*The victorious Inagh/Kilnamona side. Photograph: Nicholas Rynne
A second Minor A crown in three years was the merited reward for Inagh/Kilnamona’s impressive final performance to keep St Joseph’s Doora/Barefield at arm’s length in Cusack Park on Sunday afternoon.
St Joseph’s Doora/Barefield 3-13
Venue: Cusack Park, Ennis
Following two bouts in last year’s Under 16A equivalent, another inch-tight war of attrition was anticipated for the Minor rematch. However, there was only one clear winner from a long way off as Inagh/Kilnamona led from start to finish to garner only their fourth ever Willie Chaplin memorial cup.
Perhaps it was the hurt of agonising defeats for this group in Under 14, 15 and 16A deciders that drove Inagh/Kilnamona to new heights as they hit the ground running with the first five points and never really looked back over their shoulders thereafter.
Matching their scoring tally with as many wides, that five point cushion only flattered a lacklustre Doora/Barefield who were also extremely thankful to goalkeeper Conor Nash for repelling an early Gearoid Barry shot from point blank range.
It only prove a portent of what was to come however as two goals in as many minutes through Clare’s All-Ireland Minor winning duo Fred Hegarty and Jack Mescall ensured a commanding 2-9 to 0-5 gap by the interval.
Captain Hegarty’s goal stemmed from a defensive error but there was no doubting the emphatic nature of the second in the 27th minute as Michael Cotter’s incisive pass played in Jack Mescall to unleash a powerful strike to the far right pf the net.
The Parish did inevitably rally as buoyed by a 36th minute Oige Fanning goal following good work from the Ball brothers Darragh and Graham, a second for Niall Talty entering the final quarter actually slashed the arrears to just five at 2-15 to 2-10.
Crucially however, Inagh/Kilnamona’s response was immediate as Fred Hegarty’s point attempt dropped short for the excellent Gearoid Barry to field and just about convert over the line despite the best efforts of goalkeeper Nash.
With that, Barry added a further brace to restore a ten point gap entering the final quarter, an unassailable advantage as it turned out after the Parish naively chose to pick off points instead of going to broke.
When their radar was eventually honed towards goal, top-scorer Padraic O’Donovan found the net with a bullet but coming in the final minute of injury-time, it was merely a consolation as Inagh-Kilnamona, following a difficult few weeks for their club, were deservedly granted some solace with what was deemed ‘a great day for the parish’ by mentor Gerry Coote afterwards.
“They fully deserve it having suffered so many final defeats. The same management and players have been involved since Under 13 so it’s great to finally get over the line with this special bunch of players”.
Scorers for Inagh-Kilanmona: Gearoid Barry 1-8 (4f), Jack Mescall 1-2, James Hegarty 0-4 (3f), Fred Hegarty 1-0, Neil Hegarty 0-2, Michael Cotter 0-1
Scorers for St Joseph’s Doora/Barefield: Padraic O’Donovan 1-5 (4f), Niall Talty 1-1, Eoin ‘Oige’ Fanning 1-1, Darragh Ball 0-3 (2f), Conor Daly 0-1, Graham Ball 0-1, Leon Talty 0-1
1: Frank Roughen
9: Jack Cullinan
3: Conor Rynne
4: Liam White
5: Alex Leyden
6: James Hegarty
7: Luke McGuane
8: Neil Hegarty
19: Tom O’Halloran
10: Michael Cotter
11: Gearoid Barry
12: Fred Hegarty (Captain)
14: Eoin Hegarty
15: Jack Mescall
18: Robert Roughen
17: John Barry for R. Roughen (40)
13: Gavin Fitzgerald for E. Hegarty (45)
21: Padraig Devereaux for Cotter (57)
20: Luke Kelly for O’Halloran (61)
St Joseph’s Doora/Barefield
1: Conor Nash
4: Liam Clune
3: Paddy Nagle
2: Cian Breslin
5: Padraic O’Donovan
6: Mark O’Connor (Captain)
7: Patrick Duggan
8: Charlie Hannan
11: Eoin ‘Oige’ Fanning
12: Conor Daly
9: Aaron Malone
10: Graham Ball
13: Niall Talty
14: Caoimhin Enright
15: Darragh Ball
26: Leon Talty for Enright (41)
19: Shane Mescall for Malone (57)
25: Darragh Quinlan for Duggan (62)
Referee: Kieran Liddane (Sixmilebridge)