Ardnaree ace Martin Rafter
Ardnaree ace Martin Rafter
Ardnaree (Mayo) ......... 0-11
Rockcorry (Monaghan) ....0-6
FIVE players - three from the Monaghan club - failed to finish what turned out to be a tempestuous All-Ireland junior football semi-final at Carrick-on-Shannon where Ardnaree made history today by making it to their first junior final.
Two of the sending-offs were straight red cards for off-the-ball incidents involving Rockcorry players while, after just seven minutes, Rockcorry lost their goalkeeper to a black card following a deliberate trip on an Ardnaree player under the nose of the linesman.
The Mayo champions also had two of their best forwards, Ronan Doherty and team captain Eoin McCormack, dispatched on black cards, Doherty midway through the first half while McCormack picked up a black card only minutes into the second half.
While the performance of the referee took centre stage as time and time again he disrupted the flow of play by calling back players for a booking, Ardnaree were full value for their five-point win and played the more enterprising football on the day and had by far the sharper forwards, notably Cathal Noone, McCormack, Doherty and Rory Clarke who did all the damage in the first half
Ardnaree played much better when playing against Monaghan with their full 15, but when the Ulster champions went down to 13 players, following a second sending off early in the second half, the Connaught champions they seemed to lose their shape.
Ardnaree led by 0-8 to 0-3 at half-time but it took big scores from impact substitutes James Timlin and Brian McCormack to shore up that lead in the second half as Rockcorry threw everything they had at their opponents.
However, Ardnaree were always lethal on the break and could have had a goal or two to finish out this game, but there was never really any doubt about the outcome with the Mayo and Connaught champions playing the better football and producing a superb defensive display with Conor and Colm Naylor, along with the superb Shane Timlin, played solidly throughout.
Ardnaree Sarsfields: B. Ginty, Conor Naylor, Colm Naylor, C. Cawley M. McCormack, P. Lacken S. Timlin (0-1), S. Tighe, M. Rafter, N. Beattie, R. Clarke (0-1), C. Noone (0-2, 1f), R. Doherty (0-3,1f), C. Walsh, E. McCormack (0-2, 1f).
Subs used: J. Timlin (0-1) for R. Doherty (BC, 13), R. O’Malley for E. McCormack (BC, 32), B. Fitzpatrick (0-1) for Colm Naylor (54), I. Clarke for M. Tighe (57), M. Fordes for M. McCormack (57).
Rockcorry: J. Smith, C. Quinn, N. McKeown, C. McGeough, J. Reilly, K. Daly, S. McGuirk, M. Thornton, M, Daly (0-2f), C. Sheridan, P. McKeown, L. Smyth (0-2, 1f), M. McGuirk, F McGeough (0-2f), N. Carroll.
Subs used: D. Fay for J Smith (BC), M. Carroll for Sheridan (20), D. Matthews for O. McKeown, A. Tate for Quinn (60), A. McGovern for S. McGurk (61).
Ref: F. Barry (Kildare).