Sammy Johnston was tested early with a high ball in around the house, but coped admirably and was awarded a free for his efforts. With two minutes on the clock, the boys from St Canice’s Parish opened proceedings, before Alan Geoghegan equalized from a free awarded on the back of some Danny Bolger hard graft. Young Shane O’Brien (‘Boro) had two early goal chances but missed narrowly on both occasions – OLG were getting stretched at the back and too much of the game was being played in the Continent’s half.
Huw Lawlor made a great catch and clearance as do-or-die defending became the order of the day. Paddy Cantwell struck a wide but did not let that deter him. Moments later, he was on the ball again (thanks to a brilliant Paddy Deegan pass) and struck straight and true to level matters at two points apiece. The O’Loughlins defence however was coming under increasing pressure – Alan O’Brien chipped in with a wonder catch and a one handed clearance for the cause.
Both Cantwells set up the next OLG score. Andy’s hard work released Paddy for a great point. PC’s two on the trot helped OLG into a one point lead. But still the defence was being tested – Brian Murphy made a great catch and clearance. Ricky Leydon also pulled one from the clouds and released Paddy Deegan to clear OLG’s lines. Wily veteran Alan Geoghegan won possession and a free under the posts – which he duly converted to restore the one point advantage. The same Alan Geoghegan would tag on two more points to bring this low scoring opening half to a close.
H/T: O’Loughlin Gaels 0-06, Dicksboro 0-05
It was no surprise that changes were made and the second half saw the introduction of Daniel O’Connor, Ben Leydon, Fergal Brennan and Vinny Wallace. Each played his part in a Continent revival of sorts but in truth it was to be the DOC substitution that would prove most decisive of all. No sooner was Daniel on the pitch; than he was on the end of a precision Danny Lenihan pass. DOC struck high and handsome between the posts to raise a white flag and give the St John’s Parish Boys a two point lead and some much needed momentum. The ‘Boro were not for giving up easily however and struck a brace of their own to level matters –both Eddie O’Donoghue & Owen Gough continually catching the eye.
John Doyle and Paddy Deegan combined well five minutes into the second half – Deegan’s shot raised his first white flag of the day. Paddy’s midfield partner – Martin Gibbons then got in on the act with a lovely point of his own, to once again put two points between the teams. John Doyle then got on the end of a beautifully drilled Ricky Leydon crossfield ball and applied the finish the pass deserved. But this was not before the ‘Bro hit a brace to keep the minimum between the teams again, in this tight encounter. Somehow, O’Loughlins managed to keep their noses in front. Alan Geoghegan hit three on the trot and Paddy Cantwell was unlucky to see his ground pull goal effort, go narrowly wide.
Fittingly though, it was the defence and replacements who deserved the plaudits in this game. With minutes to go – Andy Cantwell made a surge out of his own defence. Knowing he couldn’t catch the ball a second time, he booted it away to the cheers of the Continent’s faithful. The Doc O’Connor stamped All-Ireland minor class on proceedings with a bone crunching shoulder followed by a mighty catch, which would set up a Geoghegan pointed free to increase the margin to two near the hour’s end. Paddy Deegan scored his second and OLG’s last point of the game, on the back of Danny Bolger’s spade work. The ’Boro battled bravely and added two points late in the day but ran out of luck and time. O’Loughlins march on knowing they will need to improve if they are to remain in this prestigious Championship.
F/T: O’Loughlin Gaels 0-14, Dicksboro 0-13
Sammy Johnston, Alan O’Brien, Brian Murphy, Andy Cantwell, Huw Lawlor, Rick Leydon, Padraig Meaney, Paddy Deegan 0-2, Martin Gibbons 0-1, Danny Bolger, Alan Geoghegan 0-7 (6 f’s), Paddy Cantwell 0-2, John Doyle 0-1, James Lenihan, Danny Lenihan Subs used: Daniel O’Connor 0-1, Ben Leydon, Fergal Brennan, Vinny Wallace