Magic from Mangan
Donard-The Glen 2-9 Kilcoole 0-14
Donard-The Glen players, mentors, followers and loyal supporters stayed on the pitch in Aughrim on Thursday night last long after County Cathaoirleach Martin Fitzgerald had presented the Liam Cullen Cup following their victory over Kilcoole in the Division 2 Cup final.
They were savouring a rare enough feeling, with some supporters with long memories struggling to remember when last Donard-The Glen had won a final.
For a long time in this game it looked unlikely that they would capture the trophy either as the men from the Goosebank proved more than a match, playing some excellent football and looking for a long time the likely winners.
However, the old maxim that goals win matches came very true in the end. The men from the west scored one in either half, and in the end this was to prove the difference between the sides.
When the game got underway on a lovely summers evening and on a near perfect footballing sod, it soon became apparent that Kilcoole were more than a match for their more vaunted opponents.
Last year's Junior 'A' champions took the game to their opponents straight from the off, with the Keddy brothers, Peter O'Brien, Cormac Byrne, Declan Roper and Luke Evans all combining well.
They pinned Donard-The Glen back in their own half in the early stages, but the western side scored first when the dangerous Alan Daly lofted over a fine left footed effort after five minutes. Kilcoole responded immediately and Lee Dutton got their opening score.
Cormac Byrne pushed Kilcoole into the lead and Danny Kavanagh extended that lead to 0-3 to 0-1 when he landed a 45 in the 11th minute. Kilcoole were playing well and dominating in the possession stakes.
However, Donard-The Glen looked dangerous when they did break up field and they were anxious to isolate their 'go to man' Alan Daly in attack.
In the 14th minute they got their first goal. Midfielder Brian Lennon landed a lob in on full-forward Liam Mullin, who broke the ball down to the alert Alan Daly. The corner-forward rounded a defender and planted the ball in the corner of the net.
Danny Kavanagh levelled play from a free. Lee Dutton and Luke Evans quickly put the Goosebank two points ahead. Donard-The Glen responded with points from Liam Mullins and Alan Daly to leave the game all square again at 20 minutes.
Midfielder Ronan Keddy pointed off his left, but immediately Donard-The Glen corner-forward George Finlay replied.
Kilcoole finished the half the stronger and added three points on the trot. Jack Bellamy got the first, Luke Evans benefited from a misdirected pass out from goalie Ray Halloran and scored just as the game entered the time added period. Their final score of the half came from Danny Kavanagh.
Kilcoole led at break by 0-10 to 1-4. Ten scores to five was probably a fair reflection of the play but Donard-The Glen had that all-important goal. Kilcoole had a disallowed goal by Vinny Quigley for a square infringement just on the half hour.
Harry Mangan gave the westerners a good start to the second half when he took a pass from a free and landed a great point from distance.
Declan Roper responded for Kilcoole with a point but when Liam Mullin pointed a free the gap was down to two points again. A great run downfield by wing back Eoin Keddy resulted in a fine Kilcoole point.
When Ronan Keddy pointed again the Kilcoole lead went to four points with 13 minutes gone. Liam Mullin reduced the leeway again with another pointed free. Mullin seemed to have moved outfield at this stage and was making the ball do the work with some excellent foot passes in attack.
In the 20th minute, Donard-The Glen scored a great goal. Liam Mullin placed a fisted pass ahead of substitute Sean Brannigan who made a little ground before firing in a great shot into the top right-hand corner at the angle of post and crossbar. It was a brilliant shot and a total nightmare for a goalie to get near. It was all square again at 0-13 to 2-7.
Both sides fought valiantly to gain supremacy and Ronan Keddy put his side back ahead with a fine point after 23 minutes.
That was only Kilcoole's fourth score of the half and in contrast with their first half display, it hurt them before the end. Donard-The Glen tails were now up but they were still a point adrift. Alan Daly had been kept quiet for most of the second half, but he popped up again with four minutes left to literally squeeze over an equaliser from a very narrow angle.
It was all to play for now and excitement was at fever pitch. Harry Mangan became the hero of the hour when he landed another point from outfield in the fourth minute of time added on.
The final whistle a minute later brought great celebration for the Tadgh Fennin-trained side. This was a well contested and enjoyable game. Kilcoole, while disappointed at the end, will feel that they can compete comfortably when they get going in the intermediate championship in the weeks ahead.
Donard-The Glen captain Joe Whyte was presented with the Liam Cullen Cup by County Chairman Martin Fitzgerald.
Scorers - Donard-The Glen: Alan Daly 1-3, Sean Brannigan 1-0, Liam Mullins 0-3, Harry Mangan 0-2 and George Finlay 0-1.
Kilcoole: Ronan Keddy 0-3, Danny Kavanagh 0-3, Luke Evans 0-2, Lee Dutton 0-2, Cormac Byrne, Jack Bellamy, Declan Roper, Eoin Keddy 0-1 each.
Donard-The Glen: Ray Halloran; Kevin Osborne, Alan Tutty, Clifford Grace; Harry Mangan, Joe Whyte, Oisin Adler; Conor Healy, Brian Lennon; Eoin Kelly, Liam Monaghan, Ger Healy; Alan Daly, Liam Mullin, Greg Finlay. Subs: Sean Brannigan, John Hanby, Des Mann, Darren O'Neill.
Kilcoole: Glen Tighe; Luke Reilly, Matt Mannix, Keith Reynolds; Dara Keddy, Peter O'Brien, Jack Bellamy; Ronan Keddy, Cormac Byrne; Eoin Keddy, Vinny Quigley, Declan Roper; Lee Dutton, Danny Kavanagh, Luke Evans. Subs: Matt Gilbert, Eoin Hanney and Gary Cody.
Referee: Robert Roche (Carnew)