Heroic Two Mile House hang on to sink Shamrocks and deliver more Leinster glory

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Heroic Two Mile House hang on to sink Shamrocks and deliver more Leinster glory
By Patrick Ward 15:08 Saturday 8th of December 2018

Two Mile House 1-8

Shamrocks 0-10

Leinster IFC final

A wet and windswept O’Connor Park was the venue of another famous chapter in a growing book of achievements for Two Mile House as they captured the Leinster Intermediate Championship title in nailbiting fashion on Saturday afternoon.

They scored just one point after the 26th minute of this game, but they put in enough groundwork in the opening half to put themselves on the path for glory, and the resolve and resilience they showed throughout the second half ensured that their challenge never derailed.

It was a day for defences as the likes of Caomhan Doolan, Nathan Sherry and Tony O’Connor were immense at the back, while Peter Kelly put in yet another lung-busting performance as he covered every blade of grass in the Tullamore surroundings, and Chris Healy and Aidan Casey tagged on the vital points that propelled their side to victory.

Conor Keogh’s goal midway through the first half was the killer blow that made the biggest impact however, with Two Mile House never letting their lead slip once they went ahead in the ninth minute.

Initially it looked like Two Mile House might struggle to make the most of the stiffening breeze at their backs, with Shamrocks dominating the possession early on and creating more opportunities. The Kildare champions were dealt a considerable blow inside the first minute when Shane D’Arcy went down with what looked to be a shoulder injury straight from the throw-in, meaning teenager Tony O’Connor was brought on to play a sizeable role. D’Arcy, on his first game back from a two-game suspension, would have been massively disappointed to see his final end after less than two minutes.

Shamrocks opened the scoring in the first minute when a long ball into the red zone landed into the arms of Alan Heffernan who flicked it over from close range.

It took Two Mile House a few minutes to find their rhythm, but once they did there was no stopping them in the first half. Peter Kelly played the captain’s part by sweeping over an excellent point to open their account in the sixth minute, before Aidan Casey fired them into the lead with his first score from a free. Chris Healy was the pivotal figure of the first half, dictating play from centre-forward and providing a serious scoring threat. The Kildare star scored the first of his three first half points when he curled an effort over his shoulder under pressure, and he helped created Conor Keogh’s brilliant opening goal.

The move started with Two Mile House gaining possession on their own ’45 and Nathan Sherry sent a long ball into the chest of Healy who did well to take it first time before sending a sensational ball over the top of the Shamrocks defence to meet Conor Keogh on the run, and he provided a superb finish to the far corner.

Kelly then set up Casey for his first point from play, before the Kildare defender created another score when storming through the middle with a fine run and offloading it to the looping Healy who split the posts.

Shamrocks were barely getting out of their own half by this stage, and they were stymied by their own mistakes in possession as they were losing the ball in the tackle against a hungry Two Mile House defence. A rare attack yielded a contentious point as referee Stephen Johnson overruled his umpires to award a Nigel Dunne point, but the men in yellow continued to apply the pressure at the other end.

Casey landed a long range free before substitute O’Connor stripped David O’Toole Greene of possession to set up Healy who made no mistake once again, kicking Niall Browne’s men into an eight-point lead. Shamrocks kept themselves in the hunt with a couple of scores late in the half however, with Nigel Dunne slotting over one from a free and one from play to leave the scores at 1-7 to 0-4.

The wind advantage in the second half would prove telling for Shamrocks however, and Two Mile House’s performance level dipped dramatically. It was hardly from a lack of effort, but whatever they tried just didn’t come off as passes went to ground or were intercepted, balls were lost in the tackle, and the poor conditions began to take their toll.

The third quarter was quite strange as Two Mile House enjoyed plenty of possession without making anything of it, while Shamrocks upped their efficiency somewhat. Dunne threatened to take the game by the scruff of the neck during that stage, scoring a couple of fine points from play and then slotting over a free.

Niall Browne’s men eventually got the score they badly needed in the 50th minute when Casey lofted over a free that was won by Mark Sherry, giving them a four-point lead going into the final straight.

Shamrocks poured forward as they desperately searched for an opportunity, with goals becoming golden currency by this point. When Paddy Dunican threatened to break through on goal he was duly hauled down by Tony O’Connor who was promptly booked, allowing Dunne to narrow the gap to three points by converting the free. Dunne followed up with another score, but they needed a goal as the game went deep into the five minutes of injury time. Shamrocks then lost Dunne to a black card following a late hit on William Burke, but Dunican took over free-taking duties and bombed over a long range score to reduce the Two Mile House lead to the minimum. That proved to be the final play of the game as the full-time whistle went following Didier Cordonnier’s restart, sparking jubilant celebrations for all involved with Two Mile House.

Scorers for TMH: A Casey 0-4(3f), C Healy 0-3, C Keogh 1-0, P Kelly 0-1.

Scorers for Shamrocks: N Dunne 0-8(4f), P Dunican and A Heffernan 0-1 each.

Two Mile House

Didier Cordonnier; Nathan Sherry, Andrew Cregg, Jack Collins; Matt Kelly, Finnian Breen, Joe D’Arcy; Peter Kelly, Shane D’Arcy; Caomhan Doolan, Chris Healy, Stuart White; Aidan Casey, Mark Sherry, Conor Keogh.

Subs used: Tony O’Connor for S D’Arcy 2mins, William Burke for J D’Arcy 40mins, Andrew May for Breen 57mins.

Shamrocks

Brian Lowry; Cathal O’Brien, Conor Condron, Jack McNamara; Gary Hutchinson, Johnny O’Toole Greene, Dan Heffernan; Andrew Delaney, David O’Toole Greene; Shane O’Toole Greene, Shane Heffernan, Luke Molloy; Alan Heffernan, Nigel Dunne, Paddy Dunican.

Subs used: Paul Minnock for S Heffernan 54mins, Darren Meacle for Molloy 54mins, Wayne Mooney for Delaney 60mins, Padraig Cantwell for Shane O’Toole Heffernan 60mins.

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