Former Offaly star, Ciaran McManus, now in his mid 40s, helped Tubber win the Division 2 Football League
This was certainly a game of two-halves as Tubber, who had been second best for much of the first half, completely took over in the second half to seal a well-deserved victory in the Daingean sunshine on Saturday evening.
Brosna Press Offaly Division 2 Football League final
A win for Tubber had looked unlikely after the first half as Clonbullogue dominated possession and led at the break by 0-8 to 0-5, and might have been further ahead.
A feature of that first half was how deep Tubber sat at times, with 12 men defending in their own half, when Clonbullogue were in possession.
Despite the massed defence at times, Clonbullogue were able to pick off some impressive scores from range.
Shane O’Brien kicked over two well-taken points in the early exchanges while Shane O’Brien and Peter Byrne added two points apiece in that opening half.
Tubber were starved of possession for long periods although when the ball did get through to their full-forward line, they appeared to have the measure of their opponents, with Bernard Allen and Pauric Robbins particularly lively.
It was a complete turnaround in the second half as Tubber dominated, whilst Clonbullogue appeared to lose confidence in their shooting as they constantly passed the ball, rather than opting to try for scores that they were able to find in the first half.
There was a warning early on in the second half when Pauric Robbins shot to the side netting, with some thinking the shot had found the net.
However, the decisive goal came when Pauric Robbins picked out Ciaran McManus in space and as he ran towards goal, he was hauled down for a penalty. Lee Colgan then dispatched the chance to the net.
It was a dismal second half from Clonbullogue as they hardly had a shot in the opening 20 minutes of the second half and also missed some scoreable frees.
The momentum was totally with Tubber for most of the half, and while Clonbullogue reduced the deficit to a goal, they never really looked like rescuing the game in the closing minutes.
When Tubber needed someone to turn to in the second half, Bernard Allen stepped up and he converted frees and shot over a point from play to lead the way for his team.
Special mention also goes to Ciaran McManus who rolled back to the years after being introduced for the injured Eoin Dunne just three minutes into the second half. The former Offaly stalwart celebrated the win like the league title was the first of his career, after winning a lot of ball over the half hour or so that he played in.
Tubber: Bernard Allen 0-4 (2f), Lee Colgan 1-0 (P), Pauric Robbins 0-3, Eoin Dunne 0-2.
Clonbullogue: Peter Byrne, Shane O’Brien and Jack McEvoy (frees) 0-2 each, Ryan Dempsey, Sean Foran and Jamie Guing 0-1 each.
Tubber: Jamie Colgan; David Colgan, Eddie Kavanagh, Ciaran Allen; David Fallon, Dan Kelleher, Brian Kelly; Eoin Dunne, Lee Colgan; Sean Farrell, Joe Higgins, Ciaran Kinahan; Ian Daly, Bernard Allen, Pauric Robbins. Sub: Ciaran McManus for Eoin Dunne.
Clonbullogue: Killian Carr; Ryan Dempsey, Ian Curry, Jamie Quinn; Harry Judge, Eddie Bennett, Peter Bennett; Jack McEvoy, James Byrne; Sean Foran, Peter Byrne, David Dempsey; Daryl Quinn, Shane O’Brien, Jamie Guing. Subs: Joe Foran for Shane O’Brien, Tommie Dempsey for Ryan Dempsey.
Referee: Martin Carty
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