Tubbercurry are Kiernan Cup victors
Kiernan Cup Final - Tubbercurry 2-12, Coolaney/Mullinabreena 0-17
In what was a thrilling spectacle from start to finish, Tubbercurry ran out victors over neighbours Coolaney/Mullinabreena in the Kiernan Cup final on Sunday.
Tubbercurry got off to a dream start, with inside forwards Jason Perry and Dermot Walsh wreaking havoc in the Coolaney/Mullinabreena full back line.
With a goal from the incendiary Perry, courtesy of an excellent feed from centre forward David Kelly, Tubbercurry were eight points to the good before Coolaney/Mullinabreena's misery was compounded when Walsh was pulled down in the large rectangle to earn a penalty.
Perry duly converted, and it looked like it was going to be a day to regret, if possible, for the men in blue, with the deficit now in double digits, 2.05 to a single point.
Coolaney/Mullinabreena did not show undue panic, however, and points from corner forwards Stephen Connolly and Darren Coleman helped settle the nerves after a disastrous opening ten minutes.
This proved a catalyst for Coolaney/Mullinabreena who, after trading points with Tubbercurry, scored three unanswered points to bring the contest to within two scores, efforts from Raymond Connolly and Coleman the stand outs.
Yet Tubbercurry were still very much in control, despite the loss of their midfielder Rory Ryan, whose replacement Bob Brennan made his presence known around the middle of the park, with several kick outs and breaking balls to be won.
As referee Michael Duffy blew his whistle for halftime, it was the 20-time county champions at the wheel, with Coolaney/Mullinabreena staring defeat in the face, their second to Tubbercurry in as many months.
With a renewed resolve and fresh impetus, Coolaney/Mullinabreena came out the gates like hounds, two points stretching their unanswered run to five from before halftime.
Not wanting to be dragged into trench warfare, Tubbercurry answered back and soon had their advantage back to six. Through the leadership of Kelly, and the energetic Oisín O'Donnell, Tubbercury were able to keep Coolaney/Mullinabreena at bay for a time, who were dealt a blow when midfielder Sean Gorman was given a black card, at that stage Coolaney/Mullinabreena's best player.
Not to be deterred Coolaney/Mullinabreena kept chipping away at the lead, aided by a pair of 45s from keeper Lorcan Callaghan, as well as the introduction of captain Nathan Mullen.
Coolaney/Mullinabreena, knowing time was not their friend, were the more explosive team in the second half, yet one could not shake the feeling that a goal was required if they were to bridge the gap.
To their credit Tubbercurry had some displays of herculean defending in this period with the full back line particularly impenetrable.
Time was slipping away from Coolaney/Mullinabreena however, with the score at 2-12 to 0-15 points heading into injury time.
Though points from Ray Connolly and Kieran Finan, reduced the gap to the minimum, it was too little too late, as Tubbercurry left winners, by a scoreline of 2.12 to 0.17.
Kevin Giblin will be left to rue his charges' slow start, as focus turns to the remaining league fixtures on the calendar.
As for Tubbercurry, while they will be happy to add a trophy to their cabinet, questions remain after nearly squandering a 10-point lead from the first half, as the shadow of defending County Champions, and near neighbours, Tourlestane looms over the team many consider the strongest challengers to Eamonn O'Hara and Gerry McGowan's forces.
COOLANEY/MULLINABREENA: Lorcan Callaghan, Stephan Barrett, Conor McCormack, Eamonn Gorman, Niall Connolly, Cian O'Dowd, Shane Marren (Nathan Mullen), Sean Gorman ( bc, Niall O'Dowd), Declan McCormack, Paul Connolly (Shane Gormalley), Raymond Connolly 0-5, Niall Connolly, Darren Coleman 0-3, Shane O'Brien 0-3, Stephen Connolly0-2.
TUBBERCURRY: Griffin Gallagher, Oisín O'Donnell 0-1, Cian Gilmartin, Brian Murphy, Darragh Kilcoyne (Seami O'Baoighill), James Kelly, Conall Ryan, Stephen Gilmartin, Rory Ryan (Bob Brennan), Brian Morahan (Brian Curran), David Kelly 0-2, Dylan Henry, Jason Perry 2-4, Dermot Walsh 0-5, Stephen Mathews.