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Historic 1st Minor title for Tinryland

posted 12 Oct 2014, 12:48 by   [ updated 12 Oct 2014, 14:49 ]

By Eamonn Byrne

The famine is over. After 7 losing Co. minor final appearances since 1999 Tinryland’s skipper Conor O’Toole finally lifted the Pat McKelvie cup on the steps of the Lennon stand in Dr. Cullen Park on Sunday 12th October after an absorbing game against our neighbours Palatine. The mantle of red hot favourites did not sit well on the shoulders of the Tinryland lads for the opening 20 minutes of this game as the underdogs more than matched the boys in blue and white hoops. A lightning quick start saw Tinryland take the lead after only 15 seconds when Peter Hennessy won the throw in and transferred to Niall Lowry who duly slotted over the opening point of the game. It was Palatine however who settled the best after this score and the next 3 points were all scored by the Cnoc Arda boys via 2 frees from one of their best players Ricky Nolan and a point from play from full forward Cian Fitzpatrick.

This left the scoreboard reading 0-4 to 0-1 in Pal’s favour after 15 minutes. Dean Dunne finally settled the Tinryland nerves when he pointed in the 16th minute following good work by James McGrath and Conor O’Toole. When Niall Lowry converted a free in the 19th minute after more good play from Dean Dunne only the minimum separated the teams. The Tinryland come-back was then completed when Mark Lawlor won a penalty in the 25th minute and ace sharpshooter James McGrath who was the man of the match duly slotted home to give us the lead for the first time.

Tinryland were now finally at full throttle with the defence finally getting to grips with the Pal. forwards and the first half ended with two further points from James McGrath and centre back Cathal Gaffney to leave the half time scoreboard reading Tinryland 1-5 Palatine 0-4.

The Tinryland backroom team then made an astute substitution introducing Andrew Hanley into the fray and within 30 seconds the Ballinacarrig man who’s Father won a minor medal in 1981 made his mark with an excellent point following a pass from Bradleigh Nolan. Straight from the kick out James McGrath slotted over another Tinryland point from 50 metres before wing back Chris Bermingham scored a beauty of a point for Palatine. Andrew Hanley who was having an inspired game since his introduction then slotted over his second point as Palatine introduced Conal Slater for Moldovan born Stanislav Jolondcovschi. Pal’s best player Ricky Nolan then reduced the margin to 5 points with another point before a great Tinryland move involving Andrew Hanley, James McGrath and Dean Dunne resulted in the latter crashing home Tinryland’s second goal to give us an eight point advantage with 7 minutes played in the 2nd half. Another Hanley point 60 seconds later extended the Tinryland lead before Pal clawed one back in the 44th minute from wing forward Conor Crowley.

Up popped Andrew Hanley to cancel out this score in the 45th minute before the never say die team from the Kildare border replied with a Ricky Nolan point with 14 minutes remaining. With Paul Harland replacing Niall Cawley for Palatine Tinryland also rung the changes introducing Sean Kirwan for Fionnan Burke. With 12 minutes remaining Palatine were handed a lifeline when a penalty was conceded for a foot block and Ricky Nolan maintained his scoring record in this game by crashing the ball past Ciaran Byrne to leave 5 points separating the sides and all to play for. Tinryland’s response was swift and Mark lawlor capped a fine performance by extending the lead back out to 6 points with a well taken point with 9 minutes remaining. James McGrath then showed why he got the man of the match trophy with 2 brilliant points in the 52nd and 53rd minutes as Tinryland introduced 3 more subs in John Fleming, Adam Murphy and Conall O’Se. With 4 minutes of normal time left Palatine midfielder Shane O’Neill slotted over a free just as Dermot McGuill was introduced for Tinryland. Palatine still refused to lie down and Ricky Nolan capped a fine performance when he raised another white flag before James McGrath guaranteed himself the man of the match award with the final point of the game deep into stoppage time. This was an excellent all round performance by Tinryland after their slow start with the defence led by Ciaran Byrne in goal John Murphy at full back and Cathal Gaffney at centre back putting in a tremendous shift. They were backed up by great corner backs in Bradleigh Nolan and Dylan Reamsbottom and wing backs Conor McGrath and Fionnan Burke. Niall Lowry as usual drove the engine from midfield backed up by Peter Hennessy while up front Dean Dunne, James McGrath and Mark Lawlor were joined at half time by another match winner in Andrew Hanley who scored 4 points in the opening 15 minutes of the second half. Ciaran Larkin, Conall Dune  and subs Sean Kirwan, Adam Murphy, John Fleming, Conall O’Se and Dermot McGuill all played their part in this historic first minor championship for Tinryland as did the superb backroom team led by Martin Doyle together with Richard McGrath, David Larkin, Nicky Ryan, and P.J Murphy.

When the final whistle sounded there were joyous scenes in the stand and on the pitch as the Tinryland fans celebrated a famous win. Tinryland captain Conor O’Toole then lifted the McKelvie cup to loud cheers and in his victory speech dedicated the win to Tinryland club stalwarts Jim Deane, Cora Townsend, Pat Doyle and John Scott who all sadly passed away in 2014.  Final score Tinryland 2-14 Palatine 1-10.

Team: Ciaran Byrne, Bradleigh Nolan, John Murphy, Dylan Reamsbottom, Fionnan Burke, Cathal Gaffney 0-1, Conor McGrath, Peter Hennessy, Niall Lowry 0-1, Ciaran Larkin, James McGrath 1-4, Conor O’Toole capt, Dean Dunne 1-0, Mark Lawlor 0-1, Conall Dunne. Subs: Andrew Hanley 0-4, Sean Kirwan, Adam Murphy, John Fleming, Dermot McGuill, Conall O’Se