Two Mile House 0-16
Pittman Traffic & Safety IFC final
Two Mile House will compete in the senior ranks for the first time in their history next year after they put in a composed showing to capture the Intermediate Championship title on Sunday.
Just two years after missing out on winning this competition after agonisingly losing a replayed final against Round Towers, it was a sweet victory for the men who have brought All-Ireland glory to their little parish in the last few years.
It was especially sweet for man of the match Aidan Casey as he kicked 10 points en route to victory, with his debatable free at the end of the 2016 final which was signalled wide now consigned to history and will not matter anymore.
Sunday’s final was always going to be a tough ask for a Monasterevan side who were out playing for the past five weeks in a row, and they competed manfully without ever really looking like they could cause a shock.
There were intriguing tactical match-ups all over the field, with Two Mile House opting to put their go-to man-marker Nathan Sherry on Monasterevan captain Wayne Fitzpatrick, while Cian Harrison was a late change to the Monasterevan side and he lined up against county star Chris Healy.
The midfield sector was a fiercely contested battleground throughout the first half, with Monasterevan claiming some impressive marks while Two Mile House certainly got the better of things when the ball was broken down, and they built many of their attacking moves from there.
There was a symmetry to the nine points that the men in gold and green racked up in the opening 33 or so minutes, with Chris Healy starting and finish the scoring of the first half and Aidan Casey hitting everything in between. Healy fired over his first of the day after five minutes when Mark Sherry set him up, and Casey soon hit the target when Two Mile House claimed the resultant kickout and played it back into the full-forward line.
Monasterevan looked nervy in those opening exchanges, giving away some silly balls and struggling to create anything up front. They did ease themselves into the tie after eight minutes when Paul Maloney claimed a kickout from Robbie White, picked out Padraig Nash, and the Kildare under 20 star fired over a quite brilliant score from the left wing.
Casey and Nash then traded scores from frees, before Mark Kelly – on for the injured Kevin Dunne – raced through a chasm of space in the House defence before picking out Ryan Bannon to level the tie.
Casey soon replied by landing an eye-catching free at the beginning of the second quarter, a score which pushed Niall Browne’s men into a lead that they built on for the remainder of the half. A move that seemed to go on for an age yielded their next score, with Casey eventually hitting the target after his colleagues out the field showed great patience in possession. The corner-forward added another score before Monasterevan finally hit back through Cormac Stapleton who split the posts from distance.
A point from Paul Kelly reduced the gap to the minimum, but once against Casey was showing his prowess at the other end by angling over another score from a free.
The turning point arrived towards the end of the half when Monasterevan had a great chance to pull themselves into the lead for the first time. Ryan Bannon picked out the onrushing Stapleton who was bulldozing his way towards goal, and though Peter Kelly looked to have batted the ball away with perfect timing, referee Liam Herbert adjudged that the former All-Star had pushed Stapleton in the back and he signalled for a penalty.
Didier Cordonnier, who replaced the injured John Goff 10 minutes previously, was equal to an admittedly tame spotkick from Wayne Fitzpatrick and the ball was cleared to safety. It was a sucker blow for the blues as Two Mile House went up the other end to deliver another two scores through Casey and Healy as they took a 0-9 to 0-5 lead into the break.
After the change of ends there was no dipping in intensity or excitement, but the scores did dry up somewhat during the third quarter as just three points were racked up between the two teams.
It was the period of the game where Monasterevan will look back upon and feel they could have taken more from it, with Brian Lonergan’s side wasting some opportunities on front of goal when they had the lion’s share of possession.
It was actually Two Mile House who kicked the first score of the half through Jack Collins, but Nash responded with a brilliant score for Monasterevan before Fitzpatrick slotted over a free. Just three points down again, the men from south Kildare had an excellent opportunity for a lifeline again when Cormac Stapleton played Bannon in on goal but Cordonnier spread himself to get a leg to the full-forward’s low shot.
That was where the game turned once again as Two Mile House went on to rack up four points in succession to see the game out. Casey got their first from close range to end a 14-minute dry spell, and he added another from a free shortly after to open up a five-point lead.
Mark Sherry and Caomhan Doolin effectively put the icing on the cake, and with just three minutes to go there was no way back for Monasterevan.
It was perhaps fitting that it was Healy and man of the match Casey who delivered the final scores for the winners, while Monasterevan managed a late goal when Nash dropped a high ball into the square that was turned in to his own net by a Two Mile House defender. Monasterevan were also reduced to 14 men when Ryan Bannon was shown a late red card for an off the ball incident, but it mattered little as Two Mile House take their place in the senior ranks for the first time in their history.
Scorers for TMH: A Casey 0-10(6f), C Healy 0-3, M Sherry, C Doolin and J Collins 0-1 each.
Scorers for Monasterevan: P Nash 1-4(2f), R Bannon, W Fitzpatrick(1f), C Stapleton and P Kelly 0-1 each.
Two Mile House
John Goff; Nathan Sherry, William Burke, Andrew May; Matt Kelly, Finnian Breen, Jack Collins; Peter Kelly, Shane Darcy; Stuart White, Caomhan Doolin, Gavin Burke; Aidan Casey, Mark Sherry, Chris Healy.
Subs used: Didier Cordonnier for Goff 20mins, Conor Keogh for Kelly 37mins, Joe Darcy for G Burke 45mins, Chris Julian for White 57mins, Glen Lee for Doolin 62mins, David Hanley for Brennan 62mins.
Robbie White; Tristan Kennedy, Cormac Stapleton, Eoin Stapleton; Cian Harrison, DJ Earley, Kevin Dunne; Gavin Worrell, Lennie Havens; Paul Maloney, Padraig Nash, Paul Kelly; Kevin Fitzpatrick, Ryan Bannon, Wayne Fitzpatrick.
Subs used: Mark Kelly for Dunne 12mins, Sean Kavanagh for Kelly 45mins, Christy Dempsey for Worrell 50mins.
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