By Jamie Casey in London
St Kiernan’s 0-12 Tir Chonaill Gaels 0-5
St Kiernan's won the London Senior Football Championship for the first time with a surprise seven-point victory over defending champions Tir Chonaill Gaels in Greenford on Sunday.
It was by no means a classic final – a repeat of the 2015 decider – but Chris Byrne’s charges were in control from start to finish and were well worth their win.
Having reached the final of all four senior competitions they entered in 2016, Kiernan’s carried momentum into the final and they soon stamped their authority on the match by racking up the first three scores through Michael Callery (two) and captain Adrian Moyles.
The Gaels needed a free to finally get off the mark on 18 minutes, John McGrath striking over what would prove to be the only converted free of the game after Liam Gavaghan was hauled down.
Michael O’Donogue and TCG’s Stuart Johnston then traded scores, but Kiernan’s would hit two more scores without reply – courtesy of James Moran and Liam O’Donoghue – to send them in 0-06 to 0-02 up at the break.
Facing a light breeze in the second half, Tir Chonaill Gaels – looking for their third Championship title in-a-row in their fifth consecutive final – looked as though only a goal would bring them back into proceedings, but they rarely troubled Brendan Mulrooney in the Kiernan’s goal.
Indeed, Kiernan’s preserved their energy well throughout the second half with plenty of possession play.
Adrian Hanlon had pulled one back for the struggling holders, but by now it was clear TCG’s grip on the trophy was loosening by the minute as they struggled to disrupt the flow of their opponents.
Thomas Waters and Moyles’ third point made it 0-12 to 0-03 in stoppage time, while substitute Dillon Ward and Hanlon spared Tir Chonaill’s blushes somewhat with the last two scores of the game.
Referee Conor Conneelly’s final whistle sparked jubilant scenes for the Kiernan’s panel, who celebrated the club’s first senior county final win in their 31-year existence.
They will go on to face the winners of the Ulster Championship in the quarter-finals of the All-Ireland Club Championship.
St Kiernan’s: B Mulrooney; K Curran, I McGough, D Quinn; P Begley, S Curran, M Hulholland (0-1); J Moran (0-1), C Og Greene; T Waters (0-1), A Moyles (0-3), L O’Donoghue (0-1); M Callery (0-2), P Finn, M O’Donoghue (0-3).
Subs: T Moriarty for L O’Donoghue 46 mins, C Carville for M Callery 53mins, D Ryan for P Finn 56 mins, C Healy for K Curran (Black Card) 57 mins, D McHugh for M O’Donoghue 60 mins.
Tir Chonaill Gaels: E Higgins; B McAtarsney, P Butler, M McWilliams; S Johnston (0-1), G Magee, M McCoy; R Breen, A McDermott; S Murney, A Hanlon (0-2), A Askin; J McGrath (0-1, f), L Gavaghan, K Butler.
Subs: B Collins for K Butler 36mins, M Gottsche for S Murney 36mins, E Mageean for J McGrath 52mins, D Ward (0-1) for A McDermott 55 mins, K Clarke for S Johnston 56 mins,
Referee: C Conneely