We went minute-by-minute on one of the biggest days in the GAA calendar. It’s All-Ireland club final day, and we started with Loughgiel Shamrocks v Coolderry in the hurling.
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Loughgiel Shamrocks 4-13 Coolderry 0-17
13.52 – Dia daoibh agus beannachtaí Lá Fhéile Phádraig daoibh go léir.
I’m ashamed to say that’s about the limit of my Leaving Cert Irish – good afternoon, happy St Patrick’s Day and welcome to this afternoon’s live coverage of the All-Ireland club finals.
The first of this afternoon’s double-header gets underway in less than 10 minutes. We’re starting with the hurling between Loughgiel Shamrocks of Antrim and the men from Coolderry, County Offaly.
I’ll have the teams for you presently.
13.57 – Coolderry: S Corcoran; B Kelly, T Corcoran, A Corcoran; K Brady, J Brady, B O’Meara; K Teehan, D King; B Carroll, B Teehan, C Parlon; E Ryan, M Corcoran, D Murray.
13.59 – Loughgiel Shamrocks: D Quinn; P Gillan, N McGarry, R McCloskey; James Campbell, M Scullion, Johnny Campbell; B McAuley, M McFadden; L Watson, D Laverty, E McCloskey; B McCarry, J Scullion, S Casey.
14.01 – We’re underway in front of a small enough crowd in Croke Park. Can Loughgiel emulate the heroes of 1983 who won the club’s only All-Ireland title to date? Or will Coolderry, managed by Tipp legend Ken Hogan, take home the big prize for the first time?
14.02 – Loughgiel’s Liam Watson opens the scoring with his first free of the game. Loughgiel 0-1 Coolderry 0-0
14.05 – One thing that we’re guaranteed to get this afternoon is two excellent free-takers. We’ve already seen Liam Watson do his thing for Loughgiel, and now Coolderry’s dead ball expert Liam Watson levels it up with one of his own. Loughgiel 0-1 Coolderry 0-1
14.06 – GOAL! Loughgiel 1-1 Coolderry 0-2 (Casey, 6′) Eoin Ryan puts Coolderry in front with the first point from play, but Loughgiel come straight down the field and wrest the lead back through Shay Casey. The corner-forward beats his marker Brian Kelly to a low ball and barges his way towards goal before prodding it past Corcoran with an outstretched boot.
14.11 – Frantic stuff in these opening minutes, and Loughgiel follow up on their early goal with points from Eddie McCloskey and Brendan McCarry. Loughgiel 1-3 Coolderry 0-3
14.13 – Coolderry didn’t come all the way to Croke Park to give up without a fight though. They bounce back and quickly cut the deficit to the minimum through points from Cathal Parlon and Brian Carroll. Loughgiel 1-3 Coolderry 0-5
14.15 – Wonderful unselfish play from Coolderry’s Cathal Parlon who fields a sideline cut with his back to goal. Rather than take on a 50-50 chance over his shoulder, he pops the ball back to Brian Carroll who slots the equaliser for the Offaly men. Loughgiel 1-3 Coolderry 0-6
14.18 – GOAL! Loughgiel Shamrocks 2-4 Coolderry 0-6 (Watson, 18′) Liam Watson nudges Loughgiel back in front with his first point from play, and then strikes a hammer blow for the Antrim men with their second goal of the game. Corcoran could only parry a shot back out in front of goal and Watson was lurking there to punish the keeper’s mistake.
This is absolutely breathless stuff.
14.24 – As they say as Gaeilge, that is a ”scor den scoth” from Coolderry wing-back Kevin Brady who must have ran all of 60 yards before firing over a brilliant point.
Joey Scullion responds for Loughgiel, restoring their four-point advantage. Loughgiel 2-5 Coolderry 0-7
14.28 – Liam Watson stretches Loughgiel’s lead with a free, but Damien Murray cancels it out immediately with his third score of the day for Coolderry. Loughgiel 2-6 Coolderry 0-8
14.28 – GOAL! Loughgiel 3-6 Coolderry 0-8 (Watson, 28′) What a hit by Liam Watson! He’s left in a heap by a robust challenge from Trevor Corcoran, but picks himself up, dusts himself off and rifles an unstoppable free past the defenders on the line and into the top corner. Brilliant technique.
14.30 – GOAL! Loughgiel 4-6 Coolderry 0-8 (Watson, 30′) Liam Watson, take a bow. The wing-forward wraps up his hat-trick on the stroke of half time, and this one is the pick of the bunch. He takes one touch to control a high ball as it drops and another to flick it past Corcoran as he comes out to narrow the angle. That’s one to watch again.
14.34 – HALF TIME: Loughgiel Shamrocks 4-6 Coolderry 0-9 Damien Murray closes out the first half with a point for Coolderry, but the men from Offaly will need a minor miracle if they’re to get back into this one after the break.
14.40 – I need an extended half-time break after that one, mainly to process just how good Liam Watson has been over the last 30 minutes. He finishes the half with a remarkable 3-3, and Loughgiel lead by nine.
14.44 – What do you say to your men if you’re Coolderry manager Ken Hogan? They’ve created and taken plenty of chances in attack but they’ll need to find a way to live with the Loughgiel forwards — Scullion and Watson in particular — if they’re to have any chance.
14.46 – Aaaaand… we’re back. In search of a miracle, Coolderry shoot into the Hill 16 end in this half.
14.47 – One change apiece for the sides at half-time. For Loughgiel, Dobbin is on to replace McFadden. For Coolderry, Trevor Corcoran goes off and Kevin Connolly is on in his place.
14.49 – That’s more like it from Coolderry. They strike first with two points in the first two minutes of this second half, Damien Murray and substitute Kevin Connolly the scorers. Loughgiel 4-6 Coolderry 0-11
14.52 – Oooh, what a chance for Coolderry and it falls to Connolly, who is only on the pitch three minutes. He’s played in by Corcoran and has a clear shot on goal but it’s too close to Quinn who is able to get enough stick on it to turn it away. Parlon tacks on a point instead.
Brian Carroll follows it up with another point from play. That’s 0-4 to no score in Coolderry’s favour so far in this half, and suddenly Loughgiel’s lead is down to a much less imposing five points. Loughgiel 4-6 Coolderry 0-13
14.53 – Liam Watson finally steadies the ship for Loughgiel with a pointed free. Loughgiel 4-7 Coolderry 0-13
14.56 – Loughgiel are winning plenty of ball and working out scoring chances, but they’re struggling to find their range in the opening minutes of this second half. Joey Scullion is the latest to hit a bad wide under no pressure.
14.59 – Damien Murray points from a free. Coolderry trail by five again, with just over 15 minutes remaining. Loughgiel 4-7 Coolderry 0-14
15.02 – Barney McAuley’s long effort just creeps over Corcoran’s bar to keep Loughgiel ticking over. Scores like that will do for the Antrim men, who just need to tack on one or two points every couple of minutes to stop Coolderry from reeling them in. Loughgiel 4-8 Coolderry 0-14
15.06 – Of course, if Liam Watson keeps picking off scores at ease, Loughgiel have nothing to worry about. He points a free and then adds another from play from a very tight angle, taking his individual tally to 3-6 for the day.
Eoin Ryan points for Coolderry at the other end, but they’re going to have to start concentrating on points very soon. Loughgiel 4-10 Coolderry 0-15
15.10 – Murray’s free closes the gap to six again, but Liam Watson answers back with a monster free before Brendan McCarry pushes Loughgiel’s lead back out to eight. Five minutes remaining — is it time to start celebrating up in Antrim yet? Loughgiel 4-12 Coolderry 0-16
15.12 – Interesting choice there by Murray who sticks a Coolderry free over the bar rather than dropping it into the box in the hope of scrambling home a goal. Four minutes left, but the Loughgiel defence is standing firm. Loughgiel 4-12 Coolderry 0-17
15.14 – Brendan McCarry drops another one over the bar for Loughgiel. Those wearing red in the Croke Park stands are ready to see their dream come true. Loughgiel 4-13 Coolderry 0-17
15.15 – A goal chance for Barry Teehan as the clock ticks to 60, but it’s wide.
15.16 – FULL TIME: Loughgiel Shamrocks 4-13 Coolderry 0-17
15.18 – LOUGHGIEL SHAMROCKS ARE THE 2012 ALL-IRELAND CLUB SENIOR HURLING CHAMPIONS
15.21 – It’s all over in Croke Park and Loughgiel Shamrocks have won the All-Ireland Club SHC for just the second time in their history.
Loughgiel manager PJ O’Mullan punches the air in delight as the final seconds tick away and spends a nice moment of consolation with his opposite number, Ken Hogan, before joining in the ecstatic celebrations.
15.24 – “Today belongs to Shamrocks,” says GAA President Christy Cooney as he presents the trophy to captain Johnny Campbell and keeper Damien Quinn.
It’s unfair to single out one player’s performance, but how about Liam Watson? The wing-forward, who put up an individual 3-7 today, is in tears at the final whistle.
15.26 – That’s all from the hurling as the Antrim men head off to celebrate a famous victory. We’ll be back in a couple of minutes with the second of this afternoon’s club finals — the football decider between the mighty Crossmaglen Rangers of Armagh and Garrycastle of Westmeath. See you then.