Controversy in the air as Clara and Rhode to clash in Senior Football Championship final

Thursday, 28 September 2017

Controversy in the air as Clara and Rhode to clash in Senior Football Championship final thumbnailLeon Fox pictured as he questions Davy Walsh after the final whistle which seen Ferbane suffer a one point loss to Clara. Also pictured was James Nally.

CLARA and Rhode will contest the Tullamore Court Hotel Senior Football Championship final in Bord na Mona O'Connor Park on October 15 but controversy was in the air at the semi-finals on Sunday last when an injury time winning goal from Scott Brady gave Clara a shock win over Ferbane.

The game was three minutes into injury time when the veteran Brady blasted a free to the net but the former Offaly player clearly took the free from the wrong place, racing forward over five metres from where it should have been taken and hitting it powerfully on the run.

Referee Fergal Smyth had his back turned after blowing his whistle for the free to be taken but awarded it without consulting his officials - a furious Ferbane vented their anger afterwards, confronting the referee and some officials. The favourites also complained that a late wide from Damien Egan was in fact an equalising point but it was the winning goal that left a sour taste in their mouths.

Smyth had already brought the free forward for an infraction but Brady then stole another few metres and Clara celebrated wildly after an unlikely victory.

Ironically, Clara were possibly the better side over the balance of the hour but a powerful Ferbane rally had given last year's beaten finalists a two point lead in injury time.

While the winning goal should not have stood, Ferbane also have to blame themselves for their downfall as well as giving credit to Clara who dominated a long period after struggling early on. Ferbane led by 1-7 to 0-3 after nineteen minutes but then went a whopping 34 minutes without scoring again as a fired up Clara scored ten points without reply to lead by three.

Then Ferbane rallied from the 53rd minute on with five points without reply before Brady's late sucker punch gave Clara a 1-13 to 1-12 win.

In the other semi-final the reigning champions and title favourites Rhode had a predictable 1-15 to 1-7 win over Gracefield, despite missing Eoin Rigney and Shane Sullivan.

Alan McNamee did not start due to a hamstring injury - McNamee came on early after an injury to his first cousin, Conor McNamee but was replaced again at half time as a precaution when it was clear to Rhode that they could not lose this one.

Rhode were 1-9 to 0-1 ahead at half time and while they went through the motions in the second half, their final place was not in any peril at all.




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