A new name will be engraved on the All-Ireland intermediate club football trophy after Oughterard achieved a superb win over Monaghan side Magheracloone at Croke Park on Saturday.
Though the scoreline was 2-16 to 0-12 in favour of the Galway side at the end of playing time, there were only three between them when Monaghan legend Tommy Freeman pointed a free in the 55th minute. It did not reflect Oughterard's superiority as the Monaghan side had been living off scraps.
That this game was still a contest was only down to Magheracloone’s never-say-die-attitude. Oughterard was the better side in every area of the field. After losing centre back Brendan Molloy to injury early on. Tommy Finnerty’s side momentarily lost their way, but they very quickly went back to their direct running game that has served them so well all season.
Man of the match Eric Lee, Enda and Matthew Tierney, along with the Monaghan brothers Ryan and Cian, all produced 60 yard runs while in possession, and every single one of them was right at the heart of the Magheracloone defence. With Enda Tierney having the game of his life in midfield, it made everything so much easier for the team around him. Scoring four points from midfield and setting up countless other attacks, thanks to his prowess on the kickouts, Tierney will certainly have played himself into Galway manager Padraic Joyce’s plans for the coming season.
Eric Lee’s 20th minute goal was part of a profitable run for the champions when they outscored the Monaghan outfit 1-8 to 0-3 in 20 minutes before half-time. Getting the ball near the side line and on the ’45, Lee had no right to do what he did, beating several defenders on his mazy run before slotting the ball into the net.
Although two players were given their marching orders, Magheracloone had never looked like winning. They simply were not able for the hard running of the young and very fit Oughterard side.
Magheracloone’s effort with 13 men left them completely out on their feet, and when Conrad Clancy lofted in the second goal, Oughterard were still able to kick on and score another five points before the end of the game - much to the delight of the winners' support, there were no last-minute nerve-wracking moments to which they have grown accustomed over the year.
After drawing 0-9 a piece with Clifden in the opening round of the championship, followed by another draw with Kilkerrin-Clonberne, and then two draws with rivals Michael Breathnachs in the county final, Oughterard have since pushed on and gone from strength to strength to become All-Ireland champions. Drawing four of seven games inside the county. Oughterard have proved they were worthy champions with big wins over Tulsk, The Neale, and Magheracloone.
Opting to travel home after the game, the team arrived to jubliant celebrations shortly after midnight on Saturday. Despite the heavy rain, the parish was waiting to honour their heroes.
All Ireland champions and deservedly so, but what is most exciting is the quality of football this side produced on the big day, and the direct style of football played. Based on many of their performances this season, Oughterard will be a match for most of the senior teams in the Galway club championship of 2020.
Oughterard scorers: Conrad Clancy 1-1, Niall Lee 0-4 (0-2f ), Eric Lee 1-0, Enda Tierney 0-3 (0-2f ), Patrick Walsh 0-2, Ryan Monaghan 0-2, Cian Monaghan 0-2, Ian Gibbons 0-1 (0-1f ), Matthew Tierney 0-1 (0-1f ).
Magheracloone scorers: Tommy Freeman 0-5 (0-3f ), Gavin Doogan 0-2, James Ward 0-1, Ryan Farrelly 0-1, Michael Metzger 0-1, Jack Doogan 0-1, Padraig McMahon 0-1.
OUGHTERARD: Jordan Waller; Ciaran Hanley, Eddie O'Sullivan, Liam Moran; Ryan Monaghan, Cian Monaghan, Ronan Molloy; Enda Tierney, PJ McGauley; Brian Lambert, Matthew Tierney, Eric Lee; Niall Lee, Patrick Walsh, Paul Walsh. Subs: Cian Harte for Molloy (15 ), Daniel Kenny for Lambert (h/t ), Conrad Clancy for McGauley (55 ), Donal Gibbons for R Monaghan (black card, 60 ), Phillip Gibbons for Patrick Walsh (60 ), Ian Gibbons for N Lee (62 ).