COMING THROUGH Tourmakeady’s Joe Heneghan goes past Parke’s John Flynn during the Mayo IFC Final at McHale Park, Castlebar last Sunday.
Dolan makes instant impact
BY Sunday night they were probably saying in Tourmakeady that Adrian Dolan’s winning point was kicked from out on McHale Road. But even a truthful account of the score will be met with disbelief by those not fortunate enough to have seen it.
There are ways to win County finals and then there is what Adrian Dolan took upon himself as the final few seconds ticked down in Sunday’s cracking Intermediate decider.
With Parke and Tourmak’ tied at 1-10 apiece, it was far from easy to find the space to kick the winner. Dolan, a second half substitute, found half a yard. However, it was outside the ‘45 and no more than 10 metres inside the McHale Road sideline.
The reaction of most when Dolan lined up the shot was along the lines of ‘no chance’. But the player’s ability is not in question around Tourmak’ and the ball flew over the black spot at the Bacon Factory end.
It was as good a point as you will see anywhere in the country and one of the best Intermediate finals in recent years deserved to be decided by a moment of pure class.
The final whistle some three minutes of injury time later gave a perfect indication of the power of sport. Tourmakeady celebrated like never before. They have been waiting for this moment for a long time and they weren’t going to stand back in their moment of glory.
To Parke went the unwanted tag of ‘glorious defeat’, no comfort whatsoever to them on the final whistle. Tommy O’Boyle’s team had been outsiders going into the final, indeed outsiders for most of the year, but they more than justified their place in the final and almost came away with a famous victory.
It was a game from beginning to end that kept everyone on the edge of their seats as the balance of power swung from Tourmakeady to Parke and then back to Tourmakeady.
The first quarter looked as if it was paving the way for a straightforward win for Pat Burke’s side. The Gaeltacht club had the ball in the net after 55 seconds when corner-forward Kevin Dolan fed Joe Heneghan on the burst and the wing-forward cracked a low effort to the corner of Darren Flynn’s net.
Tourmak’ were flying in the early stages with Dolan, David and Brendan Prendergast and Brian Naughton leading the charge. Points would follow from Dolan, Ciaran Walsh (pointing with his left foot after a good burst by David Prendergast), Tom Naughton and Michéal O’Neill (also placed after a marauding run by Prendergast).
Parke were gasping for air and looked like a team that might have been out of their depth. But they soon set about putting it right. Simon Cloherty and Declan Neary began to control midfield and in full-forward Seán McHale, Parke had a potential game winner.
McHale had Michael John Walsh in all sorts of bother and he struck Parke’s opener on 14 minutes. McHale was then fouled for Simon Cloherty to convert and the full-forward nearly had a goal when Declan Neary placed him but his chipped effort over Brian Heneghan went over the bar.
Simon Cloherty hoisted over a fine point from distance and while Brian Naughton also scored soon after, two frees from Cloherty short of half-time meant they had trimmed what was once a seven points deficit back to two.
A well-struck free from Ciaran Walsh – after David Prendergast was fouled – left a goal between them again six minutes into the second half but it was Parke who were on top around the middle.
Martin ‘Ginger’ McLoughlin had been brought into the fray at this stage but his midfield partner Declan Neary was the main man pushing Parke on. Three points in three minutes from Cloherty (free), Eoin Carney and wing-back Tom Walsh had Parke level by the 41st minute.
Tourmak’ were living on scraps in the third quarter but making good use of them and two superb points in a minute from Micheál O’Neill and Joe Heneghan had them back in front.
But Parke twisted the game back in their favour. Tom Walsh set up McHale who tried to work a goal. Eventually he was forced to attempt to point. His shot though came back off the post and into the grateful arms of Richard O’Boyle who crashed a left footed shot to the roof of the net.
One minute later Sean McHale pointed off his left foot and with eleven minutes to go Parke were two up. McHale went down injured at this point and did appear to be struck. However, after consultation with his umpires, Charlie Collins flashed just a yellow card at substitute Mark Heneghan.
Tourmakeady gradually began to turn the screw, powered by the Prendergasts, MJ Meeneghan, Brian Naughton and substitute Adrian Dolan, who had come on with seven minutes to go.
Kevin Dolan was placed by Brendan Prendergast to point and one minute later John Heneghan was fouled under the stand after he kicked the ball. The ball landed right in front of the posts and Adrian Dolan pointed the easiest of frees.
There was nothing easy about what he would do with time nearly up. A fitting end to a fantastic game.
B Heneghan; P Heneghan, MJ Walsh, A O’Neill; D Prendergast, B Prendergast, MJ Meeneghan; M O’Neill (0-2), John Heneghan; S O’Neill, T Naughton (0-1), Joe Heneghan (1-1); K Dolan (0-2), C Walsh (0-2, 1f), B Naughton (0-1). Subs: M Ronan for S O’Neill (40mins); M Heneghan for MJ Walsh (50mins); A Dolan (0-2, 1f) for C Walsh (53mins);
D Flynn; J Flynn, A Dunne, Stephen Cloherty; T Walsh (0-1), M Walsh, J Cloherty; D Neary, Simon Cloherty (0-5, 4fs); D Hopkins, J Broderick, R O’Boyle (1-0); P Dunne, S McHale (0-3), E Carney (0-1). Subs: B Basquill for J Cloherty (28mins); M McLoughlin for Hopkins (h/t); H Flynn for R O’Boyle (56mins); K Neary for Dunne (61mins).
Referee: C Collins (Lacken).