Nathan Breen of Beaufort in action against Rory McHugh of Easkey during the AIB GAA Football All-Ireland Junior Championship Final match between Beaufort and Easkey at Croke Park in Dublin.
Nathan Breen of Beaufort in action against Rory McHugh of Easkey during the AIB GAA Football All-Ireland Junior Championship Final match between Beaufort and Easkey at Croke Park in Dublin. 

Beaufort crowned AIB All-Ireland Junior Football champions

AIB All-Ireland Club Junior Football Final


By Michael Devlin at Croke Park

It was all too easy for Beaufort who had 21 points to spare over Easkey in the AIB All-Ireland Club Junior Football Final at Croke Park this afternoon.

Liam Carey put in a Man-Of-The-Match performance at centre-forward, top-scoring with 1-5, though in truth all the Beaufort forwards were on song in an all-conquering display from the Kerry champions.

The Sea Blues from Sligo faced wave after wave of Beaufort attack over the course of the hour, and they never looked like turning the tide as the Kerrymen struck three goals in the first half.

It was the first time any Sligo club had been in an All-Ireland final at any level, a stat that starkly contrasted to the record of Kerry clubs, who have now won the junior club title nine times since the competition’s inception in 2002.

The gulf in class between the sides became apparent shortly the first whistle. Liam Carey got the Kerrymen off the mark in the opening minute with a fine score from the right, and they would go on to make all the running in the first half, centre-back Mike Breen providing the foundation for their lively attacking unit.

Several times they cut through in search of a goal, with full forward Ciaran Kennedy finding his shot obstructed by bodies in a crowded Easkey penalty area in the sixth minute. The goal did come though moments later when Fergal Hallissey made a dash across the end-line, and his fisted effort came off the upright for Ronan Ferris to seize upon and sneak a low shot into the bottom corner. Carey and Kennedy then added scores shortly afterwards as Beaufort moved six ahead.

Easkey eventually opened their account through captain Eugene Mullin from play, but it was momentary respite as back came Beaufort for their second goal, this time Kennedy firing low past Shane Kilgannon. The Munster champions kept up the pressure, with Hallissey and Danny Healy adding points in the 20th and 22nd minutes to make it 2-5 to one point.

The Beaufort attack now were in full flow, and Healy and Ferris both registered points to stretch their lead to 12 before Hallissey added the first free of the day as the game neared halftime.

Ronan Murphy then cut through a gap to fire on goal, and though Kilgannon pushed the effort away, Liam Carey obligingly followed up to volley home the rebound for the last action of the half.

Beaufort were to get the first score of the second half as well, Padraig Doona becoming their sixth and final forward to score as he expertly dissected the points from the right flank, before Carey took a simple score in the 34th minute. Hallissey added two frees and captain Nathan Breen fisted over shortly after as the gap extended to 21 points.

The result had long been beyond doubt as the game entered its final quarter, and Carey took his tally to 1-4 with an easy score. Easkey though to their credit played to the end, and they added to their solitary point through a Joe McHugh free in the 50th minute. Kevin Duffy scored their third a moment later.

At the other end though, Carey was still proving a handful and he landed another point. There were late scores for Easkey through Jack Scott and Johnathan Conway, but Hallissey and Healy cancelled those out as Beaufort ran out considerably easy winners to take the silverware to the Kingdom.

Scorers for Beaufort: Liam Carey 1-5, Fergal Hallissey 0-5 (4f), Ciaran Kennedy 1-1, Ronan Ferris 1-1, Danny Healy 0-3, Padraig Doona 0-1, Nathan Breen 0-1.

Scorers for Easkey: Eugene Mullin 0-1, Kevin Duffy 0-1, Joe McHugh 0-1 (1f), Johnathan Conway 0-1, Jack Scott 0-1.

BEAUFORT: Michael Moriarty; Michael John O’Connor, Ger Hartnett, Sean Kelleher; Jeremiah O’Sullivan, Mike Breen, Jonathan Kissane; Nathan Breen (c), Ronan Murphy; Padraig Doona, Liam Carey, Fergal Hallissey; Danny Healy, Ciaran Kennedy, Ronan Ferris. Subs: Cormac O’Connor for J. Kissane (17), Dara Coffey for D.Healy (40), James O’Reilly for J. O’Sullivan (41), Padraig O’Sullivan for N. Breen (48), Ian McGillycuddy for Mike Breen (48), Niall O’Connor for Ronan Ferris (50).

EASKEY: Shane Kilgannon; Ian Barrett, Noel McGuire, John Feeney; Eanna Moylan, Rory McHugh, James Lindsay; Eugen Mullan (c), Mikie Gordon; Dylan Sloyan, Joe McHugh, Emmet Healy; Andrew Kilcullen, Ryan McKenna, Kevin Duffy. *Subs: * Bernard Feeney for J. Lindsay (33), Brendan McGrath for A. Kilcullen (36), Jack Scott for E. Moylan (45), Jonathan Conway for R. McKenna (48), Hayden Gilroy for D. Sloyan (50), Joseph Dunphy for Emmet Healy (55).

Referee: Paul Faloon (Down)