Cortoon Shamrocks overcame a fancied Kilkerrin-Clonberne side in Tuam Stadium on Sunday to regain senior status at the second attempt.
In what is an extremely difficult grade from which to progress, Cortoon Shamrocks will be ecstatic with the result.
A lot of teams have found, Kilkerrin-Clonberne included, once relegated, it can be a long and difficult road to return. And then it all comes down to wining one final - victory over performance.
On Sunday Kilkerrin-Clonberne began the brighter, and unsurprisingly they tried to get their play through star forward Shane Walsh. Walsh, with number 13 on his back, was deployed at midfield in an attempt to secure as much ball as possible, and he tucked away the opening goal into the left bottom corner from the penalty spot which left Cortoon goalkeeper Donie Halloran with no chance. Johnny Ryan then added to the scoring as he kicked a beauty off his left foot.
Cortoon Shamrock, after a sluggish start, eased their way into the game. Inter-county corner forward Adrian Varley, who controversially missed his side’s semi-final win over Dunmore MacHales, kicked a mark to add to Cortoon’s account after Cathal Mulryan kicked a nice point. Interestingly, he took the mark off his supposed weaker foot which just shows the quality he possesses.
A free from the ageless Derek Savage had Cortoon within one again in no time, but two Shane Walsh frees and another from play off and another Varley point left a goal between the sides at the break.
Cortoon Shamrocks came out of the traps after half time with Joseph Donnellan rattling the ball to the back of the net to level the game. With Kilkerrin-Clonberne on the rocks, Donnellan, who was man of the match in the semi-final, grabbed the game by the scruff of the neck. Varley tapped on another point and Donnellan kicked a screamer to make two points the difference.
Another Donnellan score was sandwiched between a Shane Walsh free and a delightful point from Johnny Ryan before Conor Rabbitte equalised for Kilkerrin-Clonberne to leave the game finely poised at 1-08 apiece heading into added time.
However, when David Warde kicked a boomer for Cortoon Shamrocks, Kilkerrin-Clonberne never really looked like breaking them down again. Substitute Peter Finnerty secured a brilliant turnover before getting on the end of the same move to seal it for Cortoon. And the game ended on a sour note when a melee broke out which resulted in red cards for Cortoon’s Adrian Varley and Brian Roche, and a red for Clonberne’s Chris Glynn.
It will not have affected the sweetness of the win for Cortoon Shamrocks as the game ended 1-10 to 1-08.