Tyrone champions Cookstown celebrated a richly deserved All Ireland Intermediate club championship success at Croke Park yesterday following a two-point victory over Kerry champions Spa.
It was the Killarney side who got off to the best possible start with Michael O’Donoghue surging past Stephen Monaghan to fist over a point inside 30 seconds, before he converted a close range free after having won the foul from an over eager Cookstown defence.
The Kerry champions moved three points clear after nine minutes courtesy of a well-taken Cian Tobin point, but for the duration of the half, it was the Fr Rock’s, who enjoyed the best of the possession stakes.
A Chris Eastwood free sandwiched two Conor Mullan points, as they restored parity by the end of the opening quarter, but their wastefulness in front the posts allowed Killarney to remain in contention.
Eight first half wides illustrated their dominance and, while Brian Mulligan volleyed over for a 4-3 lead, the Kerry men came with a late burst in the closing minutes to take a fragile looking 5-4 advantage into the changing rooms.
An O’Donoghue free extended that lead within two minutes of the restart, but Cookstown remained the better team with Killarney goalkeeper James Devane producing an excellent save to deny Barry Mulligan before namesake Owen opened their account on nine minutes.
Niall O’Mahony and Martin Murray traded points before Cookstown captain Barry Hughes hammered home a penalty to punish a foul on Mulgrew for a 1-6 to 0-7 lead.
Niall O’Mahony reduced the deficit but an injury time Mulligan free sparked major scenes of celebration for the Tyrone men.
Cookstown: M Rea; P Kelly, S Monaghan, P McGurk; S McGarrity, B Hughes 1-0, C O’Hare; G Fitzpatrick, R Mulgrew; C Mullan 0-2, Barry Mulligan, Brian Mulligan 0-1; C Eastwood 0-1, O Mulligan 0-2, M Murray 0-1. Subs: J Gilmore (for Eastwood), R Pickering (for McGarrity), B O’Neill (for Fitzpatrick), J Quinn (for Brian Mulligan).
Killarney: J Devane; B Gleeson, A Cahill, F Clifford 0-1; D O’Sullivan, H O’Donoghue, E Cronin; K Healy, A Garnett; C Gleeson, N O’Mahony 0-2, P Murphy; C Tobin 0-1, M O’Donoghue 0-4, T Lynch. Subs: C Cronin (for P Murphy).
Referee: Thomas Quigley (Dublin).