Malones Scotland County Finals
29th September 2018
St. Ambrose HS Coatbridge
Official Match Programme link: Scotland GAA Finals Match Programme 2018
County Final photographs: County Finals 2018
Gaels Retain Junior title for 3 in a row
In a rematch of last year’s Junior final, the affair proved just as nip and tuck as the lead changed hands several time throughout the match. The wind was a deciding factor as the unpredictable gusts made ball handling and scoring difficult throughout. Dalriada, the men from Aberdeen and Dundee, were missing forward Shane McManus after he received a red card in the Semi-Final.
This proved tough for the men from the North East but in Man of the Match Hugh Conlon, Niall Horkan, and Aidan McKinley—they had several key scorers. The game was neck and neck throughout and the teams could not be separated at half time, both on 5 points each. It was a sporting contest throughout, but the frees were the deciding factor as both Brian Sharkey and Dermot Donaghy were able to convert for the Gaels. Midfielders Eamon Scanlon and Chris Beirne were able to keep Dalriada’s Niall Horkan from the ball and Gaels sub Ferghal Kineavy was a great impact for the Glasgow side. In the backs for the Gaels Mark Gallagher, Matty Donnelly and Conor Spalding did well to keep any goal threats at bay while Niall Devlin and Johnny O’Flaherty did the same for the Dalriada men. It came down to the last kick of the game when Sharkey was able to slot one over just before the final whistle. Final score Gaels 0:11 to Dalriada 0:10.
Malee Nets 2 as Connollys Crowned Scottish Champions
The ever-present Dunedin Connollys showed resolve once again to ward off a valiant Gaels effort to once again be crowned County champions. For the fourth year in a row, the Gaels and Connollys have featured in this match up—and each year, the match up does not disappoint. With the wind at their backs in the first half, the Edinburgh men were able to take full advantage, with several long-range scores from the impressive Eanna Newton. The Gaels were slow to get on the board, but a few converted frees from newcomer Ian Feerick helped keep the Gaels on track. The first half proved fruitful in midfield for Connollys as goalkeeper Adam McKeever—who scored 2 long range frees himself– was able to find his midfielders—Dever and Mullin, with ease. Sean Malee, player/manager for Dunedin found the net after a high ball into the box from John Loftus gave him the easy tap over the goalkeeper’s head. Edinburgh’s Ronan McGurk kept the back line tidy, all the while bursting forward and winning a few marks in midfield himself. All the momentum was with the All-Britain champions as they went into the break 5 points ahead. Half time score: Gaels 0:03 (3) to Connollys 1:05 (8).
After the break, the Gaels regrouped and started to find their attacking stride. After injuries to Eoin Leonard, John O’Sullivan and Richie Stevenson in the first half, and midfielder John Stewart just after the break, the Gaels bench was quickly depleting. The Glasgow men showed great resolve however after subs Pat Cremin, Simon Holland and Kris McArdle worked to lift the spirit of the team. Cremin pointed one from play as the tide shifted. A converted penalty from Man of the Match David Comiskey put the Gaels within 2– 20 minutes into the second half. The Gaels then came within 1 as Dave McGovern slotted a well-earned point over the black spot. When Connollys went down to 14 men after Newton’s second yellow card, the tide seemed to be with Glasgow. Yet, the Connolly’s men had been in this position before, and are no strangers to dragging the game over the line. They capitalised on a missed hand pass to bomb down the field and Connor McCann netted one for the Dunedin men. A few missed chances and a missed free seemed to take the wind out of the Glasgow sails and a class one-man goal from Sean Malee put the final word on this year’s County final. Final Score: Gaels 1:08 (11) to Connollys 3:09 (18).
Gaels: 1. C. Woods, 2. S. Ryan, 3. D. Kellegher (C), 4. J. Murphy, 5. C. Higgins, 6. E. Leonard, 7. JP Langan, 8. P. Duffy, 9. J. Stewart, 10. I. Feerick (0:04), 11. A. Kerlin (0:01), 12. D. McGovern (VC) (0:01), 13. D. Comiskey (1:01), 14. A. Dawson, 15. R. Stevenson. Subs used: J. O’Sullivan for E. Leonard (1min), K. McArdle for R. Stevenson (15min), S. Holland for J. O’Sullivan (25min), P. Cremin (0:01) for J. Stewart (32min).
Connollys: 1. A. McKeever (0:02), 2. F. Newton, 3. D. O’Brien (C), 4. R. McGurk, 5. J. Loftus (0:01), 6. C. Horan, 7. B. McAteer, 8. B. Mullin, 9. T. Dever, 10. E. Newton (0:02), 11. P. Reen, 12. C McCann (1:00), 13. A. Matassa (0:01), 14. F. Molloy, 15. S. Malee (2:03). Subs used: 17. A. Ward for F. Molloy (45min).