Plunkett's prove perfectly Precise
ST OLIVER PLUNKETT'S/ER.....2-16 NAOMH FIONNBARRA.................0-9
COUNTY board supremo Andy Kettle stood on the Parnell Park podium.
He had an announcement to make: "Denis Carr is now a Saint of the Navan Road." Those on the pitch below burst into applause. Denis is part of the Plunkett's management team.
Andy praised Plunkett's performance. "Winning a county championship is something you remember for the rest of your life."
He also offered words of consolation to Finbars. "You stuck manly to your task. You are a credit to your club, and to yourselves."
Finbars trailed from the second minute, but they never spared the diesel. They were at their most promising as they attacked the pavilion end in the second period.
At that stage, Plunkett's had been reduced to 14 men when Brian Power had been sent off at the close of the first half. But even with reduced numbers, there was no disputing the class of Plunkett's.
They had pace and polish in attack. And they had a former gold Bar in Brian Daly.
Brian had spent eight seasons on The Bogies. He got one of the goals-of-the-season here.
He's a refined centre half-forward with a velvet touch and a wallop of a shot. His goal came as early as the second minute as he sped off down the inside right channel and drilled a beauty from 25 yards low to the left corner.
He had a willing accomplice in Brendan Bennett, who would finish the hour with 13 points. His accuracy from the placed ball belonged to Rory McIlroy.
Plunkett's were making, and taking, their scores with stylish efficiency. And at the break, they led by 1-7 to 0-4.
They would have had a second goal in the fifth minute when Diarmuid McGrath got through and was one-on-one with goalkeeper Niall Paget.
Niall bravely rushed from his kitchen and made a tremendous stop. He could do little to prevent McGrath from scoring Plunkett's second goal 14 minutes into the second half.
Daly released him with a precise pass, and Diarmuid, out on the left, arrowed a shot low to the far corner.
The free-taking of Daniel Cummins improved Fionnbarra's tally. Early in the tie, Dillon Curley sent a scorching shot inches over the bar. With a rub of the blue, it could have gone under instead of over.
In the last chapter, Robert McCarthy was foiled of a goal as he attempted to round the Plunkett's goalkeeper, Dara Carolan, but was fouled.
A penalty was given, which Cummins pointed. Hitting the jackpot from the penalty spot is next to impossible post Nash.
The winners' centre half-back, Dermot Clarke, struck one of the points of the afternoon midway through the second half.
And, all the while, Bennett's brilliance kept enhancing the scenery.
One of his best returns came just before the tea and he was to hit eight points after it. The most noteworthy of his collection was a peach of a drive from a tight angle.
He was to produce the last four points of the contest. Even then, the Cabra colts were still battling.
There was plenty to admire in the derby dish. And honesty of effort was high among them.
Following the presentation, all were wishing Denis Carr the best of luck......on his trip to the Vatican.
SCORERS - St Oliver Plunkett's/ER: B Bennett 0-13 (7f, 2 65's), B Daly, D McGrath 1-0 each, D Clarke, B Staunton, B Molloy 0-1 each. Naomh Fionnbarra: D Cummins 0-6 (4f, 1 65, 1p), I McDonnell, A Curley, D Curley 0-1 each.
ST OLIVER PLUNKETT'S/ER: D Carolan; W ó Luáin, B Hanrahan, M Munnelly; I Murphy, D Clarke, A Darcy; E Whelan, B Staunton; B Bennett, B Daly, B Power; B Molloy, M Malone, D McGrath. Subs: E Hallihan for Malone; J Cantwell for Molloy; I Connaughton for Hanrahan.
NAOMH FIONNBARRA: N Paget; B Quinn, K Byrne, J Casserly; I McDonnell, J Jacob, C Shannon; D Cummins, A Curley; D Curley, K Murphy, S McDonald; R McCarthy, T Lynch, D Langan. Subs: M Scully for Langan; G Kelly for McDonald; D Owens for Shannon; K Langan for Quinn.
MENTORS - St Oliver Plunkett's/ER: D Brennan, D Carr, M Cooney, D Kiernan, R Maher. Naomh Fionnbarra: D Fagan, T Lynch, B Quinn.
REFEREE: M O'Connell (Croi Ro Naofa)
WIDES - St Oliver Plunkett's/ER: 11 (7+4). Naomh Fionnbarra: 8 (2+6).
CONDITIONS: Pleasant and bright. Became dull before the close.
PLAYER OF THE GAME: Brendan Bennett (St Oliver Plunkett's/ER).