AIB All-Ireland Club JHC Final: Impressive Ballygiblin triumph
AIB All-Ireland Club JHC Final
Ballygiblin 1-16 Easkey 0-11
By Dan Bannon at Croke Park
Talk about setting the tone. Ballygiblin’s Darragh Flynn fired home after just nine seconds on the clock to send the Cork men on their way to an emphatic nine point win against Easkey to become AIB All-Ireland junior club champions.
Having lost the final last season, Cork hurling star Mark Keane charged right from the throw-in and drove right through the heart of the Sligo side's defence to lay off to Flynn to fire to the net.
Flynn with ten on his back moved from the wing to the forty was an inspired decision. The switch, the start, the finish. It all accumulated in the victory for the Cork men, the sixth side from their county to do so at this level.
Named on the GAA Champion 15 last year Sligo’s Andrew Kilcullen showed exactly why for his club. Easkey responded through the full forward and stayed in touch through his marksmanship.
However, the goal would prove to be the difference and would remain the closest margin between the two sides. In their best spell with three successive scores Kilcullen (brace) and Joe McHugh pulled it back to 1-4 to 0-4.
Joe O’Sullivan was in excellent form for Ballygiblin though and finished with 10 points to his name. His free taking and leadership saw his side pull ahead just at half time and especially upon the resumption.
Cork football panelist Cathail O’Mahony made it 1-8 to 0-6 at the turn, the first of his three points but there was more to come and an air of inevitability surrounding Croke Park such was the Cork side’s control and experience.
Kilcullen and impressive Dónall Hanley pulled scores back but Easkey needed goals and with Ballygiblin only conceding one goal throughout their All-Ireland winning run, that kickstart never looked likely.
O’Sullivan took control with three points in a row midway through the half and O’Mahony enjoyed himself after missing last season with injury. The sixth side to win an All-Ireland junior from Cork full back Fionn Herlihy gladly climbed the Hogan Stand steps to receive silverware.
Scorers for Ballygiblin: Joe O’Sullivan 0-10 (5f, 165’) Darragh Flynn 1-0, Cathail O’Mahony 0-3, Shane Beston 0-2, Dean Barry 0-1.
Scorers for Easkey: Andrew Kilcullen 0-5 (3f), Joe McHugh 0-2, Rory McHugh 0-1, Mikey Gordon 0-1, Dónall Hanley 0-1 and Thomas Cawley 0-1.
Ballygiblin: Christopher Noonan; Lorcan Finn, Fionn Herlihy, James Mullins; Micheal Lewis, Mark Keane, Barry Coffey; Ryan Donegan, Killian Roche; Dean Barry, Darragh Flynn, Shane Beston; Joe O’Sullivan; Seán O’Sullivan, Cathail O’Mahony.
Subs: Kieran Duggan for Barry (34), Dillon Sheehan for S O’Sullivan (55), Patrick Molloy for Beston (60), Aaron O’Brien for Roche (62), Cian O’Brien for Finn (63).
Easkey: Jimmy Gordon; James Weir, Eoghan Rua McGowan, Shane Molloy; Ronan Molloy, Niall Kilcullen, Rory McHugh, Dónall Hanley, Finnian Cawley; Fionn Moylan, Mikey Gordon, Thomas Cawley; Fionn Connolly; Andrew Kilcullen, Joe McHugh.
Subs: Gavin Connolly for Hanley (46), Éanna Moylan for Moylan (51), Bernard Feeney for S Molloy (55), Luke Reddy for R Molloy (61), Thomas Rolston for F Cawley (64).
Referee: Caymon Flynn.