Duhallow Junior A
Football League Final
A dominant second half allowed Knocknagree push away from Millstreet to gain hold of the Ducon Cup for the 9th occasion played in the presence of a large attendance in Boherbue last Sunday.
On a balmy afternoon for competitive fare, the outright Duhallow Junior A Football League honours went deservedly where they belonged, Knocknagree's capacity for work bearing fruition after a closely contested first half to dominate the concluding quarter.
Knocknagree's sharper cutting edge blunted a Millstreet challenge that faded after a promising spell. After a decent opening, Milstreet lacked the accuracy to register dominance onto the scoreboard. And Millstreet's hopes weren't helped on a played sidelined shortly before the break and finish the game with 13 players.
With the help of a numerical advantage for all the second half, Knocknagree, showing superior fitness had the legs to push on and claim the outright spoils for the first time since 2008. At times, the game did wheeze and splutter but given, the warm temperatures and a crossfield breeze, the standard of football particularly from Knocknagree improved as the game progressed.
Earlier, Knocknagree arrived in a positive mood, Anthony O'Connor's versatility evident on three points recorded from play and placed balls. Millstreet grew into the game after Michael Vaughan bisected the uprights.
That signalled a spell of Millstreet dominance from Patrick Coleman and Mark Ellis at midfield, well supported by Cormac Sheehan and Vaughan. However sloppy finishing limited a Millstreet side that hit nine wides in the first half while a Matthew Daly pointed free helped Knocknagree to a 0-4 to 0-1 advantage.
Still Millstreet remained in contention, points to Ellis and Denis Kiely narrowed the arrears to the minimum. However Millstreet faced an uphill task from the 28th min on a red card picked up by defender Desmond O'Sullivan following a foul on Garry O'Connor. From the resultant penalty, Matthew Dilworth's effort was brilliantly deflected onto the woodwork by Millstreet 'keeper Denny Twomey.
Dilworth did pick up the rebound to punch over a point and a 0-5 to 0-3 interval advantage. Indeed Knocknagree carried their promise into the restart, extending their position from points to Danny Cooper and Dilworth.
At times the standard of play was lack lustre, Millstreet pressing yet all they could show was a soliditary point to Michael Murphy that cut the leeway 0-7 to 0-4. After a valley spell, there was a growing structure and determination about Knocknagree did which Millstreet couldn't simply counteract.
Indeed Knocknagree held the whiphand, both Tadhg Long and substitute Tony O'Mahony sweeping up the breaks in defence with Seán Daly, Danny Cooper and Karl Daly also effective. From midfield, Donough Moynihan exercised clear dominance to allow ample possession into attack.
O'Connor converted another '45' and JF Daly added on a pair of sweetly taken punched points. Millstreet's goose was cooked and their fortunes went into further decline on a second yellow card picked up Coleman. That said, Millstreet might well had goaled late on, Tadhg Collins effort beaten away by Knocknagree net minder Damien Browne.
In the overall context, Knocknagree's greater stamina counted to pull away and allow team captain Moynihan claim the prestigious divisional prize from Chairman Richard Murphy.
KNOCKNAGREE: D Buckley; G Carroll, S Daly, G O'Connor; D Cooper 0-1, K Buckley, K Daly; D Moynihan, P Dineen; M Daly 0-3(0-2f), M Dilworth 0-3, T Long; A O'Connor 0-4 (0-2'45, 0-1f), D Murphy, J F Daly 0-3. Subs. S Heelan for Murphy (38), T O'Mahony for Dineen (42), T Cooper for Long (52), K Barry for J F Daly (56), C White for A O'Connor (59).
MILLSTREET: D Twomey; D O'Sullivan, C Feeley, D O'Riordan; C Sheehan, P Randles, T Kiely; P Coleman, M Ellis 0-1; D McCaul, M Vaughan 0-1, D Sheehan; M Murphy 0-1, T Collins, D Kiely 0-1. Sub. E O'Keeffe for Sheehan (54).
Referee: C Lane (Banteer)