A valiant St Colmcilles (B) lose out narrowly in a captivating 2019 Division 4 LMFM Minor Championship Final
LMFM Minor Championship Div 4 Final
28th Oct 2019 Kilmainham
Ref : Peter Skelly
Ballinlough 2-06 St Colmcilles (B) 1-08
St. Colmcilles’ first effort at entering a second minor team into the championship was an outstanding success, leading the boys all the way to the Div 4 final v Ballinlough in Kilmainham on a beautiful bank holiday Monday. Ballinlough were also making their own piece of history, entering the Minor Championship for the first time on their own, rather than as a group team and the short journey over to Kilmainham meant they brought a huge crowd of supporters, adding to the large Cilles support who took the long journey over from the coast.
(Jakob Kula’s Dad pretending he’s not the proudest man on the planet after his sons exploits the previous day, Pat calls him ‘that lovely Polish fella’)
Whilst everyone was looking forward to playing the game in Pairc Tailtean, this was quickly forgotten and the growing crowd was warmly welcomed by Kilmainham GFC, with a well-manicured and presented pitch and hospitality to match in their impressive club rooms.
Peter Skelly got the game underway and Ballinlough made a clear statement of their intent by immediately putting the Cilles end under pressure with some fast and direct running. Ballinlough’s centre forward Jamie Casserly opened proceedings with a point in the second minute, before Cilles hit back with captain Tadgh Bennet cutting in from the left to take one of his trademark scores.
(If ever a superman pyjamas was necessary)
Ballinlough continued to put the Cilles goal under a lot of pressure with their powerful running, building their lead through another point by Casserly in the 8th minute. The young St Colmcilles midfield had their hands full with County Minor Harry Ryan but both Adriaan Kavanagh and Eoghan McCloughan give a fine display of high fielding with Oisin Murphy and Josh McLoughlin gathering breaking ball to secure both defensive and offensive kickouts to keep the pressure on the Ballinlough goal. Unfortunately Cilles were wasteful with scoring opportunities with shots dropping short into the hands of the Ballinlough keeper or going narrowly wide and could not convert their greater possession into scores.
Ballinlough pushed down the field at every opportunity with the Cilles full back line of Evan Morgan, Daniel Dalton, Robert Tanner and James French at centre back managing to spoil several attacks. However, following numerous attacks Ballinlough’s full forward Brian Casserly went down following a challenge by the hard working Cilles defence and the referee Peter Skelly saw fit to point to the spot.
Harry Ryan stepped up and whilst David O’Brien in the Cilles goals got a hand to the shot, he could not keep it out. Ballinlough were storming ahead and added another point after 15 minutes to lead by 1-3 to 0-1.
Cilles continued to attack with Tadgh Bennet, Evan Kelly and Fiachra Mac an Aba working hard in the full forward line but despite their best efforts were unable to find space amongst the strong Ballinlough defence to convert possession into scores.
Danny Ehicoya was introduced after 20 minutes into the full forward line to try change things up and had an immediate effect, sending a rocket into the net after a few seconds of being on the field. Danny’s energy lifted the other forwards around him, and by drawing the attention of 2-3 Ballinlough players at a time, this created space for his team mates.
Ballinlough reacted quickly to the goal and immediately responded at the other end with a goal of their own in the 22nd minute.
With the addition of Eoin Gillick at centre back, St Colmcilles began to stem the Ballinlough attacks and the Cilles midfield and half backs continuing to win a lot of ball around the middle. The half forward line of Emmet Higgins, Conor Farrelly and Brian Butler were now coming into the game more and were creating more scoring opportunities. 3 well taken points from play from Ehicoya, Brian Butler and Fiachra Mac an Aba closed the gap on Ballinlough.
Jamie Casserly brought the scoring to a close with a point from play for Ballinlough to maintain a lead of three points at half time on a score line of 2-04 to 1-04.
At half time, both sides retired to the changing rooms to catch their breath and gather their thoughts before the second half. The early dominance by Ballinlough had subsided and the game was in the melting pot.
St Colmcilles introduced Christian Finlay at half forward and Shaun Leonard in defence at half time and the fresh legs helped sustain the momentum built in the second half and three quick points in as many minutes from Tadgh Bennett, Danny Ehicoya and Brian Butler brought the sides level. Harry Ryan hit back for Ballinlough in the 36th minute with a free before it was cancelled out by a point from Christian Finlay in the 41st minute.
Harry Ryan scored again from a free in the 42nd minute to give a one point advantage to Ballinlough which proved to be the last score of the game.
For the next 20 minutes Ballinlough defended with their lives as Cilles threw everything at them to try and score. With the wind at their backs and 14 men behind the ball Ballinlough’s physicality ensured the Cilles forwards were under pressure each time they took a shot. The referee denied a number of claims by the Cilles players for frees in response to some of the heavier challenges by the Ballinlough goalie and defence and just could not get that decisive score. Ballinlough broke out of defence a number of times with one attack leading to a one on one against Cilles goalie David O’Brien who pulled of a spectacular save to keep his team in the game. The introduction of more fresh legs with Luke Conlon, Josh Hayes and Oisin O’Murchú could not convert this late dominance into scores with the Ballinlough goalie Senan McDermott proving unbeatable.
Peter Skelly eventually blew the final whistle to the heartbreak of the gallant Cilles players and the delight of Ballinlough who won their first Minor Championship title for the club in 16 years. Unfortunately the young St Colmcilles second team could not follow their counterparts who won the Division 1 title the previous day but left no stone unturned in their efforts to do so. All bar 3 of the panel will be back again to have another crack at the minor championship in 2020. Ballinlough were worthy winners, showing great maturity, strength and tenacity to hold out for the win and are wished well from everyone in St Colmcilles.
(Ronan Murphy and Gerry White doing what good coaches do)
St Colmcilles Team:
David O’Brien, Evan Morgan, Daniel Dalton, Robert Tanner, Josh McLoughlin, James French, Oisin Murphy, Eoghan McCloughan, Adriaan Kavanagh, Emmet Higgins, Conor Farrelly, Brian Butler (0-02), Fiachra Mac An Aba (0-01), Evan Kelly, Tadhg Bennet (C) (0-02), Danny Ehicoya ((1-02), Eoin Gillick, Christian Finlay (0-01), Shaun Leonard, Josh Hayes, Luke Conlon, Oisin O’Murchu, Liam Kelly, Cian O’Connell,
S.McDermott, S.Ryan, B.Jordan, R.Cunning, T.Shine, J.Connell, H.Briody, S.Tunney, H.Ryan(1-03) E.Briody, J.Casserly(0-03), O.McDermott, D.Shine(1-00), B.Casserly, K.Óg Lynch, J.McDonnell, M.Farrelly, J.Ryan, S.Rooney
Match Report: Ronan Murphy