Bridge claim reserve title
ACFL Division 3 final
Butlersbridge are this year’s Reserve ACFL Division 3 champions after a gritty second half display got them over the line in St Felim's Park, Drumalee.
The ’Bridge looked in trouble for the majority of the match as Lavey led from early on and impressed with their combination play and zest for the fray but after the restart the black-carding of the influential Darren Monaghan and a resurgence by the winners-elect conspired to make it a victory for the village side.
Butlersbridge, who last year won the Intermediate Championship for the first time, have been on an upward curve for a number of years and this latest success will be another welcome trophy for the cabinet. The New Inns men, meanwhile, found their groove at senior level towards the latter part of the Division 2 campaign and will be hopeful of making a splash in the Senior Championship.
Numerous players from both clubs' first team panels were in action here in what was a quality match considering the grade of football, with some fine scores. Ultimately it was the ’Bridge’s success in using the plank of a 1-2 tally and Monaghan’s (Lavey) black card inside a five minute period immediately after half-time to go on and claim the silverware on offer.
A Butlersbridge point from a Peter Conaty free after just three minutes set out their stall but Lavey went onto marginally get on top as the opening quarter raced to a conclusion but not before another Conaty free had Lavey looking to their laurels.
The white and black brigade duly rolled up their sleeves though and between the 10th and 18th minute, they notched four unanswered points which included a hat-trick of points from play by the in-form number 15 Conor Smith.
In a fast-action but ‘oftimes scrappy contest, both keepers were kept busy and impressed throughout and despite a raft of goal chances being created at either end of the field, only two majors were recorded over the hour-plus.
The ’Bridge kept up their good form in the second quarter and a point apiece from Jody English and top scorer Smith upped the ante but then just less than a minute before the interval, the would-be losers hit the jackpot when Callum Maguire rammed home a goal - after Oisin Tynan raced through and had his shot blocked - to leave the ‘Bridge facing into a 0-4 to 1-6 deficit at the short whistle.
Peter Conaty’s well-taken goal just two minutes into the second half was the start of a nightmare few minutes for Lavey with the departure of Monaghan and a point apiece from Martin Fitzpatrick (34) and Gareth Henry (35) had the ‘Bridge on the winning trail.
Another point from Conor Smith in the 37th minute offered some respite for Lavey but a Conaty free and another Henry point (43) added to the ‘’Bridge’s cushioned lead.
A point from Raymond King and Emmet Brady kept the ’Bridge honest as the second half raced to a hectic climax.
The ’Bridge headed for home with another Conaty point (46) and a brace from sub Liam McEntee as Lavey desperately sought to bag a match-saving goal(s).
However, as things panned out another effort from midfielder Conaty helped to seal the deal for the villagers with a couple of late points from the gallant losers in the dying minutes proving inadequate to change the narrative.
Butlersbridge: Darren Fitzpatrick; Emmet Henry, Shane Leddy, Conor Maguire; Niall McGovern, Stephen Flynn, Finbar Conaty; Martin Fitzpatrick (0-2), Peter Conaty (1-4); Sean T Murphy, Diarmuid Doran, Fionn Murtagh; Jody English (0-1), Gareth Henry (0-2), Paul O’Reilly (0-1).
Subs; Liam McEntee (0-2) for P O’Reilly; Paddy Flynn for E Henry; Ciarán O’Reilly for D Doran; Killian Leddy for S Leddy; Jack Graham for J English.
Lavey: Enda McGonagle; David Smith, Liam Maguire, Ronan King; Aaron Lynch, Diarmuid Conaty, Shea Patrick Smith; Ciaran Tierney, Aaron Smith; Callum Maguire (1-0), Raymond King (0-2), Darren Monahan; Ciaran McConnon, Oisín Tynan (0-1), Conor Smith (0-6).
Subs; Oran Daly for S P Smith; James McBreen for A Lynch; Aaron McCabe for C McConnon; Peter Smith for A Smith; Emmet Brady (0-1) for D Monaghan.