Moorefield, Kildare 0-7
Revenge is the sweetest remedy of all. Ask any Tyrrellspass supporter. Twelve months on from watching their side go under to the future kings of Leinster, Moorefield, the men from the Tidy Town turned up trumps in Cusack Park, Mullingar as they stole the Kildare men`s provincial crown with a rousing wholehearted and committed display.
In front of more than 2,100 chilly supporters, they took advantage of the reigning champions off-field woes, to record an historic victory and march on to meet Dublin champions, St. Vincents in their first ever Leinster Club Final. Like Sunday last, the Westmeath standardbearers will have home advantage when they take the famed former Dublin nursery on Sunday next at 2.00pm.
On a particularly decent surface, given the previous 48 hours of inclement weather, Pat Flanagan`s charges were well motivated, focused and full of endeavour as they sought to become the first Westmeath club team to reach a senior provincial decider since The Downs unsuccessful appearance at that stage back in 1973.
They were rock solid in defence where Tommy Newman, Shane Arthur, Terence O`Brien, Trevor John Gonoud and team captain, Philip Sheridan battled might and mane to the final whistle. The varying combinations tried at midfield worked diligently with Adrian Corcoran to the fore, and Martin Flanagan claiming good ball also.
However, it was the genius of Denis Glennon which set this game apart and, aside from his expertly taken and crucial penalty, the county star was a massive influence. His guile, sense of positioning and sheer speed had the alarm bells ringing on so many occasions and really one felt that given sufficient supply of the ball, he would have crushed Moorefield a lot earlier.
On Sunday, he was well supported by Kevin Connell, who covered a lot of ground, Gavin Hoey and Keith Scally, who was drafted in at the start for the omitted Ray Sheerin. Unfortunately for the Tidy Town they lost David Glennon very early on and there will be real concerns about his availability ahead of next Sunday`s clash.
The woes of the Leinster champions were well documented in the national media in recent weeks and certainly their difficulties with the Leinster Council, arising from a stormy end to their quarter final clash with Dromard could not have helped them. They were forced to forego home advantage and to line out without Kevin Murnaghan and James Lonergan, who were both subjected to bans, while listed wing forward, Frank Hanniffy and corner forward, Philip Wolfe failed to make the starting fifteen.
If Moorefield faced difficulties arising from scenes in the quarter final, they are likely to find themselves in even more hot water following Sunday`s clash as Wexford referee, Syl Doyle and a respected former Westmeath GAA County Board official were both allegedly assaulted by irate Moorefield supporters after the game.
There were indications that at least one Tyrrellspass player was the victim of an assault by a Moorefield player seconds after Mr. Doyle had sounded the final whistle but it is understood it was of a relatively minor nature. However, it is believed that the Leinster Council are set to investigate all of the incidents which occurred and the Kildare champions could face further sanctions.
When the sides actually lined up for the throw-in, Tyrrellspass had Martin Flanagan in midfield in tandem with Adrian Corcoran with Corcoran;s listed partner, David Murphy on the half forward line. It was a case of constant movement for the Blues throughout the hour, with Denis Glennon playing a rather fluid role, roving between the full line and further afield, particularly in the opening half.
Moments in to this much anticipated tie, Martin Flanagan had lifted the Westmeath champions when drilling over the opening point but inside three minutes, Moorefield, who were backed by the biting wind in the opening moiety, equalised through the busy Ronan Sweeney.
Tyrrellspass captain, Philip Sheridan was adjudged to have overcarried in the fifth minute and the accurate Patrick Murray scored the first of his four points. On eight minutes, David Glennon was presented with a glorious chance but just as he looked likely to fire home a telling three pointer, he lifted ball over for the equalising score.
In so doing, David suffered a recurrence of a hamstring problem and was unable to carry on, with Ronan Dunbar taking his place in the corner. The Leinster champions looked promising in those early moments and were soon back in front. As the Tyrrellspass defence stood off, Patrick Murray took a return pass from Ross Glavin and glided over the lead point once more.
However, that was to be the provincial champions final score off the rather dour opening period and in truth the Westmeath champions didn`t fare much better with a wonderful Denis Glennon effort just six minutes later was all they had to show for their endeavours.
Glennon demonstrated a tremendous turn of pace as he literally accelerated away from all and sundry to drill over the equaliser. Moments earlier he had come close to finding the target, the woodwork denying him following a quickly taken Kevin Connell free. The Blues strung a few good moves together with David Murphy failing to find the target after Ronan Dunbar and Shane Arthur had linked smartly.
Ten minutes from the break, Tyrrellspass had a narrow escape when a Ronan Sweeney effort smacked against the danger and Adrian Corcoran snapped up the rebound to avert further danger.
Despite further efforts to gain a nominal advantage approaching the interval, the sides could not be separated at the break and they went in to the dressingrooms sharing six points.
During the interval, a great deal of attention focused on Moorefield`s failure to capitalise on the wind advantage in the opening period. Three points was a paltry return from the reigning Leinster champions and with the Tyrrellspass defence standing tall in the face of the Kildare giants, there was a palpable air of confidence among the Tyrrellspass supporters.
It was clear the opening ten minutes of the second period would be crucial in deciding the eventual outcome and if the Tidy Town could establish any sort of foothold in that period, it would go a long way to projecting them in to a first ever Leinster club final.
And within seventeen seconds, it was the boys in blue who set out their stall when the Westmeath champions claimed the throw-in before Adrian Corcoran laid the ball off to Gavin Hoey and the youthful centre half forward, displaying a maturity beyond his years, set up Martin Flanagan for Tyrrellspass` fourth point.
Confidence high, Flanagan claimed the kick out but his efforts to get the forward line moving came to nothing as Moorefield closed ranks. Dangerous on the counter, the Lilywhites swept up field and it took a vigilant Tommy Newman to fist away a dangerous Ciaran Kelly centre.
Within two minutes, Tyrrellspass had referee Syl Doyle to thank when he spotted Michael Tracey had drifted in to the small parallelogram in advance of another probing Ross Glavin delivery. It was one of those days when little went right for the Moorefield midfielder and his frustrations led to a yellow card for a late but innocuous challenge on Shane Arthur.
Unfortunately, the advantage gained was spoiled when a rushed Kevin Connell free was allowed to drift harmlessly wide. Referee Doyle was now enjoying his business period as he dispatched cautions with gusto, Tyrrellspass sub, Ronan Dunbar booked for a clumsy challenge before Daryl Flynn was carded for a late tackle on Adrian Corcoran.
Once again, the Tidy Town had the opportunity of the free from the advanced position but for once Denis Glennon kicked a careless effort, to the left of the uprights. On nine minutes, Moorefield restored parity when referee Doyle spotted an infringement close in as and Patrick Murray duly obliged with the simple opportunity.
Changes to both line-ups saw the listed Frank Hanniffy replace Robbie Delaney while the vastly experienced John Corcoran came on for Ronan Dunbar. As light, wintry rain began to descend, Dave Barry moving up in support of his forwards, brushed aside Martin Flanagan`s attempted challenge only to balloon his effort right and wide.
Moments later came one of those beautiful examples of the poise and grace of Denis Glennon when he latched on to a Philip Sheridan punt to skip past a hapless Ian Lonergan to flash over the lead point.
After Gavin Hoey had picked up a yellow card for a high tackle, Frank Hanniffy failed to trouble the Westmeath standardbearers when his speculative effort sailed wide. Moorefield were enjoying a decent spell of pressure as the final quarter approached and but for some careless shooting, they could have gotten their noses in front.
Ronan Sweeney, taking a return pass from Patrick Murray, should have found the target before Ciaran Kelly, at the end of an impressive move, also shot wide. Ten minutes from time, Shane Arthur picked up a yellow card and almost immediately, the Kildare men were back on terms. After Pauric O`Flynn was fouled, a Tyrrellspass defender was punished for dissent and Murray gratefully accepted the enhanced position to slot over.
Stung by that early Christmas `gift`, the Tidy Town responded positively and Martin Flanagan grabbed a long delivery from defence, before turning and firing over a sweet point. Simplicity itself. That was in the 22nd minute and it was a lead the Blues were not to surrender. As Kevin Connell made way for Cathal Daly, the game was about to turn decisively in Tyrrellspass` favour.
Martin Flanagan`s overhit delivery ran through to the Moorefield custodian, Thomas Corely. An initial fumble was to prove vital as it afforded Denis Glennon and Keith Scally to close down the scrambling goalie.
With defenders marked absent, Corely`s options were limited and referee Doyle ruled he overcarried the ball. A quick look to determine the `keeper was still inside the small square, led to the awarding of a penalty.
Up stepped Denis Glennon and cool as a cucumber, he fired the ball high in to Moorefield net to the absolute delight of the Tyrrellspass support.
Both managements opted for fresh legs in the five minutes remaining with Niall Hurley Lynch replacing Ciaran Kelly and Tyrrellspass` Ray Sheerin replacing Keith Scally.
Conscious that their crown was now in serious jeopardy, Moorefield came in search of redemption and Tyrrellspass hearts were pounding as Ross Glavin burst his way before unleashing a thunderous drive beyond Darren Quinn. Mercifully for the Tidy Town, the rising ball caught the top end of the crossbar and flew up and over.
As the game entered stoppage time, Moorefield came raiding once more. However, on this occasion, the Tyrrellspass defence closed ranks and when the move broke down, a huge delivery down field, was food and drink to the livewire, Denis Glennon and he availed of the sustenance to raise his third white flag and put a commanding four points between the sides.
With added time almost up, Shane Arthur earned a second red, and consequent red, card for unceremoniously halting the progress of substitute, Keith Duane, who had just entered the fray for Michael Tracey but by now the game - and an historic final place - was secure.
Granted Dave Barry did get through at the death but his late, late effort flew over to leave a three point margin between the sides.
Scorers: Tyrrellspass - Denis Glennon 1-3, M. Flanagan 0-3, David Glennon 0-1. Moorefield - P. Murray 0-4, R. Sweeney, R. Glavin and D. Barry 0-1 each.
Tyrrellspass: Darren Quinn; Tommy Newman, Barry Murphy, Terence O`Brien; Shane Arthur, Trevor John Gonoud, Philip Sheridan (captain); Adrian Corcoran, David Murphy; Kevin Connell, Gavin Hoey, Keith Scally; David Glennon, Martin Flanagan, Denis Glennon. Subs. Ronan Dunbar for David Glennon, John Corcoran for R. Dunbar, Cathal Daly for K. Connell, Ray Sheerin for K. Scally.
Moorefield: Thomas Corely; Dave Barry, Kevin O`Neill, captain, Pauric O`Flynn; Ian Lonergan, Ger Naughton, Liam Callaghan; Ross Glavin, Daryl Flynn; Michael Tracy, Ronan Sweeney, Robbie Delaney; Patrick Murray, Jason Philips, Ciaran Kelly. Subs. Frank Hanniffy for R. Delaney, Niall Hurley Lynch for C. Kelly, Keith Duane for M. Tracey.
Referee: Mr. Syl Doyle, Wexford.