Masters crowned RDFL Shield champs after Kenny Duane late winner

Colemanstown Masters were crowned RDFL Shield winners in Leecarrow on Friday night after a late Kenny Duane header. It was great to see the lads do the business again as this was the second RDFL title for these lads in 2 seasons with Covid playing puck last season.

There’s never been much to separate these 2 sides in recent seasons and this was the case again on Friday night in the 2021 Master’s Shield Final. The last cup game between the 2 sides ended in a penalty shoot-out win for Colemanstown after extra time failed to separate the sides. The WAGS even thought the lads had gone to Burkes after the game that night as the shoot-out hadn’t finished until 10.30pm in Taughmaconnell.

Both clubs fielded a strong starting 11 for this shield final. Skyvalley Rovers played with the slight breeze in the first half. Both teams started well with good flowing football from both sides and defences standing strong. On 15 mins the breakthrough came with a flowing Colemanstown move from back to front. Alex Lavrinovics and Kenny Duane exchanged passes on the left side before squaring into the centre to Ross Sullivan now deployed as a centre forward for the last 2 matches. Ross slid one through for Paul O Conner who had a bit of work to do to avoid 2 challenges before a neat finish to the net. Shortly afterward Rob Byrne found himself 1 on 1 with the keeper from a difficult angle following some nice build up play involving Adrian Burke, Ross Sullivan and Mark Kirby. Rob’s shot was well saved by the keeper. Skyvalley pressed hard to find an equaliser but the Colemanstown midfield and defence dealt with the pressure applied. On 25 mins Skyvalley hauled themselves back on level terms through a headed corner well taken by their striker Kenneth Kenny. Stalemate at the break.

The second half started as the first finished – a tight affair with both teams enjoying possession and trying to put defences under pressure but clear cut chances at either end were limited. On 45 mins Ronnie Geraghty played a lovely through ball to the on rushing Fintan Finnerty who was just back from a long injury. Fintan had a lot of ground to cover with 2 defenders on his tail and the keeper advancing to narrow the angle. His shot from just outside the box went narrowly wide. Colemanstown wondered if this was their last chance for a winner in normal time. Skyvalley continued to probe the Colemanstown rearguard of Gary Broderick, Garry O Grady, Cian O Toole and Aleksejs Lavrinovics but they stood strong and caught the eye as they rolled back their respective clocks with vintage displays. Skyvalley never tested Kevin Sayers in goals apart from a cross or 2 which Kevin had to claim. Skyvalley had 2 chances at free kicks in quick succession but failed to hit the target from either opportunity. 

Additional time looked imminent with both sides deadlocked as this exciting final ticked past 65mins when another flowing move from Colemanstown resulted in a line throw near the Skyvalley box. Marcus Malone was winding up for a Rory Delap special when he got the shout from an unmarked Ronnie Geraghty who swept in a peach of a cross which was met firmly by the head of Kenny Duane at the back post. 2-1 to the men in green and only 5 mins left. God Bless Kenny! He was back to his glittering career!. Skyvalley threw caution to the wind at this point and pressed for another equaliser. Once again Colemanstown withstood wave after wave of attacks and tried to seal it on the break. With 2 mins to go Skyvalley had a man sin binned for a yellow following an altercation in midfield. This meant they had to finish the game with 10 men which gave Colemanstown a bit of breathing space to hold on. Hold on they did to secure the RDFL Masters shield in memorable fashion and much to the joys of the supporters who travelled on the night. It was a fitting finale to a superb Masters tournament which featured some of the best and most recognisable faces from a golden era of Colemanstown football and many new faces as well.

Captain Garry O Grady could not have been a happier man as he accepted the shield on behalf of the squad from Niall Kelly of Roscommon FA. In his brief captains speech he thanked Roscommon FA for an excellent season once again, Skyvalley Rovers for yet another tightly contested game, the families of the players and the Colemanstown United FC committee who work tirelessly to facilitate every team in the club to play football. I think no one was left in any doubt as to what this win means to our veteran players. After all dreams do come true in the twilight of soccer careers …….

Squad-Kevin Sayers, Gary Broderick, Garry O Grady, Cian O Toole, Aleksejs Lavrinovics, Kenny Duane, Rob Byrne, Adrian Burke, Marcus Malone, Ross Sullivan, Paul O Connor, Ronnie Geraghty, Liam Flannery, Barry Forde, Philip Dee, Mark Kirby, Damien Mannion, Fintan Finnerty.

Squad members unable to attend- Alan Walsh, Barry Donnellan, Dave Kirby, Rob Parker, Niall Cunningham.

Match report by Adrian Burke.