Charlestown Sarsfields captured the Leo Kenny Cup for the third time since the competition`s inception when they saw off the challenge of old rivals Knockmore comfortably on a scoreline of 2-13 to 0-8.
The Sarsfields turned in their best and most complete performance of the season to topple a Knockmore side that were disappointing to say the least as they struggled to cope with the Sarsfields pace and movement all over the pitch.
The opening exchanges were close and competitive with the Sarsfields holding a 0-4 to 0-3 lead after fifteen minutes. Paul Towey was in flying form as he clipped over two fine points from play with Colm Maye supplying the other two from frees.
The Sarsfields suffered a real body blow minutes later when Niall Murphy was sent to the line for two yellow card offences which was harsh to say the least but in keeping with a rather eccentric performance from a referee who was never slow in issuing cards of all colours.
The loss of Murphy only fired up the Sarsfields however as they had a golden ten minute spell which saw them hit 1-5 from play without reply to put real daylight between the teams. Gareth O`Donnell and Jack Reilly hit two glorious points each from play as the green and white turned on the style and left Knockmore chasing shadows such was the vibrancy of the Sarsfields attacking play. The North Mayo men were rattled and the Sarsfields were in the zone to take full adavantage and this they duly did as an inspired Paul Towey rifled the ball to the net to profit from some jittery Knockmore defending. Another point from Colm Maye left the Sarsfields in poll position as they led 1-9 to 0-5 at the half-time whistle with Knockmore reeling from the Sarsfields onslaught as all they could muster were two late points in reply.
The Sarsfields knew they needed to keep a steady hand on the till at the start of the second half to keep their lead intact. Knockmore came out all fire and brimstone but the Sarsfields pace and ability to pick holes in their defence came to the fore once again when Matt Lenehan powered through the middle to blast the ball to the net to underline the gulf in class between the teams.
The North Mayo men were in dire trouble and needed goals and fast to have any chance of halting the Sarsfields momentum. They did tag on three points in a row but the goal they so craved never looked like coming as the Sarsfields defence closed ranks with the ageless Aidan Higgins keeping all access lines firmly shut.
The green and white were devastating on the break however and points from Colm Maye and Matt Lenehan put paid to any wide eyed notions of a Knockmore comeback.
Truth to tell the Sarsfields were never in any remote danger as they had too much pace and guile throughout their team with Knockmore posing no kind of threat as they fell away completely after their bright start.
The Sarsfields played with great panache and style and in the true traditions of the club and this victory was a great triumph for Martin Mulvaney and his management team as the green and white delivered a performance full of intent and conviction.
The whole team were on it from the throw-in with Gerard McLoughlin, Aidan Higgins, Conor O`Donoghue, Pat Walsh, Alan Woods and Colm Maye totally in command in defence.
The midfield axis of Gareth O`Donnell and Tommy Drudy were in charge of all they surveyed with O`Donnell hitting two brilliant points from play to kick start the green and white charge for glory.
The attack played with great fluidity and purpose all night and the Sarsfields had two real aces in the pack in Matt Lenehan and Paul Towey who caused terror and consternation in the Knockmore defence every time they received the ball. Both men were a joy to behold and scored two memorable goals, one in each half to give real impetus to the green and white challenge.
Jack Reilly while not as prominent as usual did kick two fantastic points from play in the first half while Ryan Duffy worked the lines well and got through a great hour`s work. Joe McBrien too had some good moments as did Paddy Goldrick when introduced at the start of the second half. Niall Murphy can consider him unlucky to have been sent off as he was just coming to the boil nicely while honourable mention to keeper Kenneth Brennan who made one crucial save midway through the second half when Knockmore striving hard for a goal.
Gerard McLoughlin was presented with the cup by Oisin Kenny son of the late Leo Kenny in whose memory the competition is named after and this gave rise to lots of green and white celebration with captain McLoughlin offering some well chosen, locquacious words in recognition of the Sarsfields triumph.
The Sarsfields have a great record in finals against the men from the parish of the backs as this latest victory maintains their fine strike rate having won four out of the five finals contested between the two clubs.