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2008 Westmeath Minor Division1 County Final

Kincaid clinches title for Maryland/Tang as Caulry lose out in thrilling final

Maryland/Tang 0-13
Caulry 1-9 (AET)

Level at half-time, deadlocked at full-time, it took two 10-minute spells of extra time to finally separate the protagonists in this high quality and spine tingling Westmeath Minor Club F.C. Division 1 final played in overcast, but pleasant and dry conditions, at Hogan Park, Moate, on Saturday afternoon last. 

Even as the concluding period of extra-time was being played out, it was still stalemate as a James Egan goal brought Caulry level with their Maryland/Tang neighbours (1-9 to 0-12), but, with two minutes to go, and a replay looking a distinct possibility, it was Enda Kincaid"s well worked point from an acute angle which finally decided the destination of the magnificent Darren Price Memorial Cup. 
Caulry had a late, late opportunity of forcing another day, when James Egan was fouled going through, but Robert Ryan"s free drifted right and wide, albeit a high-pressure kick, in what was effectively the last real attack of the afternoon. Accordingly, it was an overjoyed Maryland/Tang who became the second holders of the Cup, simultaneously keeping it in the west of the county, but there were few in the sizeable attendance who would have begrudged the Mount Temple lads another bite of the cherry.
The Maroon/Blue jerseyed combination, victors over Mullingar Shamrocks at the semi-final stage, received a setback before a ball was kicked in Saturday"s decider, due to the unavailability through suspension of talismanic forward, Callum McCormack. In a classic "local derby" confrontation, awaiting them was a strong Caulry outfit, powered by a half dozen of the Athlone Community College team who took Leinster S.F.C. honours earlier this year. After a good win over a strong Athlone team at the penultimate stage of the MFC, Caulry carried impressive credentials onto the well-prepared Hogan Park surface against their neighbours and rivals. 
With Alan Fitzpatrick - listed at corner-forward, but allotted a roving commission from the outset - at the fulcrum of their attacking forays from the off, it was the Reds who set the early pace. A foul on full-forward Robert Kenny saw Robert Ryan"s accurate placekick edge his side ahead in the fourth minute. Though a lengthy spell of play was dominated by the respective defences, with some superb fielding and clearance by both full-backs, Trevor Farrell (Maryland/Tang) and Kevin Maguire (Caulry), Maryland/Tang could rightly bemoan the spurning of three possible goal chances in the opening 30 minutes. 

A ninth minute shot from wing-forward Sean Coughlan flew across an open goal and narrowly wide. An 18th minute attack saw corner-forward Enda Kincaid, put through by Sean Egan, come within inches of raising a green flag for his side, but Caulry goalie Joe McMahon came to the rescue. Caulry could thank their custodian again for saving a 23rd-minute Sean Egan effort. Add to that a 27th minute free from Alan Burke which ended in the Caulry net, only for the score to be disallowed because full-forward Kieran Egan was in the square, and it is clear the Caulry lads enjoyed a few lucky breaks in that opening 30 minutes. 
However, via a brace of Robert Ryan points (13th and 16th minutes), added to the wing-forward"s earlier pointed free, Caulry led 0-3 to 0-0, before Maryland/Tang finally raised their first flag - a Kieran Martin point (off the crossbar and over), which was set up by Christy Grimes. 
With Tang clubman Aidan Burke now proceeding to take this game by the scruff of the neck, a spell of dominance for his team began. The No 11 played a captain"s part when pointing following Sean Egan"s goal attempt (23rd minute), while a splendid bout of play, initiated by Ronan Farrell (Maryland) was finished by his wing-back colleague Kenneth Kincaid, for a 25th minute equaliser. 
Maryland/Tang were moving the ball deftly and effectively in this fruitful spell, and another fine move resulted in midfielder Dean Reddin edging his team ahead for the first time with a terrific point (29th minute). 
Caulry, who had earlier moved Robert Kenny to midfield in an effort to counter the dominance exercised by Kieran Martin and Dean Reddin in this sector, had now gone sixteen minutes without a score. But, one minute into injury-time, a Ben Moran-Anthony Allen-Alan Fitzpatrick necklace move saw the latter tie the match at the short whistle, 0-4 each.
It was Alan again who featured prominently for his team when edging Caulry ahead six minutes after the resumption. But Alan Burke continued to impress when working hard to give the Drumraney parish side the levelling point three minutes later. 
We then had a cameo of top-class fare from a resurgent Caulry. A trio of points, per Anthony Allen, sub Jason Conlon, and Robert Ryan (free, foul on Declan Donohoe) put them 0-8 to 0-5 ahead. But, in the 43rd minute, it took a top-class save from Joe McMahon to deny Maryland/Tang captain Aidan Burke what looked a certain goal. 
The incidents were coming thick and fast at this stage of play. A shot by Caulry full-forward Robert Kenny was expertly blocked by Maryland/Tang goalie Martin Donoghue, but there were calls for a penalty, ignored by the referee, when Anthony Allen appeared to be fouled inside the square on two occasions in lighting succession. Either side of the latter incident, each team had a pointed free - Kieran Martin for Maryland/Tang and Robert Kenny for Caulry, but with nine minutes to go, Caulry held the advantage with a 3-point lead, but Maryland/Tang were far from finished as events were about to reveal.

The Maroon and Blue side dug deep to get back into contention. A 52nd minute foul on corner-forward Sean Egan was punished by the accurate boot of Kieran Martin, and when full-forward Kieran Egan drew another free, Martin again showed unerring accuracy to cut arrears to a minimum (55th minute). Maryland/Tang supporters in the crowd were on song (57th minute) when Christy Grimes lofted over the equaliser from play and Kieran Martin, in a late attack, appeared to be in for the kill. But his shot was brilliantly cleared by Alan Fitzpatrick, now at the heart of the Caulry defence. This fittingly concluded normal time action in a pulsating contest - it was 0-9 each, with extra-time to come.
Players who had been replaced earlier, and who were subsequently re-introduced, would have huge roles in the 20 minutes of extra time to be played. Danny Seery replaced Caulry"s James Egan at the start of extra-time, while three minutes before the end of normal time, Trevor English came on for Enda Kincaid (Maryland/Tang). Caulry, in the opening ten minute period, kicked four eminently scorable wides, which would prove ultimately costly, while Maryland/Tang took the two opportunities that came their way. Aidan Burke"s 5th minute point edged his team ahead, while Enda Kincaid, who was brought back on almost simultaneously, added another point two minutes into added-on-time. Maryland/Tang were now two points ahead.
It was Enda again who was on target with another vital point barely thirty seconds into the second extra-time period. Caulry"s Robert Kenny and James Egan (the latter had been brought back late in the first period of extra-time) had shots blocked by Maryland/Tang goalie Martin Donoghue. But it was James Egan who, from an Alan Fitzpatrick centre which caused a mix-up in the Maryland/Tang rearguard, took full advantage to send the ball to the net, bringing Caulry right back into contention just as the game seemed to be going away from them, in the third minute of the second period of extra-time. And so it stayed until two minutes from time when Enda Kincaid emerged as his team"s hero with his third "extra-time" point from play to give Maryland/Tang a great win.

Maryland/Tang, thus, emerged winners after a marathon struggle. They dug deep for this win, and never gave up even when fate seemed to conspire that this would not be their day. They had many heroes on view, the brilliant Aidan Burke receiving top class support from defenders Trevor Farrell, Ronan Farrell and Darren Malynn, midfielder Kieran Martin and Dean Reddin, and match winner Enda Kincaid. 
It was cruel luck on a fine Caulry side to be denied another chance, but they had top performances from goalie Joe McMahon, Kevin Maguire, Andrew Killane, Declan Donohoe, Ben Moran, Robert Ryan, Robert Kenny and the outstanding Alan Fitzpatrick.

After the game, the magnificent Darren Price Memorial Cup, won by neighbouring club Tubberclair in 2007, its inaugural year, was presented to Aidan Burke, captain of the Maryland/Tang victorious team, by Damien Maher P.R.O. of Westmeath County Minor Board, to the unbridled joy of players, mentors and partisans of the winning squad.

Well Done
Well done to Moate All-Whites Club for the excellent conditions of Hogan Park on the day, and many thanks for their hospitality to the press at half-time.

SCORERS - Maryland/Tang; K Martin (0-4, 3f), A Burke (0-3), E Kincaid (0-3), D Reddin (0-1), K Kincaid (0-1), C Grimes (0-1). 
Caulry: R Ryan (0-4, 2f), J Egan (1-0), A Fitzpatrick (0-2), A Allen (0-1), R Kenny (0-1), J Conlon (0-1).

Maryland/Tang: Martin Donoghue, Joe Reilly, Trevor Farrell, Chris Connor, Ronan Farrell, Darren Malynn, Kenneth Kincaid, Kieran Martin, Dean Reddin, Sean Coughlan, Aidan Burke (capt), Christy Grimes, Sean Egan, Kieran Egan, Enda Kincaid. 
Subs: Trevor English for E Kincaid (57); E Kincaid for T Farrell (inj., 5th min, 1st period extra-time); T Farrell for T English (8th min of extra time 1st period).

Caulry: Joe McMahon, Ciaran Allen, Kevin Maguire, Andrew Killane, Eoghan Grennan, Declan Donohoe, Aidan Murphy, Ben Moran, James Daly, Michael Donoghue, James Egan, Robert Ryan, Anthony Allen, Robert Kenny, Alan Fitzpatrick.
Subs: Jason Conlon for J Daly (40); Danny Seery for J Egan (start of 1st period extra-time); J Egan for D Donohoe (inj., 9th min 1st period extra-time); D Donohoe for C Allen (6th min of 2nd period extra-time).

Referee: Michael Gordon (Shandonagh), who issued 4 yellow cards, 2 to each side, over the duration of the match.