half blocked by Brian Keogh in the Donard goal and the ball flew up and came back off the cross­bar. Mas­sive let off for Donard-The Glen, three min­utes on the clock.

Coolkenno were guilty of be­ing waste­ful as well. Beau­ti­ful play out the field counted for naught in the open­ing quar­ter as they clocked up three wides and one shot dropped short to Brian Keogh. They also lost Donal Doyle to in­jury with Cor­mac Byrne re­plac­ing.

There were in­trigu­ing bat­tles all over the field. Bob Keogh was pick­ing up Brian Len­non in the half for­wards, Donal Doyle was try­ing to keep a han­dle on Liam Mon­aghan while Shane Daly was be­ing chap­er­oned by James Gre­gan and Wil­lie Doyle was pick­ing up Liam Mullin in the Donard-The Glen full-for­ward line.

Ea­monn Ros­siter was play­ing a deep role leav­ing Pau­ric Cole­man and Conor Walker up front for Coolkenno on Clif­ford Grace and Eoin Kelly while the close mark­ing of Kevin Os­borne on Paddy Dal­ton never al­lowed the ex­pe­ri­enced Coolkenno man put any real stamp on the game.

Of Donard-The Glen’s eight firsthalf wides it was Colin Os­borne’s at the end of the first quar­ter that pro­vided the best chance of ei­ther a point or a goal. Af­ter pa­tient build up play out around the 45, a break from Os­borne al­lowed him play a one-two with the ex­cel­lent Kevin Kealy whose re­turn pass tore open the Coolkenno de­fence. How­ever, Os­borne’s snapped at his ef­fort in front of the posts when he could have taken it on fur­ther.

Coolkenno would draw first blood af­ter 18 min­utes when a long Ea­monn Ros­siter ball was gath­ered by Conor Walker and the Donard-The Glen posts split with a stun­ner, lift­ing the Coolkenno crowd on a beau­ti­ful day in Aughrim.

Af­ter the first wa­ter break Coolkenno looked the more dan­ger­ous but could only reg­is­ter two wides un­til Pau­ric Cole­man found his range with a point from a free af­ter close to four min­utes of pos­ses­sion foot­ball to leave it 0-2 to 0-0 at the break with Donard-The Glen need­ing ur­gent ac­tion ahead of the

sec­ond half.

That ac­tion came in the form of the in­tro­duc­tion of Alan Daly. It was as though some­one had flipped a switch. Sud­denly Donard-The Glen were vis­i­bly en­er­gised. But they weren’t out of the woods yet.

A pointed free from Pau­ric Mur­ray was fol­lowed by a class score from Eoghan Dolan, through which the ma­jor­ity of Coolkenno’s pos­i­tive play came it should be said.

A foul on the su­perb Shane Daly by Jim Cushe al­lowed Liam Mon­aghan the chance for DonardThe Glen’s sec­ond and the threat of Alan Daly draw an­other foul which he pointed him­self and sud­denly Mickey Daly’s men with just a point be­hind with the wind at their backs.

Ste­vie Cushe sent in Niall Byrne for Bob Keogh af­ter 40 min­utes but Donard-The Glen were level through a wicked Alan Daly score af­ter they had turned over pos­ses­sion and worked the ball through Kevin Os­borne and John Han­bidge to the elec­tri­fied Daly.

And they led af­ter 14 of the sec­ond half. A ball from Colin Os­borne to Daly and the DonardThe Glen crowd were on their feet. Ben Jack­man was in­tro­duced for Niall Bai­ley.

Ea­monn Ros­siter lev­eled with a fine fisted score just be­fore the wa­ter break but Coolkenno were in bother on a very warm day. Lau­rence Daly en­tered the fray for Donard-The Glen in place of Brian Len­non.

A wide apiece was fol­lowed by a Liam Mon­aghan con­verted free af­ter Eoghan Dolan had been found guilty of throw­ing the ball while un­der sav­age Donard-The Glen pres­sure but sub­sti­tute Cathal Ros­siter would lift the Coolkenno spir­its with a fine fisted score af­ter Coolkenno had pounced on a sloppy pass around the mid­dle.

Pau­ric Cole­man showed pure class to re­turn Coolkenno to the front from a free af­ter a foul on Eoghan Dolan with 25 gone but we were neck and neck mo­ments later when Liam Mon­aghan drilled over af­ter a foul on Kevin Kealy fol­low­ing su­perb work by Conor

Healy. Coolkenno protested the de­ci­sion pas­sion­ately.

Donard-The Glen poushed ahead when Alan Daly floated over a screamer and the gap was two when he lashed over from close range af­ter a scin­til­lat­ing run from deep by Shane Daly had re­leased Liam Mon­aghan who picked out Daly in front of the posts.

Coolkenno came look­ing fro a goal. A high Pau­ric Cole­man free was cleared by Kevin Kealy who ran half the pitch but rushed his pass to Alan Daly and Coolkenno over­turned. Ea­monn Ros­siter slipped the shack­les of Epoin Kelly and sent a mis­sile down on top of Conor Doyle in the Donard-the Glen swuare but the lofty mid­fielder punched over rather than un­der to close the gap to one. Would they have time?

The an­swer was no. Ref­eree Stephen Fa­gan sounded the fi­nal whis­tle on the kick-out and the Donard-The Glen play­ers and sup­port­ers erupted in scenes of pure joy. Peo­ple will say this was a poor game but I dis­agree. This was cham­pi­onship foot­ball. This was en­ter­tain­ing from start to fin­ish, a roller­coaster from one end to the other and back again.

Two com­mu­ni­ties went to war in the best pos­si­ble sense, with Donard-The Glen com­ing out on top. Coolkenno lost noth­ing in de­feat, show­ing their end­less courage and brav­ery right to the death.

Scores might have been in short sup­ply but every­thing else you want from cham­pi­onship foot­ball was there in abun­dance. DONARD-THE GLEN: Brian Keogh; Clif­ford Grace, Eoin Kelly, Jack Grace; Kevin Os­borne, Colin Os­borne, Conor Healy; Sean Brana­gan, John Han­bidge; Shane Daly, Kevin Kealy, Liam Mon­aghan (0-3, 3f); Brian Len­non, Ray Hal­lo­ran, Liam Mullin. Subs: Alan Daly (0-6, 2f) for L Mullin (H/T), Lau­rence Daly for B Len­non (47)

Damien Ger­aghty; Adam O’Neill, Robert Keogh, Wil­lie Doyle; James Gre­gan, Jim Cushe, Donal Doyle; Conor Doyle (0-1), Niall Bai­ley; Paddy Dal­ton, Eoghan Dolan (0-1), John Gre­gan; Pau­ric Cole­man (0-3, 3f), Ea­monn Ros­siter (0-1), Conor Walker (0-1). Subs: Niall Byrne (0-1) for R Keogh (40),

Stephen Fa­gan (Balt­in­glass)

 ??  ?? Alan Daly and Conor Healy lift the cup af­ter Donard-The Glen’s nar­row vic­tory over Coolkenno in Aughrim.
Alan Daly and Conor Healy lift the cup af­ter Donard-The Glen’s nar­row vic­tory over Coolkenno in Aughrim.
 ??  ?? Liam Mullin and John Han­bidge cel­e­brate af­ter the IFC fi­nal.
Liam Mullin and John Han­bidge cel­e­brate af­ter the IFC fi­nal.

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