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The promising Cian Johnson inspired Ferbane to Offaly Senior Football Championship glory.
The promising Cian Johnson inspired Ferbane to Offaly Senior Football Championship glory.

Offaly SFC Final: Ferbane defeat Rhode

Offaly Senior Football Championship Final


By Brian Lowry at Bord Na Mona O'Connor Park

Cian Johnson produced the magic in the second half as Ferbane came back from five points down with 20 minutes to go to win by five and land the Dowling cup for the first time since 1994.

Johnson notched 2-3 from play while Rhode, who were forced to start without star man Niall McNamee, succumbed to the powerful Ferbane finish in the closing 20 minutes.

Rhode raced out of the traps and were showing no ill effects of Niall McNamee not starting the game. Ferbane might have opened the scoring through Joe Maher but Rhode went on to lead 0-5 to 0-1 after 13 minutes with the Darby brothers – Niall and Brian both opening their accounts.

For all their early pressure, Ferbane were still on Rhode’s coat tails and the excellent Joe Maher was keeping them in touch with frees.

They had their own burst from the 19th to the 25th minute with three in row from Maher, Cian Johnson and Kevin Nugent as they only trailed by one – 0-6 to 0-5 with eight minutes left to the break.

Rhode steadied again with Niall Darby (free) and Ciaran Heavey firing over to put them back into a three point lead.

It looked like it would stay that way but a glorious Joe Maher effort with the last kick of the half left it a two point game at the break with Rhode leading 0-8 to 0-6.

Rhode continued to set the pace in the second half and went 0-11 to 0-6 in front by the 40th minute but there was still plenty of drama to come.

A high ball into the box was won by Cian Johnson and the corner forward made no mistake in finding the net to give Ferbane a lifeline. Points followed from David Nally and Johnson and within three minutes of being five points down, they were level.

A minute later Johnson was at it again as he judged a long ball in and turned his man and fired to the net to make it 2-8 to 0-11 with 15 minutes to play.

Rhode weren’t about to give up and three frees in a row from Niall Darby got it back to a one point game with five minutes to go.

Ferbane, though, had the answers and an instant reply from Cian Johnson pushed Ferbane back two ahead while points in injury time from Joe Maher, Oisin Kelly and Cathal Flynn gave them a five point win for their first senior title in 25 years.

Scorers for Ferbane: Cian Johnson 2-3, Joe Maher 0-6 (4fs), David Nally, Kevin Nugent, Oisin Kelly, Cathal Flynn 0-1 each.

Scorers for Rhode: Niall Darby 0-7 (6fs), Anton Sullivan 0-3, Brian Darby, Darren Garry, Ciaran Heavey and Aaron Kellaghan 0-1 each.

FERBANE: Jack Cullinan; Stephen Wren, Conor Lowry, Shane Nally; David Nally, Leon Fox, Kevin Nugent; Kyle Higgins, Ciaran Cahill; Cathal Flynn, Joe Maher, Aidan Keenaghan; Cian Johnson, Oisin Kelly, Sean Flynn.

Subs: Jack Clancy for Sean Flynn (H/T), David Kelly for Kyle Higgins (40m), James Nally for Conor Lowry (44m), David Cox for Ciaran Cahill (60m), Kieran McManus for Kevin Nugent BC (60m), Paddy Moore for Joe Maher (60m).

RHODE: Dean Morris; Brian Darby, Eoin Rigney, James McPadden; Dylan Kavanagh, Jake Kavanagh, Niall Darby; Alan McNamee, Conor McNamee; Ciaran Heavey, Ruairi McNamee, Stephen Hannon; Darren Garry, Anton Sullivan, Aaron Kellaghan.

Subs: Shane Sullivan for Ciaran Heavey inj (28m), Shane Lowry for Aaron Kellaghan (45m), Niall McNamee for Dylan Kavanagh (49m).

REFEREE: Martin Carty (Walsh Island).

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