Merseysiders go home empty-handed
Skellig Rangers 0-10
John Mitchells 0-9
Skellig Rangers claimed the All-Ireland Junior football championship at Croke Park last night.
Liverpool and Kerry might be light years apart in terms of Gaelic football, but John Mitchells made up for a gulf in tradition with a hard-working and honest performance that in the end, came up just short.
Skellig raced into a four-point lead after Bernard Casey opened with two early frees. Full-forward Brian Hickey latched on to Gary O'Driscoll's pass to point and when John O'Driscoll finished a slick passing movement, it looked like the men from Liverpool might be overrun.
Ryan Mullan's point showed they were over for more than a stadium tour, however, and although O'Driscoll pointed for Rangers to make it 0-5 to 0-1, the English side then scored four unanswered points.
Midfielder Paddy Mulligan was instrumental with three points, two from frees, while Philip Duddy's equaliser was an excellent score, captain John McDermott fielding Lorcan McGonagle's cross-field pass to lay off the ball to the half-back who made no mistake.
The Kerrymen restored the lead with a fine score by Aidan O'Sullivan, but the midfielder was booked as things threatened to boil over as the half came to a close.
Gary O'Driscoll opened the second-half scoring with a fine catch and point but scores from Daryl McConnell and Mullan drew Mitchells level once more before a Casey free put the Kerrymen back in front.
Mullan equalised for Mitchells and the game stayed tied for a period until Aidan O'Sullivan popped up in the forward line to score from an acute angle.
Sub Paul MgGill added an all-important cushion point, and it was much needed as Rangers were reduced to 14 after Seamus O'Sullivan was dismissed and Duddy kicked a late score but the equaliser proved elusive.
Scorers -- Skellig Rangers: B Casey 0-3 (3f), A O'Sullivan, J O'Driscoll 0-2 each, B Hickey, G O'Driscoll, P McGill 0-1 each. John Mitchells: R Mullan, P Mulligan (2f) 0-3 each, P Duddy 0-2, D McConnell 0-1 (f)
Skellig Rangers: M Brennan; B O'Sullivan, W O'Sullivan, C Martin; K Martin, C O'Sullivan, Seamus O'Sullivan; Steven O'Sullivan, A O'Sullivan; J O'Driscoll, C O'Driscoll, D O'Sullivan; B Casey, B Hickey, G O'Driscoll. Subs: Declan O'Sullivan for Brian O'Sullivan (41), P McGill for J O'Driscoll (47), Brendan O'Sullivan for Daniel O'Sullivan (50)
John Mitchells: G Dooley; G McNamee, C Philips, P Walsh; A Brady, S Rice, P Duddy; P Mulligan, D McConnell; R Ivers, J McDermott, K Kane; L McGonagle, S McCann, R Mullan. Subs: C Mullan for McCann (40), P McKenna for Kane (52)
Referee: E Craul (Wicklow)