2001 Junior Championship County Final

Caulry Denied Junior Title By Late Bunbrosna Rally 

Bunbrosna 2-11
Caulry 3-8

It is back to square one for the Westmeath junior football championship title after Conor Newman spared Bunbrosna in the dying seconds of a final that saw Caulry in front for long passages of the second-half at Cusack Park last Sunday after leading by 3-6 to 2-5 earlier on.
Bidding to recapture the trophy after an absence from the winner’s podium, both clubs served up an extraordinary opening to the encounter as no less than five goals were sent to the net in a very exciting beginning.

Caulry got off the mark quicker, as Alan Carroll (not long after scoring the opening point of the game) directed the ball low to the net when an unfortunate rebound from a Bunbrosna perspective left goalkeeper Enda Murphy unlucky not to have kept the ball out.
With an Anselm Fitzgerald score tucked inside both of the number thirteen’s efforts, Caulry were in the middle of a dream start that gave them a 1-2 to 0-0 advantage as David Hatton and Gary Flanagan controlled proceedings at times.
That said, a turnaround that went literally full circle allowed Bubrosna to come back to such an extent that Caulry were soon trailing by 2-3 to 1-4 during another amazing spell of scoring.

Aidan Finnan did the business in extraordinary fashion for his team by registering 2-3 in the space of a few minutes. Both goals were drilled home expertly as the full-forward found the target with consummate ease to bring life back to Bunbrosna. It was a quarter that saw expert defending by Caulry’s Jody Malynn and Damien Dowd steer their colleagues back into the game by keeping almost every Bunbrosna forward under wraps except the number fourteen.
Neutrals may have thought the end-to-end play was too good to be true, but the situation was not about to dry up as Caulry got through for two more goals courtesy of Anselm Fitzgerald. Often dropping short to receive the ball, the full-forward looked poised to contribute positively almost every time he touched the ball and both strikes rewarded his role as a useful target man. 
Back in command at 3-5 to 2-3, a brilliant finish for a point by Aidan Dunning found the range soon after to extend Caulry’s advantage, but Peter Tormey kept Bunbrosna in the game with two great scores to reduce the margin before number seven Anthony Malone obtained the last before the interval to leave his team leading by 3-7 to 3-5 at half-time.

The resumption took place with Caulry in the better position, but Finnan soon got back on track in the 

Second-half
third minute of the second half with an accurately-converted free to leave 1-1 dividing the sides.
Caulry were trying hard via the off-the-ball efforts of James Casey and Mark Rigney, but Bunbrosna seemed to have the better of the finishers, if the last fifteen minutes is anything to go by.
As the earlier contributions of Noel Kiernan and Peter Kearney were now added to by Finian Newman, Francis Molloy and Niall Harte, Bunbrosna dominated the remainder of the scoring in the game and, after Ciarán Cunningham was sent darting inside to finish neatly for a lead of 3-8 to 2-7, Caulry were unable to add to this total for the rest of the tie.
Bunbrosna, by contrast, got going in major fashion as Peter Tormey rocketed the ball over the bar before Noel Kiernan did likewise to evaporate the Caulry lead down to only 3-8 to 2-9.

Enda Murphy and Cormack McCormack allowed virtually nothing to pass them in the concluding twenty-five minutes and their colleagues up front were supplied with plenty of opportunities to finish in style.
That is exactly what they did. Francis Molloy curled the ball on target to leave Bunbrosna waiting to pounce for an equaliser and their overlapping, unselfish ability to create chances saw it become virtually a matter of time before the scoreline was levelled, despite more solid tacking by Brian Mullarney and James Casey denying Bunbrosna the opportunity to bring the game to a replay until literally the last few seconds.
Accuracy personified, the task fell to corner-back Conor Newman in a last-gasp raid upfield and, with time almost up, this year’s county minor defender split the uprights with a resounding finish to provide an eagerly-anticipated replay after the teams took to the dressing rooms locked together on 2-11 to 3-8.

Bunbrosna: Enda Murphy, Conor Newman (0-1), Cormac McCormack, Peter Kearney, Paddy Wallace, John McCormack, Joey Tormey, Francis Molloy (0-1), Niall Harte, Peter Tormey (0-4), Finian Newman, Ultan Molloy, Eoin Clarke, Aidan Finnan (2-4, two points from frees), Noel Kiernan (0-1). 
Substitutes: Barry Brennan for Peter Kearney, Colm McCormack for Joey Tormey, Tommy Murphy for Finian Newman (inj.) and John Wallace for Ultan Molloy.

Caulry: Noel Murray, Jody Malynn, James Casey, Brian Mullarney, Damien Dowd, David Hatton, Anthony Malone (0-1), Gary Flanagan, Enda Murphy, Aidan Dunning (0-1), Mark Rigney, Ciarán Cunningham (0-1), Alan Carroll (1-3, one free), Anselm Fitzgerald (2-1), Leo Fallon (0-1, one free). 
Substitutes: Alan Rigney for Alan Carroll and Ross Allen for Leo Fallon.

Referee: Gerard Linnane (Ballinagore).

Extract from the Westmeath Independent Archives, 20th October 2001

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