Action from today's county under 13 final between Four Masters and Aodh Ruadh PICTURE: THOMAS GALLAGHER
Four Masters powered their way to a hugely deserved victory in Pairc Naomh Bríd this afternoon where they were too strong for an Aodh Ruadh side who battled gamely.
Four Masters ……….. 2-14
Aodh Ruadh ………… 0-8
Before a great crowd, the opening quarter was well contested, but by half time Four Masters had opened a six point lead, 1-8 to 0-5, and looked like a side who would not be beaten. In perfect conditions this was a fine team performance by the victors who were impressive all over the field.
A very strong, tall team, Four Masters were full of power and have many great footballers too, Conor Meehan, Caolán Sweeney, Daniel Quinn and the always tidy Calum McCrea in defence, some of their many stars on the day. Conor Meehan, while scoring eight of his ten points from frees, was brilliant in creating space and looks a real prospect.
For Aodh Ruadh there was an exceptional and brave performance from Eoin Kelly who was in the wars more than once; Aiden Sweeny did an outstanding man marking job while keeper Cian McKenna made a string of memorable saves.
The first 15 minutes were the most competitive, Four Masters just one point ahead 0-4 to 0-3 as both sides matched each other score for score.
But the signs were there, Daniel Quinn denied a certain goal by a superb Cian McKenna save, McKenna going on to make a series of such saves throughout the game.
With just two points between the sides after two lengthy stoppages for treatment to players, Four Masters struck on 27 minutes for the key score of the half, a long ball deceiving the Aodh Ruadh defence and Quinn wasn’t going to be denied a second time, firing low and hard to the net, Meehan adding his third free of the first half, Four Masters leading 1-8 to 0-5 at half-time.
Within two minutes of the re-start the game was effectively over, a tremendous run from Caolán Sweeney whose shot was brilliantly saved by the magnificent McKenna but Daniel McIntyre was first to the breaking ball and shot low to the net, leaving it 2-9 to 0-5, a ten point gap that was only briefly ever narrowed.
The final ten minutes saw Meehan popping over three frees with only one in reply from Aodh Ruadh youngster, Tommy Clyne. With the game over as a contest, Aodh Ruadh emptied their bench, some of their stronger under 12 players getting in on the action, while Four Masters did the same - great to see so many players getting a sample of playing in a county final.
In an at times hard hitting game, there were two red cards, one for each side, and one black card.
As the final whistle sounded, it sparked great celebrations for a well supported Four Masters team - indeed credit to both clubs who got their supporters out in great numbers.
Four Masters: Daniel O’Sullivan, Jake Graham, Fiachra O’Donnell, David Monaghan, Calum McCrea, John Bell, Ruarí McLaughlin 0-1, Caolán Sweeney 0-1; Daniel McIntyre 1-0, Conor Meehan 0-10, 8 fs, Kiernan Deignan, Daniel Quinn 1-0, Seanán Carr 0-1. Subs - all used - Leo McGowan, Seoirse Flaherty, Michael McMullin, Seamus Og Caldwell, Kevin Muldoon, Oisin Doherty 0-1,f, Calum Dunnion, Tiernan McBride.
Aodh Ruadh: Cian McKenna, Aiden Sweeny, James Gallagher, Shane McGloin, Eoin Kelly, Fionn Gallagher, Tommy Winters, Shane Delahunty, Aongus Sweeny, Robbie Murphy 0-6, 5fs, Jack Gallagher, Ryan Daly, Drew Ryan 0-1. Subs - all used - Caolán McCauley, Tommy Clyne 0-1, Dara McGloin, Ted O’Donnell, Barry Campbell, Oisin McGlinchey, Kensie Ayres, Ronan Delahunty.
Referee: Anthony McCallig (Naomh Ultan).