Looney’s late strike seals league crown for Valleys

December 19th, 2021 10:00 AM

By Kieran McCarthy

The victorious Valley Rovers team following their victory in the South East JAHL final on Sunday. (Photo: Oliver Jordan)

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Valley Rovers 3-8

Ballygarvan 0-12


FOURTEEN-MAN Valley Rovers collected the Carrigdhoun Junior A Hurling League title for 2021, inflicting a defeat on Ballygarvan on their home patch on Sunday.

Hero for the Innishannon outfit was super-sub Darragh Looney. Introduced after 37 minutes, his well-taken goal late on proved decisive.

In an encounter that had all the ingredients of a championship game, Valleys opened the scoring with a point from Jonathan Kenneally. Niall O'Donovan responded with a white flag for the home side, only for the Innishannon men to find the Ballygarvan net thanks to Cormac Kilduff.

In response, Ballygarvan fired over four unanswered points, two from Dylan O'Connor and one from Callum Mackey and Adam Dunne, as the score read 0-5 to 1-1 at the water break.


Ballygarvan's dominance continued in the second period of the half, with further points from O'Donovan, Mackey and O'Connor. A point from Cian Crowley did keep Valleys in touch, but they were now a goal in arrears.

However, a straight red card for Valleys’ full-forward Noel O'Donovan, for an off-the-ball incident, gave the Innishannon selectors a headache at half time, with the scoreboard displaying 0-8 to 1-2 in Ballygarvan's favour.

Bolstered by some resolute defending from the Valley Rovers full-back line, an early score from Gary Deane, who played a captain's part, was answered by a point from the impressive Dylan O'Connor. Three points on the bounce from the Rovers trimmed the Ballygarvan lead to a single point, despite another score from O'Connor.

With the safety of the final water break in view, Ballygarvan surrendered the lead to a Jonathan Kenneally goal.

Now falling further behind to another Innishannon point from the stick of Dean, Ballygarvan rallied with two frees from O'Connor, leaving the bare minimum between the teams.

The home side found their hopes dashed as super-sub Darragh Looney cracked home the decisive goal, followed by an insurance point from Cathal O'Sullivan, as the Innshannon men powered their way to glory.


Scorers – Valley Rovers: J Kenneally 1-2; Gary Deane 0-4 (2f); C Kilduff, D Looney 1-0 each; C Crowley, C O'Sullivan 0-1 each. Ballygarvan: Dylan O'Connor 0-6 (3f); N O'Donovan, Callum Mackey 0-2 each; M Sheehan, A Dunne 0-1 each.


Valley Rovers: G Jones; D Ryan, J Lynch, C O'Shea; J Murphy, D Crowley, J Cronin; C Kilduff, Gary Dean; A Sheehan, C O'Sullivan, C Crowley; J Connell, N O'Donovan, Thomas Sweetnam. Subs: B Hawkes for J Cronin (inj, 14) P Hurley for T Sweetnam (ht), D Looney for C Crowley (37).

Ballygarvan: C Fitzgerald; E Mackey, J Brown, P Ryan; C O'Leary, F Ahern, E Forest; A Dunne, S O'Donovan; C Murphy, T O'Halloran, C Mackey; M Sheehan, Dylan O'Connell, N O'Donovan. Subs: D O'Sullivan for J Brown (inj, 30), T Martin for D O'Sullivan (37), T Dowd for T O'Halloran (40), David Bowes for M Sheehan (47).

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