Robert Emmet's hold off Croke Rovers to land fourth Duhallow U21 crown

A huge crowd packed Banteer for a brilliant divisional decider
Robert Emmet's hold off Croke Rovers to land fourth Duhallow U21 crown

Robert Emmet's celebrate a thrilling victory over Croke Rovers in the Duhallow U21 A football final at Banteer. Picture: John Tarrant

Robert Emmet’s 1-10 Croke Rovers 2-5 

ROBERT Emmet’s withstood a tremendous late rally from Croke Rovers before winning a thrilling Central Sport Stores Duhallow U21 A Football title at the splendid Banteer facility. 

With a big attendance in full voice, this riveting encounter went right down to the wire with the sheer determination and courage of the Newmarket and Lismire combination coming to the fore at a crucial juncture. After a contest showcasing all the passion and intensity associated with the grade, Emmets looked well poised to lift a fourth title after building up a decent advantage only for Croke Rovers to rally in the latter stage of both halves.

Questions were asked of Emmet’s capabilities and to their credit, they came up with the answers to collect a deserved victory. Emmet’s had opened in bright fashion and gained a perfect boost from an opportunist goal netted by corner forward Andrew Murphy.

Crokes took a time to settle, passing up a number of opportunities, though Evan Magner and Ronan Heffernan did find the target with points. Still, Emmet’s were operating confidently, spurred on by Seán Murphy, Conor Sheahan, Eamon Hayes and David Cottrell.

Points from Adam Birtley and Cottrell pushed Emmet’s six ahead only for Croke’s to thunder into the game with renewed vigour and drive. Indeed Rovers had reason to rue missed opportunities only to thunder right back into the reckoning, a teasing ball from Heffernan allowed Magner flick home goal to reduce the deficit, 1-5 to 1-3 at the interval.

The exchanges continued to be razor keen on the restart, Emmet’s doubling their advantage to four points. Still, the Castlemagner and Kilbrin boys offered commendable battling qualities, driven on by Tadhg O’Riordan, Rory King and substitute Danny Linehan.

And Croke’s were right back in the hunt once corner-forward Cormac O’Sullivan cooly rolled the ball home for a morale-boosting goal. 

That put the contest in the balance and amidst the excitement, Emmet substitutes Mikey Browne and Hugh O’Connor helped guard a vital lead through precarious moments.

Scorers for Robert Emmet’s: A Murphy 1-0, D Cottrell, A Birtley 0-2 (0-1 f) each, H O’Connor 0-2, R Sheahan, J Sheahan, E Hayes, P O’Sullivan 0-1 each.

Croke Rovers: E Magner 1-2 (0-1 f), C O’Sullivan 1-0, R Heffernan, T O’Riordan, D Linehan(f) 0-1 each.

ROBERT EMMET’S: B Newman; P Goggin, S Murphy, J O’Connor; C Sheahan, E Hayes, E Hourigan; D Cottrell, P O’Sullivan; M Lane, R Sheahan, J Sheahan; J Kenneally, A Birtley, A Murphy. 

Subs: S Murphy McAree for C Sheahan, M Browne for A Murphy, H O’Connor for J Kenneally.

CROKE ROVERS: N Breen; D Heffernan, K Desmond, L O’Riordan; A O’Keeffe, Cillian O’Sullivan, J Harrington; D Vaughan, R Long; S Hayes, R Heffernan, B O’Sullivan; E Magner, T O’Riordan, Cormac O’Sullivan. 

Subs: D Linehan for S Hayes, S Cronin for A O’Keeffe, C Massey for C O’Sullivan.

Referee: J Kelleher (St John’s).

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