Banner GAA claimed the Junior B title for the first time in their history on Sunday with a fully merited win over Newmarket-on-Fergus.
Venue: Shannon GAA
Ironically the Banner also scored 2-11 when these sides clashed in the Junior B semi-final thirteen months ago. However on that occasion, a spirited second half from the Blues plus goals in either half from Martin Murphy and Owen McCoy saw them claim a one point win on a day when their opponents operated with a very defensive system at times.
An approach of using attack as the best form of defence was more appropriate as the Banner banished memories of that disappointment to seal a place in next year’s Junior A championship with a rather comprehensive eight point win.
More noted for his ability on the fiddle and banjo with Socks and the Frying Pan, it was Fiachra Hayes who demonstrated his finishing ability with less than a minute on the clock. Centre-forward Sean Collins tore through the Newmarket defence and offloaded to Hayes, he struck the ball low and hard leaving netminder Brian Tierney with little chance and putting the Banner in control from the off.
They remained in a dominant position throughout and limited their opponents to just a single score in the first quarter. Collins contributed with a further two points from play while Ian Molloy also raised a white flag. The Ennis club built up a nine point advantage when a long-range Shane Meehan placed ball was dropped into the net by a Newmarket defender.
Martin Murphy put three points on the board for the Blues before the half-time break while the Banner playing with the aid of the elements added scores from Shane Meehan (x3) and one from captain Johnny Martin.
Frustration became evident on Newmarket’s behalf with indiscipline creeping into their effort. This led to a brawl before the half-time break which resulted in the dismissal of corner-back Jason Duggan.
Newmarket may have outscored their opponents 1-03 0-04 in the second half but the side managed by Sixmilebridge’s Tommy Liddy had the foundations laid for the victory much earlier than that. Substitute Alan Hehir picked up a consolation goal for Colin Martin’s men who kept their fight going till the final whistle but the Banner added scores at different intervals through Meehan and Hayes to ensure they would be crowned county champions.
Contesting their fourth Junior B decider in five years, Newmarket will have no arguments with the result. The club’s third outfit will be pleased with their overall campaign but were chasing the game from the off and never managed to bridge the gap.
For the winners, it was an occasion to remember as they made their long-awaited breakthrough to the Junior A ranks. To continue to hold on to young talented players, it was essential that they succeeded on Sunday. Over the hour, Niall Walsh, Sean Collins, Johnny Martin and Shane Meehan stood out for the Banner.
Scorers Banner: Shane Meehan (1-06 3f), Sean Collins (1-02), Fiachra Hayes (1-00), Ian Molloy (0-01), Johnny Martin (0-01).
Scorers Newmarket-on-Fergus: Martin Murphy (0-05 3f 1’65), Alan Hehir (1-00), Conor McCarthy (0-01).
1: Darren Meehan
27: Liam Rynne
3: Colm Duffy
4: Oran Rynne
7: Niall Walsh
6: Cian Rynne
5: Darren Owens
8: Johnny Martin
9: James Coakley
24: Thomas Gleeson
11: Sean Collins
10: Ian Molloy
13: Fiachra Hayes
14: Danny O’Halloran
15: Shane Meehan
25: Conor McMahon for Gleeson (HT)
12: Milo Collins forr Coakley (36)
26: Mark Duffy for L Rynne (57)
22: Ollie Gleeson for Hayes (64)
1: Brian Tierney
4: Jason Duggan
3: John McInerney
2: Eoin Fitzgerald
7: Connor Clancy
6: Conor McCarthy
5: Ger Hannon
9: Liam Harkin
8: Ronan McCarthy
10: Neil Ryan
12: Ian Cusack
17: Cian Foley
13: Martin Murphy
11: Donagh Keogh
15: Eoin McInerney
21: Alan Hehir for Keogh (HT)
23: Ger O’Connor for Clancy (36)
24: Pakie McCormack for Fitzgerald (37)
19: Owen McCarthy for Harkin (56)
27: Alan Leamy for Foley (56)
Referee: Neil O’Brien (O’Callaghans Mills)