Hollymount Carramore 2-14 Davitts 2-15 (AET)
Davitts withstood the typically massive challenge that Hollymount Carramore always pose to earn a one point victory and promotion to Division 1 of the Senior League after extra time following a titanic battle in the league semi-final played in Hollymount on Saturday evening. It was fitting that a gigantic 55 metre free kick from Davitts veteran talisman Ronan McNamara, a second half substitute, secured the win, an unbelievable strike (but not a surprise to the big crowd) as the big man has made a reputation from those types of conversions over the last few decades.
Davitts made the early running and led by three points after the first ten minutes with scores from Evan Ronane and Jack Ronayne (2) before the home side got off the mark with a point in the twelfth minute. Davitts replied with a brilliant goal a minute later when their very impressive midfielder Fenton Kelly got on the end of a terrific move involving Johnno Clarke, Darragh McGale and Niall Treacy to finish emphatically. Hollycarra didn’t let this setback bother them unduly as they took the game by the scruff of the neck and rattled off five unanswered points to level matters after 26 minutes. Davitts had spurned three great goal chances at this stage and could have been punished badly but for an excellent penalty save by Keith Prendergast in the 27th minute. Niall Treacy put the visitors back in front a minute later and after Hollycarra shot the equaliser, a Fenton Kelly point on the stroke of half time left Davitts ahead, 1-5 to 0-7 at the break.
Hollymount Carramore opened the second half scoring in the first minute but Davitts points by Niall Treacy, Evan Ronane, Jack Ronayne and Shane Treacy, with Hollycarra adding a single point to their tally, before a Niall Treacy goal, after being set up by Darragh McGale in the 43rd minute, put Davitts six points ahead and looking set to coast to victory. Jack Ronayne extended Davitts lead to seven points with a fiftieth minute point but a sloppy crossfield pass three minutes later resulted in a Hollycarra goal which gave them hope and revitalised their challenge. They pointed again in the 54th and 55th minutes before Evan Ronane put Davitts three ahead with a great point in the 56th minute. Davitts appeared to be well in control at this stage but a Hollymount Carramore goal in the last minute sent the game into extra time as the tension ramped up.
The homeside pointed in the second minute of extra time before two Jack Ronayne points put the visitors ahead. Another Hollycarra point just before the halftime whistle left the sides level again.
Hollycarra regained the lead in the second minute of the second period of extra time with this score being cancelled out by Niall Treacy with two minutes remaining. Both sets of players had given their all and were out on their feet at this stage. Ronan McNamara’s massive point with the time up looked like to have finally put an end to Hollycarra’s stubborn resistance but referee John Walker played on. The homeside were awarded two frees in the extra three and a half minutes added on (for some unknown reason) but spurned both chances as Davitts clung on to gain a very hard earned victory.
Experienced players such as Keith Prendergast, Colm Boyle (who gave a powerful exhibition, especially in the second half), Johnno Clarke, Darragh McGale and Ronan McNamara (0-1) led their young teammates by example. Charlie Phillips, Dmitry Trench, Thomas Ronayne, Jordan Flanagan and Micheal Hett were excellent in defence.
Cathal Higgins worked tirelessly in midfield alongside Fenton Kelly (1-1) who was most impressive throughout. Evan Ronane (0-3), Jack Ronayne (0-6), Shane Treacy (0-1) and Niall Treacy (1-3) were always lively and threatening in attack.
Substitutes Brian Clarke, Ryan McLoughlin and Brian Og McTigue did very well when introduced as Davitts secured promotion and a place in the Division 2 league final against either Belmullet or Parke Keelogues Crimlin.