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St. Rynagh’s Footballers Win County Minor Title 1961 : St. Rynagh’s, 1-6; Tullamore, 1-5

The appalling weather conditions under which the Offaly County Minor Football Final between St. Rynagh’s (Banagher-Cloghan) and Tullamore was played in St. Brendan’s Park, Birr on Sunday made anything like good or classic football absolutely impossible, heavy rain, a slippery sod and a strong wind being factors which forced the players to forgo any aspirations they may have had to give a real reflection of their abilities as footballers.
Nevertheless the game was not devoid of interest and the issue was in doubt right to the final whistle, with scores alternating and the lead changing hands many times.  It was a hard tough game uncompromising to a high degree and tackling was robust.  Ground play dominated and even at this level the weather conditions interfered with what otherwise would have been a grand display of top grade football.

The winners owe much of their success to the fact that Tullamore’s star T. Furlong was well matched by their midfielder, KK. Kenny, who foiled most of his attempts to open scoring opportunities for Tullamore, and this in itself might be considered the mainstay of the St. Rynagh’s victory. It would be difficult to assess the real worth of either side on Sunday’s performance but general opinion was that the better side won and St. Rynagh’s combination were well worth their win and possibly might have improved on it had the conditions been more favourable.

The Scoring 

Tullamore opened the scoring with a point but this was quickly offset by a goal and a point by P. Mulhare and B. Johnson to give Rynagh’s the clear goal lead in the first quarter.  But their advantage was short lived after Furlong pointer, Rafter initiated a Tullamore attack brought play right to the Rynagh’s danger line and the forwards en masse finished off to the net, leaving tullamore 1-2 to Rynagh’s 1-1.

M. Kenny equalised, M. Hough put Rynagh’s ahead with another point and just before the interval whistle Rafter had a tullamore point which left the scoring level at 1-3 each at the interval.  Scoring after the changeover was slow, Tullamore had 2 points in the first quarter and Rynagh’s seemed on the way out until Mulhare gave them renewed hope with a grand point to put them within winning distance if they could only get a goal but their forwards were unable to burst through the Tullamore defence.  Then in the last 10 minutes McIntyre had the equalising point and when it seemed that they would live to fight another day, M. Kenny sent over the winning score – the last point of the game which was taken from play but at a very awkward angle.  Mr. John Nolan (Clara, brother of Offaly County man Willie) refereed in manner that gave all round satisfaction.

The Winners

The winning team was from goal out – M. Coughlan, M. Kelly, P J. McIntyre, J. Daly, J. Coughlan, S. Grogan, D. Kearns, KK. Kenny, D. Mulhare, M. Kenny, P. Mulhare, B. Johnson, M. Hough, B. McIntyre and Ml. Kenny.  The winners lined out without Seamus Dolan who had played with them in the centrehalf back position in the 3 games leading to the final but could not get away from school for the final.   J. Coughlan moved to his place and had a good game there although his normal position is on the forward line.  M. Hough lined out without having fully recovered from a knee injury received in the minor hurling final and when he had to retire he was replaced by M. Anderson.  The latter had to retire also and was replaced by A Horan who in turn also retired and was replace by T. Guinan

Thanks to Johnny Coughlan for sourcing the article and Jackie Coughlan for typing it up for us.