SAINT Oliver’s won a fi rst ever under 21 ‘A’ Football Championship on Saturday afternoon last when they beat Rathgormack with the minimum to spare at the Dunhill Club Grounds. The team that trains under the shadow of the Comeragh Mountains went into this game looking to put back to back titles together having won last years decider against Ballinacourty, but it was not to be as the group side comprising of players from Ballinameela and The Geraldine’s came out on top in a nail biting fi nish to this game. The winners led 1-4 to 0-5 at the break and with time ticking down they were comfortably in front but had to withstand a late fi ght back from Rathgormack before they fi nally clinched the title. Saint Oliver’s got off to a fl ying start with a goal on four minutes when Mike Kiely fi nished to the net using his fi st after some good work by Jason Morrissey. Another nine minutes lapsed before St Oliver’s added to that early score when Jason Morrissey put over a free. Rathgormack didn’t get on the score sheet until nine minutes from the break when Gavin Nugent pointed. Jason Curry and Gavin Nugent followed with points for Rathgormack while Jason Morrissey twice pointed for Saint Oliver’s from frees while Cian Culloo added another from play. Just before the break Rathgormack added another two points both from the boot of Jason Gleeson to leave just two points between the sides at half-time. Saint Oliver’s upped their game early in the second half. Aidan Dwyer put over two frees having taken over free taking duties from Jason Morrissey and Lorcan Looby added another point from distance to extend the Western Champions lead. Jason Curry pulled a point back for Rathgormack from a free but at the end of the third quarter it appeared the game was all over when Jonathan Flynn gave away a penalty for a foot block and Mike Kiely made no mistake in dispatching to the net from twelve metres to extend Oliver’s lead, one that was further extended when Michael Shine followed up with a point. However, champions seldom give up their title without a fi ght and so it proved with Rathgormack. Jason Curry pointed with seven minutes to play and Michael Curry added another with four minutes left. Two more Gavin Nugent points had Saint Oliver’s sweating with the game entering stoppage time and when Conor Walsh fi nished to the net for Rathgormack in the 61st there was just one point between the sides. Minutes after a high ball into a crowded defence was not properly dealt with, proving maybe that too many cooks can spoil the broth. Rathgormack continued to lay siege at the Saint Oliver’s defence. Jason Gleeson shot narrowly wide but as the clock wound down Rathgormack gave away possession and with it any chance of drawing level.
ST. OLIVER’S: Paul Curran; Shane Kenny, Brendan O’Dwyer, Keelan Looby; Stephen Halley, Kevin Phelan, Michael Shine; Brendan Phelan, Lorcan Looby; Aiden Dwyer, Colin Walsh, Mike Kiely; Cian Culloo, Jason Morrissey, Michael Culloo. SUB: Rob Shine for Jason Morrissey. SCORERS: Mike Kiely (2-0; 1 pen), Jason Morrissey (0-3; 3 Fs), Aidan Dwyer (0-2; 2 Fs), Cian Culloo, Lorcan Looby and Michael Shine (0-1 each). RATHGORMACK: Sean Clancy; Brian Connolly, Billy Power, Padraig Hunt; Brendan Behan, Dean Kirwan, David Connolly; Michael Curry, Conor Walsh; Liam Mulligan, Jason Curry, Willie Hahessy; Jason Gleeson, Gavin Nugent, Conor Murray. SUBS: Jonathan Flynn for Brendan Behan (Black Card), Gavin Sheehan for Liam Mulligan. SCORERS: Gavin Nugent (0-4; 2Fs), Jason Curry (0-3; 2Fs), Conor Walsh (1-0), Jason Gleeson (0-2), Michael Curry (0-1). REFEREE: Martin Curran (Old Parish).