Colmcille gain sweet revenge for the disappointment of defeat against the same opposition in last year’s U-21 ‘A’ final and were full value for their convincing victory in conquering Killoe at wet and windy Glennon Brothers Pearse Park on Sunday last.
A small attendance braved the adverse weather to witness Colmcille capturing the U-21 ‘A’ title for the first time since 2003 and they were unquestionably the better team in playing with the far greater urgency in the difficult conditions.
The north Longford side laid the foundations for their success at centrefield where the towering figure of Fergal Sheridan was particularly impressive and he received excellent support from Vinny Hourican as Killoe struggled in this crucial sector and indeed in most of the other positions on the pitch.
Despite the presence of a few senior players, Emmet Og U-21s (with Declan Rowley in charge) were unable to match the intensity of a very committed Colmcille team, managed by Gavin Tonra. The reigning champions were clearly in trouble when they trailed by four points at the break (1-7 to 1-3) after playing with the advantage of the wind in the first half.
Thanks to a well struck goal from Jamie King, who cut in from the left to plant the ball in the back of the net in the 10th minute, Killoe were 1-2 to 0-3 ahead in the early stages of the U-21 ‘A’ county final with their points coming from frees converted by Seamus McCormack and Larry Moran.
Colmcille had started well with wing back Cormac Hughes shooting over the bar when a goal was there for the taking in the 4th minute and further points followed in quick succession from Shea McKeon (free) and Cathal Reilly, the latter a real driving force at centre-half-forward throughout the game.
Then came the Emmet Og goal but Colmcille came storming to clock up 1-2 in a row with a close range shot from Cathal McCabe ending up in the back of the net after clipping the crossbar in the 20th minute.
The points were registered by Shea McKeon and Fergal Sheridan (free), with McKeon shooting another goal attempt wide, and there was a slight reprieve for Killoe when Larry Moran was on target in the 26th minute for what proved to be their only point from play in the game.
Moran was denied a goal soon after when opposing keeper Colm Kilbride produced a fine point-blank save while Colmcille had further scores from Rory Hawkins and Fergal Sheridan to lead by four points going into the second half.
Emmet Og were thrown a lifeline when a speculative dipping shot from Darren Kelly ended up in the back of the net with a couple of minutes gone on the changeover but they failed to register another score until the final minute of normal time when Seamus McCormack fired over a free
While Killoe were reduced to 14 players when Paddy Kiernan was sent-off for a second yellow card offence in the 51st minute, they were already well beaten at that stage. Colmcille kicked five points in a row in another dominant spell between the 33rd and 44th minutes to establish a commanding 1-12 to 2-3 lead and could afford the luxury of not managing to get another score in the final quarter of the contest.
Fergal Sheridan, Cathal Reilly, Rory Hawkins, Shea McKeon (who had the goals at his mercy) and Reilly again accounted for the points and there was no way back for Killoe who tried to engineer goal chances but nothing materialised.
Larry Moran had a shot deflected wide while Ciaran Donohoe was off target when put under considerable pressure by the resolute Colmcille defence in the 47th minute. In between those opportunities, Colmcille corner-forward Alan McKeon had a goal attempt saved by the Killoe keeper Shane Fitzpatrick.
There was another goal chance for Emmet Og in the 55th minute when a Larry Moran free was blocked down as Colmcille stood firm on their way to winning the U-21 ‘A’ Championship for the first time in 12 years.
COLMCILLE: Colm Kilbride; Shane Grey, Enda Macken, Aaron Jones; Cormac Hughes (0-1), Gerry Mulligan, Martin Mulligan; Fergal Sheridan (0-3), Vinny Hourcian; Rory Hawkins (0-2), Cathal Reilly (0-3), Rory Harkin; Alan McKeon, Cathal McCabe (1-0), Shea McKeon (0-3, one free).
Subs:- Conor Hawkins for R Harkin (51 mins); Conor Grant for S Grey (59 mins).
KILLOE EMMET OG: Shane Fitzpatrick; Fergal O’Donnell, Liam Hughes, Shane Tully; Brian Harte, Shane Clarke, John Lynch; Paddy Kiernan, Cian Farrelly; Darren Kelly (1-0), Shane Mahon, Ciaran Donohoe; Seamus McCormack (0-2, frees), Larry Moran (0-2, one free), Jamie King (1-0).
Subs:- David McCarthy for C Donohoe (54 mins); Aaron Clyne for S Tully (56 mins).
Referee: Aidan Dowler