Drumbaragh claimed the high ground in the Kells parish with a 1-13 to 0-10 JFC final replay victory over Kilmainham in an exciting showdown under the Pairc Tailteann lights tonight in front of an estimated crowd of 2,000.
Both sides finished with 14 players following a spate of merited yellow cards and to compound Kilmainham's misery, Michael Newman's second-half penalty was saved by Willie Arkins with about three minutes remaining.
At that stage Drumbaragh were ahead by 1-12 to 0-9. James Connolly found the net with eight minutes remaining.
Connolly took his goal well, but the ball just about made it across the line after he weaved his magic to negotiate a couple of tackles.
Defeat was tough on Kilmainham who lost influential midfielder Barry Lynch as early as the 10th minute following a collision with a colleague.
The Kilmainham man had to receive treatment on the pitch for about 10 minutes with play held up until the stricken player was stretchered-off and brought to nearby Navan hospital by ambulance where he was treated for a head wound.
The sides were tied (0-2 each) at that stage and by half-time Kilmainham were depleted further when they lost full-back Darren O'Sullivan with a knee injury.
Four pointed Michael Newman frees was Kilmianham's return from that opening half during which Drumbaragh played the more fluent football despite some blatant rule infringements, in the guise of tackles, by their neighbours.
Darragh McNamara was the main target as he was deliberately 'taken out' first by Trevor Lynch who deserved a yellow card so blatant was the foul, but it appeared as if referee Richard Morris deemed that it might be too harsh as he had already yellow-carded the Kilmainham midfielder for an earlier off-the-ball incident.
However, five minutes later a similar challenge, this time by Kilmainham's Harry Newman warranted a yellow card – inconsistency or lienent application of the rules?
In fairness to the Blackhall Gaels official, and his linesmen, at least they were alert enough to see the initial off-the-ball incident in the replay, but the same offences escaped censure in the first game last Sunday.
Drumbaragh were ahead by 0-7 to 0-4 at the interval with two points apiece from Connolly, Thomas Carry (one free) and John Smith (frees) and a fine effort by Colm Carry that closed the first-half account.
Kilmainham got the deficit down to a point within five minutes of the resumption as Michael Newman (two) and Gavin Butler split the posts with Connolly sustaining Drumbaragh's title bid with a lone score.
Seanie Mahon then entered the 'blatant' hall of fame with a yellow card for a challenge on Ryan Farnham as Thomas Carry and McNamara sent over for a 0-10 to 0-7 third-quarter Drumbaragh lead.
Kilmainham battled back to within the minimum with points from Michael Mahon and Michael Newman (free), but William Carry's score sustained what was beginning to look like a faltering Drumbaragh challenge.
Then Connolly worked the opening for his goal, Smith added a point and Kilmainham missed their penalty.
Peter Carry collected a second yellow, he was joined soon after by Trevor Lynch.
It was probably appropriate that the man who forced the replay with a late equaliser on Sunday, John Smith, scored the last point of the 2013 JFC.
Cue pitch invasion, celebrations and one happy half of the parish. Both teams will certainly add to the quality in the IFC next year.
“It was great to win, but Barry Lynch was huge loss for Kilmainham,” said Drumbaragh manager Finian Murtagh.
“We will start thinking about Saturday's Leinster Club JFC game on Saturday, it's not ideal, but we will have to get on with it” he added.
Drumbaragh – William Arkins; John D Smith, Peter Carry, Martin Kavanagh; John Morrissey, William Carry (0-1), Noel Corcoran; John Smith (0-4 two frees), Ryan Farnham; Paddy Murray, Colm Carry (0-1), Enda Nulty; Thomas Carry (0-3 two frees), James Connolly (1-3), Darragh McNamara (0-1). Subs – DJ Carry for Ryan Farnham 46 minsJohn Madden for Noel Corcoran 56m, Gary McCormack for McNamara 59m.
Kilmainham – Kevin Jordan; Ross Mooney, Darren O'Sullivan, Joe Mahon; Michael Mahon (0-1), Sean Mahon, Mark Fallon (1-0); Barry Lynch, Trevor Lynch; Paddy Hennigan, Harry Newman, Shane Morgan; Pat O'Sullivan, Gavin Butler (0-1), Michael Newman (0-8 six frees). Subs – David Farnan for Barry Lynch 10 mins, Mark Newman for Darren O'Sullivan 38m (firsh-half); Shane Butler for Fallon 46m.
Referee – Richard Morris (Blackhall Gaels).
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