Quick fire goals lay the groundwork for Duarigle Gaels to retain Duhallow Under-21 football title
Duhallow U-21 'B' Football Championship Final replay: Duarigle Gaels 2-11 Knocknagree 0-9
Granted a late reprieve in the drawn encounter, holders Duarigle Gaels took full advantage to fashion a much more convincing performance to better challengers Knocknagree in an exciting Central Stores, Kanturk Duhallow U-21 'B' Football Championship Final replay in the presence of a large attendance at Kiskeam on Sunday.
Goals either side of the interval whistle provided the spark that ignited Duarigle's flame, a well balanced side grew in stature and they did enough to restrain Knocknagree's best efforts. And though by the end of the hour, the Cullen and Millstreet combination deserved victory, they were first to admit that the eight point victory margin was flattering to a degree.
In reality, Knocknagree prospects took a major jolt on conceding those goals close to half time and direct from the restart where all their hard work during the opening 25 minutes bore little reward. And as the game aged, Duarigle remained on the ascendency and took advantage of their scoring opportunities to pull away.
In many ways this contest took a similar pattern to the drawn contest, Knocknagree, the more impressive of the two sides in the opening half yet they failed to take that dominance into a lead for the changeover. And just as in the previous tussle, a goal worked wonders for Duarigle and they never looked behind as the contest progressed.
Early on, Knocknagree controlled the game as they did in the drawn contest, looking the sharper and cohesive side under the influence of Micheál Doyle, Gearóid Looney, Seán Twomey and Daniel O'Mahony. Scoringwise, Knocknagree relied primary on the place ball accuracy of Denis O'Connor and a Doyle 45 to jump 0-5 to 0-1 ahead.
Duarigle raised the stakes, offered flashes with Patrick Dineen and Luke Murphy posting points before Colm O'Leary set up Murphy for a goal and a 1-4 to 0-6 advantage at the break. And Duarigle ruled the roost on the restart, helped enormously from an opportunist goal, a Neil Flahive free threaded it way to the bottom corner of the Knnocknagree net.
Duarigle's game had grabbed a new lease of life, benefiting from the influence of Seamus Fleming, Danny Buckley, Cormac and Shane Hickey in a competent defence with Flahive, Colin O'Leary and Murphy creating inroads up front.
Knocknagree 'keeper Alan O'Sullivan saved superbly from Flahive as Duarigle extended their position from points to Flahive and O'Leary. Indeed Duarigle were now far more assured and fluent in possession, Knocknagree passing up on a number of gilt edged chances.
In terms of possession, Knocknagree added just three points to their interval tally, a poor return from a number of promising attacks but credit must go to Duarigle on improving their security during the second half. As the game aged, Knocknagee became more direct, in previous rounds, that tactic worked wonders to secure extra time wins over Sliabh Luachra Gaels and Kanturk.
However, there was no great return on this occasion, thr Gaels defence mopping up possession time and again to launch attacks for Murphy, Flahive and Darragh Cashman to deliver a quick run of points to put clear daylight between the sides. Knocknagree had the closing say, target man and skipper Paul O'Connor claimed a consolation point.
Duhallow Vice-chairman Steven Lynch presented the Championship silverware to joint Duarigle Gaels captains Seamus Fleming and Danny Buckley.
DUARIGLE GAELS: D O'Leary; T Healy, S Fleming, C Hickey; D Buckley, S Hickey, F Cronin; P Dineen 0-1, C Walsh; Colm O'Leary, M Twomey, D Cashman 0-1; N Flahive 1-3 (1-2f), Colin O'Leary 0-3, L Murphy 1-3 (0-2f). Sub: P Moynihan for P Dineen.
KNOCKNAGREE: A O'Sullivan; P Lorkowski, M Doyle 0-1 '45', G Looney; S Twomey, D O'Mahony , T Mahoney 0-1; M Mahoney, G Vaughan; N O'Connor, D O'Connor 0-5 (4f), T O'Connor; D Twomey, P O'Connor 0-1, E Herlihy. Sub: K Cronin 0-1 for E Herlihy.
Referee: E Walsh (Freemount)