After a compelling drawn final, in which Camross will feel they let the game slip, Mountmellick and Camross were deadlocked and were forced to fight it out again a week and a half later in O’Moore Park last Friday night.
Junior B HC Final replay
This time, the match was nowhere near as open as the last outing, and it turned out to be a battle of the wits for the free takers, as both Aidan Challoner and David Mortimer gave a master-class in free taking, accounting for a rather large percentage of their side’s scores.
Mountmellick were first out of the blocks when centre forward Cahlloner opened his account with his first free of the evening. Camross soon replied to level it up when Daniel Delaney pointed. It was evident from the beginning of the game that both sides were suffering from early jitters, both committing cynical fouls and displaying a poor first touch and poor passing. It was Mountmellick who began to settle the quicker, however, and started to look far more comfortable in possession, and soon after had their second point, Aidan Challoner doubling his own tally.
Two more frees from Challoner for Mountmellick saw them go three points clear with fifteen minutes on the clock. Challoner notched on his first point from play before Camross got an opportunity to take their second point when David Mortimer landed his twenty one yard free.
Moving into the second quarter of the game, neither side look to have any real control or upper hand on the game, but it was Mountmellick who did look a little more comfortable while on the ball. Two more points for Camross from Damien Ryan and David Mortimer saw the lead cut to a solitary point, opening the way for Mountmellick to land a big blow which in hindsight was a real turning point.
Ian Fennelly goaled when he gathered a high ball which Billy Lally in the Camross goals failed to deal with. This gave them a four point lead, which was stretched to five just before the interval, again thanks to Aidan Challoner.
At half time on the scoreboard it was Mountmellick on top but no real side had taken any major step towards cementing themselves with the status as the dominant side in this match. Both were making silly schoolboy mistakes.
When Mountmellick emerged for the second half they were kept waiting for quite a while before Camross emerged from the tunnel to begin the second half, whether this was a tactic taken by the Camross officials or whether it was mere bad time keeping is unknown but in the short run it seemed to work as Camross were first off the mark in the second half when Mortimer landed two points.
There was then a massive rut in the game in which both teams were stuck as it took almost twelve minutes for the next score in the game, and it went the way of the men in blue and white when Challoner again increased his own personal tally and again stretched his sides lead.
Camross were beginning to at long last grow gradually into the game. Two points from David Mortimer and one from their captain Gary Cuddy saw only two points between the sides heading into the final quarter.
Challoner settled Mountmellick again, bringing the lead back to three, but again this was short lived, as Mortimer matched Challoner again, sending his own free over the bar. Camross continued to pile the pressure on Mountmellick, but were wasting priceless chances they were creating.
Redmond McEvoy, after making his first contribution to the game after being introduced stretched Mountmellick’s lead to two again. With two minutes left in this enthralling game, David Mortimer notched on another point to leave a single score between the sides.
But Mountmellick refused to panic and they finished the game with a two point lead courtesy of, again, Aidan Challoner’s last score. After two draining games Mountmellick were probably the deserved champions. A game which was dominated by the battle of the free-takers and a game which took its time to really ignite, didn’t disappoint in the end.
SCORERS - Mountmellick: Aidan Challoner 0-10 (nine frees), Ian Fennelly 1-0, Redmond McEvoy 0-1; Camross: David Mortimer 0-8 (seven frees), Daniel Delaney, Damien Ryan, Gary Cuddy 0-1 each
MOUNTMELLICK: Killian Murphy; David Allen, Paddy O’Brien, Paddy Simms; John McEvoy, Darren Young, Eddie Melia; Tom Gormley, Barry Mangan; Laurence Kenny, Aidan Challoner, Keith Dunphy; Shane Conlon, Ray O’Connor, Ian Fennelly. Subs: Redmond McEvoy for P Simms, Bernard Rochford for R O’Connor
CAMROSS: Billy Lally; Craig Delnaney, Keith Delaney, Aidan Carroll; Tadhg Drennan, Andrew Lowry, Aidan Hynes; Sean Higgins, Damien Ryan; David Mortimer, Gary Cuddy, Garrett Cuddy; Daniel Delaney, Darragh Moore, Brendan Ryan. Subs: Ger Guilfoyle for D Moore