2003 Junior Final Leighlinbridge V Ballinabranna

All Blacks Win Parish Derby Final

Leighlinbridge          2-9

Ballinabranna          2-2


When two teams from the one parish clash in a county final you can

be certain the exchanges will be intense and so it was on Saturday in

Dr.Cullen Park, the Carlow JFC ‘B’ decider providing an abundance

of entertainment for the small, but very involved attendance.


Forget the final scoreline for a minute, and consider events after 20

minutes of a strongly contested game. Leighlinbridge 1-3,

Ballinabranna 2-0 the scoreboard read at that stage and while the

All-Blacks had enjoyed most of the possession, Ballinabranna’s

breakaways had yielded two goals, goals which looked likely to

provide the platform to victory and a notable Intermediate/Junior


However, from there to the finish Leighlinbridge took a firm grip,

outscored their neighbours 1-6 to 0-2 and emerged thoroughly

deserving winners despite being reduced to 13 before the final



While Leighlin looked good early on, it was all of 12 minutes before

they managed the games opening score, Ruairi McGrath clipping

over a point having been set up by a good Willie Kearney run and



Two minutes later, at the other end, Ballinabranna broke through

for their first goal, big Tony Kinsella on his knees on the 21 yard line

fired an astute pass to Sean Dunne who netted from close range.


Points from John ‘Bravo’ Dermody and Ruairi McGrath in the 15th

and 17th minutes tied the game and from the kick-out of McGrath’s

score came the All-Blacks first goal. Brian Kavanagh collected

possession on the left wing, made tracks towards the cannery end

posts released the ball to John Dermody and ‘Bravo’ displaying the

craft of the veteran he is, kept his cool, jinking past the goalkeeper

before slipping a low shot to the net

Three minutes later the sides were level again, Ballinabranna’s

midfielder Karl McDonald crashing home a goal having taken a pass

from wily Peter Brennan, who had grabbed a probing Paul

Donoghue delivery in the right corner.


That though, was to be the height of Ballinabranna’s challenge,

scoring just two points thereafter, Leighlinbridge getting better and

better as the game progressed. There was just six minutes to the

break when Emmet Moore inched them in front with a great long

range point, the No.9 involved three times in a move that also

involved centre-half back Adrian Dermody. Points quickly followed

from Pat Nolan (a ‘Bravo’ pass), McGrath(a beauty from the left


and Paul Cullen (under severe pressure) to give the All-Blacks a 1-7

to 2-0 lead at the interval.


McGrath shot another point inside 60 seconds of the restart and the

next Leighlinbridge score, nine minutes into the new half, ended the

game as a contest. Fittingly the two All-Blacks attacking stars John

Dermody and Ruairi McGrath combined to secure the clinching goal,

‘Bravo finding the No. 15 with a clever pass the pony-tailed corner-

forward finishing with aplomb.


Nothing much else to report score-wise after that, Ruairi McGrath’s

20th minute point sandwiched between Ballinabranna points from

Karl McDonald (13th) and Tony Kinsella (28th, free). However the

notebook was not left altogether blank, referee Jimmy Lawler

sending off two Leighlinbridge players for second yellow card

offences, Paul Cullen departing the scene in the 18th minute, Brian

Kavanagh joining him on the line five minutes later.


It was a proud Phil Meaney who led his troops up into the Lennon

stand to collect the cup. “This is the first time ever that a

Leighlinbridge second team has won anything, a great achievement”

revealed Phil who played a stormer in the middle of the field, he and

Emmet Moore giving the All-Blacks the upper hand in this vital



Up front Ruairi McGrath emerged as man of the match, 1-5 from

play, all scores of the highest quality, a massive contribution while

John Dermody, the team trainer, chipped in with 1-1, the ‘assist’ to

the other goal and generally orchestrated the winners attack.


At the other end, Leighlinbridge were well served by rock-steady full

back Mattie Byrne, all action No. 6 Adrian Dermody while Colin

Smith and Joe Fennelley, an early replacement for the injured Gary

Halligan, completed an impressive half back line.


Ballinabranna’s second string, back up to the club’s IFC winning side

could not be faulted on the count of effort and gritty backs Padraig

Brennan and Edmond Keating, industrious midfielder Paul

Donoghue, the hard trying Karl McDonald, their top scorer with 1-1,

and veteran forward Peter Brennan did all in their power to bring

the laurels to the green and gold.


Leighlinbridge: Brendan Flynn,Brian Dermody,Matthew Byrne,

Richard Kearney, Colin Smith, Adrian Dermody, Gary Halligan, Phil

Meaney(cpt.), Emmet Moore 0-1, Willie Kearney, Paul Cullen 0-1,

Brian Kavanagh 0-1, Pat Nolan 0-1, John Dermody 1-1, Ruairi

McGrath 1-5 Subs: Joe Fennelley for Halligan, David Hanley for

Nolan, Haughney for Kearney, Nolan for J Dermody, McMenamin

for B Dermody


Ballinabranna: Adrian Brennan, Wayne Byrne, Padraig Brenna, F

Carter, Bernie Brennan (cpt.), Edmond Keating, Eugene Keating,

Paul Donoghue, Karl McDonald 1-1, Liam Dunne, Paddy Dunne,

Sean Dunne 1-0, Peter Brennan, Tom O’Keefe, Tony Kinsella 0-1 (f)

Subs: D Geraghty for E Keating(inj), D Hughes for Byrne