Bracknagh’s dream of capturing a Leinster Club JFC title fell short at O’Connor Park today as they lost out by three points to Rosenallis at O’Connor Park.
The Offaly side laid siege to the Rosenallis goals late on in a bid to salvage a draw and force extra-time. But after scrambling home one injury-time goal, trying to get another left them with too much to do.
Still, they will reflect on a memorable season which saw them capture the IFC title in Offaly and come through some tough games to reach the provincial final.
Seizing the initiative with a 15th minute goal from James Jackson, Rosenallis held a four point lead at the interval – 1-4 to 0-4.
Two quick-fire points for Rosenallis after the resumption put Bracknagh on the back foot again, and the winners were six points ahead in injury-time, before Dillon Broderick gave the Offaly side a glimmer of hope with a scrambled goal.
But Rosenallis held out as Bracknagh tried to force extra-time with another goal, and their jubilant supporters invaded the pitch when referee Stephen Murphy sounded the final whistle.
Among the heroes for Rosenallis was midfielder Mark Dunne, a brother of team boss Paddy Dunne, who did Trojan work all through. James Jackson and Colm Poole chipped in with most of their scores from both play and frees, as they regularly capitalised on gaps in the Bracknagh rearguard.
For their part, and despite some flashes of individual brilliance up front, Bracknagh were unable to convert a satisfactory percentage of scoring opportunities, with several shots either blasted wide or dropping short into the grateful arms of Rosenallis net minder Barry Farrell.
In a late throw of the dice, Bracknagh moved Offaly star Peter Cunningham to full forward, but he was well marshalled by the Rosenallis full back line who determinedly kept their goal safe until deep into injury time.
Bracknagh were on level terms only once, when Joe Costello replied to James Jackson’s opening free. But Jackson and Colm Poole quickly helped Rosenallis surge clear and only late points by Robbie Barron, Peter Cunnigham and Jim Hendy keeping the north Offaly side in touch before the interval.
Rosenallis may have been disappointed to only lead by three at the break, but stepped it up a gear again with well-taken points from Joseph Shelley, Poole and Jackson between the 31st and 35th minutes.
The remainder of the half featured tit-for-tat scoring which was insufficient for Bracknagh, and when substitute Joseph Keating and then Ronan Murray fired over late on, Rosenallis had six to spare.
Yet they suffered a scare when Dillon Broderick poked the ball to the net after sustained Bracknagh pressure. Despite their best efforts, Bracknagh couldn’t get the second goal they required and Rosenallis became the first Leinster champions from Laois at this grade since Park/ Ratheniska in 2006.
ROSENALLIS: Barry Farrell; Cathal C Fennell, Marcus Redmond, Cormac White; Nicholas Dunne, Cillian Callaly, Fiachra C Fennell; John Lennon, Mark Dunne; Ruaidhri C Fennell, Ronan Murray (0-1), Joseph Shelley (0-1); Brian Fitzpatrick, James Jackson (1-3, 3f), Colm Poole (0-5, 3f).
Subs: Stephen McEvoy for N Dunne; Joseph Keating (0-1) for J Lennon; Donal Lalor for J Jackson.
BRACKNAGH: Keith Keogh; Dave Costello, Darren Groome, Emmett Geoghegan; Anthony Cunningham, Jim Hendy (0-1), William Dowling; Peter Cunningham (0-1), Jason Dempsey; Jamie Sheridan, Joe Costello (0-1), Robin Galbraith (0-2); Kieran McNeilis, Glen Brereton (0-1), Robbie Barron (0-2).
Subs: Eddie Mather for K McNeilis; Dillon Broderick (1-0) for G Brereton.
Referee: Stephen Murphy (Louth).