Two Mile House 1-8
Kevin Egan reports from Tullamore
Two Mile House of Kildare held firm in the face of a late rally from Shamrocks of Offaly in a competitive Leinster Intermediate club final this afternoon, as the Kildare club added a second provincial title to the junior crown they won five years ago by the minimum margin in dismal, wintry conditions at Bord na Móna O’Connor Park in Tullamore.
Niall Browne’s side played with the aid of a very strong wind in the first half and while they conceded the first score to Alan Heffernan, they soon took control of the tie and built up a commanding eight-point lead.
Chris Healy was the key to most of their best work as the county panellist alternated between centre and full forward, winning most of the possession that was sent his way.
His ability to win contested possession in key attacking sectors was crucial as Shamrocks earned more than their fair share of ball in the opening half, but struggled to get key forwards Nigel Dunne and Patrick Dunican onto the ball.
Two Mile House and Kildare forward Chris Healy was instrumental in their victory this afternoon.
Source: James Crombie/INPHO
Healy, in contrast, was superb. He kicked three magnificent points from play, earned one free that was converted by Aidan Casey, won a number of turnovers and sent a magnificent 40 metre diagonal ball into the chest of Conor Keogh for the game’s only goal after 16 minutes.
Keogh still had plenty of work to do as he took possession well outside the 20m line, but his low finish into the bottom corner was immaculate.
A chink of light opened up for Shamrocks before half time when two Nigel Dunne points cut the gap to six, and when the Offaly county man added another brace of scores in the sixth minute of the second half, the foundations were laid for the dual club based just outside Tullamore to make a real charge for the title.
Defensively, they shut down Two Mile House, but they struggled to put scores on the board and added five second half wides to the four they posted in the first half – a stark contrast to the three errant shots from Two Mile House over the course of the tie.
Mark Sherry earned a free that Aidan Casey converted for what turned out to be the only Two Mile House score of the second half with 49 minutes on the clock, and that score proved crucial as it was the difference between the sides in the end.
Two Mile House still led by four points with a minute to go at the end of normal time, but a lengthy injury stoppage meant there were five minutes extra added, during which time Shamrocks fired over three frees to cut the gap back to the bare minimum.
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Scorers for Two Mile House: A Casey 0-4 (3f), C Keogh 1-0, C Healy 0-3, P Kelly 0-1.
Scorers for Shamrocks: N Dunne 0-8 (4f), A Heffernan; P Dunican (f) 0-1 each.
Two Mile House: Didier Cordonnier; Nathan Sherry, Andrew Cregg, Finnian Breen; Matt Kelly, Joe Darcy, Jack Collins; Peter Kelly, Shane Darcy; Stuart White, Chris Healy, Caomhán Doolan; Conor Keogh, Mark Sherry, Aidan Casey.
Subs: Tony O’Connor for S Darcy (2), William Burke for J Darcy (40), Andrew May for Breen (58)
Shamrocks: Brian Lowry; Jack McNamara, Conor Condron, Cathal O’Brien; Gary Hutchinson, David O’Toole Greene, Dan Heffernan; Andrew Delaney, Shane Heffernan; Shane O’Toole Greene, Nigel Dunne, Luke Molloy; Alan Heffernan, Johnny O’Toole Greene, Patrick Dunican.
Subs: Paul Minnock for Molloy (54), Darren Meacle for S Heffernan (54), Padraig Cantwell for S O’Toole Greene (60), Wayne Mooney for Delaney (60) Alan Foster for Dunne (60+4, bc)
Referee: Stephen Johnson (Louth)
In the Leinster JFC final today, Louth champions Dundalk Young Irelands defeated St Brigid’s of Offaly by 2-10 to 2-7.
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