Owen Roes have won the Tyrone grade 2 U14 Champions to add the 2010 league title from 12 months ago. On a miserable night in Dromore both the North Tyrone club and Naomh Mhuire served up a pulsating clash that was a lot closer than the six point margin suggested.
It was Naomh Mhuire who settled quickest and a pair of early dead balls from Stefan Corr got them up and running. Ryan McAleer clipped over from play for Owen Roes but Con Kilpatrick restored Naomh Mhuire's early advantage.
Michael Dooher's free taking was a key facet of Owen Roes victory on the night and before the opening quarter had elapsed he'd whipped over a pair of scores to level up. Corr showed that he too knew how to convert placed kicks and in the 19th minute added to Naomh Mhuire's tally.
Good work by McAleer and Eoghain Devine allowed Kevin Cairns to level up but Kilpatrick weaved in from the Owen Roes right to knock over Jack McGeehan's goal. The lead was soon two when a free from the East Tyrone side was worked to Keelan Gillan who raised a white flag.
Dooher's converted free kept the North Tyrone outfit in touch, before his side struck for the first of three majors. Naomh Mhuire squandered possession in dangerous territory and Cathal Kelly spotted the opposition keeper off his line and clipped a clever effort over his grasp and into the goal.
Dooher twice and Kelly both added frees as Owen Roes dominated the closing embers of the opening period.
In injury time Naomh Mhuire broke forward but Mark McFadden made a fine tackle and his ball found McAleer. McAleer looked up and spotted the run of Michael Dooher through on goal. Dooher took his time and picked his spot to find the net right on the stroke of half time for a critical goal.
That 2-4 blitz in the closing five minutes of the half would prove crucial.
Half Time: Owen Roes 2-8 Naomh Mhuire 0-6
As the rain continued to teem down, conducive play was proving difficult for both sides, but both showed heart for the battle in a hard fought second half.
A superb Dooher free after Owen McNulty was felled got Owen Roes up and running, but if they thought the second was to be plain sailing they were to be very much mistaken.
A fine break away score by Kilpatrick got the East Tyrone side on the scoreboard for the second half. Corr’s fine dead ball execution showed no signs of ending as he added to his tally with 5 minutes of the half gone.
Malachy Conlon swivelled sharply to point over as Owen Roes' lead started to look more and more vulnerable. Indeed from the kick out the lead could've been reduced further but Oran Donnelly hit the bar with Jack McGeehan getting a vital fingertip.
McGeehan could do nothing minutes later though. Slack marking at the back allowed Conlon through to plant the ball convincingly past the O'Neill's netminder.
The game was now well and truly up for grabs and Eoghain Conlon clipped the outside of the Owen Roes post following a goalmouth scramble. Nonetheless the Owen Roes' backline led by Conal McCormick, Ryan Devine and Timothy O'Doherty stood up well to serious Naomh Mhuire pressure holding their opponents scoreless for a long spell.
At the other end Owen Roes added to their score with ten minutes remaining. Philip Haughey won possession and good interchanges between the hardworking Sean Kelly, and Aaron McGonigle teed up Barry McDaid for a white flag to give Owen Roes that crucial four point cushion.
With nine minutes remaining came the strike that finally killed off a valiant East Tyrone challenge. And what a goal it was. Ryan McAleer threaded a neat ball up the line for Kevin Cairns. The full forward took the ball at height with one hand, swivelled and sent a rocket into the roof of Jack Kane’s net. A goal worthy of any final.
Naomh Mhuire kept plugging away but with victory in sight Owen Roes' defensive swarm was not going to be breeched, however sub Jamie McGale had to be on hand to collect a dangerous ball into the square late on.
When Kilpatrick knocked over with minutes remaining it was to be the last action of the contest as the North Tyrone outfit saw out time to take the title back down the A5 to Glenmornan.
Referee: Gary Gormley (Drumquin)
Owen Roes: Jack McGeehan, Mark McFadden, Ryan Devine, Conal McCormick, Timothy O'Doherty, Philip Haughey, Eoghain Devine, Ryan McAleer (0-1), Michael Dooher (1-7), Cathal Kelly (1-1), Barry McDaid (0-1), Owen McNulty, Sean Kelly, Kevin Cairns (1-1), Aaron McGonigle. Subs: Jamie McGale for Eoghain Devine (49 mins), Jack Cairns, Shane McFadden, Oisin Dooher, Niall McAleer, Kieran McMenamin, Shane Kelly, Ronan Devine, Sean Kelly.
Naomh Mhuire: Jack Kane, Barry Dillon, Patrick O'Rourke, Patrick Maxwell, Marco Landi, Conor Hughes, Mark McGonigle, Malachy Conlon (1-1), Stefan Corr (0-4), Con Kilpatrick (0-4), Eoghain Conlon, Oran Donnelly, Keelan Gillan (1-1), Paul Donaghey, Josh Ferguson.