Finals can usually go one of two ways. They can be insipid and turgid slogfests with neither team willing to risk much to gain victory. Or they can be one-sided affairs with the white flag flying over a besieged team from early on.
Sunday’s intermediate final very much fitted into the latter.
Try as they might St Brides simply had no reply to the onslaught the Gers unleashed on them in the first half.
In particular it was Jim McEneaney that cut the Knockbridge men to ribbons in that first period. He kicked scores from all angles as the incessant bombardment shattered Brides chances of lifting Seamus Flood.
Gers manager Eamonn McEneaney believes his side now have the artillery to succeed at senior level. In that case Sunday’s final looked like merely gunnery practice for his charges.
A return of 2-15 in a final is something to be proud of. Those two goals couldn’t have come at better times to boot. The first arrived just as referee Tony Dolan was warming up his whistle to blow for half time - Shaun Callan finishing off a well worked Gers move - the second came just five minutes into the second half and it tore the heart out of the Brides - Glen Trainor had the simplest of tasks to knock home to an empty net from just five yards out.
The title was assured as early as half time as some wonderful scoring from Jim McEneaney effectively killed off the game as a contest. The Gers hit man scored eight points in the opening period to leave the Blackrock/Haggarsdstown men leading comfortably by nine points at the break.
But the foundation for this intermediate championship win was along the Gers backline, with Gerard Hoey in particular deserving of his Man of the Match award. Hoey broke up any Brides attacks along the half back line and sprang the Gers into forward motion.
Having failed to put in a full 60 minute performance so far this championship season, Geraldines saved the best for last as they started strongly and never let up.
The Brides might have made more of a game of it had Conaill Devin’s audacious fist from an Aaron Hoey 45’ managed to find the back of the net and not the upright. At that stage the Knockbridge men were only two adrift and a goal might have changed the complexion of the game. However Gers never let up after that and with a haul of nine points captain Jim McEneaney kept his side coasting throughout.
That second goal at he start of the second half from Glen Trainor left the Brides twelve points adrift and they never looked like narrowing it enough to leave the final 25 minutes anything near a close run thing. Gers manager Eamonn McEneaney was able to clear his bench late on and even though Brides struck back late on with two goals from full back David Dunne, it was nowhere near enough, as Seamus Flood headed back to Haggardstown for the first time since 2005.
Scorers Geraldines Jim McEneaney (0-9, 4f), Glen Trainor (1-1), Shane O’Hanlon (0-2), Shaun Callan (1-0), Gerard Hoey (0-1), Barry Hamilton (0-1), Josh Arrowsmith (0-1). St Brides David Dunne (2-0), Aaron Hoey (0-3, 2f), Kevin Hearty (0-1), Kevin Kirk (0-1), Shane Kerrigan (0-1).
GERALDINES: Nathaniel Cooney; Sean Watters, Nickey Mackin, Tiarnan Hand; James Craven, Gerard Hoey, Kevin Pepper; Michael Rogers, Stephen Reidy; Sean Thornton, Jim McEneaney, Shaun Callan; Barry Hamilton, Shane O’Hanlon, Glen Trainor. Subs: Josh Arrowsmith for B Hamilton, 22 mins; Patrick Hoey for S Thornton, 54 mins; Brendan Connolly for S Callan, 54 mins; Aaron Murray for S Reidy, 60 mins; Johnny Breen for G Trainor, 60 mins.
ST BRIDES: Darren Breen; Andrew Smyth, David Dunne, Conor Deane; Greg Kehoe, Cillian Kirk, Niall Mackin; Patrick Reilly, Shane Kerrigan; Ross Kehoe, Ray Kelly, Joseph Hanna; Kevin Hearty, Aaron Hoey, Conaill Devin. Subs: Aidan McNally for N Mackin, 29 mins; Richard Halpenny for K Hearty, HT; Kevin Kirk for C Devin, 35 mins; Paraic Marry for J Hanna, 37 mins.
REFEREE: Tony Dolan