2002 Drumgoon 1 – 14 Belmullet 0 – 12
On the 18th of May, 2002, at Cremartin in County Monaghan, Drumgoon became the first club from Cavan ever to capture an adult Football All Ireland title. They won the All Ireland Junior Club title on saturday evening, deservedly defeating the Connacht champions, Belmullet from Co. Mayo in the Final. Having performed very well all through this competition, defeating Doohamlet from Monaghan in the Ulster final and Leinster champions, An Tóchar from Roundwood in the semi-final, Drumgoon once again put in a very good performance. This was a highly entertaining free flowing game, thoroughly enjoyed by the large attendance. Fielding a full strength team for the first time this year, Drumgoon were slow to get used to their changed line out and it was Belmullet that got off to the best start. Brian Lynch (2) and Michael Gaynard shot Belmullet into a 3 point lead before Drumgoon opened their account. A driving run forward by their versatile wing back, Keith Fannin resulted in Keith shooting over from wide out on the left. Adrian Crosson operating at full forward got the first of his three points, before Philip Mc Dermott brought things level for Drumgoon. With Belmullet shading it at midfield, it took brilliant play from the Drumgoon half back line to stem the tide. Centre half back, DCU student, Michael Andrew Hannon, despite a high speed spin from Dublin to make the game with minutes to spare following an exam, was in excellent form. Michael continued to drive the play forward and the constant presure had to pay off. Ian Reilly was back to his brilliant best on the forty for Drumgoon and he shot over to give Drumgoon the lead for the first time. Brian Lynch shot over an excellent point for Belmullet from wide on the left before the strong running Philip Mc Dermott replied with a similiar score for Drumgoon. At half time Drumgoon led on a scoreline of 0 – 8 to 0 – 6. In the second half Belmullet came out with all guns blazing and points from Stephen Carolan and Paddy Barrett brough them right back into contention. However with a slight breeze on their backs, Drumgoon were never going to give up the fight. A good clearance out if defence by Colm Hannon found his younger brother Michael. Michael surged forward covering at least 70 yards before attempting to shoot over the bar. Michael’s shot fell short and deceived David Padden in the Belmullet goals. The Belmullet keeper knocked the ball forward and fastest to re-act was the in rushing Edward Jackson, who shot to the net. With their tails now up Drumgoon played some excellent passing football and had two more points from Philip Mc Dermott and Ian Reilly. Belmullet were not going to give up without a fight and in the final five minutes launched an all out assault on the Drumgoon goals. Luckily, for Drumgoon their keeper John Reilly was in top form and pulled off two world class saves. Belmullet also struck the crossbar in a final attack, but Drumgoon were not going to be denied their finest hour. This was a tremendous display of football from a club with only half a parish to pick from and until last year had never won a county championship title. Belmullet were very dis-appointed to loose as they also are an excellent side and currently are leading their League in Mayo. Their county star and captain Stephen Carolan was very well contained by Keith Fannin. In all round team performance it is difficult to nominate Drumgoon’s best players but their were sterling performances from Philip Mc Dermott, Michael Hannon, Ian Reilly, Keith Fannin and John Reilly.
There were fears in Monaghan at the weekend also that the inclement weather might cause the cancellation of the All-Ireland final in the junior club tournament which is organised by the Cremartin club but the fixture went ahead and produced a hugely entertaining, free flowing game that attracted a very big crowd to the mid-Monaghan venue.
In the end it was celebration for Cavan club side Drumgoon who added the All Ireland title to their Cavan Junior championship of last year, the latter their first ever championship title at county level and their progress in the series of games in this tournament augurs well for their future in the higher grades.
The competition itself has been a huge success and it’s success is a great tribute to everyone concerned in the Cremartin club for the many hours of unseen work that has been put in by so many people. Initially the competition was to be a provincial club series but having realised that there was such a competition in the other three provinces Cremartin sought approval from Croke park to move it on to All-Ireland level. After a series of very entertaining games with clubs from Tyrone, Derry, Armagh, Down, Antrim Donegal, Cavan and Monaghan it was a local derby final between Doohamlet and Drumgoon, a match that was won convincingly in the end by the Cavan Junior champions.
The form Drumgoon showed in those games was vindicated further with an all Ireland semi final victory against An Tochar, Roundwood, Co. Wicklow, while last Saturday’s finalists, Bellmullet contested the second All Ireland semi final with the Kerry and Munster champions St.Michaels/Foilmore.
Part of the success of the tournament has been that it has allowed the Junior Champions in the respective counties to progress to a higher stage and the commitment of all the clubs that took part was exemplary.
Club football is the very basis of the survival of Gaelic games and affording the junior clubs the opportunity to compete on a provincial and all Ireland stage can only be of benefit to everyone concerned and the game of football in general.
The final itself produced a fitting climax to what has been a great series of matches with the game delicately balanced until Edward Jackson scored the only goal of the game in the 18th minute of the second half for an advantage that Bellmullet could not wipe out despite their best efforts.
Hard work is the ethic in Drumgoon’s game and in this regard a number of players contributed above and beyond the call of duty with Colm Hannon at full back and Michael Andrew Hannon at centre half back marshalling their defensive forces effectively while left half back Keith Fannin, showed his penchant for attacking with some great forays into enemy territory that yielded four points.
Ultimately however it was the grit and accuracy of their three half forwards that secured victory for Drumgoon with the tireless Philip Mc Dermott getting through a mountain of work even if he was a little restricted after suffering a heavy tackle in the second half. Adrian Crosson showed some touches of class on the forty and Ian O’ Reilly underlined what a valuable player he is with four excellent points. Belmullet launched an all out assault on the Drumgoon goal in the dying minutes but the Drumgoon keeper, John O’ Reilly was in top class form and made three excellent saves.
For Bellmullet it only happened in short bursts at the beginning of the game and at the start of the second half, but if was the fact that their three star performers in previous matches, particularly Billy Joe Paden and Michael Gaynard were effectively shackled that saw their influence reduced. The staging of this tournament was a courageous decision by the Cremartin club. And its success this year means that it is well on its way to establishing itself as a permanent fixture in the gaa calendar. For Drumgoon its celebration time again and irrespective of future honours their victory on Saturday last is a first that will be cherished in the years ahead.
For Belmullet Brian Lynch, Kieran Lavelle, Pauric Keane and Johnny Sweeney were all to the fore.
Scorers for Drumgoon, Keith Fannin, (0 – 4), Ian Reilly (0 – 4), Philip Mc Dermott, (0 – 3), Adrian Crosson (0 – 3), Edward Jackson (1 – 0).
Scorers for Belmullet, Brian Lynch, (0 – 5), Stephen Carolan (0 – 2), Pauric Keane, (0 – 1), Paddy Barrett (0 – 1), Johnny Sweeney (0 – 1), Tony Geraghty (0 – 1), Michael Gaynard (0 – 1)
DRUMGOON:- John Reilly, Jimmy Reilly, Colm Hannon, Martin Clerkin, Keith Fannin, Michael Hannon, Paul Mc Enroe, Jim Mc Nally, Edward Jackson (Capt.), Paddy Mc Cabe, Ian Reilly, Philp Mc Dermott, Bryan Bates, Adrian Crosson, Seamus Morris Subs Peter Hand, Paul Crosson, Ronan Crosson, Paul Mc Cabe, Barry Crosson, John Mc Donald, Colm Crosson, Niall Fortune, Niall Crosson, Shane Mc Gorry, Sean Clerkin, Gerry Hughes
2002 Drumgoon 1 – 14 Belmullet 0 – 12