Rathcline battled back to beat Ballymahon in the Reserve Football League Division 2 Final at Pairc Ciaran, Cashel on Sunday last with Colin Fayne scoring the decisive only goal in the closing stages of a generally entertaining encounter.
The sides were deadlocked at 0-9 apiece when Fayne found the net from close range in the 53rd minute after receiving the perfect pass from James Hanley and while Ballymahon closed the gap with a point from wing back Emmet Finn, Rathcline consolidated their grip on the league title.
Late scores from Kevin Hanley and James Hanley sealed the success and while Ballymahon created a couple of chances in a bid to snatch a badly needed goal all they could manage was a point from their chief marksman Mark Connor who converted a free in the third minute of stoppage time.
Accurate corner-forward Connor fired over a total of eight points (six frees) and was particularly prominent in the first half with 0-6 to his credit as his side established a comfortable 0-8 to 0-3 lead at the break and appeared to be in control.
In fact, they should have been even further in front as John Reid suffered the misfortune of striking a penalty against the post in the early stages of the game (awarded after Edwin Nally was fouled in the square) and also on target for Ballymahon was the prominent Emmet Finn with John Deane also shooting over the bar.
The first half developed into quite a struggle for Rathcline who had to be content with just three points that were registered by James Hanley, Joey Rooney and Colin Fayne (free), the latter on target in the 15th minute, while Ballymahon enjoyed a glorious spell before the break that yielded five scores on the trot – four from Mark Connor with a brace from play.
Things could only get better for Rathcline in the second half and the introduction of influential substitute Derek Casserly to team up with his brother Shane at centrefield made a big difference in changing the course of the game.
Points from prominent centre-half-back Kevin Chapman, Derek Casserly, Colin Fayne (free), Ryan Fallon and Shane Casserly between the 35th and 46th minutes left the sides all square before Ballymahon eventually got their first score in the second half when Mark Connor converted a free in the 47th minute.
Shane Casserly came a lot more into the game on the changeover and he burst through to fire over his second point in the 49th minute before a well-worked move that started in the Rathcline defence created the opportunity for Colin Fayne to fire home the matchwinning goal.
RATHCLINE: David Mulvihill; Liam Connerton, Anthony Farrell, Blaine Fallon; Mel Shanley, Kevin Chapman (0-1), Michael Hanley; Shane Casserly (0-2), Eoin Donnellan; Ryan Fallon (0-1), Kevin Hanley (0-1), Colin Fayne (1-2, points from frees); Joey Rooney (0-1), James Hanley (0-2), Alan Fayne.
Subs:- Derek Casserly (0-1) for E Donnellan (35 mins); Aaron Madden for A Fayne (38 mins); Michael Rhatigan for J Rooney (61 mins).
BALLYMAHON: Fergal Kelly; Ian Mulvihill, Diarmuid Fallon, Jamie Noonan; Matthew Daly, Brian Mulvihill, Emmet Finn (0-2); Alan Hudson, John Nevin; John Deane (0-1), Cian Cooney, John Reid; Lee Masters, Edwin Nally, Mark Connor (0-8, six frees).
Subs:- Paul Keegan for L Masters (42 mins); Jamsie Farrell for E Nally (42 mins).
Referee: John Hughes (Killoe Young Emmets).