Clontarf enjoy ‘special day’ as they win first senior title in Neville Cup decider

Kevin Mullins scores hat-trick against former team as Three Rock reign ends

Clontarf celebrate after their victory in the Neville Cup Final against Three Rock Rovers at Grange Road. Photograph:  Adrian Boehm

Clontarf celebrate after their victory in the Neville Cup Final against Three Rock Rovers at Grange Road. Photograph: Adrian Boehm

 

Clontarf 5 Three Rock Rovers 2

Kevin and John Mullins fired Clontarf to their first senior title, ending their former club Three Rock Rovers’ reign as Neville Cup champions at Grange Road.

Kevin Mullins scored a hat-trick for a unique third title in succession having switched back to his first club during the summer. It followed a three-year spell with Rovers which yielded nine titles from nine finals all told.

His first opened the scoring, taking on the drag-flicking duties from the absent Davyn Keuter, before Luke Adams equalised at the end of a classy team move, leaving it 1-1 at half-time.

It remained that way until 13 minutes from the end when Kevin was again at the heart of things, robbing the ball off Garry Ringwood before being upended in the circle.

John Mullins converted for 2-1 but Rovers were back level soon after when former international Peter Blakeney whipped in his side’s fifth penalty corner.

It should have set up a tense finale but ’Tarf showed few nerves and they returned to the lead from another corner move. This time – with Kevin Mullins on a yellow card suspension – Gareth Borland slipped the ball to John Mullins to guide in.

Borland was a third returnee. Indeed, he has initially agreed to coach Rovers this term but a work promotion at Mount Temple saw him decide to step away and take on a player-assistant coach post instead.

Kevin Mullins took over shooting duties for the killer fourth goal with three minutes to go and then tapped a fifth into an open net when Rovers withdrew their goalkeeper Shane O’Brien for an extra outfielder.

For Borland, he joked he may have had a “little local knowledge” when it came to ’Tarf’s set-piece proficiency, scoring three out of four penalty corners.

More than anything, he said it was a truly special moment for the club that introduced him to the game.

“Of the 17 in our squad, including our coach Dave Bane, 15 have been involved with Mount Temple and the club for the thousands of sessions we have done over the years.

“For every one of those guys, the club is part of their identity which is something unique in Leinster circles. To see all the people from the different generations, from the first team back in 1981 there on the sideline, it was a special day.”

Elsewhere, Cork C of I won the Peard Cup in Munster with a 3-1 success against Bandon with John Jermyn, Stephen Parker and Jonny Bruton netting.

THREE ROCK ROVERS: S O’Brien, B Ryder, G Ringwood, D Storey, B McCrea, P McConnell, P Blakeney, M Maguire, H Lynch, M Maguire, M Sweetnam, S Walker, J Walker, E Jennings, L McSharry.

CLONTARF: D Lawless, D Power, T Cullen, K Murray, S Beattie, A O’Malley, M Duggan, G Borland, K Mullins, J Mullins, J Edmonds, C Cooney, L Hayden, J Sheahan, S Harper.

Umpires: D Reamsbottom, B Bale

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