Wednesday 24 May 2017

Cole leads the way as Ramor young guns deny Castlerahan

Ramor United 0-10 Castlerahan 0-8

Ramor players celebrate their Cavan county title Photo: Sam Barnes/Sportsfile
Ramor players celebrate their Cavan county title Photo: Sam Barnes/Sportsfile
Donnchadh Boyle

Donnchadh Boyle

A full month had passed since these sides qualified for the Cavan county final. A draw and then a replay that fell foul of the weather meant a winner was a long time coming, but by the end Ramor had deservedly edged it.

Under the guidance of former Clare and Kilmurry Ibrickane manager Michael McDermott, they had timed their run perfectly. They took the lead with the opening score of the game but wouldn't get their noses in front again until the 45th minute.

Ramor's Conor Bradley in action against Castlerahan's Ronan Flanagan Photo: Sam Barnes / Sportsfile
Ramor's Conor Bradley in action against Castlerahan's Ronan Flanagan Photo: Sam Barnes / Sportsfile

From there, they wouldn't look back.

Ramor went two points in front late in the day - after having let a six point lead slip in the drawn game - and there were questions marks as to whether McDermott's young team could hold the lead to the finish this time.

County star Cian Mackey ensured they would have to do it the hard way and his third point of the day put the minimum between the sides.

But Ramor had learned their lesson. They worked the ball forward and kept possession for more than 90 seconds before spotting an opening.

Castlerahan's Fergal Reilly attempts to block a kick from Ramor's Stephen Monaghan Photo: Sam Barnes/Sportsfile
Castlerahan's Fergal Reilly attempts to block a kick from Ramor's Stephen Monaghan Photo: Sam Barnes/Sportsfile

Two quick handpasses later and Adrian Cole, who had been superb all day, landed his fourth point. Mackey would point a close range free but Ramor would break out again and Killian Maguire converted a dead ball with almost the last action of the game.

Virginia-based side Ramor had secured their first county senior title since 1992 but their success was made all the more remarkable by the fact that they started without both of their joint-captains through injury.

And manager McDermott made a bold call when replacing goalkeeper Aaron Farrelly with Liam Brady, a brave call considering how a similar move worked out for Mayo in the All-Ireland final replay.

"To win championships you have to be brave and you have to be courageous," he said.

"Mayo made no difference to us, they made a change and that's their choice, we trusted in every change we made today.

"We backed of them a little bit in the first half and gave them too much space to run at us. We pushed out on them after half time and attacked the game more.

''We weren't breaking their defensive line at all in the first half. But we did more in the second half and we worked really hard.

"In the last ten minutes we probably had the legs because they were pushing forward and the bench made a huge difference as it has done all year."

The heartbreak goes on for Castlerahan whose wait for a first senior title continues. They found themselves on the wrong side of a county final result for the third time since 2011.

They looked to have the best of things in the opening quarter when they hit five points on the bounce to lead by 0-5 to 0-1.

However, Ramor kept themselves in it and worked their way back level (0-5 each) by the break as both sides put a premium on shutting down opposition forwards.

"We were here last year in the same situation and we came back today," a defiant Castlerahan manager Michael Reilly said.

"We are still young and we'll have lads back for next year. There's a lot of football in these boys yet."

The celebrations will have to be brief for Ramor who find themselves in Ulster club championship action next Sunday against Armagh champions Maghery with McDermott insisting it's a good problem to have.

"We'll enjoy tonight and most likely we'll be back training on Wednesday night because they are an ambitious bunch and we want to represent our county in Ulster and that's what we'll be doing.

"We're playing Maghery. We never even thought of them or considered them until now and we'll focus on them now. They are going to be celebrating a fantastic win in the Armagh championship as well so it's a level playing field.

"It will be tough to recover from today but I wouldn't have it any other way."

Scorers - Ramor United: A Cole 0-4, C Bradley 0-3 (2f), C Maguire, K Maguire (1f), Jack Brady 0-1 each.

Castlerahan: C Mackey 0-4 (1f), C McEnroe (1f), S Cooney 0-2 each.

Ramor United - L Brady; M Smart, Matthew Magee, J McEnroe; Mark Magee, B O'Connell, E Sommerville; S Monaghan, S Gaffney; C Maguire, C Bradley, J Bradley; James Brady, A Cole, K Mulvany Subs: Jack Brady for Mulvany (37), K Maguire for Monaghan (51), J Doyle for James Brady (53), G McNamee for J Bradley (57), S Gaffney for C Bradley (63 BC).

Castlerahan - J Leahy, S Cooney, B Coleman, E O'Connell; F Reilly, R Flanagan, Caolan McBreen; D Wright, C Daly; D Lynch, C McEnroe, S McSweeney; O O'Connell, S Brady, C Mackey Subs: P Brady for Lynch (51).

Ref - N Mooney.

Irish Independent

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