High-flying Reds ruin Cootehill's IFC hopes

Intermediate Football Championship

Cornafean 2-7

Cootehill Celtic 0-10

Kevin Óg Carney at Kingspan Breffni

In-form Cornafean struck two goals in four second half minutes to consolidate their push for IFC honours this year.

The Reds fully deserved their victory at a rain-lashed Kingspan Breffni and left the Celts putting their hopes of IFC glory on the back burner for at least another year.

In what was a slow-burner of a contest, Cornafean won the game in the best possible way in coming from behind to hit their opponents with two sucker punches in the 49th and 53rd minutes.

Despite putting in a very lack-lustre display, the town team looked favourite to creep over the finishing line in pole position when leading by 0-7 to 0-5 with 45 minutes on the clock.

Cornafean produced a spirited, intelligent and composed response though to Cootehill’s purple patch which saw them notch four unanswered points, including a brace of frees by Cillian McGahan and fine efforts from Cian Farrelly (36) and Dermie Connolly (40).

The drama in the final quarter was a planet removed from the humdrum, stale football which both sides produced in a sub-standard first half.

Only the closeness of the exchanges in the opening moiety maintained a modicum of interest with the teams level on three separate occasions with points by John McCutcheon (18) and Jack Trainor (28) the stand out scores.

Cornafean were unconvincing though in leading by the odd point in seven at the interval and it took a fine diving save by Conor Sheridan in the 31st minute to prevent Stevie O’Connor from giving Cootehill the lead.

Jack Trainor might well have scored a goal at the other end of the pitch in the 35th minute but he fired wide of the near post when driving through at the town end of the pitch.

The tempo of the second half play was much higher but the action was riddled with spillages and poor passing and turnovers. For all that, the raucous noise from the covered the stand reflected that it was clear that the spoils were there for the taking.

As things panned out, Cootehill’s resurgence between the 36th and 46th minute was as effective as it was surprising but the game was turned on its head when Dan Wharton put Aodhgan Smith through for a shock goal which left the Hoops looking at a 0-7 to 1-5 deficit.

Cornafean ‘keeper Emmet Martin did his utmost to negate the chances of a second Cootehill renaissance with a save in the 50th minute from Sean O’Connor and good work in the follow up to beat Jamie Smith for possession.

Just three minutes later, Cornafean’s fans were in seventh heaven when a quick free by Dean Kilkenny put goalscorer Smith through once more and, again, the number 15 did the business by finding the net.

Cootehill proceeded to flatter to deceive in eating into Cornafean’s 2-5 to 0-7 lead and with Trainor (56) ane Jack Wharton’s free (65) embellishing the scoreboard further in the run-in, there was simply no way back for the 2014 champions.

Cornfean advance. Cootehill go back to the drawing board.

Cornafean: Emmet Martin; Pete Hogan, Andrew Wharton, Niall Corcoran; Shane Doyle, Mark Johnson, Dan Wharton; Jason Miney, Eamon Brady; Conor Sheridan, Barry Doyle (0-1), Aodhgan Smith (2-0); Jack Trainor (0-3), Jack Wharton (0-3, 3f), Dean Kilkenny.

Subs; Ronan Trainor for E Brady; Culain McSeain for B Doyle; Gerry Sheridan for M Johnson.

Cootehill Celtic: Ryan Carroll; Ryan O’Reilly, Alan Curran, Sean O’Connor; Dean Connolly (0-1), Cillian McGahan (0-4, 3f, ’45), Cian Farrelly (0-1); Dermie Connolly (0-1), Enda Hessin; Stevie O’Connor, John McCutcheon (0-1), Diarmaid Carney; Caoimhín Carney, Shane Sexton (0-2, 1f), Jamie Smith.

Subs; Mark Mullen for J Smith; J Smith for C Carney; Kelan Smyth for Sean O’Connor (inj).