Calry/St Joseph's capture Benson Cup crown
Calry/St Joseph's, runners up in last year's intermediate championship, captured the first silverware on offer in 2014 as they cruised to the Benson Cup title with 9 points to spare over Castleconnor at Ballymote's Corran Park last Friday.
An interesting first half contrasted a one sided second period, in which the winners outscored their opponents by seven points, 1-8 to 0-4.
Two goals formed the foundation of Calry/St Josephs' success - Brian O'Reilly and Paddy Heraghty netting either side of half-time - with the Hazelwood outfit making light work of their opponent's second half challenge.
O'Reilly's goal, which came in first half injury time, was a major turning point in the encounter.
At that stage, Castleconnor were deserving of their one point advantage, 0-6 to 0-5, but O'Reilly's major, after he fisted to the net from close range, changed the complexion of the tie.
The west Sligo outfit had impressed in a cagey opening period, with Eamon Cawley and Kevin Langan registering early points for their side.
However, Calry/St Josephs' attack soon found their feet with O'Reilly kicking two fine points, while Paddy Heraghty and Paul Melvin also scored to leave matters tied at 0-5 apiece as the half-time break approached.
Niall Judge's 30th minute point looked to have given his side a one point interval lead, but O'Reilly's goal after 32 minutes meant that despite playing second fiddle for the majority of the half, Calry/St Josephs had a two point advantage going into the second period.
Following the resumption, another Calry/St Josephs goal - this time a fantastic individual effort from Paddy Heraghty in the 36th minute - put them four points clear, and triggered an onslaught from the winners.
Their lead was further cemented with four points on the trot - two Eoin Doherty scores the standout - following a series of well crafted attacks.
Castleconnor introduced Michael Langan and David Fox in an attempt to stem the tide, but these substitutions yielded little for Austin Clarke's side. Two Cawley frees and a Patrick Naughton effort was all they could muster in response to Calry/St Josephs second half deluge, with Keith Raymond kicking two excellent points in reply at the other end of the field.
Barry O'Boyle's late point left nine points between the sides by the time the final whistle sounded, with Calry/St Josephs' wholesome display thoroughly deserving of the Benson Cup title.
Scorers - Calry St Josephs: B O'Reilly 1-3 (1f), P Heraghty 1-2 (1f), E Doherty 0-3, K Raymond 0-2, P Melvin, C Coyne, B O'Boyle 0-1 each. Castleconnor: E Cawley 0-5 (4fs), M Cullen, K Langan, E Kent, N Judge, P Naughton, 0-1 each.
CALRY/ST. JOSEPH'S: C McGovern; C Heraghty, V Nally, B Hynes; C Coyne, D McConnon, F Keown; B O'Boyle, K Gilmartin; B McGovern, K Farragher, K Raymond; E Doherty, B O'Reilly, P Heraghty. Subs: P Melvin for Farragher (22)
CASTLECONNOR: A Kilcullen; B Howley, P McGuinness, T Cawley; E Kent, K Earlis, J Earlis; P Naughton, P Kilcullen; E Cawley, K Langan, N Judge; S Curley, E Flynn, M Cullen. Subs: M Langan for Flynn (42), D Fox for J Earlis (48), M Foody for K Earlis (54), C Kilcullen for Judge (60).
REFEREE: John Henry