Minor B FINAL: Clonmore 3-9 Fenagh 3-8

November 8, 2018

Clonmore captured their first Championship since 1994 when they produced a performance full of character, skill and hunger to overcome the determined challenge of Fenagh and win the Minor “B” Championship in Dr Cullen Park last Saturday.

The game had a frantic opening as Clonmore hit 1-1 within two minutes – Conor McCarney scoring a fine point straight from the throw–in and Jordan Walsh latching onto a loose ball in the goalmouth to volley a great goal. Fenagh’s impressive midfielder, Craig Wall, opened their account with a point which was followed quickly by another from the accurate left boot of corner forward, Sean Whelan. Clonmore’s inspirational captain, Shane McGrath restored their one goal lead but that was quickly wiped out by a brilliant goal by Craig Wall, who placed an unstoppable shot into the top corner of the net: 1-2 to 1-2 after just 10 minutes.

Points from Wall and Whelan put Fenagh 1-4 to 1-2 ahead on 16 minutes and it looked like the favourites were about to take over. But Clonmore were having none of it, and pacy midfielder Conor McCarney sent a rocket of a shot to the Fenagh net, followed by two more points by McCarney and one from Mark A Byrne to put Clonmore ahead by 2-5 to 1-4 at half-time.

Immediately on the re-start, Fenagh brought themselves right back into the game with a penalty converted by Darren Dalton but this was quickly wiped out by a Clonmore goal from David McCarney who finished to the net after a defence splitting pass from Shane McGrath. Clonmore then hit a purple patch, with points from McGrath(2) and Adam Byrne (one of three brothers on the team) putting Clonmore into a seven point lead – 3-8 to 2-4 ahead on 45 mins.  

But Fenagh kept battling and, inspired by centre back Sean Murphy, they produced an impressive comeback with points by Sean Whelan (2), Dion Wall (2) and a goal by Whelan, who did well to box a high ball to the net, bringing the score to 3-9 to 3-8 on 59 mins. In the middle of this Fenagh scoring burst, David McCarney managed to steal forward for a point which proved crucial in the end. With only a point between the teams and normal time up, Fenagh drove forward in search of the equaliser. Deep into injury time, it seemed like they had been thrown a lifeline when they were awarded a close-in free. Unfortunately, the previously impeccable Sean Whelan saw his curling effort hit the post and rebound to safety. It was heartbreaking for the talented Whelan who had done so much to bring his team back into contention. Referee Jonathon Murphy blew the whistle to end a fantastic game and signal joy unconfined for the jubilant Clonmore supporters and despair for the Fenagh men.

This was a game of great end-to-end championship football, full of honest endeavour, skill and courage. It was a wholehearted contest which was a credit to the great work being done at underage level by both of these two small country clubs.

Clonmore captain, Shane McGrath, was presented with the cup by clubman, Declan McCarthy, Assistant Treasurer of Carlow County Board, who himself captained Clonmore to win the Intermediate Championship in 1980.

Clonmore: Paddy Byrne, Andrew Byrne, Gordon Hickey, Anthony Byrne, Martin Doyle, Mark D Byrne, Paul Hogan, David McCarney (1-1), Conor McCarney (1-3), Enda McGrath, Shane McGrath (Captain)(0-3,2f), Adam Byrne (0-1), Jordan Walsh (1-0), Gary Byrne, Mark A Byrne (0-1, f). Subs: Aidan O’Toole, James Shannon, Mark Hennessy.
Fenagh: Donagh Murphy, Liam Nolan, James Tracey, Gary Aughney, James Nolan, Sean Murphy, James Cox, Darren Dalton (1-0, pen), Craig Wall (1-2), Dermot Maher, Shane Byrne, John Brennan, Sean Whelan (1-4, 2f), Dion Wall (0-2, 2f), Ben Tracey. Subs: Gordon Tracey, Niall Quirke, Liam Fitzgerald.
Ref: Jonathon Murphy (St Mullins).

PHOTO: Back: (left to right): Con Murphy (Selector), James Shannon, Anthony Byrne, Mark Hennessy, Paul Hogan, Gary Byrne, Shane McGrath (Captain), Andrew Byrne, Mark A Byrne, Jordan Walsh, Paddy Quigley (Selector).
Front: Aidan O’Toole, Gordon Hickey, Mark D Byrne, Martin Doyle, Enda McGrath, Adam Byrne, David McCarney, Conor McCarney, Paddy Byrne, Paul Byrne (Selector).