Kildare Senior Football League Division 2 final
Maynooth landed the Division 2 League title on Saturday afternoon as they rallied impressively in the second half to overturn a four-point deficit and edge by Johnstownbridge in what was a tensely fought affair.
Karl Ennis’ side outscored their opponents by 0-9 to 0-4 in the final 20 minutes of an encounter that failed to live up to its promise, but Maynooth were deserving victors after the likes of Paddy Hever, Neill Flynn and Sean Sinclair powered them towards victory in the second half.
The losers were short of a considerable contingent of their county players however, with Daniel Flynn, Paul Cribbin and Cathal McNally all unavailable, though Keith Cribbin did play the entire game.
The first half was a turgid affair where neither team showed anything close to their best abilities. Johnstownbridge were guilty of kicking a plethora of poor wides, while Maynooth looked devoid of ideas in attack on nearly every occasion they managed to get up into the final third.
It took 10 minutes and a number of wides at either end before the deadlock was broken, Luke Flynn smacking over a ’45 with impressive precision. It was at the midway point of the half before Maynooth opened their scoring as Sean Higgins looped over a point that needed the aid of the bar to go over.
Eoin O’Donoghue kicked Johnstownbridge back into the lead with a fine score from distance, but they were still sending a number of shots wide and had missed seven attempts by the 18th minute.
Brothers Sam and Glen Doran managed to land a couple of points for the west Kildare side to put them into a more commanding position, before Neill Flynn responded with his first point of the afternoon in the 22nd minute. A point from a Sean Sinclair free reduced the gap to one, before the score of the half arrived when Sean Hurley sold a lovely dummy solo to his marker and then swerved over a point from distance off the outside of his boot.
Paddy Hever halved the gap with a point for Maynooth, before Flynn pulled them level with a score from a free on the stroke of half-time. Hurley ensured that it would be Johnstownbridge who took a 0-6 to 0-5 lead into the break as he clipped over another free just before the shrill of Kieran Harris’ half-time whistle.
When Hurley kicked three points within the first five minutes of the second half it looked like Johnstownbridge would be able to go through the motions and ease towards victory. The big midfielder landed a lovely point from play in between a couple of converted frees, but they scored just one more point over the next 17 minutes as Maynooth instigated a stirring fightback that was led by Sean Sinclair and Neill Flynn.
It was the former who chiselled away at the four-point gap initially, landing a point from a free after his side had wasted a couple of chances, and the full-forward added a brilliant point from play shortly afterwards.
Flynn then burst into life, launching over an audacious free from all of 55 metres out on the right sideline, and though Hurley managed to issue a response of his own at the other end, Maynooth were growing in momentum. Flynn curled over a stunning long range effort from play to cut the gap to one once again, and Hever then levelled matters when he pointed after playing a one-two with Bankole Agunsoye.
Hever was on the mark again to send Maynooth into the lead, before Flynn doubled that advantage with his fifth score of the afternoon.
Having slipped behind for the first time in the game, Johnstownbridge were in desperate need of a response. Glen Doran managed a point for them, but Brian Flanagan’s side were dealt a blow when Seamus McNally was black carded for tripping Maynooth’s Kevin Dunne.
The men from the north border of the county managed to just about keep their noses in front in some tense final passages, with Sinclair slotting a free and Agunsoye clipping over the insurance point, meaning scores from Hurley and Keith Cribbin made little difference as Karl Ennis’ side secured a win that will mean plenty to all those involved with the club.
Scorers for Maynooth: N Flynn 0-5(2f), S Sinclair 0-4(3f), P Hever 0-3, B Agunsoye and S Higgins 0-1 each.
Scorers for JTB: S Hurley 0-7(5f), G Doran 0-2, E O’Donoghue, K Cribbin, S Doran and L Flynn (1’45) 0-1 each.
Mark Donnellan; Darragh Hurley, Alan McAndrew, Niall O’Sullivan; Callum McCabe, Darren Maguire, Conor Coyle; John McAndrew, Sean Higgins; Bankole Agunsoye, Neill Flynn, Kevin Dunne; Paddy Hever, Sean Sinclair, Chris Canning
Subs used: Conor Lynch for Coyle 47mins, Johnny Doyle for O’Donoghue 53mins, Michael Fahey for Canning 57mins.
Ken Dixon; Dessie Holton, Joey Higgins, Ian McKeon; Jamsie O’Connor, Luke Flynn, Keith Cribbin; Seamus McNally, Sean Hurley; Eoin O’Donoghue, Kelvin McNally, Glen Doran; Jimmy Farrell, Niall Vaughan, Sam Doran
Subs used: Sean Holton for Vaughan 46mins, Mark Newman for K McNally BC 56mins.
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