The pain of defeat in the Senior County final may still be felt be in Manorhamilton but there can be no doubting that this has been another year to remember for Glencar/Manorhamilton as they added the GWP Junior B Championship title to the Division One crown when they comprehensively beat St Mary’s in Pairc Sean Mac Diarmada on Sunday afternoon last.
Throughout the game Glencar/Manor were sharper all over the pitch, moving the ball with great efficiency. The defence, marshalled by Kieran O’Flynn and Cian McManus was solid throughout while the forwards, although they kicked more wides than they would have liked were very impressive.
Evan Sweeney and Kenneth McMorrow were both in fine form and had were instrumental in ensuring their side had a deserved five point lead at the interval. In fact had Glencar/Manor been more clinical in front of goal during the opening half the game could have been all but over at the break.
Games at this time of year are never easy for players and although the pitch held up well the bitterly cold afternoon and strong dross field breeze made life difficult for both sets of players.
After a tense opening period it was Glencar/Manor who were first to find their stride and a well worked, seventh minute move involving Evan Sweeney, Kieran O’Flynn and Kenneth McMorrow resulted in Seamus Leddy kicking a fine point.
Two Evan Sweeney frees over the next three minutes gave Glencar/Manor the lead they deserved but a total of four wides in the opening quarter of the game meant the gap between the sides wasn’t as comprehensive as it should have been.
A further Evan Sweeney pointed free increased the deficit to four points and realising action was needed the St Mary’s management took the decision to spring Brendan Guckian from the substitutes bench.
St Mary’s first scoring opportunity of note arrived after 20 minutes of action when Donal Butler’s dipping shot almost snuck under the Glencar/Manor crossbar but Colin Gilligan did well to claw the ball away.
Having survived that scare Glencar/Manor went on the attack and came equally close to scoring the game’s opening goal. Evan Sweeney’s well struck shot seemed to be on its way over the bar before dropping and rebounding off the crossbar. Fortunately for St Mary’s Patrick Doran was on hand to ensure no Glencar/Manor forward would be able to score from the rebound as he played the ball back to Adam Armiger.
With just four minutes of the half remaining St Mary’s struck for their first score of the half when Gene Bohan converted a free but Glencar/Manor hit back quickly with two points in the space of a minute from Patrick Loughlin and Evan Sweeney increasing the lead to six points.
The first half was brought to an end by Donal Butler who converted a free to leave the scoreline 0-7 to 0-2 in favour of Glencar/Manor but the form of St Mary’s in the closing stages of the second half suggested the game may not yet have been over.
With Ian McGreevey and Brendan Guckian partnering one another in midfield as the second half got underway and Brian O’Donnell moved to a more advanced position St Mary’s began the second half strongly. However, they were unable to turn their good play into scores.
The failure to capitalise on their strong start to the second half was to cost St Mary’s as the first score of the second half was a Glencar/Manor goal, arriving five minutes after the restart.
A series of quick, incisive passes carved open the St Mary’s defence and when the ball fell to Kenneth McMorrow the ball was clinically dispatched to the goal.
With the lead now eight points the game seemed over as a contest and although they continued to create chances, Glencar/Manor appeared to have taken their foot off the accelerator to an extent.
Twelve minutes into the second half the St Mary’s faithful were given hope that an unlikely comeback may still be possible when Gene Bohan drilled a free to the roof of the Glencar/Manor goal meaning there was just five points between the sides and more than enough time to stage a comeback.
Ultimately that comeback never really looked likely as Glencar/Manor were stronger and fitter and David Poniard and Paul Lonican were able to dictate matters in the middle of the pitch during the final quarter of the game.
An Evan Sweeney free was cancelled out by a fine Brian O’Donnell point for St Mary’s but the fact that their first score from play arrived with just 11 minutes remaining gave an indication of the problems St Mary’s had over the course of the game.
The final 10 minutes were dominated by Glencar/Manor and when Evan Sweeney’s free fell kindly for David Poniard, the midfielder clinically dispatched his shot to the corner of the St Mary’s goal to put the result beyond doubt.
The scoring was completed when Kenneth Sweeney pointed twice in the closing stages to put an emphatic look on the scoreline that reflected Glencar/Manorhamilton’s superiority.
Colin Gilligan, Peter Maguire, Cian McManus, James O’Hara, Patrick Loughlin (0-1), Kieran O’Flynn, Niall McLoughlin, Paul Lonican, David Poniard (1-0), Andrew Gilligan, Evan Sweeney (0-6), James Rooney, Kenneth McMorrow (1-2), Seamus Leddy (0-1), Brendan Rooney. Subs: Tom Gilmartin for Gilligan (36 mins), Ronan Haslette for Leddy (47 mins), Paul Boylan for B. Rooney (55 mins).
St Mary’s Kiltoghert
Adam Armiger, Patrick Doran, Fergal Reynolds, Bernard Murray, Ruairi McLoughlin, Darren Glancy, Ciaran McCarthy, Brian O’Donnell (0-1), Conal McGuire, Thomas Crowe, Ian McGreevey, Damien Butler, Donal Butler (0-1), Paul McGoldrick, Gene Bohan (1-1). Subs: Brendan Guckian for Murray (18 mins), Cian O’Reilly for McGoldrick (HT), Colm O’Reilly for Guckian (46 mins), Paddy Guckian for McCarthy (56 mins).
Referee: Kevin Mallon