AIB All Ireland Junior Football Final
Rock 1-11, Glenbeigh-Glencar 1-14
Rock’s brave bid to win the All-Ireland Junior championship title ended in disappointment at Croke Park on Sunday when three injury time points saw Kerry and Munster champions Glenbeigh – Glencar take the silverware.
It was a game on which Rock will look back on with disappointment as they had their chances to come out on top. After trailing to an early goal the Tyrone men fought back to level before the break before a major from substitute Padraig Ward put them two in front in the final quarter.
They failed to drive home their advantage though and allowed their opponents to stay in touch before they landed those three late winning scores.
On the day there were a number of questionable decisions from referee Jerome Henry that went against Rock as they amazingly finished the game with only 12 players, Glenbeigh – Glencar ending up with 14.
It will be small consolation at the moment but when they look back on their campaign they can take great pride from what they achieved as they became the first side from Tyrone to win three Ulster titles and when the dust settles in a few weeks’ time they will have Intermediate football to look forward to again.
Rock got off to the worst possible start when Kerry senior star Darran O’Sullivan got in for a goal with only two minutes gone on the clock. Two Aidan McGarrity frees helped settle Rock nerves after Conor McCreesh had opened their account after 10 minutes.
Fergal Griffin and Kieran Courtney traded points with McCreesh before Rock were dealt a blow in the 22nd minute when they lost Enda McWilliams to a second yellow card.
Despite that setback, points from Ciaran Gourley and Diarmaid Carroll kept Rock in touch before Glenbeigh–Glencar were reduced to 14 men as well when Darren Griffin was straight red carded in first half injury time.
A third free of the half from Gavan O’Grady put the Kerry side two points in front but it was Rock who had the final say of the half through Aidan Girvan and McGarrity as they greeted the short whistle on level terms, 1-6 to 0-9.
It was Rock who picked up where they had left off on the restart with a well struck free from the boot of McGarrity putting them in front for the first time in the contest.
O’Grady responded with a brace for the winners but in the 47th minute Rock grabbed their goal when Padraig Ward finished off a good, three-man move for a 1-10 to 1-8 advantage.
Things were looking good for Rock at that stage but they were to score just once more in the remainder of the contest.
Courtney, O’Grady and O’Sullivan were all on target as the lead changed hands again before McCreesh brought the sides level with a great score with three minutes of normal time left to play.
It was anybody’s game at that stage but crucially Rock lost midfielder Diarmaid Carroll to a second booking and he was followed moments later by Niall Mullan who was black carded having earlier picked up a yellow one.
In those closing moments Glenbeigh – Glencar made those extra two players count with points from Bernard Murphy, Jason McKenna and O’Sullivan, although it took a wonderful save from their keeper Rory O’Connor to deny McCreesh what would have been a dramatic punched goal.
Rock: Seamus Donaghy; Niall McWilliams, Niall Mullan, Mark McAleer; Cathal McWilliams, Aidan Girvan, Stephen Mullan; Ciaran Gourley, Diarmaid Carroll; Enda McWilliams, Eamon Ward, Thomas Bloomer; Conor McCreesh, Aidan McGarrity, Ryan Crilly. Subs: Padraig Ward for Mullan, Dylan Reid for N McWilliams, Liam Nugent for C McWilliams, C McWilliams for E Ward, Shea Litter for McGarrity
Scorers – Aidan McGarrity 0-5, Conor McCreesh 0-3, Padraig Ward 1-0, Aidan Girvan 0-1, Ciaran Gourley 0-1, Diarmaid Carroll 0-1
Glenbeigh: Glencar: Rory O’Connor; Stephen O’Sullivan, Ciaran Doyle, Jermiah Hoare; Jack Brosnan, Pa Kilkenny, Caolim Teahan; Colin McGillycuddy, Fergal Griffin; Danny O’Sullivan, Darran O'Sullivan, Tommy Cahill; Kieran Courtney, Gavan O’Grady, Daniel Griffin.
Subs: Bernard Murphy for Cahill, Vincent Hoare for F Griffin, Jason McKenna for Danny O’Sullivan, Padraig Griffin for Darran O'Sullivan, Donough McGillycuddy for S O’Sullivan
Scorers – Gavan O’Grady 0-6, Darran O’Sullivan 1-3, Kieran Courtney 0-2, Fergal Griffin 0-1, Bernard Murphy 0-1, Jason McKenna 0-1
Referee: Jerome Henry (Mayo)