Knocknagree v Multyfarnham - AIB GAA Football All-Ireland Junior Club Championship Final

3 February 2018; Michael Mahony of Knocknagree celebrates scoring his side's second goal with team-mate Anthony O'Connor, left, during the AIB GAA Football All-Ireland Junior Club Championship Final match between Knocknagree and Multyfarnham at Croke Park in Dublin. Photo by Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile

Knocknagree crowned AIB All-Ireland Junior Club Football Champions

AIB All-Ireland Club Junior Football Final

KNOCKNAGREE (Cork) 3-13 MULTYFARNHAM (Westmeath) 3-9

By John Harrington at Croke Park

A classy Knocknagree outfit were just too good for Multyfarnham in today’s AIB All-Ireland Club Junior Football Final at Croke Park.

There was only four points between the teams in the end, but two of Multyfarnham’s goals came in injury-time when the game was out of reach.

Before substitute Mark Fallon struck for those two late goals, the Westmeath team simply didn’t have a cutting edge in attack to compare with Knocknagree’s.

The Cork team’s six forwards all scored from play, and their movement, interplay, and finishing was a joy to behold at times.

Tactically, Knocknagree got their game-plan spot on too.

They pushed up on Multyfarnham sweeper Ian McGovern and went man for man.

That meant their corner-back Michael Mahony found himself in Multy’s half of the field rather than his own, and he made hay there with his clever movement, eye for a pass, and support running.

He scored an important goal in the first half too, and such was his influence that McGovern had to start tracking him wherever he went rather than play the sweeping role he was more accustomed to.

In this way Knocknagree set the terms of engagement, and were pretty much in control of the match for most of its duration.

Right from the start, Multy found themselves on the back foot, and were trailing after just 14 seconds when Knocknagree midfielder Padraig Collins charged through their defence  to clip the opening score of the game.

As early statements go, it was an impressive one, and it set the tone for what was to come as Knocknagree took a firm grip on the game.

Their inter-play was a joy to watch at time as they moved the ball downfield fluidly with a nice mix of smart hand-passing and measured kick-passing.

By the fourth minute they were already three points to the good as Eoghan McSweeney and John F Daly followed up Collins’ early effort.

Max Brady opened Multy’s account with a free and followed up with a nice long-range point from play shortly afterwards, but then Knocknagree struck for two goals in a minute that put them firmly in the driving seat.

First Fintan O’Connor placed a nice low finish to the net after being put through by Matthew Dilworth, and after Knocknagree won possession again from the following kick-out another slick move ended with Michael Mahony firing home.

Knocknagree were now leading by 2-4 to 0-2, and already Multyfarnham were left with a mountain to climb.

Anthony McGivney did his best to rally the troops when he tore through the Knocknagree defence but his shot at goal was saved by Patrick Doyle, and then Knocknagree defender Karl Daly tipped the ball over the bar for an ‘own-point’ to prevent McGivney from punching the rebound to the net.

The second quarter of the game was less one-sided than the first, but Knocknagree were still sitting pretty when the half-time whistle blew, leading 2-8 to 0-5.

Multyfarnham enjoyed more possession and territory in the second-half, but Knocknagree were content to sit back and then hit them on the break and early points from Fintan and Anthony O’Connor increased their lead to 10 points.

Multyfarnham briefly game their supporters hope when David Wallace smashed a fine goal to the roof of the net, but it was soon extinguished.

Fintan O’Connor and Matthew Dilworth hit two more sweet counter-attacking points for Knocknagree, and then the game was put to bed once and for all when goalkeeper Doyle’s missile of a ’45 went all the way to the Multyfarnham net.

Credit to the Westmeath side, they battled right to the finish and finished the game on a high with those goals from substitute Fallon.

But by then it was too little too late.

Scorers for Knocknagree: Fintan O’Connor 1-3, Michael Mahony 1-0, Patrick Doyle 1-0, John F Daly 0-3, Anthony O’Connor 0-2, Eoghan McSweeney 0-2, James Dennehy 0-1, Padraig Collins 0-1, Mathew Dilworth 0-1

*Scorers for Multyfarnham: *Mark Fallon 2-0, Max Brady 0-6 (4f), David Wallace 1-0, Emmet Feerick 0-1, Ronan Wallace 0-1, Karl Daly 0-1 (own point).

KNOCKNAGREE: Patrick Doyle; Michael Mahoney, Paul O’Connor, Gary O’Connor; Danny Cooper, Kealan Buckley, Karl Daly; Donagh Moynihan, Pádraig Collins; James Dennehy, John F Daly, Eoghan McSweeney; Matthew Dilworth, Anthony O’Connor, Fintan O’Connor. Subs: Sean Daly for Paul O’Connor (31), Andrew Sheehan for Danny Cooper (40), Tadhg Long for James Dennehy (54), Tomás Cooper for Padraig Collins (59), Jerry Carroll for Gary O’Connor (62)

MULTYFARNHAM: Henry Reilly; Stephen Paul Heavin, James Greene; Tommy McGivney, Ronan Wallace, Sean Rock; Brian McLoughlin, Anthony McGivney; Mark Reynolds, Daniel Loughrey, Ciaran Madden; Ian McGovern, Max Brady, David Wallace. *Subs: *Mark Fallon for Tommy McGivney (ht), Adam Loughrey for Brian McLoughlin (41), Emmet Feerick for Max Brady (54), Ger Feerick for Ciaran Madden (54), David Kelly for Daniel Loughrey (65)

*Referee: *Barry Tiernan (Dublin)