THE adage declares goals win matches and goal-den strikes by Eoin Ryan and super sub Kevin Connolly in the opening and closing minutes, respectively, of Sunday’s engrossing SHC showdown ensured that Coolderry retained their grip on the coveted Sean Robbins Cup, a feat the 29-times champions hadn’t achieved since 1962/’63.
Roared on by their enthusiastic fans in the 6,000 strong O’Connor Park attendance, the Coolderry men, playing with purpose and poise, led by eight points on four separate occasions during the opening 33 minutes of this eighth (ninth if you include the ’06 replay) decider between these arch rivals.
Backed by the considerable breeze, they were 1-6 to 0-1 ahead after 13 minutes and they boasted a similar cushion a hat-trick of times later – 1-11 to 0-6 on 30 minutes, 1-12 to 0-7 in the opening minute of the concluding moiety and 1-13 to 0-8 in the 33rd minute following a brilliant score executed by mid-field dynamo and man of the match Kevin Brady.
Birr did mount a stirring fightback rattling off a streak of six unanswered points but a goal from Kevin Connolly late on settled the tie in Coolderry’s favour.
SEE THIS WEEK’S OFFALY EXPRESS FOR FULL REPORT, REACTION AND ANALYSIS.