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2003 Jack Higgins Cup Final

Thursday, October 30, 2003 : 
GAA: Robertstown put it up to Confey 

Confey 3-7, Roberstown 1-7 

WHILE this writer is totally unrepentant in his view that Robertstown - or any other team in their situation - had no business in this final, I have to admit that the canalsiders showed enough to suggest that with a little application, they might just have a bit of potential. 

They kicked no less than nine first-half wides when aided by the wind and the fabled Naas hill - possibly seeing its last Jack Higgins final before the club move out to the De Burgh estate -and were still level, 0-5 to 1-2 at the break. 

Confey actually got off to a good start with corner-forward Conor Hughes shooting over the bar after just three minutes. Five minutes later the pavilion end net shook - albeit gently -when Dara Nolan availed of a total mix-up between the ‘Town goalie, Conor Casey, and a defender, to flick Hugh Lynch’s cross to the net with the lightest of clinical touches. 

That score might have heralded a rout but in fairness to the losers they replied promptly per a lovely angled free by Leslie Kelly. Hughes raised his second white flag of the game 13 minutes out and we had to endure six minutes of Robertstown squandermania, before full-forward Shane Ward knocked over their second score. 

That point seemed to put them on the right road and they continued to improve with points by Kelly (free) and 15-year-old Joe Kavanagh (son of Ballyteague defender Ronan). Ward levelled matters in the second minute of injury time bringing an almost surreal first period to a close, during which the losers had all those wides and Confey had squandered at least three goal chances. 

While the admirable Kavanagh gave the losers the lead just two minutes after the resumption, Confey soon assumed control with a good goal by Hughes after Lynch and Divilly had done the spade-work. Divilly tacked on another point and Hughes did likewise, as Confey edged four points clear after 37 minutes. 

That gap widened to seven when Divilly netted substitute, Ian McCabe’s cross after 10 minutes later. 

Game over? Well not quite! While the winners attack seemed to get a dose of the first-half ‘yips’ that affected the Robertstown lads, they did manage a further point from McCabe in between a Robertstown point from a Kelly free and a goal from a penalty well taken by the same player with literally the last kick. 

While Robertstown lost no caste in defeat, at the risk of sounding repetitive, this is one set-up which just has to change. The original thinking behind the Jack Higgins Cup was a clash between the Junior A and B champions to find the best junior team in Kildare. 

Times change mind you and we now have the B and C champions - Milltown and Moorefield - as well as the SBFC winners, Leixlip. Regardless of labels, they are all junior footballers and organising two semi-finals and a final should not be outside the capabilities of the fixtures gurus. No motion is needed at Convention to introduce such a change. 

Confey: Paul Corscadden, David Cully, Ciaran Ganly, Brian Quinn, Roger Quinn, John Malone, Collie Henry (Frank Ryder), Colm Quinn, Ger Donnelly, Joe Kehoe, Ciaran Divilly 1-1, Dara Nolan 1-0 (Robby McMahon 0-2), Martin Bermingham (Ian McCabe 0-1), Hugh Lynch (Noel Henry), Conor Hughes 1-3 (Kieran O’Neill). 

Robertstown: Conor Casey, Gary Sexton, Laurence Cooke, Diarmuid Riordan, Mark Kelly, Frank Dowling (Adrian McNamee), Anthony Moran, Gerard Reidy, Damien Leeson (John McCormack), Chris Byrne, Micky Moran, Leslie Kelly 1-3, Kevin Fitzgerald, Shane Ward 0-2, Joe Kavanagh 0-2. 

Referee: Jim Sheridan (Naas).