Northern Gaels captured their second Minor ‘A’ Football Championship title in three years with a deserved win over reigning champions Killoe Og in the final at Glennon Brothers Pearse Park on Sunday last.
The scoreline would have been a lot different for Killoe Og only for their excellent full-forward Larry Moran who scored 3-4 out of his side’s total. His goals kept his side very much in the game.
Northern Gaels also had a nifty full-forward in Rian Brady but they also had David McGivney, Aidan McElligott, Barry McKiernan and man-of-the-match Nigel Rabbitte – this quality of players were the difference between the sides. McKiernan was immense in the second half with six points while Rabbitte’s work-rate was exceptional.
It was Brady who fired over the opening score in the 2nd minute but two minutes later Killoe Og were ahead when Shane Thompson was fouled for a penalty. Northern Gaels full-back Luke Meehan went into goals for the spot-kick which Moran duly dispatched to the net.
Northern Gaels responded in terrific fashion; David McGivney’s effort came off the post and into the hands of Rian Brady who found the back of the net to put his side in front again.
Points from Larry Moran and Ciaran Donohoe edged Killoe Og back in front before Northern Gales got a stranglehold on the game. Aaron Earley’s fisted effort came off the crossbar in the 13th minute before Rian Brady, Nigel Rabbitte (2) and a David McGivney free put the Abbeylara and Mullinalaghta amalgamation ahead by three by the 26th minute.
Just when they looked to be in trouble Killoe Og got a second goal through Larry Moran to level matters. But right before the break David McGivney pointed a free to leave Northern Gaels leading by 1-6 to 2-2 at the break.
The Gaels started the second half with a real purpose; points from Rian Brady (free), Aaron Earley, Aidan McElligott and Barry McKiernan put them ahead by five points after seven minutes. But that lead was cut to two in the 40th minute when Larry Moran grabbed his and his side’s third goal.
Barry McKiernan replied with a fine effort before Killoe Og created another goal chance but Larry Moran’s effort came off the butt of the post.
Another Rian Brady point and a fisted effort from Barry McKiernan put Northern Gaels ahead by five points by the 46th minute. Substitute David McCarthy got a fine point for Killoe Og in the 49th minute before Northern Gaels took control again with Barry McKiernan very much to the fore.
The lively wing-forward got his 4th and 5th points in quick succession to stretch his side’s lead to six points. Nigel Rabbitte got another point before Barry McKiernan was on target again to get his 6th point of the game which was his side’s last score.
Killoe Og staged a late rally in the final few minutes of the game; a Larry Moran free was followed up by an excellent point from midfielder Damien Bennett before full-forward Moran finished the game with two fine points but it was too late as his side were defeated by a very good Northern Gaels outfit.
NORTHERN GAELS: Cian Brady; Michael Cunningham, Luke Meehan, David Kane; Anthony O’Reilly, Conor Berry, Cathal Lynch; David McGivney (0-2, 2f), Aidan McElligott (0-1); Barry McKiernan (0-6), Aaron Earley (0-1), Russell Brady; Nigel Rabbitte (0-3), Rian Brady (1-4, 1f), Jason Matthews.
Subs:- James Mooney for L Meehan (injured, 11 mins); Jason Earley for Russell Brady (half-time); Peter Brady for A Earley (52 mins).
KILLOE OG: Shane Fitzpatrick; Brian Harte, Fergal O’Donnell, Ryan Moffat; John Lynch, Darragh Gilna, Shane Tully; Paddy Kiernan, Damien Bennett (0-1); Liam Hughes, Jamie King, Shane Thompson; Stephen Duke, Larry Moran (3-4, 1f), Ciaran Donohoe (0-1).
Subs:- Cathal Flynn for R Moffat (injured, 32 mins), David McCarthy (0-1) for S Duke (46 mins).
Referee: Donal Kane (Young Grattans).