Boyle have no answer to O’Reilly-inspired Clann

Dermot Hughes Cars County U-21 Football Championship Division 1 Final
Clann na nGael 2-18 Boyle 0-5

Clann na nGael’s position at the top of the Roscommon club football tree was strengthened even further last Sunday at Enfield when they swatted away the weak challenge of Boyle to retain their county U-21 title and thus they end the year as the undisputed kings of Roscommon club football after their senior success earlier in the year.

  Clann were never in any trouble in this game, which was played in very cold and wet conditions but on a very good pitch. With Ciaran O’Reilly and Fergal Lennon outstanding, Clann dominated from pillar to post. Boyle, to their credit, gave it everything, but they were totally outclassed on the day.

  Scores were hard to come by in the opening quarter but Clann dominated possession, and by the 16th minute they led by 1-3 to 0-1. David Connaughton opened the scoring in the 6th minute with a fisted point but then Ciaran O’Reilly took over and he treated the fair sized crowd to some wonderful scoring. He blasted home a super goal in the 9th minute after good work from  Ruahdri McManus and Jamie Fahey, and he tacked on two fine points (one a free) to open up a six-point gap.

  Boyle opened their account with a Cian McKeon effort from play in the 22nd minute but it was one-way traffic for the most part and Ciaran O’Reilly kicked three more points (all from play) before half-time to help his side into a 1-6 to 0-2 lead at the break. Dylan East scored Boyle’s other point while David Connaughton scored Clann’s remaining point of the first half.

   The pattern continued in the second half with Clann on top, although with the score at 1-9 to 0-3 Boyle were handed a lifeline when Cian McKeon was fouled in the large square while on his way to goal but his penalty kick was easily saved by Clann goalkeeper Dylan Colgan. After that Boyle miss Clann opened up altogether and the scores piled up.

   Jamie Fahey scored four magnificent points in a row and with six minutes left Fergal Lennon got in on the scoring act with a magnificent goal. Clann emptied their bench after that as their management gave their panel a run in the final few minutes. Boyle were gallant in defeat but they were just outclassed and they could have no complaints on the day.

Clann na nGael: Dylan Colgan; Aaron O’Reilly, Paddy Harney, Martin Flannery; Jack Connaughton (0-1), Fergal Lennon (1-0), Shane Pettit; Stephen Flynn (0-1), Darragh Pettit; Cathal Callinan, Ciaran O’Reilly (1-8, 3 frees), David Connaughton (0-2); Jamie Fahey (0-4), Rudhri McManus, Cian McManus. Subs: Cillian Bannon for C McManus (52), Rian McNamara (0-1) for Fahey (53), Sean McManus for J Connaughton (56).

Boyle: Patrick Goldrick; Gareth Gilmartin, Ryan Finneran, Jack Cox; Conor Tivnan, Evan McGrath, Tadgh McKenna; Enda Smith (0-1), Thomas Halligan; Conor Flanagan, Colin Goldrick (0-1, free), Ben Kerins; Conor Deery, Cian McKeon (0-2), Dylan East. Sub: Bruan Furey for Tivnan (h-t).

Referee: Paul Daly

Man of the Match: Ciaran O’Reilly (Clann na nGael)

For a gallant but well beaten Boyle, Evan McGrath, Enda Smith, Colin Goldrick and Cian McKeon had their moments. For a rampant Clann side Jack Connaughton Stephen Flynn, Jamie Fahy and David Connaughton were very prominent but the stars of the show were Fergal Lennon at centre half back and Ciaran O’Reilly at centre half forward. O’Reilly was unstoppable and his total of 1-8 is a magnificent one in a major county final and his display will be remembered by Clann fans for a long time to come.