Lios Póil 1-11 Beale 1-08
An rud is annamh is iontach! ‘What’s seldom is wonderful’ and such was the case for the parish of Lios Póil last Saturday evening when our senior footballers finally brought home the Junior County Final Cup after a litany of close runs and desperate disappointments in recent years.
Though going into the game as favourites, the Lios Póil management team of Damien O’Sullivan, Tom Baker, Gearóid O’Sullivan and Kieran O’Sullivan were under no illusion as to the difficulty of the task at hand against a strong and well drilled Beale side.
Lios Póil started the better and within a minute Tom Kavanagh had registered a fine point from the first attack of the game. The West Kerry men dominated the first 15 minutes with Donnacha Higgins and Gareth Noonan lording the midfield. Beale for their part created a few probing attacks but the Lios Póil full back line repulsed these effectively. Nonetheless, timely blocks by Alan Devane and Goal keeper Conor Hanafin were required to defuse a couple of threatening attacks on goal.
At the other end, Declan O’Sullivan hit the cross bar from a long range free and Tom Kavanagh tested the Beale goalie with a rasper. However, many attempts went wide meaning Lios Póil had only two points for all their efforts.
Suddenly Beale upped a gear and from the 20th – 26th minute registered a haul of 1-04. Cormac Linnane cut-in from the stand side-line and set up Daragh Buckley to palm the ball into the net. From the resulting kick-out Beale found Buckley again and he drilled the ball over the bar. James McMahon, Jeremy King and Linnane were now pulling the strings and the dangerous Buckley was on fire.
Six points behind, and well into first half injury time, Lios Póil were handed a lifeline. A cross field pass from Daragh Brosnan found its way to Garreth Noonan who charged through the Beale defence, laying the ball off to Matthew Seán Griffin. The Minard man showed great strength, poise and skill to return the pass through a forest of Beale players and Noonan duly blasted the ball into the roof of the net! We were back in the hunt and half time was blown! Half time score: 1-02 to 1-05.
Lios Póil management made their first change at halftime sending on Kieran ‘Kinard’ O’Sullivan for Matthew Seán Griffin. The Lios Póil men had a steely look of purpose and determination as the half began and within a minute the clinical Declan O’Sullivan had clipped a beautiful score over the bar. Beale replied almost immediately but the Lios Póil men began to turn the screw.
Good work under the breaking ball by Seán Noonan and a number of vital turnovers by Noel Higgins gave Lios Póil a platform to attack. Some excellent long balls to the full forward line paid dividends and the irrepressible Declan O’Sullivan was in the mood to win his own ball and fire it nonchalantly over the bar. Kieran O’Sullivan and Tom Kavanagh too were harrying the Beale defence – the gazelle-like runs of the Kinard man belying his 39 years.
Beale for their part were creating chances, but pressure from the Lispole defence and some poor shot execution only served to register wides. Ronán Griffin and Sean Brosnan now had the measure of their men and the experienced Eoghan Griffin was marshalling the defence well.
In the 44th minute Lispole were level and further points from Cathal Sullivan, Garreth Noonan and Donnacha Higgins put them in a commanding lead with six minutes to go. The team showed great composure now, playing keep ball to run down the clock, and the impressive Noonan scored the point of the day from play to give Lios Póil a four-point cushion.
Beale now needed a goal and put in a last huge effort. Lios Póil however were resolute, epitomised by determined turnovers by Declan, Cathal and the industrious Higgins brothers. The fresh legs of Adrian Rayel and Shane Moriarty also served to bolster the team.
Deep into injury time Beale launched a 45 into Cormac Linnane in the square but Dara O’Sullivan snuffed out the chance with the determination and fight he had shown all throughout the game. Beale managed to turn around and point the resulting clearance but the game was over and Lios Póil were worthy victors!
Congratulations to all the team and management for a momentous victory! Also, much appreciation to Kevin Griffin and all the Lios Póil officers and volunteers who keep the show on the road. Man of the match was the wonder-kid Declan O’Sullivan – but we had a full squad of heroes on the day!
To quote from our Captain’s winning speech ‘Thank you, thank you, thank you!’ Lios Póil Abú!