Sunday 15th April will long be remembered in Cilles history as the day they filled a 3rd Adult Championship Team in the opening round fixture of this Division C Group match against Curraha in Dunsaughlin. Rumours of the return to the playing fields of former stalwarts of the Club along with new Club members who had transferred in brought throngs out to view this match not quiet knowing how it would play out. Bouyed on by the strong Junior B performance & win before this match the Cilles veterans (by & large) were led out on to the field of play by 2018 Captain Mark Magill.
Such is the support & enthusiasm for this Team that along with the starting 15 there were also 15 reserves on the bench & all have played their part thus far in the training & challenge matches to date, but the 1st 15 selected represented hard selection decisions mulled over by the novice Management Team. After a settling in 5 minutes that saw both sides stretch each other in early exchanges & get to grips with a strong breeze that the Cilles men faced in to in the 1st half, the Cilles Jnr.Ds soon got in to their stride that saw nippy corner forward Karl Dowling slip in for 2 goals & a point, 1 being a penalty, whilst Niall Ronan also ended up scoring a goal after a great Team move right up the field from the full back line & involving & Cilles players before the experienced full forward blasted his shot to the net.
This quick 3-1 was built on the foundations of a commanding Midfield partnership of Team captain Mark Magill & the unmistakable Enda Grogan who rolled back the years to former glories. Curraha had threatened the Cilles goals but tigerish & clever full back play by the experienced Finlay, O’Boyle & Bee Kelly left little options but to push the opponents attackers back outfield for long shot opportunities for scores. Cilles half back line of new man Adrian Bryam (vice-captain), Damian Beakey along with the clever & astute Ronan Kelly capitalising on the ball won in defence & cleverly feeding their forward line early & in to space led to many scores during this game.
Strong wing play by the 2 aforementioned wing backs Beakey & Bryam along with their forward counterparts Gerry O’Donoghue & Sean Perry meant that the Cilles had plenty of supply in to their full forward line & they mopped up most of the breaking ball off Magill & Grogan in the middle of the park. These early deliveries again yielded more success and resulted in a further 1-3 being scored with Ronan and the talisman Niall Kerbey slotted over a number of placed balls. The only blot on the half time score of 4-4 to 0-4 was the necessity to withdraw O’Boyle at full back with 5 minutes of 1st half left due to injury though Paul Nash was an able & experienced replacement who didnt weaken this resolute full back line in any way.
Upon resumption of the game & 2nd half the Cilles men continued where they had left off with tigerish tackling, swift movement of the ball upfield & a quick 1-3 without reply in the 1st ten minutes of the 2nd half which more or less finished the match result though the contest remained competitive and well contested until the final whistle. In this 2nd half furher scores came from Niall Ronan, Niall Kerbey, Mark Magill, Caimin “The Bear on the Square” Hall & late substitute Domo McDowell. Other 2nd half subs to play their part & bolster the strong work ethic on display included Jayo Collier, Bob Hannon, Domo McDowell, Keith Magill & Steven Scully who will want to forget his brief appearance that lasted 5 minutes before he received a straight red for an off the ball challenge that nobody witnessed. Whilst these 6 subs played their part today there were another 9 unused subs bittin at the bit & bitterly disappointed to to get on in this 1st game, though judging by the war wounds & aches of players afterwards we’ll need all of these reserves to fil spots in the coming weeks to keep this momentum going.
Also special mention to Maor UIisce Jack Black, Selectors Gaz McCloskey and Gerry Stafford, Club Physio Christine who was kept busy, Damo Stafford who we wish the very best of luck in his travels to Australia shortly along with Cooks cool demeanor as Banisteoir