North Antrim Féile na nGael Final: St Brendan’s 3-5 Oisín’s Glenarriffe 2-1
After their victory in the league stages, Glenarriffe were favourites going into this North Antrim Féile na nGael final in Dunloy on Friday evening, but from the start St Brendan’s let it be known that they meant business.
The combination outfit fought hard for every ball, gave their opponent no time in possession and moved the sliotar quickly down the wings at every opportunity.
Oisin’s key players in the league victory – Shane O’Connor at centre-half back and Alex O’Boyle at centre-forward – did not exercise the same influence in this game with Jack Higgins and Conor Bannon strong on the ball and well supported by their team-mates at all times.
St Brendan’s defence was solid throughout with Leo Morgan, the McCormick brothers and Conor Bannon making timely interceptions and clearing long.
Conor McHugh and Ogie Laverty got through a lot of work in the centre and everyone in attack made their contribution, particularly David Kilgore who benefited greatly from the presence of David Canavan at full-forward. Shane O’Connor was solid throughout for Oisin’s particularly at full-back during the second half, but their star player was diminutive goalie Josef Delargy who pulled off some excellent stops.
Alex O’Boyle caused some problems with his strong running, but in general the St Brendan’s defence marshalled the threat well.
Despite that, O’Boyle opened the scoring with a bullet from a 20 metre free that had been brought across in front of goal after a defender had shown dissent.
That goal may have been a little against the run of play in the fifth minute, but St Brendan’s were soon on level terms after Ogie Laverty’s 65 was blocked down for James Morgan to sweep to the net.
Ogie added a point from a long range free in the 10th minute, and his team’s hard work around the middle of the field paid off when Conor McHugh fired through a ruck of players to the net 4 minutes later.
O’Boyle fired over a point to reduce the deficit, but St Brendan’s finished the half on a high, with James Morgan latching on to David Kilgore’s cross-field pass to find the net for a 3-1 to 1-1 interval advantage.
St Brendan’s continued to dominate during the second half, but Josef Delargy kept his side in the game with some excellent stops and clearances.
David Kilgore however shot 4 excellent points, all from open play to push the boat out on Oisin’s. The Glenarriffe boys did launch a couple of attacks, and from one of these Alex O’Boyle’s strike from 30 metres fell invitingly for Oliver McLarnon to hammer home.
That score reduced the deficit to 5 points, but in truth they never looked like catching the winners and Kilgore made the game safe with 2 late points.
St Brendan’s: Caolan Mullan, Ruairi McKeown, Leo Morgan, Gerard O’Hara, Cavin McCormick, Conor Bannon, Niall McCormick, Conor McHugh 1-0, Geoffrey óg Laverty 0-1 free, Conor Carey, Jack Higgins, Harry Kilgore, David Kilgore 0-4, David Canavan, James Morgan 2-0.
Subs: Jack McKay for D Canavan, Conor Mullan, Odhrán McAleenan, James Brown, Michael McDonnell, Adam Neeson, Aiden Dunne, Thomas Scally, Fionntán Miskelly, Noah Kinney, Ronan Donnelly, Patsy McAuley.
Oisín’s: Josef Delargy, Niall Black, Paul McMullan, Peter Fyfe, Caolan O’Connor, Shane O’Connor, Ciaran McAuley, Alexander McMullan, Michael McMullan, Michael McConaghie, Alex O’Boyle 1-1 frees, Ciaran Allen, Oliver Kearney, Oliver McLarnon 1-0, Mark Haughey.
Subs: Alex Murray for O Kearney, Jamie McConaghie for M Haughey, Ciaran Black, Ruairi McIlhatton
Referee: Colm Cunning (Dunloy)