20 Jan 2022

Clonbullogue fairytale gathers pace as Louth champions put to sword

Clonbullogue fairytale gathers pace as Louth champions put to sword

Clonbullogue still on the march

CLONBULLOGUE'S fairytale year continues to get better and they added another chapter to remember when they easily beat Louth champions Glen Emmets in the Leinster Club Junior Football Championship in Gracefield on Saturday afternoon.

AIB Leinster club Junior Football Championship quarter-final

Clonbullogue (Offaly) 1-13
Glen Emmets (Louth) 1-4

The Offaly intermediate champions were once again on fire, showing great appetite for the provincial campaign and winning with plenty to spare.

They now have an away game against Kilkenny intermediate champions O'Loughlin Gaels in the semi-final on December 18 and on this form, there won't be many backing against them making the final.

It was a fiercely fought encounter with nine yellow cards, one black and three reds shown by a busy referee Keith Sheerin. The three red were all shown to the Louth junior champions who lost their composure as a sensational 50th goal from the brilliant Keith O'Neill ended the game as a contest.

It was a very messy finish by Glen Emmets with Evan English, Andrew Mooney and Keith Boylan all getting straight red cards for separate incidents late on. Apart from that, it wasn't a dirty game and Clonbullogue had to play well to win against tough opposition.

Glen Emmets were more competitive here than the final scoreline might suggest but at the same time, Clonbullogue always looked like they would be good enough to win. Their defence were superb on the day, holding their opponents to just five scores while Keith O'Neill produced another man of the match display. The U-20 star tortured the Glen Emmets defence, running at them at pace and scoring 1-5, 10-2 from play.

Clonbullogue were assisted by a wasteful visiting attack who kicked nine wides and some of these should have been scored – the winners had just three wides.

Glen Emmets had first use of the wind and took the lead through Kealan O'Neill but Clonbullogue soon settled. Jamie Guing got three points, two frees, while he almost got in for a goal but hit the post. Shane O'Brien got a point as Clonbullogue kept possession before Ronan Grufferty's point left Glen Emmets trailing by 0-4 to 0-2 at the water break.

Keith O'Neill then found his form, getting two points, one from a free while Guing added a free as Clonbullogue led by 0-7 to 0-2 at half time. By this stage, a bit of indiscipline had crept into Glen Emmets game and they picked up four yellow cards before the interval.

With the pitch becoming heavy, Clonbullogue kept pushing and a Keith O/'Neill free put them six clear at the start of the second half. A deflected goal from Andrew Mooney in the 37th minute brought Glen Emmets back into it but it proved to be a false dawn.

An excellent Jack McEvoy point settled them back down straight away and Keith O'Neill added a point after a Joe Foran punch was blocked.

Clonbullogue led by 0-11 to 1-3 at the second half watrer break and a black card for Jack McEvoy gave Glen Emmets a chance. James Butler got a point after Cian Corcoran saved his shot on goal but that proved to be Glen Emmets last score. A super individual goal from Keith O'Neill when he drove to the net after racing over half the pitch put Clonbullogue home and even without those late red cards, they would have won.

Man of the match: Keith O'Neill (Clonbullogue).

The scorers

Clonbullogue: Keith O’Neill 1-5 (3fs), Jamie Guing 0-4 (3fs), Shane O’Brien, Jack McEvoy, Joe Foran and Darragh Hickey 0-1 each.

Glen Emmets: Andrew Mooney 1-0, James Butler 0-2 (1f), Kealan O’Neill and Ronan Grufferty 0-1 each.

The teams

Clonbullogue: Cian Corcoran; David Dempsey, Jamie Quinn, Shane Furey; Eddie Bennett, Ian Curry, Harry Judge; Jack McEvoy, Peter Bennett; Sean Foran, Keith O’Neill, Shane O’Brien; Jamie Guing, Daryl Quinn, Joe Foran. Subs: Thomas Morrissey for Judge (42 min), Eoin McEvoy for J Quinn (50 min), Darragh Hickey for D Quinn (58 min), Niall O’Brien for J Foran (60 min).

Glen Emmets: Conor Kelly; Evan English, Sam Kenny, Tom Grimes; Cathal Maguire, Davey Bracken, Robert Byrne; Sean Byrne, Keith Boylan; Ronan Grufferty, Andrew Mooney, James Butler; Eoghan Maguire, Cian Talbot, Kealan O’Neill. Subs: Daniel Grimes for T Grimes (half-time), Tadhg Downey for E Maguire (half-time), Damien Grimes for Bracken (55 min).

Referee – Keith Sheerin (Drumconrath, Meath).

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