Mid-Cork Champions At Last!   17/09/2015

Mid-Cork Junior A Football Championship Final Match Report:

Uibh Laoire 0-14
Inniscarra 1-05

Thirty years of often bitter disappointment were consigned to the distant memory at Cill na Martra when a new young generation of Uibh Laoire footballers finally took the Mid Cork Junior title, the seventh in all, but the first for the club since 1985 and the only successful appearance in five finals appearances since then. Uibh Laoire were full value for their win and after twice being behind in the opening stages, they took the lead at 0-5 to 1-1 with a Cathal Vaughan point in the 13th minute and were never subsequently led. Winner of the 'Man of the Match' award was Cathal Vaughan and no one will disagree with the judges' verdict here as the 20 year old Iveleary man was outstanding, scoring 0-9 in all, 0-6 from frees, 0-2 from sideline balls and a point from play.

Inniscarra scored first, Tomás O'Connor raising a white flag in less than thirty seconds. Brian Cronin, another Uibh Laoire hero with 0-4 at the finish, quickly equalised for his side and Cathal Vaughan and Cronin pointed frees to put Uibh Laoire in front. In the 8th minute, Inniscarra delivered a shock to the winners when Tomás O'Connor cut in along the end line on the left and floated over a lob which Daniel O'Connell fisted to the net, 1-1 to 0-3 to Inniscarra! The Uibh Laoire response was quickly forthcoming and showed that this was to be the day when the Reds would deliver. Finbarr McSweeney levelled with a point from play after Chris Óg Jones' shot came back off the upright, Cathal Vaughan pointed a free from 50 metres and then pointed a 14m free, 0-6 to 1-1 at the end of the opening quarter and Uibh Laoire on top. Paul Farmer had a fine point for Inniscarra in the 16th minute but back came the western side with points from Vaughan, one from play from out near the sideline and another from a sideline ball in the 23rd minute. Brian Cronin pointed a free after a foul on Seán O'Leary and to cap a fine half hour's display, Cathal Vaughan again pointed a sideline ball to leave his side in control at the break, enjoying a 0-10 to 1–2 lead but facing the strong breeze in the second half.

Prior to the game there had been very heavy rainfall which had eased considerably during the early stages and had disappeared completely before half time, not to come back again until after the game concluded.

Inniscarra made brave effort to get back into contention on the restart, Tomás O'Connor pointing from play and Seán O'Donoghue doing likewise from a free within the opening five minutes but Cathal Vaughan eased any Uibh Laoire anxiety with another beautifully kicked point from a free, after he had himself been fouled. Inniscarra lost Conor Buckley to a Black card offence and there followed a period when neither side scored, ended at last in the 50th minute by a point from play for Uibh Laoire by Brian Cronin after Vaughan's '45' had dropped short. Vaughan pointed another free, Tomás O'Connor did likewise for 'Scarra' and in the last minute of normal time, Cathal Vaughan tapped over a close range free. In injury time, Uibh Laoire were awarded a penalty when Chris Óg Jones, a constant livewire in the Uibh Laoire attack, was fouled in the Inniscarra goalmouth but even 'Homer nods' – Cathal Vaughan blasted the ball wide from the penalty spot with the last kick of the game.

The joy of the Uibh Laoire team and supporters at the final whistle was unbounded and many were quite emotional, not surprising after such a long wait for the title. Many of those former players who had played so long without reward were present to share in the joy and to celebrate with the new generation.

Mid Cork board cathaoirleach JJ Long, presented the cup to joint captains, Patrick O'Riordan (out of action all year with injury) and Brian Cronin. The cathaoirleach praised both teams and the referee Pat O'Leary and his team of officials, Michael Garvey, John O'Leary, Donal O'Leary, Denis Healy, JJ Murphy and Denis O'Donoghue. He thanked competition sponsors Ross Oil and local representative Tim Holland for their generous sponsorship of the championship and the Cill na Martra club for the excellent condition of the pitch and all their arrangements for the game. He wished Uibh Laoire well in the county championship against Urhan.

Patrick O'Riordan, in accepting the cup, spoke of the hard defeats and the refusal of the club to accept defeat as inevitable despite their many disappointments. He thanked the players for their dedication and praised the mentors Tim O'Sullivan, Denis Cronin and Mick Creed, team trainer Jim O'Sullivan from Newcestown and club physio Cliona O'Riordan for their expertise and commitment.

For long serving players like Jamie Cronin, Seán Lehane, Gerard McSweeney and his brother Finbarr, Brian Cronin, Edward Buckley, John F O'Callaghan, Colin Tanner, Brian Murphy, Kevin Hourihan, James O'Leary it was a day to savour while for the younger brigade which also included panellists Joe Creedon, Kevin Jones, David Hourihan it may be the start of a new era in the annals of Uibh Laoire.

Starting Team: Jamie Cronin: Donal Cotter, Daniel O'Riordan, Barry Murphy: Ger O'Riordan, Cal McCarthy, Kevin Manning: Seán O'Leary, Barry O'Leary: Shane Galvin, Seán Lehane, Finbarr McSweeney Snr: Chris Óg Jones, Cathal Vaughan, Brian Cronin. 

Subs Used: Finbarr McSweeney jnr. (46), Liam Kearney (48), Ger McSweeney (55), Patrick O'Riordan (59).

Scorers: Cathal Vaughan 0-09; Brian Cronin 0-04; Finbarr McSweeney Snr. 0-01.

Uibh Laoire now face Urhan in the County Junior A Football Championship Quarter-Final this Saturday, 19/9/15 at 4.30pm in Bantry. Please come along and support the lads!

*Report courtesy of Lee Valley Outlook*

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