Cumann Pheadaír Naofa (Down) 1-13
Ballinamore (Leitrim) 0-3
A goal six minutes into the second half from substitute Oisin Gambold finally gave Warrenpoint the breathing space they so desperately sought in a tense, keenly fought Táin Óg Div6 final at St Ternach’s Park, Clones. Although the Leitrim side failed to score in the first half, they had threatened the Mourne side several times and were always capable of causing an upset, but for the superb goalkeeping skills of Tommy Smith, who had Sean Crawford, Ryan tweedy and Conaire McMahon to rely on and who time and time again were there to snuff out the Connaught sides threat.
The opening ten minutes in this div6 encounter saw both sides battle to get the opening few scores with the scores standing at 0-0 to 0-2, Oran Murney having pointed from 60m free and then getting the opening score from play, a monster of a strike from just inside his own 65m line with six minutes played. Ballinamore tried to get back in the game and were terribly unlucky to see a thirty-metre attempt drift agonisingly wide.
The Warrenpoint side, an amalgamation of Cumann Pheadaír Naofa and Clonduff U12s, were starting to get on top at midfield with Seon McGinn & Lonan Mac Domhnaill getting the better of their Leitrim counterparts thus enabling Ruairí McIntyre to put three points between the sides with fifteen minutes played. At this stage the game had become a real tense affair and with the many parents & supporters who’d travelled to Clones to see this epic final, it was their vocal support and encouragement that spurred the blues on. A Gem of a point from Oisín Gambold a minute from time was quickly followed by a Ronan McShane Free on the stroke half time, as the blues went in 0-5 to 0-0 leaders.
Cumann Pheadaír Naofa opened the second half with a succession of wides, but when Oisín Gambold latched on to a loose sliotar 14m out he slammed the sliotar into the net with six minutes gone and sending the Warrenpoint side-line and many supporters euphoric with joy. Three minutes later Ronan McShane, who sent the Leitrim side in to panic every time he was in possession, lobbed over a fine score from outside the twenty-one metre line. Oran Murney did likewise within a minute, leaving the young blues ten points clear.
Sean Crawford added a 65m free and repeated the feat two minutes later. The blues could now see the finish line within reach and hurled fantastically. Ballinamore never gave up and eventually found a small chink in the blues rear-guard when they pointed with ten minutes remaining. As Warrenpoint eased off the pressure allowing Ballinamore in for a second and third score the game was effectively over and when the ref blew his whistle the Warrenpoint side found themselves the first winners of the div6 Táin Óg championship.
Team captains Mikey Keohane & Ryan Tweedy climbed the step to accept the shield for a delighted Warrenpoint side, as Sean Crawford was announced as Warrenpoint Best & Fairest award winner on the day.
Team: T Smith, C McMahon, R Tweedy, M Keohane, O Murney 0-3, S Crawford 0-2, L Mac Domhnaill, S McGinn, R McIntyre 0-1, S Greenan, O Gambold 1-1, J Donnelly, R McShane 0-3.
Subs: J Morgan for L Mac Domhnaill, O McGivern for J Donnelly, T Trainor for O Murney, A Vorobjov for R McIntyre