When the final whistle sounded in this Leinster Colleges JFC ‘B’ final last Thursday evening in Tullamore, the only story should have been Colaiste Iosagain heroic attempted comeback. They reduced a 13 point deficit to just four in the last 15 minutes, but eventually ran out of time in their frantic pursuit of Gallen CS.
Leinster Colleges JFC ‘B’ final
Gallen CS 3-14
Colaiste Iosagain 3-10
What happened after the final whistle, however, will be the talking point for the foreseeable future. Almost immediately after Pat Fox had blown the full-time whistle, a scuffle broke out between a couple of players, and with emotions running high, it quickly escalated.
Matters weren’t helped by students running in from the stand to join in the free-for-all, with order eventually restored after a couple of minutes of mayhem. The referees report will determine the fate of many of the people involved, but it was a sad end to what had been a compelling game.
The 60 minutes of football which preceded the brawl had been superb, with Gallen dominating for 45 minutes before Iosagain launched a courageous late comeback. The Portarlington school have played some excellent football this year, and by their own standards, were way off the pace for much of the game. When they eventually found something approaching their true form they scored freely and almost caused a massive upset, but there would be no fairytale finish.
Gallen could hardly have come into the game in better form, having won the All-Ireland Vocational Schools JFC title the weekend before, and they played with the swagger of champions from the start. Less than 30 seconds in, Dean Hogan had a goal chance saved by Jason Kiernan, and with a little over three minutes gone, the Ferbane school had opened up a 0-3 to no score lead.
Iosagain looked stunned and that crept into their play. They fumbled the ball, ran into trouble or else just kicked it away with alarming frequency, with Jake Foster’s point doing little to steady the ship. Jack Walsh added a point from a free but Gallen looked dangerous with every attack, and corner-forward Hogan was wreaking havoc. In the 14th minute he set up Michael Butler for a point, and then moments later, cut in along the right touchline and fired a shot to the top corner.
A couple of points were soon added to Gallen’s tally, and after 25 minutes they lead 1-7 to 0-2. Iosagain needed to make something happen, quickly, and wing-forward Patrick O’Sullivan obliged with a storming run which resulted in him being brought down for a penalty. Jack Walsh expertly dispatched the ball to the bottom corner, and despite a late point for Gallen, Iosagain had reason to hope despite trailing 1-8 to 1-2 at half time.
They needed to start the second half strongly, but Gallen reeled off three unanswered points in six minutes to pull nine clear. Jake Foster pointed for the Port school but the Gallen response was ruthless, with Dean Hogan setting Michael Butler up for their second goal. Port were getting desperate now, and another Jake Foster point was followed up by a goal chance for Eoin McCann, which was blocked on the line.
From McCann’s blocked shot, Gallen launched a deadly counter-attack with Brian McEvoy teeing up Dean Hogan for his second goal. That left the score at 3-11 to 1-4. Game over. Or so it seemed to everybody there, except the Iosagain players.
Within a minute, Patrick O’Sullivan had scored a wonderful goal, shooting to the top left corner of the Gallen net to restore some belief to his side. Colin Kenny responded with a free for Gallen, but Port went on a run of five unanswered points, all from Jack Walsh frees, with O’Sullivan drawing three of those fouls.
Gallen responded with points either side of another Walsh free to lead by seven going into injury time, 3-14 to 2-10, but Port’s Colm Murphy then bundled home a goal from close range to add to the late drama.
Unfortunately for Iosagain, however, there would be no more time to get back into the game. Pat Fox blew his full-time whistle moments later, as a great game finished in a great shame.
SCORERS - Colaiste Iosagain: Jack Walsh 1-6 (1-0 pen, 0-6 frees), Jake Foster 0-3, Patrick O’Sullivan, Colm Murphy 1-0, Keith Kavanagh 0-1; Gallen CS: Michael Butler 1-4, Dean Hogan 2-1, Colin Kenny 0-5 (0-3 frees), Conor Owens 0-2, Conor Lynam, Ryan Heavin 0-1 each
COLAISTE IOSAGAIN: Jason Kiernan (St Broughan’s); Sean Fowler (St Paul’s), Ryan Havill (Gracefield), Stephen Chambers (Portarlington); Cormac O’Hora (O’Dempsey’s), Gavin Smyth (Gracefield), Joe Hurley (Gracefield); Eoin McCann (Portarlington), Graham Weldon (Portarlington); John Cahill (O’Dempsey’s), Jake Foster (Portarlington), Patrick O’Sullivan (Portarlington); Matthew Finlay (O’Dempsey’s), Jack Walsh (Gracefield), Colm Murphy (Portarlington). Subs: Thomas Kehoe (O’Dempsey’s) for Hurley (half-time); Keith Kavanagh (O’Dempsey’s) for Cahill (half-time), Jamie Connolly (Portarlington) for Finlay (40 mins)
GALLEN CS: Barry Rohan; Ronan Hynes, John Corcoran, Emmett Molloy; Conor Lynam, Jack Egan, Liam Cooper; Colin Kenny, Tom Corcoran; Conor Owens, Ryan Heavin, Brian McEvoy; Jack Clancy, Michael Butler, Dean Hogan. Subs: Jack Quinn for Molloy (51 mins)
Referee: Pat Fox (Westmeath)
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