Ramor reclaim SFC crown in style
Ramor United 1-15
Paul Fitzpatrick at Kingspan Breffni
Ramor United reclaimed the Oliver Plunkett Cup for the first time since 2016 as they ran out deserving winners over Gowna in this afternoon’s SFC final replay.
Ray Cole’s side got off to a sensational start, racing into a nine-point lead in the first half, and kept Gowna at arm’s length thereafter, playing smart, composed football and counter-attacking to great effect.
Ramor were brilliant in the opening quarter. By the 15th minute, they had registered 1-7, equalling their tally from the whole match a week earlier, as they blitzed the Gowna defence.
The Virginia men won the throw-in and immediately attacked; after holding possession for 60 seconds, they fired over the opening score of the contest when Sean McEvoy flung over a huge point from the right wing with his first touch.
McEvoy, Ado Cole and James Brady all had the beating of their direct opponents in the early going and Ramor punished Gowna time and again, moving the ball fast through the hands and, in contrast to the drawn game, profiting from long, direct ball to the full-forward line from deep.
McEvoy found James Brady for the second point and after a foul on Ben Smith, McEvoy was on the mark again, this time curling in a free off the ground from the left touchline.
Ramor were playing adventurously, drawing goalkeeper Liam Brady out to midfield to heap pressure on the Gowna kick-out, and from the next Gowna restart, they hit the jackpot when they broke the ball and worked it quickly to James Brady, who blasted to the net from 10 yards.
Gowna finally got off the mark from their first real attack six minutes in, Cian Madden knocking over a free after a foul on Conor Casey. They doubled their tally three minutes later when Conor Brady picked out Robbie Fitzpatrick, who won the ball well, was fouled and converted.
But Ramor were finding space in the Gowna rearguard and profiting from long, accurate foot-passing. Mark Magee found Cole, out in front, and he added another and Ramor showed no signs of slowing down.
Ben Smith laid off for Man of the Match James Brady to stick over a lovely score on the turn; next, Brady turned provider for Cole with 50-metre pass which the captain slotted over and Brady then knocked over a free after Cole was fouled as Ramor made it 1-7 to 0-2 at the first water break.
They extended that advantage to nine when James Brady forced a turnover at the back, Larry Caffrey went long to Cole and he pointed again.
Gowna, to their credit, kept probing and they would win the second quarter by four points. Robbie Fitzpatrick fisted over from Cian Madden’s delivery to get the scoreboard ticking over again and strung together their best move, resulting in a score for Aaron Brady.
A Fitzpatrick free was cancelled out by a stylish point from the outstanding McEvoy. Cian Madden and James Brady each had frees but Gowna finished the half strongly with frees from Fitzpatrick and Cian Madden to ensure they were well in touch at half-time at 1-10 to 0-8.
They cut the gap further on the resumption when Oisin Pierson pointed from the throw-in but Ramor managed the game very well. Two points from James Brady (one free) left six between them before Gowna replied with excellent strikes from Pierson and Conor Madden.
McEvoy (45-metre free) and Conor Casey, with a stellar effort, traded scores to set up a tense last 10 minutes.
A James Brady free left some leeway but Gowna, who lost Pierson to injury, mustered up two more through Conor Madden and Cian Madden (free).
But Ramor were not to be denied and James Brady broke away to fist over the insurance point to wrap up a first win in five years.
Gowna: Ronan Bannon, Cormac Brady, Mark McKeever, Ryan McGahern, James Madden, Ryan Brady, Tiarnan Madden, Ryan Donohoe, Conor Brady, Robbie Fitzpatrick (0-4, 3f), Oisin Pierson (0-2), Cian Madden (0-4f), Aaron Brady (0-1), Conor Madden (0-2), Conor Casey (0-1)
Subs: Raymond Keogh for Pierson (43 mins, inj.), Shane Harton for R Fitzpatrick (53, inj.), Gerald Pearson for A Brady (60)
Ramor United: Liam Brady, Cathal Maguire, Damien Barkey, Matthew Magee, Adam O’Connell, Jack Brady, Mark Magee, Laurence Caffrey, Enda Maguire, Ben Smith, Brían O’Connell, Simon Cadden, James Brady (1-8, 4f), Ado Cole (0-3), Sean McEvoy (0-4, 2f)
Subs: Killian Maguire for Caffrey (40 mins), Gareth Mannion for B Smith (47), James Bradley for C Maguire (60)
Ref: Maggie Farrelly
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