Tir Chonaill Gaels marked their 50th anniversary year with a record 14th senior championship after a seven-point success over 14-man Kingdom Kerry Gaels at Ruislip.
Tir Chonaill Gaels 1-15
Kingdom Kerry Gaels 1-8
The Greenford-based side blew their opponents away with a roaring start to proceedings, hitting five early points, and were in complete control when Kevin McMenamin netted on 17 minutes.
The Termon forward was put through on goal by Eoin O’Neill’s inside pass, and finished confidently past ex-Kerry stopper Ger Reidy.
Kingdom Kerry Gaels struggled to win ball around midfield, with Oranmore native Mark Gottsche dominant, and their task became all the mountainous when Kevin Waldron was given a straight red on the stroke of half-time for throwing a punch.
Under the guidance of former Kilmacud Crokes manager Paddy Carr, Tir Chonaill Gaels led by 1-6 to 0-2 at half-time, and extended their advantage after the break with eight unanswered points.
Such were the confidence levels of Carr’s side, they began knocking over scores from the most acute of angles, McMenamin bending over a beauty midway through the half as the Gaels built a 14-point lead.
Kingdom did finish with a flourish, firing 1-5 without reply in the closing stages. The goal came from Wexford native Peter Atkinson, who rattled the net following fine fielding by Ciaran McCallion, but Tir Chonaill Gaels ran out comfortable winners.
Such was the club’s determination to be London champions again, long standing director of football Paddy Carr, who won an All Ireland Senior Club Championship with Dublin’s Klmacud Crokes, was drafted in to spearhead the Gaels challenge.
On Sunday at Ruislip, he delivered what the club crave above all else, the county title. He’ll now be charged with taking Tir Chonaill Gaels to the next step – victory in the Club Championship quarter- final. A feat which has so far eluded the London champions.
Tir Chonaill Gaels: Brian McBrearty; Thomas Gribben, Paddy Callaghan, Brian Collins; Eamonn McConville, Mark McConville, Peter Sherry (0-1); Mark Gottsche (0-3, 2f, 1x45), Caolan Doyle; John McNicholas (0- 2), John McGrath (0-2, 1f), Barry Mitchell (0-2); Benny Reilly, Eoin O’Neill (0-3), Kevin McMenamin (1- 2). Subs: Ciaran Boyle for Reilly (33mins), Luke Kavanagh for McGrath (42mins), Dave Harrington for Gribben (47mins), Dave McGreevy for Collins (50mins), Austin Concannon for Callaghan (53mins).
Kingdom Kerry Gaels: Ger Reidy; Donnacha McCarthy, Pauk Horkan, Niall O’Connell; Philip Kelly, Stephen Browne, Ryan McStravick; Kevin Waldron, Stephen Sheehan; Michael Mullins, Aidan Dillane (0-1), Ciaran McCallion; Niall Traynor, Chris Colhoun (0-1), Lloyd Colfer (0-5). Subs: Peter Atkinson (1-1) for Sheehan (22mins), Peader Stack for McStravick (27mins), Michael O’Shea for Traynor (h-t), Ricky Ashe for Dillane (45mins), Mike Galvin for Colhoun (47mins).
Referee: Rob Whelan.