Rosenallis celebrate their win over Bracknagh. Pic: Denis Byrne
Rosenallis 1-11 Bracknagh 1-8
Rosenallis recorded the greatest victory in the club's history on Saturday afternoon in Tullamore, as an accomplished display saw them beat Bracknagh to claim the Leinster JFC title.
A three-point winning margin at the final whistle probably did them a disservice, as they were by far the better team throughout, and were six ahead until Bracknagh got a consolation goal deep into injury time.
Paddy Dunne's side had their homework done on the Offaly champions, and nullified, their two main threats - Peter Cunningham and Glen Brereton. Those two had fired Bracknagh to this stage of the competition, but managed just one point each, with the veteran Brereton withdrawn with 15 minutes to go having been unable to get any joy against a resolute Rosenallis defence.
Further out the field, Ruaidhri C Fennell tracked Cunningham's every move and kept him on the periphery of the game, while up front, Colm Poole and James Jackson lead the scoring. Jackson's goal midway through the first half was the catalyst for the win, and when it was paired with the way Rosenallis blitzed Bracknagh at the start of the second half, then the Offaly side never had a chance.
Bracknagh were probably the slight favourites coming into the game after running up some big scores en route to the final, but those performances counted for little against a well-drilled Rosenallis outfit. While the club may be battling on two fronts with a significant number of players featuring for both, they showed no signs of fatigue.
As manager Paddy Dunne pointed out afterwards, they are a very young side overall, so fatigue is never going to be an issue. They are full of confidence and winning every week, and when those two things combine, they are a potent mix. Just ask Bracknagh.
The game was something of a slow-burner, with neither side really imposing themselves early on. Rosenallis had their homework done on Bracknagh and set up accordingly, and they contained the Offaly side well in the opening minutes.
It wasn't until the ninth minute that the deadlock was finally broken, when Rosenallis full-forward James Jackson stroked over a free. Bracknagh hit back soon after, when centre-forward Joe Costello dummied onto his left foot and pointed from 35 yards.
Parity lasted all of a minute, however, as Rosenallis were growing in confidence with every passing minute, and another Jackson free for an off-the-ball foul had them 0-2 to 0-1 in front after 12 minutes.
Soon after that, they were through for the first goal of the game, and it was a wonderful move which lead to it. They worked the ball down the field before quick hands on the edge of the area saw Mark Dunne offload to Ronan Murray, and he played in James Jackson, who held his nerve to round the 'keeper and slot home.
They were now five clear, but Bracknagh dug in after that and worked their way back into the game. Robert Barron pointed from 30 yards out, before Peter Cunningham and Jim Hendy slotted over to leave just two between the sides as half time quickly approached.
Rosenallis would lead by a goal at the interval, however, and they had a brilliant Colm Poole free to thank for that, as he curled over a peach of a score from the right wing. They lead 1-4 to 0-4 at the break, and were full value for the advantage.
The start to the second half was going to be crucial, as Bracknagh had to put themselves right back into the mix, but they never got the chance. Rosenallis stormed forward from the throw in and a fine move ended with a point from Joseph Shelley.
From the resulting kickout, Colm Poole was alive to a poor ball from Keith Keogh to scoop up possession, before racing clear for a fine point. Soon after that James Jackson was slotting over another free, and with a little over three minutes of the half played, Rosenallis had doubled their lead, 1-7 to 0-4.
Bracknagh hit back with points from Robin Galbraith and Glen Brereton, before one of the key moments of the game. Bracknagh were threatening to build momentum and looked to have worked a fine goal-scoring opportunity when Peter Cunningham came charging through the middle to take a pass from Glen Brereton, but Marcus Redmond made a crucial interception to snuff out the attack.
Colm Poole and Robin Glabraith traded scores as Rosenallis continued to manage the game impressively, picking off scores as and when they needed them. Poole scored again, with Robbie Barron responding, before Joe Keating and Ronan Murray hit the target to send them six clear, and within touching distance of the title.
Bracknagh did manage a late goal through sub Dillon Broderick, but it was only a bump on the road to a famous win for Rosenallis.
Scorers: James Jackson 1-3 (0-3 frees), Colm Poole 0-5 (0-2 frees), Ronan Murray, Joseph Shelley, Joseph Keating 0-1 each.
Team: Barry Farrell; Cathal C Fennell, Marcus Redmond, Cormac White; Nicholas Dunne, Cillian Callally, Fiachra C Fennell; John Lennon, Mark Dunne; Joseph Shelley, Ronan Murray, Ruaidhri C Fennell; Colm Poole, James Jackson, Brian Fitzpatrick. Subs: Stephen McEvoy for N Dunne (50 mins), Joseph Keating for Lennon (54 mins), Donal Lalor for Jackson (60 mins).
Scores: Dillon Broderick 1-0, Robin Galbraith, Robert Barron 0-2 each, Jim Hendy, Peter Cunningham, Joe Costello, Glen Brereton 0-1 each.
Team: Keith Keogh; Dave Costello, Darren Groome, Emmet Geoghegan; Anthony Cunningham, Jim Hendy, William Dowling; Peter Cunningham, Jason Dempsey; Jamie Sheridan, Joe Costello, Robin Galbraith; Kieran McNeilis, Glen Brereton, Robert Barron. Subs: Eddie Mather for McNeilis (33 mins), Dillon Broderick for Brereton (45 mins).
Referee: Stephen Murphy (Louth)