2000 Under 16 "A" Championship County Final

Claffey helps Caulry slip past The Saints 
Mullarney stars in thriller
Caulry 2-8
St. Malachy’s/Ballinagore 2-7

Caulry, thanks to a sensational performance by their centre-half back and captain Brian Mullarney, took the Westmeath Under-16 “A” football final in a captivating encounter at Tubberclair on Sunday last. As territorial dominance swung one way and then the other, both teams served up a roller coaster final fifteen minutes before a late point by midfielder Colm Claffey settled the issue in favour of Caulry.

The winners played some very intelligent football, particularly when working the ball through the heart of their team, as some very slick and accurate passing allowed them to set up chances for a polished forward division. 
No-one exemplified their ability to link defence and attack better than Brian Mullarney. Coming up against some very good players in the shape of Joe Clarke, Michael Gannon and Edmond O’Neill, didn’t prevent him orchestrating a huge number of attacks for the eventual winners.

St Malachy’s/Ballina-gore, showing great effort at all times, held the upper hand on more than occasion and led the way at the break by 1-4 to 0-3 after their marksman-in-chief, Joe Clarke, pounced for a cleverly-taken goal. 
Blaine La Harte and Ciarán Carey also played well throughout a positive opening half hour for their side, but the eventual winners were kept in the hunt by the finishing ability of Damien Keena, a player who would have had a more prosperous afternoon had he not been held under wraps for certain spells by Peter Deegan. 
The last score of the opening half, a well-taken point from Michael Maloney, pushed St Malachy’s/ Ballinagore over a goal in front to leave the half-time score at 1-4 to 0-3.

Caulry emerged from the half-time dressing room and lit the fuse for a pulsating final quarter, providing a gripping contest for spectators with two well-taken goals courtesy of Killian Allen and Damien Keena. 
Goalkeeper Dermot Fallon shouldn’t feel bad about either score as it was only a question of time before Caulry’s new found dominance swept them into the lead. 

Woken up as a result of falling in arrears for the first time since the opening minutes, St Malachy’s/Ballina-gore came back with a powerful responsive effort. Ger Linnane stepped up to crash a magical penalty to the net and, after Caulry went back in front courtesy of Peter Smith and Ernie Buckley, Joe Clarke was able to elude the attentions of his very accomplished marker, Conor Allen, and steer over two brilliant points to tie the score once more.
Thanks to diligent work by their centrefield partnership of Michael Sleator and Colm Claffey, however, the soon-to-be-crowned champions galloped forward in search of the winner and it was the latter, showing magnificent concentration after a lengthy solo run, who dissected the posts for the last point of the game that left the final score 2-8 to 2-7 in favour of Caulry. 

Caulry: Michael Killane, Brian Muldoon, Conor Allen, Simon Deegan, Colm Fox, Brian Mullarney, Owen Kelly, Michael Sleator, Colm Claffey (0-1), Killian Allen (1-0), Ernie Buckley (0-1), Peter Smith (0-2, both frees), Thomas Ledwith, Damien Keena (1-4, three frees), Oliver Nally. Subs used: Gary Walker for Thomas Ledwith, Peter Rigney for Damien Keena and Jimmy Buckley for Gary Walker.

St Malachy’s/Ballinagore: Dermot Fallon, James Cuskelly, Peter Deegan, Mickey Garvin, Brian Garvin, John Dalton, Liam Corcoran, Shane Heraty, Ger Linnane (1-0, penalty), Ciarán Carey, Michael Gannon, Edmond O’Neill, Blaine La Harte, Joe Clarke (1-5, two frees), Michael Maloney (0-1). Subs used: Shane Carey (0-1) for James Cuskelly, Christy Maloney for Blaine La Harte, David Langan for Michael Gannon.

Referee: John Lennon (Ballymore).

Extracted from the Westmeath Examiner Archives, 16th Dec 2000
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