Warwickshire Senior Football Champions 2008: Sean McDermott’s
Sunday 14 September 2008
McDermott’s land championship with a helping hand from the Haydens
Sean McDermott’s 3-08 v 0-10 Roger Casement’s
Sean McDermott’s are champions of Warwickshire once more thanks to a three goal contribution from Christopher and Michael Hayden. A fine effort from Roger Casement’s saw corner forward Kieran Boyle top score with four points and although the Coventry side drew level midway through the second half, ultimately it was McDermott’s who finished stronger to land another championship win in front of a huge crowd at Pairc na hÉireann.
McDermott’s came into this game off the back of their extra time victory over Erin Go Bragh two weeks previously, and a reshuffled forward pack saw both Haydens in the half forward line alongside John Dowling, with Paul Troope sent to full forward and Conor O’Riordan restored to the full back line. Roger Casement’s semi-final victory in July over John Mitchel’s has been followed with many league fixtures, and the Coventry side went into this game with Michael Bergin playing at full forward, supported by Michael Duffy and Boyle on either side. With Eamon Hanlon and Austin Bennett lining up against David Cunningham and Paul Houston in the middle of the park, contested ball from restarts were likely to be pivotal to the outcome of the final.
The expectant crowds on either side of the pitch saw a game of commitment and tanacity, with plenty of skill on show to boot. The latter was typified by McDermott’s opening goal of the game that was created by a fantastic forty yard pass from Eamon Hanlon to Michael Hayden; the corner forward took the ball superbly in his stride and sent a low drive past Tom Massey into the back of the net.
McDermott’s enjoyed the lion’s share of possession in the opening stages of the half and their slick hand passing provided them with the opportunities to stretch their advantage. Two frees from Christopher Hayden and Hanlon gave them a four point lead at the midway point of the first half, however Casement’s were beginning to grow into the game as time moved on. With David Cunningham plucking balls out of the sky in midfield, danger man Michael Quirke was beginning to find opportunities to reduce the deficit and he made good on two occasions to bring the margin to two points. A Kieran Boyle free moments before the interval left a single point gap as the sides marched back into the changing rooms.
With the game now firmly in the balance, an alert Christopher Hayden made a telling contribution with McDermott’s’ first second half attack. The full forward reacted quickest with a long ball into the danger zone, evading two defenders to drive home a key second goal. Once more Casement’s found themselves facing a four point deficit, and once more they set their stall out to claw back their opponents. A Shane Colleran point was soon followed by another Boyle free, before a clever piece of individual play from Michael Bergin led to his first of two second half points as the full forward turned his marker to solo into a scoring position. A buoyant Casement’s landed a fourth consecutive point to level the game through another Quirke free, setting the scene for a grandstand finish. Every breaking ball was now critical and McDermott’s calmed themselves to land two close range frees from Christopher Hayden, restoring their advantage. With their tails up, they made a two point advantage three thanks to Hanlon’s second score of the afternoon and the midfielder struck again soon after with a little help from Joseph Dowling’s cut back from the end line.
McDermott’s pressure was now beginning to tell on the Casement’s backline, and Austin Bennett got in on the action with two points in as many minutes to further emphasise his side’s advantage. With time running away from the Coventry side, Casement’s looked to fight back for a third time and created one final opportunity for goal; a rampaging run from Quirke left Bergin with space to shoot, however he was denied by a combination of the alert David Tierney and his full back line.
Ultimately it was to prove to be third time unlucky and as the game moved into added time McDermott’s made the game safe with their third goal. A determined Christopher Hayden wrestled his way through the last line of defence, creating the opportunity to roll the ball underneath Massey and into the net. The McDermott’s touchline burst into celebrations, and after the dust settled it was left to captain Joseph Dowling to lift the Warwickshire Championship trophy aloft to cap a highly successful afternoon for his side.
Player of the match: Although both Haydens provided a telling contribution to the scoresheet, Ian Dooley roamed the half back line superbly, tidying up matters with the minimum of fuss and sending his forwards back on their way.
Score of the day: A brilliant pass from Eamon Hanlon to pick out Michael Hayden for McDermott’s first goal was the game’s highlight.
Sean McDermott’s: David Tierney, Garry Murray, Conor O’Riordan, John McGlade, Ian Dooley, Joseph Dowling, Dominic Walsh, Eamon Hanlon (0-3), Austin Bennett (0-2), John Dowling, Michael Hayden (1-0), Christopher Hayden (2-3), Trevor Neville (Gerrard Collins), Paul Troope (Andrew Walsh), Stephen McGirr.
Roger Casement’s: Tom Massey, James Ring, Danny Corr, Mel Guinan, Martin Farrell, Gavin Farrell, Damian Harte, David Cunningham, Paul Houston, Shane Colleran (0-1), Joe Bergin, Michael Quirke (0-3), Michael Duffy, Michael Bergin (0-2), Kieran Boyle (0-4).