In a repeat of the 2015 Intermediate Football Championship title decider, Rathcline confirmed their superiority over Killashee St Brigid’s in the Patsy Reilly Cup Final at Pairc Chiaran, Newtowncashel on Friday night last to complete a double success this season.
The Lanesboro outfit also gained promotion to Division 1 of the All County League in what has been a great year for Gareth Johnston’s side. Once they established a fairly comfortable 2-3 to 0-5 lead at the break after playing against the wind in the first half, the ‘Raths’ were never going to let victory slip from their grasp.
Without the injured Liam Connerton and who suffered the significant setback of losing another key player when casualty Shane Kenny (shoulder) left the pitch in some pain with just six minutes gone on the clock, Rathcline were still good enough to win the Division 2 League top four competition.
Kevin Chapman flicked the ball past the opposing keeper Pat Farrell for the first goal in the 10th minute but St Brigid’s battled back to hold a slender 0-5 to 1-1 lead with their points coming from the Skelly brothers Willie (three frees) and Emmet (a brace from play).
The alert Michael Hanley fired home the second Rathcline goal in the 27th minute, after a Derek Casserly shot for a point came back off the upright. That was a shattering blow for Killashee and things went from bad to worse when both Johnny Casey and Willie Skelly were forced to retire injured in the 30th minute.
And when crocked substitute James Willis joined the casualty list after he was carried off in the closing stages of the game, Killashee may well have paid a heavy price for playing this fixture so close to the Leinster Junior Club semi-final against Milltown (Westmeath). David O’Neill is also injured and was unable to play any part in the Patsy Reilly Cup Final.
The Rathcline points in the first half came from James Hanley, Barry Clarke and Kevin Chapman and while St Brigid’s closed the gap with a couple of scores from Michael Shanley and Emmet Skelly early in the second half to trail by 2-3 to 0-7, Rathcline pulled away with James Hanley the star of the show.
The deadly accurate corner-forward Hanley fired over seven points (three frees) on the changeover with Shane Casserly also getting his name on the scoresheet while Killashee grabbed a couple of late consolation efforts with a Mark Rossiter point along with a goal from substitute James Campbell in stoppage time.
RATHCLINE: David Mulvihill; Kevin Connaughton, Michael Morrissey, Blain Fallon; James Carroll, Shane Donoghue, Kevin Sorohan; Derek Casserly, Shane Kenny; Kevin Chapman (1-1), Shane Casserly (0-1), Barry Clarke (0-1); David Rooney, Ronan Clyne, James Hanley (0-8, three from frees).
Subs:- Michael Hanley (1-0) for S Kenny (injured, 6 mins); Kevin Hanley for B Clarke (37 mins); Oisin O’Sullivan for J Carroll (injured, 38 mins); Iarla O’Sullivan for M Hanley (50 mins); Conor McGrath for K Connaughton (50 mins); Niall Keane for S Donoghue (58 mins).
KILLASHEE ST BRIGID’S: Pat Farrell; Darren Cosgrove, Gerard Evans, Killian Lee; Alan Milton, Keelan Cox, Johnny Casey; Ogie Campbell, Michael Farrell; Enda McKiernan, Willie Skelly (0-3, all frees), Mark Rossiter (0-1); Darren Carberry, Emmet Skelly (0-3), Michael Shanley (0-1).
Subs:- Enda McPartland for J Casey (injured, 30 mins); Tony Dooner for W Skelly (injured, 30 mins); James Willis for M Shanley (40 mins); Quentin Lee for A Milton (40 mins); Michael Magan for O Campbell (50 mins); James Campbell (1-0) for J Willis (injured, 55 mins).
Referee: Frank Toher
(Killoe Emmet Og).