2001 Junior Championship County Final Replay

Caulry Lose Out To Bunbrosna In Exciting Final  

Bunbrosna 2-5
Caulry 1-6

Another energy-sapping contest was provided by both teams in the Westmeath junior football championship replay at Cusack Park last Sunday with the drawn match of fourteen days beforehand emerging as a foretaste for another exceptional game of football that saw Bunbrosna blow away the cobwebs of a fortnight’s gap to claim their ticket into the intermediate grade for next season by 2-5 to 1-6.

Both John Madden and John Mulligan deserve great credit for the way they prepared their teams as, with nothing left to chance in terms of selectorial alteration, the possibility of another close encounter beckoned. 
Finian Newman’s unavailability for this match was lessened in significance by the return of star forward Ciaran Brennan for Bunbrosna, as Caulry (bidding to bounce back after conceding an enormous amount of space in the drawn fixture) also re-shuffled their fifteen to facilitate the introduction of Mark Malone in their backline.
Only underage corner-back Brian Mullarney (who turned in another magnificent display for a youngster who lifted an under-16 trophy for Caulry approximately twelve months ago) remained in the regular number four slot as every other Caulry defender commenced the game in a different position than outlined on the official programme.
Keeping their opponents to only 2-5 was a tremendous display by this new-look defensive line-up, but Bunbrosna seemed to keep enough up their sleeves for the last five minutes of the game and produced the goods in fantastic fashion. 
Amassing big totals became little more than a formality in their path to Sunday’s replay and with players like Peter Tormey, Aidan Finnan and Noel Kiernan taking it in turns to unlock defences in almost every encounter in the junior competition, it was only a matter of time before things blended together as they did.
For the runners-up, there will be better days ahead when a little bit more luck goes their way and the bounce of the ball favours them a bit more kindly, but they have contributed a massive amount to over two hours of end-to-end football in this fixture and deserve to be back in their endeavours to go one better next year.
Sticking like glue to their policy of playing open, attacking football, Bunbrosna once again turned defence into attack in a matter of seconds early on to give themselves the perfect start with a free by Aidan Finnan in the tenth minute, backed up by a point that was finished expertly by Peter Tormey and engineered by Eoin Clarke not long after.
John Madden’s men responded firstly to reduce the deficit and then equalise through an Alan Carroll free in the eighteenth minute, before the number thirteen obtained an inspirational score from play with his left foot seconds later.
Bunbrosna, not failing to reproduce the goal-scoring sparkle of the drawn game, were then sent surging clear as a crashing effort by Ultan Molloy sent the ball spinning to the top of the net for the final’s first goal after he was fed expertly by Ciaran Brennan. John Mulligan’s men stepped up a gear after this and outstanding work by goalkeeper Enda Murphy, Cormack McCormack, Paddy Wallace and Conor Geeragh allowed them to wrest the initiative in their direction.
Soon to greet the half-time whistle with a brace of unanswered points, the only further set-back for Bunbrosna came as a Leo Fallon delivery was snapped up by creative number fourteen Anselm Fitzgerald and buried to the net in a low, accurate fashion to tie the game up briefly at 1-2 to 1-2.
Aidan Finnan and Peter Tormey then did the necessary for the two aforementioned Bunbrosna scores in the run-up to the interval and a cushion of 1-4 to 1-2 existed as the teams departed for the dressing rooms.

A pulsating second half
Leo Fallon swapped life as a forward for the Caulry midfield engine-room as John Madden’s team orchestrated a new degree of direction into their play after the restart.
With Gary Flanagan, David Hatton, Mark Rigney and Aidan Dunning growing in stature as the game progressed and Caulry working efficiently as a unit, Bunbrosna needed every ounce of the unselfish work that was provided for them by Niall Harte, Francis Molloy, Tommy Murphy and Conor Newman to come out on top. Alan Carroll located Ciaran Cunningham for a point that reduced the deficit to 1-4 to 1-3 and although Damien Dowd and Jody Malynn continued to dominate proceedings for Caulry, they were sent tumbling again with the loss of another goal when about to get into their stride after approximately fourteen minutes of the second period.
A tricky delivery saw goalkeeper Noel Murray do the best he could in the circumstances to keep the ball out of the net, but lively Bunbrosna corner-forward Eoin Clarke swept in to deflect the ball home for a lead of 2-4 to 1-4.
A response arrived through another superb Anselm Fitzgerald delivery with less than thirteen minutes left to play that provided the impetus for Caulry to add a second fabulous score by Alan Carroll that reduced the margin to 2-4 to 1-6, but Bunbrosna players Finian Newman, Barry Brennan and Cormack McCormack ran themselves into the ground in their quest for victory.

The last few minutes of action featured a sustained Caulry comeback that produced a mountain of action for neutral spectators, but clever work by John McCormack, Paddy Wallace, Conor Geerah and Finian Newman paved the way for a free to be engineered and cleanly dispatched by on-song number fourteen Aidan Finnan near the conclusion.
With seconds left on the clock, Caulry threw almost everything forward in a salvage operation that produced a cascade of very accurate deliveries in an effort to manufacture a goal, but more inspirational work by Enda Murphy kept the Bunbrosna net intact right to the final whistle to give the up and coming Westmeath club the county junior football championship by 2-5 to 1-6. 

Bunbrosna: Enda Murphy, Conor Newman, Cormac McCormack, Conor Geerah, Paddy Wallace, John McCormack, Tommy Murphy, Francis Molloy (Captain), Niall Harte, Peter Tormey (0-2, one free), Ciaran Brennan, Noel Kiernan, Eoin Clarke (1-0), Aidan Finnan (0-3,two frees), Ultan Molloy (1-0). 
Substitutes: Finian Newman for Eoin Clarke, Barry Brennan for Tommy Murphy.

Caulry: Noel Murray, Damien Dowd, David Hatton, Brian Mullarney, Anthony Malone, Jody Malynn, Mark Malone, Gary Flanagan, Enda Murphy, Aidan Dunning, Mark Rigney, Leo Fallon, Anselm Fitzgerald (1-1), Alan Carroll (0-4, two frees), Ciaran Cunningham (0-1). 
Substitutes: Alan Rigney for Leo Fallon.

Referee: Gerard Linnane (Ballinagore).

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The Full Caulry panel who were runners-up in the Westmeath junior football championship are. Willie Buckley, John Dolan, James Hatton, Alan Rigney, Noel Murray, Gary Flanagan, Leo Fallon, Anselm Fitzgerald, Aidan Dunning, Mark Rigney, Mark Malone, Derek Bowen, Frank Coakley, TJ Dunning, Damien Killane, David Hatton, Alan Carroll, Damien Dowd, Enda Murphy, Ciarán Cunningham, James Casey, Ross Allen, Brian Mullarney, Jody Malynn, Eddie Egan and Padraig Killane. 
The Mascots on the day were: Anthony Flynn and Liam Malynn.

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