Cill Chomain 2-12
The final ten minutes of the first half of this game on Sunday determined the destination of the McDonnell Cup. Cill Chomain were trailing by 1-4 to 0-5 with 20 minutes gone in MacHale Park, when things changed dramatically in their favour. Ronan Doherty had just kicked his second point of the day for Ardnaree, to push his side into a two point lead.Then Fintan Ruddy launched the kick-out down the middle of the field and Brendan Moran won the ball, he turned towards the Ardnaree half and ate up the ground. He spotted Martin Geraghty running off his shoulder and offloaded the ball to the full-forward who drove a little bit further on until he launched a powerful shot to the back of the net past Blaine Ginty. That goal signaled a sea-change in the direction of this contest and Cill Chomain pushed on adding another 1-5 to their tally before the break, while Ardnaree were left shellshocked and chasing a game they never looked like getting back into.
Going into the game, there wasn't much expected to be between the sides and for the first 20 minutes the game lived up to expectations. Cill Chomain struck first blood through a Terrance Moran free two minutes in, but Ardnaree hit back in a big way thee minutes later. A long ball was played into the danger area, which broke loose on the deck. Shane Timlin got a foot on the ball and played it across to Chris Walsh who put the ball past Fintan Ruddy and got his team off to a dream start. Moran hit back for the Glenamoy based side with another pointed free on seven minutes.
Ardnaree then returned with two points on the spin, the first a fine effort form Walsh followed by fisted effort from Timlin after he cut in towards goal, along the end-line. Both sides then swapped a brace of points with Ronan Doherty kicking a double for Hugh Lynn's side and man-of-the-match Derek Moran adding a brace for Cill Chomain. The next score was the decisive first Cill Chomain goal through, Geraghty which swung the game irrevocably towards the eventual victors. Geraghty's goal was quickly followed by three points in six minutes from Terrance Moran, two of them from placed balls, the other a great score from well out on the filed on the MacHale Road side of the ground. Rory Ginty got in on the act to stretch his sides lead out to five points, with three minutes left in the half, but the real killer score arrived four minutes into injury time. A long Cill Chomain ball down the field broke loose and James McAndrew prodded it forward on the floor, the centre-half-forward went after the ball and managed to hold off his man to take another touch, before he arrowed the ball to the back of the net for his teams second and crucial goal. The same man then kicked a sky-scraper of an effort over the bar before the half time whistle to put nine between the sides and leave Ardnaree scratching their heads wondering how things could have gone so wrong so quickly for them.
The second half of the contest is not one that anyone bar those supporting Cill Chomain will remember for to long, as Cill Chomain managed only to add two points to their first half total and Ardnaree could only tag on three points of their own. Ronan Doherty opened the second half scoring from a placed ball early on, but it didn't kick-start the fight back the long suffering Ardnaree supporters would have hoped for. Martin Geraghty kicked his sides 11th point not long after Doherty's effort, then Fintan Ruddy drove over a 45' with his third effort from distance ten minutes into the half. That was that in regards to scoring for the victors as they wound down the game and held off whatever Ardanree threw at them in the closing stages, to seal the clubs return to intermediate football only 12 months after dropping out of the grade.
Ardnaree: B Ginty; G O'Donnell, P Lacken, E O'Donnell; M Walsh, M McCormack, S Timlin; S Tighe, I Clarke; M Rafter, R Doherty, N Beattie; K Newell, D McCormack, C Walsh. Subs: J McHale, R O'Malley, E McCormack, R Clarke, A Kelly.
Cill Chomain: F Ruddy; J F Coyle, M Burke, D Fahy; J Healy, D Coyle, A Murphy; B Moran, D Moran; R Ginty, J McAndrew, M Irwin, G Ruddy, M Geraghty, T Moran. Subs: J Cox, D Sweeney, Dara Murphy, Declan Murphy, Andrew Doherty.