Late Shine free seals Clann’s double



Seamus Carthy Auctioneers AFL Division One (O’Rourke Cup) Final: Clann na nGael 1-10 Western Gaels 1-9


A superbly struck free-kick from Donie Shine 35 metres from goal and into the teeth of a very strong wind in the first minute of time added on, ensured that Clann na nGael completed a championship and league double for the first time since 1993 in Frenchpark last Sunday.

  This was a very competitive but niggly (at times) match played in poor conditions last Sunday afternoon and the players had to contend with driving wind and heavy showers throughout which took away from the quality of the game.

  Clann were the better side for most of the clash but an excellent goal from James McDonnell midway through the second half brought the home side back into the game and it was nip and tuck all the way to the finish after that.

  A feature of the game was the outstanding free taking from Donie Shine for Clann and Derek Moran for Western Gaels. Indeed, the Gaels did have a chance to equalise in the 63rd minute but Moran’s free from all of 70 metres was just too far out and the ball was cleared by the Clann defence.

  Clann had the aid of the elements in the opening half but the early exchanges were evenly fought. It was two points apiece after 14 minutes with Donie Shine and Emmett Kenny (who had an excellent game) on target for Clann and James McDonnell and Kevin Higgins scoring for the home side.

  In the 19th minute, Clann broke through for a very well taken goal. Ultan Harney and Davy Connaughton did the spadework and Gary Mannion flicked home. Three pointed frees followed for Clann, which were all converted by Donie Shine, and by the 29th minute it was 1-5 to 0-2. However, two placed balls converted by the Gaels’ Derek Moran reduced Clann’s lead to four points by the midway point.

  Emmett Kenny extended the Clann lead on the restart and while Kevin Higgins did score a fine point for the home side in the 32nd minute, they were still searching for inspiration from somewhere and it came from James McDonnell in the 40th minute. He collected the ball in his own half and set off on a run straight through the Clann defence and he planted the ball in the net for a great individual score.

  It was point for point after that and it looked like the match might go to extra-time. Points from Derek Moran and Cathal Cregg saw the scores level at 1-7 each by the 51st minute. Dara Pettit and Derek Moran (free) exchanged points by the 54th minute. Ciarán Lennon kicked a wonderful point from play in the 57th minute but not to be outdone, the Gaels were level again by the 60th minute when Moran slotted another free over the Clann crossbar.

  There were four minutes of injury-time signalled, and in the first of those minutes Donie Shine took on a free from a difficult angle and into the strong wind and his high looping kick hopped on the crossbar and went over. It was to prove the winner. The Gaels did have one more chance but Derek Moran’s long-range effort was cleared and Clann had survived.

  For the champions Dara Pettit, Davy Connaughton, Ultan Harney and Donie Shine were excellent but the ‘man of the match’ on the day was Emmett Kenny who got through a mountain of work throughout. For Western Gaels, Seanie McDermott, Barry Creighton, James McDonnell and Derek Moran were most prominent.