A cracking goal from full-forward Aidan McElligott in the closing stages of the first half paved the way for Cnoc Mhuire, Granard to score a very easy win over Ashbourne CS in the Leinster Vocational Schools Junior (U-16) ‘A’ Football Championship Final at the new Kells GAA grounds on Tuesday of last week.
LEINSTER VS JUNIOR A FINAL - CNOC MHUIRE, GRANARD 1-16, ASHBOURNE CS 0-4
Cnoc Mhuire were back in action in the All-Ireland semi-final against Tyrone side St. Joseph’s, Coalisland on Saturday last and beat the Ulster champions by two points, 1-8 to 0-9, in advancing to meet Davitt College, Castlebar in the decider at the Padraig Pearses GAA Grounds, Co Roscommon on Saturday next, throw-in 2pm.
Prior to the McElligott strike in the 27th minute of the Leinster Final last week, Cnoc Mhuire led by 0-4 to 0-0 with David McGivney getting the opening score in the 4th minute and a further brace of points (play and free) followed from Nigel Rabbitte before Aodan McFarlane shot over the bar in the 17th minute, the end result of a well worked move.
There was just no stopping the dominant midfield pairing of McGivney and Rabbitte throughout this one-sided encounter and when influential substitute Michael Cullen (back in action after injury) was brought on at the start of the second half the Granard school really turned on the power in pulling right away for a most emphatic success with dangerous corner-forward Rian Brady also making a big impact.
Impressive throughout the game was attacking left-half-back Liam Sullivan while central defenders Ryan McGahern and Declan Murphy along with central forwards Ciaran Mallon and Aidan McElligott were others to figure prominently for this talented team.
A lot more was expected of Ashbourne, regular title winners in
the ‘A’ grade, but their challenge collapsed completely in this disappointing U-16 decider and the Co Meath school had to wait until the 30th minute for their first score – a well struck free by Sam Benville – and the same player landed a point from play moments later to leave his side trailing by 1-4 to 0-2 at the break.
But Cnoc Mhuire were in no mood to let the Leinster title slip from their grasp and they really began to assert their superiority in the second half. Just 20 seconds was gone on the changeover when David McGivney shot over the bar and a further ten points followed without reply with wing backs Liam Sullivan and Daniel Reilly among the scorers.
Nigel Rabbitte and Rian Brady registered three points apiece while Ciaran Mallon and Aidan McElligott were also on target as the opposition were blown away in the windy conditions.
Just when it looked like Ashbourne were not going to get a score in the second half, midfielder Conor Carton fired over a free in the 57th minute and another consolation point (free) followed from the same player soon after but it was Cnoc Mhuire who had the last say when Rian Brady shot over the bar again.
CNOC MHUIRE: Gary Carroll (Granard/Ballymore); Killian Goldrick (Ballymachugh), Ryan McGahern (Gowna), Darragh Kiernan (Ballymachugh); Daniel Reilly (Mullahoran, 0-1), Declan Murphy (Granard/Ballymore), Liam Sullivan (Granard/Ballymore, 0-1); David McGivney (Northern Gaels, 0-2), Nigel Rabbitte (Northern Gaels, 0-5, two frees); Mattie Gorman (Granard/Ballymore), Ciaran Mallon (Granard/Ballymore, 0-1), Fionnan O’Reilly (Mullahoran); Rian Brady (Northern Gaels, 0-4), Aidan McElligott (Northern Gaels, 1-1, point from free), Aodan McFarlane (Ballymachugh, 0-1).
Subs used:- Michael Cullen (Mullahoran) for M Gorman (half-time); Mark Kiernan (Ballymachugh) for F O’Reilly (40 mins); Aaron Earley (Northern Gaels) for D Reilly (51 mins).
ASHBOURNE CS: Jack Hannigan; Liam Finn, Niall Lenehan, Robert Lawlor; Martin Quinn, Jack McCarney, Thomas McGovern; Conor Carton (0-2, frees), Aidan Hughes; Sam Benville (0-2, one free), Eoghan Hand, Shaun Byrne; Conor Donnelly, David O’Connor, Ross Howard.
Subs used:- Jamie Murtagh for D O’Connor (22 mins); Aaron Keely for E Hand (43 mins); Patrick Twomey and Gearoid Farrell.
Referee: Michael McAdden