Dolan deadly as Garrycastle seal historic hat-trick
Garrycastle won their first hat-trick of county titles in appalling weather at Cusack Park, Mullingar yesterday afternoon, with a replay defeat of Mullingar Shamrocks, who failed to score in the second period after being the better side in the opening half-hour.
Just over 1,500 fans turned up on a truly miserable day, but they were still treated to a fine first half, with the underdogs from Mullingar, in particular, playing some outstanding football.
The losers led by 0-2 to 0-0 before a soft goal from James Duignan put the champions ahead against the run of play after four minutes.
However, Ray Smyth's Shamrocks proceeded to take control again and they rattled over some terrific points from play, with the manager's son Aonghus accounting for two of them.
Midfielder Darragh Daly's point from an acute angle in the 26th minute was the last score of the half and, as it transpired, it was Shamrocks' last of the entire contest.
At the break, the scoreboard read Mullingar Shamrocks 0-9, Garrycastle 1-3.
It was a revitalised Garrycastle who took to the field for the second half and a well-taken point from centre-back Doran Harte reduced the deficit for Anthony Cunningham's men in the 34th minute.
Soon afterwards, a heavy challenge on the influential Daly, which went unpunished, proved to be a turning point as the promising Mullingar midfielder eventually had to be replaced.
This allowed former Westmeath stars Seanie O'Donoghue and David O'Shaughnessy to take control of the midfield area and their influence set up a range of scoring opportunities for the Garrycastle forwards -- where their marquee attacker Dessie Dolan led the way in the scoring stakes yet again.
Some uncertain handling from Mullingar's goalkeeper Philip Shaw, albeit in dreadful conditions, gifted a couple of handy frees for Dolan to convert as Garrycastle's experience began to show.
Dolan's sixth point in the 54th minute put the holders two points to the good and a range of attacks by Mullingar Shamrocks yielded no tangible reward.
Four minutes of injury-time was signalled, but Garrycastle's defence held firm and O'Donoghue wrapped up his side's sixth title (all won in the past 11 years) with a great point from 35 metres with the last kick of the game.
Scorers -- Garrycastle: D Dolan 0-6 (5f), J Duignan 1-0, D Harte, S O'Donoghue, R McGowan 0-1 each. Mullingar Shamrocks: A Smyth, S Quinn 0-2 each, M Curley, D Daly, L Smyth (f), P Shaw ('45'), D Corroon 0-1 each.
Garrycastle -- C Mullin; M McCallon, J Gaffey (capt), A Fox; K Henson, D Harte, E Mulvihill; S O'Donoghue, D O'Shaughnessy; P Dillon, J Duignan, R McGowan; D Dolan, J Dolan, P Mulvihill. Subs: G Dolan for Fox (h-t), C Cosgrove for Duignan (42), A Daly for Dillon (45), J McAteer for McGowan (52), E Monaghan for Daly (60 + 1).
Mullingar Shamrocks -- P Shaw; D Miller, K Gavin (capt), E Moore; D Gavin, M Curley, A Purcell; D Daly, D O'Donoghue; A Clinton, D Corroon, A Smyth; F Spellman, L Smyth, S Quinn. Subs: C Curley for Daly (inj 42), C Daly for Clinton (45), C O'Leary for Quinn (47), P Joyce for Purcell (inj 58), P Christie for Miller (inj 60 + 3).
Ref -- P Fox (Rosemount)