Warwickshire Senior Football Champions 2010: Sean McDermott’s
Sunday 12 September 2010
HIGH-FIVE! Champions Sean McDermott’s make it Five-in-a-row in Warwickshire
Sean McDermott’s 0-13 v 0-11 St. Barnabas
Where the Cats failed last week, the Macs succeeded this week: Sean McDermott’s secured a landmark fifth successive Warwickshire Senior Football Championship on Sunday afternoon at Pairc na hÉireann. In an octane game high on attrition and fortitude, it was the the Birmingham side who edged out St Barnabas by two points. Trailing by two at the interval, McDermott’s resolved their frustrations of the first half to launch a spirited second-half comeback and claim another title. In a game where the first goal was likely to play a vital role, both sides missed opportunities in the second-half, with Chris Hayden crashing a penalty off the bar for McDermott’s and Barnabas full-forward Michael French being denied an equalising score thanks to a flying save from David Tierney late on.
With near-perfect playing conditions – sunny skies and a cross-field breeze – both sides set out to gain an early upper hand. After McDermott’s midfielder Nigel O’Connor launched the opening score from forty yards out, Barnabas started to threaten by playing their forwards in with quick, early ball. Despite missing some early chances, Jarlath Daly found his accuracy with a point from twenty yards whilst corner-forward Jimmy Bradley latched onto a French pass to curl over a similar point from a central position. Stifling defence and loose passes attested to the high stakes nature of the game, yet O’Connor landed another free for McDermott’s to level matters once more. Pinching possession in midfield and launching quick counter-attacks proved popular tactics for both sides too, with Aaron McHugh and John Dowling both benefiting from turnovers to send thirty yard efforts over the bar.
Barnabas were making a better fist of it from turnovers in the opening thirty-five minutes, another direct pass to full-forward French yielded his first score of the game whilst a cross-field pass to Anthony Sheridan saw the corner-forward turn his marker and curl a neat effort over the bar. Sheridan would repeat the trick moments before the half-time whistle as a turnover in midfield and two quick passes resulted in another shot sailing over the bar. At the other end, some patient build-up play from Michael Hayden and Eamon Hanlon presented Dowling with a chance to cut in from left-half forward and tuck the ball over Liam Leavsley’s crossbar. A low free late on from O’Connor required a firm punch off the line from the Barnabas defence to keep their lead intact, but with the whistle blowing for the interval it was the Nottingham side that jogged in with their tails up, two points to the good.
Their was a distinct change of emphasis from McDermott’s as the second-half began and it was they who were to cause problems in front of goal. Substitute full-forward Antony Moriarty’s low shot from ten yards required a diving block to divert the ball wide of goal but the ensuing forty-five and the scramble for possession resulted in a penalty. Up stepped Chris Hayden, who saw his effort rattle the crossbar and loop over for a point. A fine point at the other end from Andrew Walsh restored the two-point lead for Barnabas but back came McDermott’s who were to enjoy a bright ten minute period in attack. Two frees from O’Connor and a tremendous solo effort from fellow midfielder Shane Mulligan redressed the balance and put the holders back into the lead for the third time. Barnabas continued to etch out scoring chances, a wonderful pass from James O’Hara found Barry Gaffney who steadied himself to fire over a forty-yard equaliser.
With the game moving into it’s final quarter, McDermott’s scrapped hard for the breaking ball; both Ian Dooley and James Smith made vital contributions in forcing turnovers from which their forwards could press on in attack. Three converted frees in succession forced the issue in favour of McDermotts, a sixth point for O’Connor and two clinical scores from Hanlon pushed the lead to three, a significant margin give the tight nature of the match. Then came the game’s key moment – an enticing ball evaded the McDermott’s back line yet found it’s place in the arms of the advancing French. Bearing down on goal, an equalising score looked on but a diving block from goalkeeper Tierney kept Barnabas at bay. French showed great resolve to send the resulting forty-five over the bar but ultimately it would prove Nottingham’s last chance as the clock ticked on towards added time.
Another Hanlon free restored the three-point gap and despite a late point from Sheridan, time expired on Barnabas’ challenge. So the title remains with Sean McDermott’s, who showed their credentials in a fine second-half fightback that echoed their triumph a year earlier over Four Masters. A gallant effort from St Barnabas kept the game in the balance throughout, but it is Sean McDermott’s who celebrate five-in-a-row.
After the match:
Eamon Hanlon, Sean McDermott’s Captain: “It’s a great honour to win another Championship, thanks go to the players who showed great character today – it was nip and tuck but they gave great credit to themselves. Thanks to the management too, it’s been an up and down year and we’ve had more team meetings than I care to think about! But it’s great to be champions and to win five-in-a-row.”
Mark Mulhern, St Barnabas Captain: “McDermott’s showed great maturity in the second-half to come back and win. Great credit to our players, we’ve battled hard today and trained hard all year, but we hope and we’ll aim to come back again next year.”
Turning Point: With the masses in attendance hanging on the outcome of Michael French’s late strike for goal, David Tierney’s blocking save gave McDermott’s the platform to hold on for the win.
Player of the match: Midfielder Nigel O’Connor was a stalwart for McDermott’s throughout, contributing six crucial points from frees.
Sean McDermott’s: D Tierney, S Moriarty (L Gilbride), J Smith, D Lyons, I Dooley, C O’Riordan, M Hayden, S Mulligan (0-1), N O’Connor (0-6), J Dowling (0-2), A Bennett, E Hanlon (0-3), C Hayden (0-1, M Slevin), J Dowling (A Moriarty), D Dwyer.
Yellow Cards: Mulligan, Dowling.
Red Cards: 0
St Barnabas: L Leavesley, T Marray, M Mulhern, E O’Regan, S Friel, D Morgan, F Treanor, D Melvin, J Daly (0-2), B Gaffney (0-1, J O’Hara), A McHugh (0-1), A Walsh (0-1), A Sheridan (0-3), M French (0-2), J Bradley (0-1).
Yellow Cards: Marray, Mulhern, Melvin.
Red Cards: 0
Referee: P. Hoey