Ramor United 0-10
by Shane Corrigan
at Kingspan Breffni Park
Ramor United clinched their first senior championship title in 24 years today after seeing off Castlerahan with two points to spare at Kingspan Breffni Park.
Before a crowd of 4,410 spectators at the Cavan town venue, Micheál McDermott's side overturned a four-point first-half deficit and shot their way to the title through the scores of ace forwards Conor Bradley, substitute Jack Brady and full-forward Adrian Cole, who top-scored from open play with 0-4.
Castlerahan looked to be in the driving-seat after 12 minutes, ushering themselves 0-5 to 0-1 in front, but their neighbours from Virginia grew into this final replay having made four changes to their starting line-up from the drawn encounter of two weeks ago.
Cian McEnroe's brilliant point at the start of the second-half looked to set the tone for Michael Reilly's men, but it ended up being the last lead they'd own as Ramor's lethal front men condemned them to a second defeat in as many years on this stage.
Conor Bradley's free had the Virginia men up and running but it was Castlerahan that took over for the next 10 minutes with five points on the bounce.
McEnroe's left-footed free was backed up by splendid points from Stephen Cooney and Cian Mackey and the latter two would repeat the trick, with Mackey's second of the afternoon a true gem from all of 45 metres out.
The concession of those four scores largely came down to Ramor repeatedly getting turned over in their own half-forward line, but they'd get a bit of rhythm going in the second quarter after Bradley (free) sent over their second.
Cathal Maguire was found in time and space to rifle over the trailers' first from play in the 18th minute and they'd have the margin down to one when Cole pulled off some sublime work at full-forward to raise the umpire's white flag.
Cole's second saw him get a touch to tip over Stephen Monaghan's ambitious effort from distance, ensuring the sides went in the break all square on 0-5 apiece.
McEnroe and Cole traded points in the early stages of the restart to keep things even and after eight minutes the victors introduced Jack Brady to the fray.
The Cavan forward would steer McDermott's charges two points in front right on the 50-minute mark, with Bradley's first from play having put their noses back in front six minutes previous.
Some patient build-up play from the Ballyjamesduff men helped Mackey to make it a two-point game and Ramor would have to sweat it out in four minutes of injury-time before 'Man of the Match' Cole widened the margin to two again.
It left Castlerahan needing a goal in the dying stages but they'd have to settle for a Mackey free instead and the celebrations were already underway in the stand once Killian Maguire tapped his free for the game's final score, ensuring that the party was headed back to Virginia as Ramor's first Oliver Plunkett Cup success since 1992 was sealed.
Ramor United: Liam Brady; Micheál Smart, Matthew Magee, James McEnroe; Mark Magee, Brian O'Connell, Eoin Somerville; Stephen Monaghan, Simon Cadden; Cathal Maguire (0-1), Conor Bradley (0-3, 2f), James Bradley; James Brady, Adrian Cole (0-4), Kevin Mulvany. Subs: Jack Brady (0-1) for K Mulvany (38mins), Killian Maguire (0-1, 1f) for S Monaghan (51), Jack Doyle for James Brady (53), Gary McNamee for J Bradley (57), Shane Gaffney for C Bradley (60, b/c).
Castlerahan: Jamie Leahy; Stephen Cooney (0-2), Brian Coleman, Enda O'Connell; Fergal Reilly, Ronan Flanagan, Caolan McBreen; David Wright, Cormac Daly; Daniel Lynch, Cian McEnroe (0-2, 1f), Shane McSweeney; Oisin O'Connell, Sean Brady, Cian Mackey (0-4, 1f). Sub: Paul Brady for D Lynch (50mins).
Ref: Noel Mooney (Cavan Gaels)