Captain Tom Murphy (JK Bracken’s) pictured accepting the county under-21A football championship trophy from County Board chairman John Devane. Photo: Eamonn McGee
The reigning county champions were toppled in an absorbing Tipperary Water County Under-21A Football Championship decider at Golden on a glorious and historic day for JK Bracken’s on Saturday afternoon. Indeed, JK Bracken’s secured the club’s first-ever under-21A title after holding out under intense pressure from Moyle Rovers who did their utmost to claw their way back into the game after finding themselves four points adrift mid-way through the second half.
Tipperary Water County Under-21A
Football Championship Final
JK Bracken’s 1-5 Moyle Rovers 0-7
In what was always a very tight and hotly-contested clash that four-point margin, on a day when scores were hard to come by for both teams, was a huge margin.
JK Bracken’s scored three unanswered scores during in a purple patch which saw Andrew Ormonde level matters with a point ten minutes into the second half, Shane Doyle pounced for a goal and Lyndon Fairbrother set up Ormonde for his second score during a six-minute spell.
Ormonde’s well-taken points and Shane Doyle’s goal tipped the balance of the game in the favour of JK Bracken’s and they showed great resilience and character to hold out in the last quarter.
Doyle's goal was the crucial score in that it managed to give his team a considerable advantage at a crucial stage of the game.
Seconds before that he had been denied by an excellent save from Colm McKeown in the Rovers goal, but Doyle made no mistake when another chance fell his way and JK Bracken’s were in the driving seat.
They failed to score again after Ormonde's second point put them four clear sixteen minutes into the second half, but they had done enough.
Rovers, driven on by Danny Owens and Tadgh Fitzgerald in midfield, applied the pressure as they fought valiantly to defend their title.
Luke Fogarty scored a superb point and Riain Quigley converted two frees to close the gap to just a point with three minutes left on the clock.
The South side had their opportunities during those remaining minutes with a good three minutes of injury time added on, but they did not make the most of them. Indeed, they surrendered the momentum after creating good attacking positions by over-carrying and picking the ball off the ground before substitute David Roberts went closest to salvaging a draw only to see his shot sail narrowly wide.
Moyle Rovers had the chances to force the game to extra time, but JK Bracken’s held on to secure an historic triumph for the club on St Patrick’s Day.
David O’Shea and Jordan Moloney were outstanding in that last quarter for JK Bracken’s winning crucial possession while Paddy Cadell, Tom Murphy and Éanna McBride were excellent throughout.
In attack they had plenty of threat with Shane Doyle, Lyndon Fairbrother and Andrew Ormonde proving very efficient in front of goal in the second half.
Moyle Rovers did everything in their power to try and force the game to extra-time. They put in a huge effort in that last quarter but just ran out of time.
The South side will greatly regret not making their first half dominance count on the scoreboard. They only held a one-point lead at the break (three points to two), but with their possession and the amount of scoring opportunities they created there should have been a much greater gap between the teams at the break.
Luke Delahunty picked off two excellent points for Rovers in the first half, but too many chances for points from good positions were not taken.
With five minutes left in the half goalie Radek Nathkaneicz pulled off a quality save from Cathal McKeown before Jack Harney, with a powerful run from deep, scored an excellent point to put Moyle Rovers a point ahead at the break.
JK Bracken’s started the second half much sharper with Paddy Cadell drawing the teams level. Tadgh Fitzgerald, after taking a pass from Diarmuid Mulcahy, edged Rovers back ahead again, but then JK Bracken’s hit their stride scoring a goal and two points in that six minutes spell to set themselves up for a famous victory.
JK Bracken’s: Radek Natkaneicz, Conor Sheedy, Michael Egan, Jack Prout, Éanna McBride, Tom Murphy, Neil Quinlan, David O’Shea, Paddy Cadell (0-2), Jack Kennedy, Lyndon Fairbrother (0-1), Jordan Moloney, Shane Doyle (1-0), Andrew Ormond (0-2), Steven Quinlan.
Moyle Rovers: Colm McKeown, Jack Harney (0-1), Keith Cronin, Cillian Crowe, Ciaran Luttrell, Daragh Bolger, Tadgh Fitzgerald (0-1), Luke Fogarty (0-1), Stephen Quirke, Cathal McKeown, Riain Quigley (0-2 frees), Diarmuid Mulcahy, Danny Owens, Dara Ryan, Luke Delahunty (0-2). Subs: David Roberts for Stephan Quirke, Morgan Irwin for Keith Cronin.