O'Connells' Stuart Osborne helped his team past Sean O'Mahony's in the SFC relegation final in Haggardstown. (Pic: Arthur Kinahan)
Anchor Tours SFC relegation final
Sean O'Mahony's 0-10 O'Connell's 0-11
O’Connell’s found SFC salvation on Saturday night to send Sean O’Mahony’s tumbling out of Joe Ward contention for 2020.
Maiden winners of the title three years ago, this defeat brings to an end a whirlwind run for O’Mahony’s who, since 2014, have won two championships, qualified for the final of another and had runs on the provincial and All-Ireland stage.
This season has been a struggle, though, with injury and unavailability crippling the Point Road men, although O’Connell’s haven’t been without their problems in that sense either, which makes this victory fairly remarkable.
The Bellingham men led the Haggardstown tussle from start to finish, holding out amid seven minutes of injury-time in the second half, as Niall Conlon spearheaded their charge with seven points.
O’Connell’s led 0-6 to three at the break, Conlon (4), Paul McKeever and Ciarán O’Brien on target for the victors, as Stephen Kilcoyne provided O’Mahony’s resistance.
But the gap was two in the second half when Stuart Reynolds made himself a hero, getting down to deny Kilcoyne from putting O’Mahony’s ahead from the penalty spot.
That inspired O’Connell’s, as they pushed three clear and while O’Mahony’s, in desperate need, finished the stronger, there was to be no denying the men in maroon, who ended the game against 13 players following the dismissals of Keith McLaughlin and Jonathan Connolly.
Sean O’Mahony’s: Kevin Brennan; Chris O’Neill, Ronan Byrne, Kian McEvoy; Robbie Galligan, Colin Finan, Liam Dullaghan; Conor Martin, Shane Brennan; Keith McLaughlin, Ben McLaughlin (0-3, frees), Stephen Fisher (0-1); Stephen Kilcoyne (0-6, five frees), Terence Kelly, Shane Kerrigan
Subs: Jonathan Connolly for Kelly, Niall McLaughlin for Martin, Kyle Carroll for Byrne
O’Connell’s: Stuart Reynolds; Jason Carroll, Conor Byrne, Emmet Byrne; Stuart Osborne, Jackie Agnew (0-1), Keith Ryan; Ciarán O’Brien (0-2), Seán Cairns; Dean Stanfield, Niall Conlon (0-7, five frees), Gary Connolly; Conor Culligan, Salem Rifaie, Paul McKeever (0-1, free)
Subs: Seán Meehan for McKeever, Conor McGill for Stanfield
Referee: Des McDonald (St. Nicholas)