All Ireland Junior Football Championship Final – Cork v Roscommon

Cork defeated Roscommon by 0-15 to 0-12 in the GAA All Ireland Junior Football Championship Final on Saturday in O’Moore Park Portlaoise.

More glory for steely Rebels

Cork 0-15 Roscommon 0-12

By Fintan O’Toole for the Irish Examiner newspaper

Monday, August 24, 2009

THE happy relationship between Cork and the All-Ireland junior football grade shows no signs of ending, after Mossie Barrett steered another band of Rebel footballers to national glory in Portlaoise on Saturday. Victory maintained Cork’s dominance at this level, securing their fourth title of the decade and the third in the space of five years. The latest success was a merited one, albeit after a tough test from the Connacht champions. The win shared neat similarities with Cork’s triumph over Louth in the semi-final, as they needed to be calm and composed to eke out the right result. After a series of strolls through the Munster championship, Cork have been rigorously tested on the All-Ireland stage and their manager Barrett praised his side for grinding out the victory.

He said: “It’s a great feeling after such a battle. There’s no such thing as an easy All-Ireland and we knew that at half-time. Roscommon played very well against the wind in the second half and there’s a bit of relief at winning. “It’s as sweet as any of the ones we’ve won previously. A lot of the lads from previous teams have progressed on to senior and I’d see no reason why these lads can’t either. There’s great potential there.” For all of Roscommon’s persistence, Cork had the necessary touch of panache and class when required. They wobbled slightly at the start of the game, trailing 0-2 to 0-0 after 10 minutes and it was notable how Roscommon were bossing the midfield exchanges in the air and on the ground. Yet Cork never panicked and as the match progressed they strung together the incisive moves to forge ahead.

In each half Cork had an attacker whose contribution left a deep imprint on the game. In the opening period Robert O’Mahony was the go-to guy at full-forward. The St Finbarr’s man was a bundle of tricks and pace, and whenever he evaded the Roscommon backs, his shooting was spot on. He sent four balls over the bar in the first half and that was central to Cork’s 0-8 to 0-4 interval lead. In the second half wing-forward Daniel O’Donovan hit the high notes, illustrating his point-kicking prowess by supplying rousing scores at crucial stages. He kicked over two mighty points from placed balls, hit a fabulous shot with his weaker leg just after the interval and then applied the finishing touches to Cork’s success when lofting over a beauty in injury-time. There were other admirable facets to Cork’s game as well. Wing-forward Colm O’Driscoll was typically industrious throughout, while midfield duo Andrew O’Sullivan and Chris O’Donovan refused to wilt in that rocky opening and their influence grew as the game progressed. The defence had some leading exponents as well; John McLoughlin was neat and tidy in his corner-back play, while Richard O’Sullivan burned up and down the right flank to great effect all afternoon.

Roscommon suffered from their full-back line malfunctioning early on, as they shipped scores that transpired to be fatal to their hopes of success. At half-time the match was slipping away from them but they stuck to their task manfully in the second half. Wing-back Cathal Dineen and midfielder Martin Reynolds led the fight, while in attack Paul Garvey and Darren McDermott figured prominently. The problem was that Garvey only prospered in the second half when switched to wing-forward, while McDermott was never serviced regularly enough to inflict damage on the Cork defence. The second half followed a repetitive trend, Roscommon clawing back Cork’s advantage to be within touching distance before the Rebels then pressed on the accelerator to shoot away again. By the 35th minute Roscommon only trailed 0-9 to 0-7, but Cork were 0-12 to 0-7 ahead entering the final quarter. Again Roscommon responded and by the 55th minute were only 0-14 to 0-12 adrift. Yet they needed a goal to seal their comeback and the assured Cork goalkeeper Paddy O’Shea never looked like being beaten.

For Cork captain Chris O’Donovan, it was a sweet success, as he secured another All-Ireland medal to accompany the U21 bauble he won back in May. “It’s an outstanding feeling. I’ve yet to come to this pitch and have an easy victory, but that shows the character of the lads we have. It’s very special to be captain of an All-Ireland winning Cork team as well, something you dream about when you’re a young fella. Hopefully this can be a stepping stone to greater things.” Defender Richard O’Sullivan echoed O’Donovan’s sentiments. “It’s fantastic. We played very well in the first half but even when they came back in the second half, we never panicked and stuck with it. They’ve been in a lot of All-Ireland finals recently, so they’re a good side. So it’s great to beat a team like that. To have an All-Ireland medal is a great feeling. I’m delighted.”

Scorers for Cork: D O’Donovan 0-6 (0-2f, 0-1 ‘45), R O’Mahony 0-4, C O’Driscoll 0-2, A O’Sullivan, V Hurley, J P Murphy 0-1 each.

Scorers for Roscommon: D McDermott 0-5 (0-2f), P Garvey 0-3 (0-1f), D Keenehan, M Reynolds (0-1f), R Cox, C Dineen 0-1 each.

Subs for Cork: M Prout for Fehilly (50), P Cahill for Hurley (55), N O’Riordan for A O’Sullivan (57).

Subs for Roscommon: S Ormsby for McGarry (29), T Mahon for McCormack (h/t), B Mullen for Kelly (54).

Referee: Tomás Quigley (Dublin)