Clonmore opened brightly and raced into a 1-2 to 0-0 lead after just 8 minutes with points from Sean T (2,1f) and a Conor McCarney goal. At this stage, we were totally on top and creating chances but we kicked a lot of wides. On the other hand, MLR gave us a taste of what was to come by scoring 1-1 in their first two attacks. Before the first half water break, we were awarded a penalty for a foul on Conor McCarney but Jamie Walsh's shot was well saved by the Ranger's keeper. Score after 15 minutes: 1-2 to 1-1.
Kevin McCarney was injured just before the WB and was replaced by Frankie Whelan who scored two excellent points on the re-start, one with his right, the other with his left. However, we continued to miss chances and spurned a couple of clear goalscoring opportunities that would probably have put us out of sight at half-time. The HT score was 1-4 to 1-2 and MLR couln't believe their luck to be still in the game.
The contest was turned on its head in the Third Quarter. Within two minutes MLR had scored two points to equalise and then scored two goals in as many minutes to put them 3-6 to 1-6 ahead on 42 minutes. Clonmore's chances were dealt a further blow when Willie Rooney received a straight red card from Referee James Foley on 43minutes leaving us facing a 7 point deficit with 14 men.
In fairness to the Clonmore lads they showed great heart and continued to battle to the end. Points from Sean T, Jamie Walsh and a cracking goal from substitute Darren McGrath reduced the arrears to 4 points on 58 minutes but with the extra man, MLR were able to play "keep ball" and run down the clock in the dying minutes.
This result was hard to take especially as it was a very winnable game for Clonmore and we don't get into many Championship Finals. Still, the players and mentors must be complimented for getting to the final and on playing some excellent football during this Championship last year and this. Hopefully, with MLR gone up to Junior 'B', we can go one step further and win the 2021 Championship.
Team: Jason Fitzharris, John Kelly, Anthony McDonald, Rory McKernan, Willie Rooney, Andrew Byrne, Eoin Connolly, Willie Byrne, Paddy Byrne, Jamie Walsh (0-1), Collie McGrath, Kevin McCarney, Conor McCarney (1-0), John McGrath, Sean Tompkins (0-4, 2f). Subs: Frankie Whelan (0-2) for Kevin McCarney (inj 19m), Cathal Foley for Rory McKernan (inj, HT), Darren McGrath (1-0) for Collie (47m), Luke Mullen for John McGrath (47m), Keith Bowes for Conor (inj, 51m).
Referee: James Foley (Kilbride).