St. Colmcilles GAA Club, Pairc Ui Rís, Piltown, Bettystown, Co Meath 089-4440124

U20 Championship Round 2

St Colmcilles​ 0.15

Skryne​​ 0.11

Having lost by the narrowest of margins in their first roundgame versus Summerhill, Skryne arrived in Piltown in determined mood to get their U20 season up and running. St Colmcilles on the other hand were playing their first game of the Championship with their first round clash against Dunshaughlin having fallen foul of the weather. Following the coin toss from referee Cormac O’Reilly, St Colmcilles elected to play with a decent wind in the first half.

The early stages saw the teams exchange wides before David Bell opened the scoring on 5 minutes with a well taken pointbut Skryne quickly responded through a free from their talisman Niall Finnerty . Further points from Luke Hanan and Andrew Canavan saw the teams level again after 11 minsbefore Oisin O’Mhurchu nudged the seasiders in front for a lead they would never relinquish for the remainder of the game. Christian Finlay added a further fisted point before Cormac Reilly brandished yellow cards to both teams for a series of robust challenges on each side. Skryne were getting on a lot of ball around the middle of the field through Shane Smyth and Oisin Keogh and in the 23rd minute the always dangerous Niall Finnerty was through on goal and seemed certain to score but an excellent last ditch block from Sean O’Donoghue deflected the ball out for a 45.  Cilles gained the ascendancy for the remainder of the half and a number of incisive runs down the left flank from defenders CathalMonaghan and Adrian Kavanagh were causing the Skryne rearguard real trouble. With a little more composure the seasiders could have extended their lead especially through a couple of spurned goal chances. The most dramatic of these saw Adrian Kavanagh palm the ball off the crossbar, Danny Ehichoya gathering the rebound and blasting the ball against the upright before the hard working Evan Breen eventually slotted over a point. Other scores followed from David Bell (twice) and Christian Finlay before the last action of the half saw Niall Finnerty excellently field a speculative high ball and claim a mark which he duly pointed. Half time saw the Cilles lead on a scoreline of 0.8 to 0.4. Having played with the breeze and having had the majority of chances, the East Meath team were probably disappointed not to be further ahead at the interval.

At the break, Skryne were forced into a reshuffle with John Finnerty carrying a knock and moving from half back into the full forward line to join his brother Niall. From the throw-in, Endy Ehichoya made a strong run through the middle before offloading to David Bell who calmly fisted over the bar to stretch the Cilles lead. Niall Finnerty then pointed two frees in succession before Danny Ehichoya finished a well worked move from a Cilles short free. A further brace of Niall Finnerty scores followed to leave just two between the sides. After squandering some good opportunities, the seasiders extended their lead to three on 11 minutes with a super Luke Hanan effort from the left wing off his left foot. Skryne with the wind at their backs however were very much in this game and yet another Finnerty free gave them further confidence before good interlink play from Cilles saw Godfrey Ehichoya slot over a neat point. Skryne corner forward Andrew Canavan registered his second point of the game from a mark and a further point from play from that man Niall Finnerty saw the deficit reduced to the minimum by the 15th minute with the score now standing at 0.12 – 0.11. In the 17th minute a well worked move saw David Bell bearing down on goal and his shot seemed destined for the corner of the net until a brilliant reflex save saw Skryne keeper Cian Donohoe steer the ball around the upright with his outstretched leg. Skryne would not score again as points from Oisin O’Mhurchu, Conor Clifford and David Bell were enough for St Colmcilles see out the game for a four point win.

In an entertaining game, the seasiders on balance deserved their win with a better spread of scoring threats and if they were more clinical in front of goal they could perhaps have won by more. However, as you would expect from a club with their proud tradition, a fine Skryne side made them fight to the very end. The Cilles Management team will be hopeful that this tough opening game will stand them in good stead for the challenges ahead – next up is a formidable Summerhill sidenext week in Piltown.

St Colmcilles: Jakub Kula, Cathal Monaghan, Shaun Leonard, Matthew Weir, Godfrey Ehichoya (0.1), Sean O’Donoghue, Adrian Kavanagh, Evan Breen (0.1), Endy Ehichoya, Christian Finlay (0.2), David Bell (0.5, 1F ), Oisin O’Mhurchu (0.3), Luke Hanan (0.2), Danny Ehichoya (0.1), Luke Conlon

Subs used: Conor Clifford (0.1), Eoghan McCloughan, Oisin Brennan, Charlie Bacon

Skryne: Cian Donohoe; Jack Swan, Kristoffer Kinsella, Conor Donohoe, David Rathbourne, James Reeves, John Finnerty,  Shane Smyth, Robert Gallagher, Ciaran Quinn, Niall Morland, Oisin Keogh, Billy Reilly, Niall Finnerty (0.9, 5F, 1M), Andrew Canavan (0.2)

Subs used: Scott Armstrong , Kian Reddy