Warwickshire Senior Football Champions 2023: Sean McDermott’s

Match Report:

Sunday 1 October 2023

Nerveless McDermott’s return to Warwickshire summit

Sean McDermott’s 0-09 v 0-07 St. Brendan’s

Sean McDermott’s returned to the top of the pile in Warwickshire in last Sunday’s showpiece final at Páirc na hÉireann.  

In a typically tight and tense Senior Football Championship Final, McDermott’s showed the better poise down the stretch to see off the challenge of a St. Brendan’s team contesting their first Chris Holden Cup in twenty years. The returning Jack Hallahan was star man for the champions, four crucial points including three in the second-half enabling McDermott’s to capitalise on a significant swing in momentum.  

For Sunday’s beaten finalists, it’s a case of so near and yet so far. Breaking through that semi-final glass ceiling last month represents another step on the road to a first title since 1996 but when they needed their accuracy most in the heat of battle it deserted them. A succession of second-half wides meant they couldn’t build on a half-time lead they’d fought so hard to earn – those three successive Michael McGettrick frees in as many minutes before half-time placed them in excellent shape come the change of ends. 

Yet McDermott’s didn’t panic, despite two golden goal chances coming and going in the opening half to strike the net. Niall Gilbride couldn’t react in time to divert Conal Dowling’s shot over the line initially before the two linked up again moments later as Gilbride saw his goalbound flick parried off the line by Macauley Fumagalli. Those two reversals, combined with Brendan’s whirlwind end to the half, might have left McDermott’s to question if this would be a second successive final to evade them; to their credit, they strengthened their defensive resolve and forged the better chances to see the job done. 

Hallahan’s immediate brace at the start of the second-half signalled their intent, although Brendan’s responded instantly to restore a two-point advantage. Freddie Langdell’s point would prove their only score of the second-half and even with Jon Rogers receiving a black card midway through the half the momentum appeared firmly behind McDermott’s. Hallahan’s fourth score drew the sides level before a clutch forty-five from Niall Gilbride sent McDermott’s into the lead, Brendan’s unable to make the most of their own set piece opportunities. 

With the game moving into the closing minutes Brendan’s were reduced to fourteen after Angelo Cataldo’s dismissal and with McDermott’s back up to full complement they kicked for home thanks to Andy Willis’ score on the right. Chances remained at a premium all afternoon but in those vital breakdown moments it was the McDermott’s line that held out, though Brendan’s had a golden chance right at the end as a leaping McAleer almost diverted an enticing cross ball goalwards.  

Teams & Scorers: 

Sean McDermott’s: D Hallahan; J Rogers, D O’Brien, P McMenamin (0-1); M Mannion, D Staunton, J Chapman; A Willis (0-1), F O’Brien; N Gilbride (0-2, 1f, 1 ’45), L Gilbride, J Hallahan (0-4); J Owens (0-1), C Dowling, R Devlin. Subs: C Hayden (for L Gilbride 45); J Powney (for Devlin 57). 

St. Brendan’s: L Doyle; M Fumagalli, O Coffey, M Hartnett; A Cataldo (0-1), F Monaghan, L Rabone; D McAndrew, S Doyle; M McGettrick (0-3, 3f), M McAleer (0-2), F Langdell (0-1); S Mills, J Jeffcott, L Monaghan. Subs: C Roberts (for F Monaghan 39); N McDaid (for Jeffcott 43). 

Referee: C Heffernan 



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