AIB All Ireland JHC: Dunnamaggin edge exciting encounter
AIB All Ireland Club JHC Final
DUNNAMAGGIN (KILKENNY) 1-17 CASTLEBLAYNEY (MONAGHAN) 1-13
By Cian O'Connell at Croke Park
Dunnamaggin concluded an absorbing tussle with a real flourish to secure AIB All Ireland Junior glory at GAA headquarters.
A hugely entertaining encounter packed with drama and fine scores was ultimately decided by Dunnamaggin’s storming finish as Eamonn Kennedy’s team struck seven unanswered points late on.
Castleblayney contributed handsomely to a stirring opening period with the underdogs eventually departing armed with a surprise 1-8 to 1-6 advantage.
That was chiefly due to a brilliant burst which yielded 1-3 without reply as the interval approached as Castleblayney responded following an early Dunnamaggin flurry.
Prompted by John Fitzpatrick’s splendid 11th minute goal the Kilkenny outfit edged 1-2 to 0-2 clear and still led by three moments later.
That is when Castleblayney, inspired by the excellent Fergal Rafter, really thundered into the contest with admirable determination.
Two Rafter points were sandwiched either side of a Hugh Byrne effort before Castleblayney planted a goal in the 30th minute.
Byrne’s pass released Brian McGuigan, who rattled the Dunnamaggin net ensuring Castleblayney led at the break by two.
After the restart Jimmy Lacey’s charges remained defiant, but it wasn’t all about passion there was plenty of purpose to Castleblayney’s play also.
At the end of the third quarter Castleblayney’s advantage stood at 1-12 to 1-9 as Rafter and Hugh Byrne were prominent in attack.
Dunnamaggin, though, trimmed the deficit as Darren Fitpatrick and John Fitzpatrick scored either side of a Rafter free.
Then the margin was reduced to the minimum when Thomas Maher rifled a free and Ray Cody subsequently thumped over the leveller.
Suddenly Castleblayney were in a spot of bother and Maher added Dunnamaggin’s fourth point on the spin to edge them in front.
Fittingly Maher added two more before Ronan Coffey decorated Dunnamaggin’s win with the insurance score in stoppage time. Castleblayney didn’t lack courage, but Dunnamaggin prevailed.
Scorers for Dunnamaggin: Thomas Maher 0-7 (4fs, 165), John Fitzpatrick 1-3, Ray Cody and Ronan Coffey 0-2 each, Darren Fitzpatrick, Darragh O’Keeffe, Eoghan Kearney (f) 0-1 each.
Scorers for Castleblayney: Fergal Rafter 0-9 (6fs, 165), Brian McGuigan 1-1, Hugh Byrne 0-2, Cormac McNally 0-1.
DUNNAMAGGIN: Seaghan O’Neill; Mark Heffernan, Noel Hickey, Victor Costello; Michael Cody, William Phelan, Andrew Fitzpatrick; Darren Fitzpatrick, Eoghan Kearney; Thomas Maher, John Fitzpatrick, Darragh O’Keeffe; Ronan Coffey, Ray Cody, Adam Fitzpatrick.
Subs: Jack Brett for M Heffernan (36), Ian Walsh for A Fitzpatrick (45).
CASTLEBLAYNEY: Paddy Collins; Eoin Leonard, Jim McHugh, Colin Meerick; Aaron Kenny, Peter Treanor, Cormac McNally; Brian Flanagan, Paddy Finnegan; Hugh Byrne, Mark Treanor, Brian McGuigan; Fergal Rafter, Craig Callan, Pauric Malone.
Subs: Fintan Finnegan for Malone (55).
REFEREE: Liam Gordon (Galway).