Our senior footballers ended a tough year on a high when they won their league final last Sunday last against a fine St. Vincent’s football side. Played in Mayfield, this game was a very slow burner in the 1st half. No scores, or chances of any note in the 1st 7 minutes, until our veteran bull Pearse O’Neill grabbed the game by the scruff of the neck. First up he took a pass from Danny Creedon and kicked a fine point. 2 minutes later he set Mathew O’Connor through, and the rampaging wing back doubled Aghada’s tally. In between Vincents kicked their opening point. So 3 scores in 3 minutes, but still the flow of the game stalled; along with the scoreboard. Another scoring burst game from the 15th to 18th minutes, when the sides both pointed twice. Pearse intercepted a Vincent’s kickout to score his second, and O’Connor up from wing back again for his second were Aghada’s two scorers. The next score came on the 26th minute and it was a huge score in the context of the game. Aaron Berry won possession around 40 yards from goal, and played a sublime pass perfectly into the run of corner forward Shane Bennett. Bennett gathered well and finished calmly past former Cork ‘keeper Paddy O’Shea in the Vincent’s goal. 1-4 v 0-3 as we hit the 30 minute mark, but in stoppage time, Vincents would have a purple patch. Dominating possession, they kicked 3 points in as many injury time minutes, two from play and one free to leave only a point between the sides at the short whistle. Aghada were unlucky not to score another goal just before the whistle, when Berry put O’Connor through on goals. This time the impressive wing back rattled the crossbar with his goal attempt and the ball rebounded all the way out over the sideline to safety.
The second half was a better affair, with at least Aghada working the scoreboard on a more regular basis. But before this the Northside club levelled matters with a point from the throw in. With goalkeeper Andy O’Donoghue, along with Timmy Hartnett and David Rice, all solid at the back, Aghada kicked on. Substitute Kyle O’Shea intercepted a Vincent’s attack and set Berry off, with the lively corner forward eventually drawing a free. Danny Creedon, who impressed throughout, kicked a fine free. O’Neill, this time a huge kick off his left leg, hit Aghada’s 6th point. On 17 minutes, Ronan Kennedy caught a wayward highball, before skipping past his man and firing over. Then Cian Fleming kicked an outrageous score from out on the left wing after taking a pass from Marcus Leahy. Creedon pointed his 2nd free after Leahy was fouled, for what was Aghada’s 5th unanswered point. 1-9 v 0-7 and 10 minutes to play, Vincents needed to rally, and they did just that. 2 points in 2 minutes dented the lead. Aghada responded well though, when a move that started with a good Andy O’Donoghue kickout was worked the length of the field, and the excellent Fleming set up Bennett who pointed smartly. A point from a free for Vincents was quickly added to, when the city club pounced on the resulting kickout and made it a dangerous 2 point game with only 2 minutes of normal time to play. The Aghada fans thought Berry had made it 3 again, but his fine kick was wrongly ruled wide. It mattered little however, as Aghada won the resulting kickout and Conor O’Driscoll made a searing run into the Vincent’s danger area, before being pulled down for a certain penalty. Up stepped captain Fleming, who buried the spot kick to the top right corner, to seal a great win for Aghada. So promotion to Division 3 as champions is the outcome, and after a poor year championship wise, it was great to see players and management with a trophy to show for their year’s hard work. Well done to all involved.
Aghada Team and Scorers – Andy O’Donoghue, Tim Hartnett, Tommy O’Donoghue, David Rice, Jordan Tynan, Josh O’Shea, Mathew O’Connor (0-2), Tom O’Neill, Marcus Leahy, Daniel Creedon (0-2, 2f), Pearse O’Neill (0-3), Cian Fleming (1-0, peno), Aaron Berry, Ronan Kennedy (0-1), Shane Bennett (1-1). Subs Used – Conor O’Driscoll, Kyle O’Shea, Kevin O’Hanlon and Aiden O’Connell.