Buggy Coaches Division 1 Football League Final
WITH clouds beginning to hover over them and questions on a lot of people's lips, Ferbane recorded a very important, badly needed and morale boosting win when they ended Rhode's four year reign as Division 1 Football League champions in Cappincur last Tuesday week.
Having lost to them in two championship finals in three years as well as letting a golden opportunity slip in a group game, Ferbane's need to beat Rhode was fairly acute and this was reflected on the day as they produced a bit more hunger, displayed a greater desire than their opponents.
It was a deserved win for Ferbane but they would be wise not to read too much into it, not to waste any time analysing it this week. It would be wrong to suggest that Rhode did not try, they certainly did but their football lacked its usual bite, intensity and pace. They worked hard but they were well short of their A game and Ferbane were definitely the better team on the day.
There was something strangely lethargic, something unusually unconvincing about Rhode's football on the day but you can't read too much into this. The truth will become obvious in the coming weeks – either Rhode are more vulnerable this year than they have been in a while or they were just off the boil here, not overly worried about it with a big championship game at the weekend and bigger fish to fry over the coming months.
Yet Ferbane will be delighted with the win, particularly the fact that it was against Rhode. An emerging Ferbane team have been serious contenders in the last three years but haven't competed very well against Rhode in their two county finals and they needed to show they could beat them. A league final is a different story than a big championship knockout game but Ferbane still needed this one for all sorts of reasons.
Ferbane had the edge for the most part. They played against a slight wind in the first half and competed very well with Rhode in all aspects, while their finishing was more clinical – Rhode had seven first half wides, six in the first quarter while Ferbane had just three.
Those first half wides had a big bearing on it and Ferbane were in a very strong position when they went in leading at half time by 0-6 to 0-5. They were 0-2 to 0-1 up after five minutes but trailed by 0-3 to 0-2 and 0-4 to 0-3 before two Joe Maher frees gave them the lead. Paul McPadden equalised with a free but a nice Cian Johnson point gave Ferbane that interval lead.
A misplaced kickout by Ken Garry led to a Joe Maher goal just two minutes after the restart and put Ferbane in the driving seat. They were 1-8 to 0-6 ahead when Ruari McNamee brought Rhode back into it with a 36th minute goal – Jack Cullinan did very well to stop his shot but the ball scrambled into the net.
It was nip and tuck from here to the finish, though crucially Ferbane were able to break forward for crucial scores every time Rhode turned the screw. At the three quarter way stage, Ferbane led by 1-9 to 1-8 but Rhode were beginning to dominate – they enjoyed a lot of possession without creating a whole lot or penetrating a packed Ferbane defence.
A very good Joe Maher free and excellent Cian Johnson point from play put Ferbane 1-11 to 1-8 ahead with ten minutes left. In the closing ten minutes, David Nally really came into his own, kicking two absolutely inpirational points after Rhode had got the deficit back to two points through scores from Niall Darby and Anton Sullivan.
Joe Maher was sent off for a second yellow card six minutes from time but Ferbane were able to cope at that late stage – while Rhode pressed forward with intent, their efforts were workmanlike rather than inspirational and Ferbane held on.
Ferbane had fine performances from Leon Fox, David Nally, Kevin Nugent, Shane Nally, David Kelly, Joe Maher, Aidan Keenaghan and Cian Johnson while Rhode were best served by Ciaran Heavey, Niall Darby, Alan McNamee, Aaron Kellaghan and Shane Sullivan.
FERBANE: Jack Cullinan; Stephen Wren, Leon Fox, Brian Grehan; David Nally, Kevin Nugent, Shane Nally; David Kelly, Ciaran Cahill; Joe Maher, Bernard Corcoran, Cathal Flynn; Aidan Keenaghan, Sean Flynn, Cian Johnson. Subs: James Nally for Bernard Corcoran (48 mins), Ronan McGuire for Sean Flynn (60 mins).
Rhode: Kenny Garry; Ciaran Heavey, Jake Kavanagh, James McPadden; Darren Garry, Brian Darby, Niall Darby; Dylan Kavanagh, Alan McNamee; Paul McPadden, Ruairi McNamee, Stephen Hannon; Anton Sullivan, Aaron Kellaghan, Niall McNamee. Subs: Shane Sullivan for Darren Garry (Half Time), Gavin Young for Dylan Kavanagh (37 mins), Lorcan O’Reilly for Jake Kavanagh (Black card, 41 mins), Paraic Sullivan for Ruairi McNamee (57 mins), Shane Lowry for Paul McPadden (60 mins).
Referee: Noel Cooney (Erin Rovers).
MAN OF THE MATCH
Cian Johnson (Ferbane): On a limited supply of ball and tightly marked, Cian Johnson's return of four points from play was exceptional. He once again showed tremendous opportunism and he was the main difference between the teams.
MOMENT OF THE MATCH
Joe Maher's goal at the start of the second half was very important but a very memorable moment was Cian Johnson's last point in the 20th minute. He won a lovely arrowed pass on his favoured left hand side, turned and shot almost in the one fluid movement and it gave Ferbane a three point lead at a crucial stage.
Noel Cooney showed his vast experience by handling the game very efficiently. Jake Kavanagh had no complaints at his black card, though Ferbane could have picked up one for a similar pulling down offence a few minutes earlier while Joe Maher didn't complain much at his second yellow card. Cooney displayed common sense and was always in control.
Ferbane recording an important win over Rhode. They needed to win one against their big rivals but also had questions to answer after an opening championship defeat by Clara.
Cappincur was in mighty condition and the club hosted the game very well. They had loads of stewards and ample car parking in a field across from the ground.
That concludes the league campaign for both sides and the focus is now on the championship.
Wides: Ferbane – 8 (3 in first half); Rhode – 11 (7 in first half).
Yellow cards: Ferbane – 3 (Joe Maher 2 and James Nally); Rhode – 3 (Shane Sullivan, Anton Sullivan and Niall McNamee).
Black cards: Ferbane – 0; Rhode – 1 (Jake Kavanagh).
Red cards: Ferbane – 1 (Joe Maher, 2 yellows); Rhode – 0.
Ferbane: Joe Maher 1-6 (0-5 Frees), Cian Johnson 0-4, David Nally 0-2, Cathal Flynn 0-1,
Rhode: Niall McNamee 0-4 (3f and 1 '45'), Ruairi McNamee 1-0, Paul McPadden 0-2 (2f), Aaron Kellaghan 0-2, Niall Darby and Anton Sullivan 0-1 each