Laois Credit Unions Intermediate Football Final
Mountmellick 1-12 Annanough 1-6
THE squandering of early second half chances and a pulsating final ten minutes were the deciding factors in this slow burner of an intermediate final.
Mountmellick were simply superb in later stages of the game, with their pacy direct style draining the life from an Annanough side which had shown such early promise. The game could be divided into four distinct quarters of varying standards, the lead and momentum changing sides in each.
Annanough started each half superbly but it was Mountmellick who showed a greater resolve and finished by far the stronger in both halves. The backdrop to this game was the coming together of two teams who had tasted the sour smack of defeat in a total of four of the intermediate finals of the new millennium.
For Mountmellick the satisfaction of finally breaking the hoodoo and the thoughts of senior football with a healthy supply of youthful talent await. Annanough will know they’ve a solid foundation but the grating feeling of a missed opportunity will surely resonate too. They had their chances but could only watch as their more clinical opponents applied salt to the wounds for the final ten minutes.
Martin Stapleton had the first point on the board on six minutes with a converted free. Three minutes later the ageless Cyril Darcy added a second with a fine finish from a very acute angle. Annanough were now holding sway in midfield and blood sub Ciaran Hennessy skewed over their third, a fine effort on the turn from 21 yards out. Mountmellick had struggled to find their rhythm and it was a full 17 minutes before Colm Coss found his range, firing over the Abbeyleix end goals from wide on the stand side.
County minor Diarmuid O’Flaherty added a second a minute later from a similar position, this time from his trusty right foot. O’Flaherty turned provider for Bernard Rochford from the kick out and he levelled matters. Mountmellick’s flowing football continued and O’Flaherty struck over a second with 19 minutes gone in the half to put them in the lead for the first time.
The ease with which they had nullified the Annanough lead in a two minute spell looked somewhat ominous. Gerry Nerney found himself at the end of a fine Annanough interchange some nine minutes later to kick the first point of his 1-2 tally. However with time just up in the half, the powerful Jarlath Challoner strode forward and applied the finish to restore the Mountmellick lead for the change of ends, the scoreline at 0-5 to 0-4.
Again it was Annanough who found their stride first and Stapleton converted his second free in the opening minute. They continued to stretch the Mountmellick defence and Gerry Nerney added his second point a minute later, as Mahoney parried a goal bound Stapleton effort. They hadn’t to wait long for that goal though as from the kick out they worked the ball forward and a one-two between Nerney and Stapleton allowed the former to blast to the Mountmellick net leaving the score at 1-6 to 0-5 with the half only two minutes old.
Annanough were on top for the next ten minutes but were terribly wasteful, a glaring Simon Miller miss from a guilt edged goal chance, the pick of the lot. Shane Conlan converted a 14 yard free in the 38 minute free helping to spark the Mountmellick fight back. Ten minutes later he added his second with an inspirational 40 yard free to cut the deficit to two with 12 minutes remaining.
Colm Coss and his laser guided left foot supplied the next point from 35 yards and two minutes later he was finishing the games decisive score. John O’Loughlin, raiding purposefully from wing back, drew the Annanough cover and his centre was coolly dispatched by Coss to put them two points up.
The Annanough heads immediately dropped and their opponents exploited it ruthlessly thereafter. Substitute Niall Lynch took advantage of a scramble in the Annanough square and he toe poked over his first score. O’Loughlin powered forward along the stand sideline and his forceful hand pass found Lynch who slotted over his second from an acute angle. With a minute remaining the rampant O’Loughlin sealed his man of the match winning performance with a superb gallop forward and a simple finish. When Shane Conlan followed suit two minutes later, it was a fitting finish to a dazzling Mountmellick finale.
They now look forward to protracted celebrations and thoughts of senior football with Ballyroan’s exploits providing great hope. For Annanough, this one may have come slightly too soon but the emergence of their minor contingent must surely bode well for the future.
Scorers: Mountmellick: Colm Coss 1-2, Shane Conlan (Two frees) 0-3, Diarmuid O’Flaherty and Niall Lynch 0-2 each, Daragh Hanlon, Jarlath Challoner and John O’Loughlin 0-1 Annanough: Gerry Nerney 1-2, Martin Stapleton (Two frees) 0-2, Ciaran Hennessy and Cyril D’arcy 0-1 each
Mountmellick: Donie O’Mahoney; Mark Turner, Gearoid Hanrahan, Niall Gorman; Michael Lawlor, David Ryan, John O’Loughlin; Willie Flanagan, Jarlath Challoner; Bernard Rochford, Diarmuid O’Flaherty, Darragh Hanlon; Colm Coss, Gordon Lalor, Shane Conlan Subs: Niall Lynch for Flanagan (45 mins), Tom Minihan for Bernard Rochford (56 mins)
Annanough: Declan Fenlon; Rory Stapleton, John Scully, Kevin Miller; James Ryan, Eoin Miller, Steven Miller; Donal Miller, Colin Miller; Daniel Carroll, Cyril D’arcy, James Miller; Martin Stapleton, Gerry Nerney, Simon Miller Subs: Ciaran Hennessy for Simon Miller (49 mins)
Referee: Eddie Whelan