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This is the news paper report from the last time we won the Minor A Football Final in 1968. Thanks to Johnny Coughlan for sourcing the article and Jackie Coughlan for typing it up for us. We are looking for the photo of the team but can't locate one. If you know who has one can you contact any of the committee so that we can scan it in and put it up on the website. Enjoy the article...

M.F. Final:  St Rynagh’s 2-5;  Tullamore 0-10

In a rattling good County Minor Football Final in St. Brendan’s Park, Birr, on Sunday last, St. Rynagh’s and Tullamore were level twice in the hour and only a solitary point separated them at full time when the jubilant Shannonsiders jumped for joy on winning the Club’s 1968 county title.  This was a game of top class football, played under very difficult conditions with the goal ends of the pitch in putty-like mud, but the stronger St. Rynagh’s side overcame the nippy Tullamore side to get a win which they very much deserved.

In defeating the reigning champions Paraic Horan and his team have given a great fillip to football in West Offaly and linking this with the winning of the senior title by Ballycumber, the game should get a new lease of life in these areas.  For St. Rynagh’s the triumph sets a seal on the determination and drive of the younger players in the Shannonside combined parishes of Banagher and Cloghan for a few of those same teenagers were the backbone of the hurling team that a few Sundays ago took the senior hurling title.

Tullamore showed their great football flair, their accomplishment in tactile play in stylish footwork and polished teamwork.  It was they who fielded better all the time but they always seemed to lose the break of the ball to the St. Rynagh’s boys whose physical fitness and very fine physique were major factors in their success.

Indeed not to say that they lacked style, St. Rynagh’s had their own brand of tactile approach to the match which was based on the orthodox Gaelic catch and kick to a well placed comrade for placing in the square or over the bar. This paid off in good measure and they were at this type of football as an indication of how really good they narrowly missed scores four times in the second half when the ball hit either upright or cross-bar that number of times.  This must surely demonstrate that a point margin at the close of play was hardly the measure between the sides – it weighed a little heavier on the St. Rynagh’s side.

Pattern of Play

The pattern of play was that both sides played better against the breeze.  St. Rynagh’s trailing at half time 0-3 to Tullamore’s 0-7 after the winners had played with the breeze but in the second half they had the chestnut out of the fire inside a quarter hour and went on to win.  It was St. Rynagh’s who opened the scoring with Liam Coughlan’s point in the first minute but Steve Coughlan levelled the terms with Tullamore on the sixth minute and from a free he gave the Blues the lead in the ninth minute.  Tom Grogan and Steve Coughlan had a point each for Tullamore when the last few minutes saw St. Rynagh’s put on tremendous pressure but the excellent goal keeping by Gerry McGee saved the day only for Noel Guinan to come back for a St. Rynagh’s point on the whistle. 

Finding the Tullamore centerfield far too active in the first half St. Rynagh’s moved key man and captain (Paraic Horan) to centerfield and this made all the difference straight away St. Rynagh’s were in the action pressing strongly, hitting the uprights and cross-bar three times in a row but Ray Flannery punctuated with a point on the 7th minute and the cheers rent the air on the 13th minute when Paraic Horan took a pass from Brendan McIntyre for the levelling goal. 

This was the turning point of the match for within seconds Brendan McIntyre had the second goal to give St. Rynagh’s a lead after which they were never again over taken.  Tullamore fought back for Steve Coughlan to point and Pat Fenning opened up a movement with Dermot Fox for Colm Mannion to point on the 23rd minute.  With Tullamore mounted for all out offensive the St. Rynagh’s backs stood firm and Paraic Horan, playing the game of his young career, tore his way through lines of Tullamore attackers to clear dangerous shots.

Finally St. Rynagh’s were on the attack again and Jim Horan pointed another shot wide of the uprights and from the kick out the lively Pat Carragher opened the way for Tullamore to get through.  Steve Coughlan’s pass to Tommy Grogan was good but Gerry O’Rourke punched hopelessly wide for what looked like their last shot at goal.  With time running out Steve Coughlan pointed a 14 yards free to leave only a point between the sides but Tullamore’s attack lacked punch and although they gained a 50 the best they could make of it was a wide.  The final whistle sounded with St. Rynagh’s returning to the attack again….. and indeed their victory was well merited.

How they Played

Hero of the St. Rynagh’s team was undoubtedly their red headed captain Paraic Horan, whose high fielding, hard tackling and fine kicking was one of the highlights of the hour.  This was shared also by Ray Flannery the tall highly skilled wing forward whose duel with Tullamore’s Dermot Fox was one of the outstanding features of the game. Both these players have a fine future ahead of them in football.  In the forwards, Jimmy Lynch (until he retired) was excellent and the opportunism of Liam Coughlan and Jim Horan on the full forward line kept the Tullamore defenders busy while Noel Guinan at centre forward had the unenviable task of marking Colm Mannion.  

The Midfield partnership of Hugh Healy and Brendan McIntyre had a rather unsteady beginning but on the change over with Paraic Horan coming to the centre there was a great improvement and McIntyre showed great thrust in scoring.  In the backs Denis Wynne in goal didn’t yield to a single major score while Ollie Coughlan covered off exceptionally well and the performance of Frank Rogers on the wing was superb.  The contributory work of John Bennett, Liam Higgins and Jim Carroll (who settled down to a very good second half) also played a part in securing victory.

Perhaps the star of the game for Tullamore was goalie Gerry McGee – who must be rated an up and coming goalie in the footsteps of Martin Furlong – although he conceded two goals in the second half he was under constant attack and with his backsmen literally blown to the winds he faced the St. Rynagh’s forwards with skill and determination.  Here in defence Dermot Fox was about the most active with Mattie Geraghty using his height to field well but Fox was the full hour trier who had a great recovery and ball control.  Jimmy Maher contributed some good work but in the main the defence was split open far too easily while in centerfield Colm McEvoy was the better of the partnership with Gerry O’Rourke.

The forwards were far too light but they delighted with their speedy, nippy movements and good footwork.  But this was all too delicate and frilly for the more full-blooded football of the opposition and the result was that they could make little impression on the St. Rynagh’s backs.  However, it was a delight to see Steve Coughlan in action from centerfield.  His scoring was top class and with Pat Fenning and a good high fielding Part Carragher.

The Teams

St. Rynagh’s: D. Wynne, E. Higgins, O. Coughlan, J. Bennett, J. Carroll, P. Horan (Capt.), F. Rogers, H. Healy, B. McIntyre, R. Flannery, N. Guinan, J. Lynch, L. Coughlan, J. Horan, P. Grogan.  Subs: Noel Kerin (for Grogan), Tommy Healy (for Lynch).

Tullamore: G. McGee, M. Geraghty, J Cassidy, J. Heffernan, J. Maher, C. Mannion, D. Fox, C. McEvoy, G. O’Rourke, T. Grogan, S. Coughlan, P. Fenning, P. Carragher, B. O’Toole, N. Caulfield.

Referee: Mr. Noel Hickey (Daingean)

The Trophy Was Missing

Where was the Tullamore F.C.A. Trophy for the Offaly Minor Football Final?  That’s the question St. Rynagh’s captain Paraic Horan and his team wanted to know when they defeated Tullamore in the County Final at Birr on Sunday last and when they heard that Tullamore were the holders they all trooped from their dressing room to the Tullamore dressing room to demand the trophy which they wanted to carry high through Banagher in Sunday night.  But the trophy wasn’t in the dressing room nor was it in Birr.  It was in Dublin having repairs or replacements carried out to the base.  This was explained by Tullamore Club Chairman Mr. Aloe Kelly and the good humoured St. Rynagh’s boys marched to their dressing room again and later were given a heroes when they arrived back home.