Toomey, Browne, Baker and McGraynor key to victory
Michael Hogans 3-13
Michael Hogans came through a thoroughly entertaining under-19 ‘B’ football final with Tomacork to be crowned county champions in Annacurra last Friday night.
A serious game of football unfolded in front of a decent and vocal crowd with Tomacork showing huge courage and no shortage of ability to stay with a Hogans side who threatened to pull away with ease at certain stages during the battle.
Both sides possessed some really talented footballers and some of the scores kicked on a cold but dry night in Annacurra were of a very high standard.
Added to the talent on both sides, the physical size and fitness of some of the players was very encouraging with Andrew Brancato, Shane Browne, John Toomey, Cathal Baker and Cormac McGraynor standing like pillars for Hogans while Conor Wafer, Tommy Collins, Brandon Rossiter and Eoin Kavanagh gave Tomacork a serious athletic edge throughout this encounter.
The Hogans enjoyed a dream start, charging out to a 2-3 to 0-1 lead at the first water break, thanks to goals from John Toomey and Cathal Baker as they cut Tomacork to shreds when they ran hard at their opponents’ defence.
Credit to Tomacork, they closed the gap to five with 28 minutes gone in the second half but a fine palmed goal from Alex Olohan left the Hogans sitting pretty with a 3-5 to 0-7 lead at the break.
Adam Arslan got the Hogans off the mark after two minutes with a sweet score. Eoin Kavanagh had a chance for Tomacork in the next move, but he dropped it short to Danny Morley.
Great work from the electric Arslan in his own defence set the wheels in motion for the Hogans’ first goal. The ball was worked to Cathal Baker, he fed the rampaging Toomey who lashed home to the back of Adam Jordan’s net with five on the clock.
The outstanding Brandon Rossiter got Tomacork off the mark, but Alex Olohan stung them twice in quick succession with two well-struck frees in the ninth and 11th minutes to leave it 1-3 to 0-1.
But Tomacork were found sorely wanting in defence when Cathal Baker got on the end of another sweeping move before finishing low past Jordan with 14 on the clock, 2-3 to 0-1.
Tomacork were being turned over in the middle third too much and were making some fundamental errors and this was leading to Michael Hogans launching rapid counterattacks down the field with the likes of Adam Arslan, Cathal Baker, Shane Browne and Cormac McGraynor all proving ruthless when moving at pace while Torna Mulconry was pulling all sorts of strings from the half-back line.
Rossiter kept Tomacork ticking over with a fine effort off his left after the game resumed following the first water break and Eoin Kavanagh left six between the sides with a peach, but Hogans hit back with scores from McGraynor after more positive work from Arslan and Alex Olohan from a free won by Shane Browne.
Tomacork would grab the next three points on the trot to give themselves huge hope. The first was a savage effort from Brandon Rossiter, a pointed free from Owen Young and a sweet strike from Richard Greene after good work from Rossiter.
However, Alex Olohan’s palmed goal after 29 undid much of that good work from Tomacork although an outstanding point from Eoin Kavanagh after excellent work from Shane Byrne left them with hope when the half-time whistle sounded.
A productive start to the second half saw Tomacork close the gap to five points at 3-5 to 0-9. Brandon Rossiter and Owen Young (free) with the scores.
Hogans recovered and added points from James Murray and Alex Olohan as they found their way too goal with far too much ease. With Shane Browne now deployed in a more defensive role to try and negate the influence of Rossiter, Tomacork looked like they had it all to do.
And then Will Molloy blasted home to the roof of Danny Morley’s net and all of a sudden we had a serious battle on our hands and a four-point gap between the teams.
But Hogans always seemed capable of striking back when it was required. Shane Browne profited from possession coughed up by Carnew to point, Cormac McGraynor added a free and the excellent John Toomey pushed the gap out to six with 11 gone.
But Tomacork weren’t going anywhere. A long ball from Conor Wafer, who really impressed in the second half, was gathered by Eoin Kavanagh and he did superbly well to finish home past Morley. Two further points from Brandon Rossiter and Owen Young (free) left just two points between the teams and it was anyone’s game.
However, Tomacork coughed up something distantly related to a goal chance immediately afterwards and Hogans pointed through McGraynor and Cathal Baker to reestablish that cushion of four points.
Onwards we went as the battle raged and Callum Paterson brought it back to a one-score game.
There was some controversy then when Tomacork argued that a throw ball should have resulted after a Hogans player appeared to go down with a head injury while in possession.
However, referee Kieron Kenny maintained that the free to Hogans would stand.
Shortly afterwards, Shane Browne rose like a stag and claimed the ball before turning and thundering into the Tomacork territory and rifling over the bar for the insurance point.
Tomacork would have another chance, but a high ball dropped in would be cleared and the final whistle would sound leaving the Hogans champions in their third year of existence and their second county final.
Michael Hogans: Danny Morley; Shane Arthur, Andrew Brancato, Conor Short; Luke Kearney, Kelan Busher, Torna Mulconry; Shane Browne (0-2), John Toomey (1-1); James Murray (0-1), Cathal Baker (1-1), Ryan Kavanagh; Alex Olohan (1-4, 3f), Cormac McGraynor (0-4, 2f), Adam Arslan (0-1). Subs: Ollie Matthews for R Kavanagh, Cian Ward for J Murray (55).
Tomacork: Adam Jordan; Zach Jordan, Conor Wafer, Ruairi O’Brien; Shane Byrne, Tommy Collins, Cormac Redmond; James McGuing, John Young; Richard Greene (0-1), Owen Young (0-3, 3f), Dan Redmond; Brandon Rossiter (0-5), Eoin Kavanagh (1-2), Ben Gilligan. Subs: Callum Paterson (0-1) for R O’Brien (25), Will Molloy (1-0) for S Byrne (h/t), Maurice Sheil for B Gilligan.
Referee: Kieron Kenny (Tinahely)