The meeting of these two sides took place at Breaffy GAA grounds, in Ballyheane, with throw-in at 5.15pm. Conditions were perfect for the contest – the pitch had benefited from 6 days without rain and the weather on this autumn evening was overcast but dry and flat calm.
Once the game got underway, the flat calm of the weather wasn’t exactly replicated along the sidelines!!
There wasn’t much to separate the sides in the opening quarter. Kilmeena were guilty of gifting the ball to Parke on too many occasions. However, Darragh Slattery got Kilmeena on the scoreboard with a converted mark. This was followed by a point from play off the boot of Cillian O’Grady. Parke chalked up 3 points in this opening period – 2 converted frees and a point from play.
Parke were more enterprising with their point scoring after the water-break with points from frees (2), a converted mark and one from play. Whilst Kilmeena were still mixing the good with the not-so-good in attack, the defensive unit with full back Harry Sheridan and centre back Oisin Grimley were making sure Parke had to work extremely hard for their scores.
Then, in one of the plays of the game, Chris McGlynn obtained possession and set off on one of his trademark runs through the centre third, before kicking (the ball) to the inside forward (Cillian O’Grady). A quick transfer from Cillian to the incoming Jack Mulchrone and the industrious man from Rassakeeran made no mistake – the ball was in the back of the Parke net. Liam Moore added a well taken free to give the men in black and white a tally of 1-1 for the second quarter.
So at the small whistle, only the minimum separated the teams; with Parke edging it by 7 points to Kilmeena’s 1-3.
Parke took the initiative in the early stages of the second half and broke through the Kilmeena defence to score a well taken goal and then followed this up with a point. 6 minutes into the second half then and Kilmeena found themselves 5 points adrift. Fresh legs were introduced off the bench – Cormac Lyons for Jack Walsh, Conal Gill for Brain Durkan and Sean Prenty for Dan O’Malley.
Kilmeena began to turn the game around and in a blistering 10 minute spell, 5 points from the boot of Darragh Slattery – 3 frees and 2 from play – levelled the contest at the 2nd water-break. Needless to say the Kilmeena management would have been happy to forego the water-break at this stage, such was the momentum that the men in black and white had.
The final quarter was tight and tense with no one willing to give an inch.
Kilmeena added 2 more points from play – Darragh Slattery and Chris McGlynn obliging. Parke matched Kilmeena’s brace with a point from a free and one from play. With daylight fading, the prospect of extra time was attractive to nobody and something would have to give.
Since his introduction in the 3rd quarter, substitute Conal Gill was causing all sorts of trouble for the Parke defence, with his movement and more direct style of running. And, in the closing stages when he took possession on the left wing and made towards goal, it looked like Parke had just done enough to prevent any serious damage (perhaps they would have settled for conceding a point at this juncture) and indeed Gill could have fisted over to give Kilmeena a one point lead.
However, sensing a greater opportunity, Gill gave the perfect pass across to Cillian O’Grady – goal for Kilmeena and game over..........
Or was it.....one last attack by Parke but the Kilmeena defence - who were impressive throughout and were ably assisted by Ciaran Kilcoyne’s sweeping role - repelled this late effort and the final whistle sounded.
The young men in Black and White celebrated wildly – and deservedly so.
This was a tight contest right to the end and the win by Kilmeena was achieved by a complete team effort of 1 to 15, strengthened by substitutions and supported throughout by a strong bench. These lads all deserve great credit for coming from 5 points down early in the second half to win by 3 at the final whistle.
Captain Daniel O’Malley accepted the Cup and elected for a shortened speech given the rapidly fading daylight!!
Final score: Kilmeena; 2 – 10, Parke; 1 - 10
Well done lads.
The panel present this evening comprised of the following:
Evan O’Donnell, Jack Walsh, Harry Sheridan, Rian Kilcoyne, Ben Lennon, Oisin Grimley, Chris McGlynn, Liam Moore, Colin Hastings, Jack Mulchrone, Darragh Slattery, Brian Durkan, Daniel O’Malley (Capt.), Cillian O’Grady, Ciaran Kilcoyne, Cormac Lyons, Conor Feehan, Sean Prenty, Finley Gibbons, Adam O’Grady, Sean Gallagher, Conal Gill, Josh Browne, Conor Kelly, Cormac Feehan.