History was made in Boherlahan on Saturday when Arravale Rovers, a club with very few county hurling titles, brought home the County MHC ’B’ Cup, beating J.K.Brackens, going for their second title in this grade since 2004, winning 1-9 to 1-8.
They had contested the County final in the inaugural year 1984 but had to give best to a fine Drom/Inch side. Indeed the County Vice Chairman alluded to this fact in his presentation speech, singling out the late Jayo Donoghue for mention. For the Brackens on Saturday, one felt palpable sense of disappointment for these players, as they also had lost the County MFC ‘A’ final the previous Sunday.
Arravale Rovers victory was fashioned from grit, determination, work rate and no mean skill in their efforts to win this game. There was never much between the sides until the third quarter. The sides were level on four occasions in this sporting contest. Despite the fact that of the total of 2-17 scored, and frees accounted for 1-11, it was not a stop-start free-ridden game. Indeed the sensible refereeing of Noel Cosgrave was a feature commented on.
It was an all round team performance. Rovers missed the injured James Hogan and the suspended captain Peter Mulhair, both of whom had contributed handsomely in the campaign up to the final. Gary O’Callaghan was safe in goal, Pearse Richardson was outstanding at full back with the Lowrys Tommy and Ted also rock solid on either side. Gerard Halligan and Tony Byrnes swept around Emmett Fitzpatrick and kept a tight rein on the Brackens star Brian Kennedy. Seamus Kinane and especially Darragh Coughlan battled hard in defence and around midfield, while Ciaran Lowry and Darragh Crowe were outstanding in the half forward line, Crowe winning many crucial puckouts. Ray Kelly also had his moments. Eoghan Lonergan took his goal well and captain on the day Johnny Lowry was also to the fore. Conor Kissane worked tigerishly around the field and James Kinane when introduced was excellent.
Arravale Rovers: Gary O’Callaghan; Tommy Lowry, Pearse Richardson, Ted Lowry; Gerard Halligan, Emmett Fitzpatrick, Tony Byrnes; Seamus Kinane, Darragh Coughlan; Ray Kelly. Darragh Crowe, Ciarán Lowry (0-7)(0-6f)(0-1,65);Eoghan Lonergan (1-0), Johnny Lowry(Capt.)(0-1), Conor Kissane. Subs; James Kinane (0-1) for Ray Kelly.