Senior Football Final
Down take title home
Down 2-12 Cork 0-16
Down had a brilliant opening to both the first and second half’s when they scored 2-01 and 0-04 with out reply, they were then able to withstand a furious comeback attempt by Cork as the game closed to take their first NY senior Football title.
Down had a whirlwind start to the contest. They had a point from Michael Sloan when Raferty fouled Pakie Downey, a tough call. Within a minute they had the ball in the net when Robbie Moran instigated a move and found Seamus Kelly. He linked with O’Rourke who flicked to an advancing Garth O’Neill who blasted to the net.
They followed it moments later with a second goal this time when Robbie Moran and Michael O’Rourke set up Pakie Downey. The big man gave Evan Byrne no chance. Cork hurt themselves with two balls that dropped into the keeper’s hands in the next five minutes but they were now coming into the game with Rory Stafford starting to influence the middle and Ciaran Lyng becoming active. They had two points in a row from Lyng, the second could have been much more but Mark Kelly made a brilliant save to touch it over.
With a quarter gone in the game both sides were settled but the game was still being played at break neck speed. Down replied with a brace from that man Downey and also Michael O’Rourke, O’Rourke picked the wise choice when he fisted over from fifteen yards out on the angle. It extended their lead to 2-03 to 0-02 with 18 minutes gone.
Down were made to defend over the next ten minutes and they were pressed back into their first 45. Ciaran Lyng had a point when Colin Daly won the kick out and set him free. Two Down points replied but then Cork had their best period of the first half when they added four points from frees and play. Lyng had two while JP Boyle and Rory Woods had the others.
It brought them back within four as the half approached but they allowed Down to move the ball down the field and grab their sixth point of the half before the break when Robbie Moran fired over from the right on the run.
Four points in the first five minutes of the second half all but killed off the contest. Moran, Connolly, Sloan and O’Rourke were on target. What it preceded however was a dogged and determined Cork comeback that had a bunch of horrible wides but also six of the next seven points as they came right back into the game.
Ciaran Lyng had three while Colin Daly went to the top of the square and he was causing untold damage. They continued to press with JP Boyle and Rory Woods closing the gap to 2-11 to 0-15, Woodsie’s point was an excellent score. The game then took another turn when Down worked the ball out from the back with Robbie Moran finding Pakie Downey on the right wing. He headed for goal and flicked to Gary Cornyn who had advanced as a backup. Evan Byrne had little choice but to pull the defender down for a penalty.
Mark Dobbins stepped dup to take it but his weakly hit shot was saved easily by Byrne and the ball was moved down the field by Denis McCarthy and Woods to a surging Alan Raferty. The Galway man fired over and the deficit was the minimum with three minutes on the clock. After the kick out Cork worked the ball forward again and they were awarded a free on the fifty yard line. Ciaran Lyng stepped up but his drive dropped short and was cleared from the danger area. Down moved down the field to pick of one more score from Downey again to complete a brilliant win for the Boys from the Mourneland.
Down had many heroes; the save by Mark Kelly on Lyng came at a crucial time. Gary Cornyn was outstanding, all over the field. Brendan McGrourty battled hard on the square. Shaun Munnelly, Robbie Moran and Garth O’Neill first half all had contributions. Up front Pakie Downey had an outstanding game with Michael O’Rourke close on his heels. The changes in the Cork full back line came too late. Sean Kelly had contributions off the bench as had Ross Connolly.
For Cork Evan Byrne saved the penalty to keep them in the game. Kevin Cotter and Jack Hoare were the best of the backs. Alan Raferty did far better when he came out the field. Rory Stafford had an excellent outing, but far too often a second Cork player jumped when they should have stayed out of his way. Ciaran Lyng had eight points but should have had more. David Crimmins harried a lot, while Colin Daly tried; JP Boyle and Rory Woods were far too quite for players of their abilities.
Down 1 Mark Kelly 2 Brian Murray 3 Brendan McGourty 4 Dermot Hayes 5 Barry Annett 6 James Mitchell 7 Gary Cornyn 8 Robbie Moran (0-02)9 Garth O’Neill (1-00)10 Shaun Munnelly 11 Michael Sloan (0-03)12 Seamus Kelly 13 Mark Dobbin 14 Pakie Downey (0-02)15 Michael O’Rourke (1-04) Subs Ross Connolly (0-01) Sean Kelly
Cork 1Evan Byrne 2Denis McCarthy 3 Alan Rafferty (0-01) 4Paddy Harrington 5 John Fitzpatrick 6 Kevin Cotter 7Jack Hoare 8 Sean Lordon 9 Rory Stafford 10 David Crimmins 11 Rory Woods (0-02)12 Colin Daly (0-01)13 Ciaron Lyng (0-08)14 JP Boyle (0-04) 15 Nicky Dineen Subs: Pat Mahoney, Francie Cleary,
Man of the Match: Gary Cornyn (Down)
Referee John Fitzpatrick (Rockland)