Two goals in the third quarter proved vital as Moate All Whites ran out deserving winners in this well contested Minor A county final in Cusack Park last Sunday.
The celebrations which greeted the final whistle were indicative of the importance of this win for all connected with the proud Moate club. If this group of talented players can stick together the club can be hopeful of better fortunes at adult level in the coming years.
From an Athlone perspective falling at the final hurdle for the second year running is a bitter pill to swallow. Despite starting brightly and forging a four point lead early on, they failed to reach the level of performance that saw them win over Caulry in the semi-final. They had no answer to the intensity and hunger shown by their opponents particularly during the second half.
A Ray Connellan pointed free left the sides deadlocked at 0-6 apiece at the break. The All Whites who were growing in confidence and enjoying the better of the exchanges got the perfect tonic when Dylan Fitzpatrick goaled in the 34th minute. They struck for a second major on 41 minutes to put them firmly in the driving seat.
Athlone could only manage to add three second half points but were left to rue nine wides in the same period. The dismissal of talented full forward Aidan Byrne was the final nail in the coffin for Athlone who never looked likely winners for much of the game.
Moate won most of their individual battles with centre back Rob Gorman immense at centre back for the winners and John Corbally top-scoring with five points from wing forward.
Minor success doesn’t offer any guarantee of silverware at adult level down the road but it certainly offers a good platform to build from. Both clubs now face the task of keeping all players involved in the coming years. If they manage to do this then they have every reason to be optimistic of better fortunes in the near future.