St. Colmcilles GAA Club, Pairc Ui Rís, Piltown, Bettystown, Co Meath 0877441731

St Colmcilles 4-9   Donaghmore Ashbourne 1-1

Having been defeated in last years U15 decider, at the outset of this years U16 league the Cilles squad was bolstered by a number of additions including some players from the year behind.

These additions proved highly beneficial as from the outset of the league the squad was hit by a number of injuries with up to 8 panel members unavailable for the league proper. However, they say timing is everything and with almost all panelists available by semi final stage, the Cilles lads came through a tough away tussle against old rivals Ratoath. In the other semi, Donaghmore Ashbourne were very impressive scoring 3.14 while seeing off the Dunshaughlin challenge.

Both teams took to the field in Dunganny on Saturday 27th May with high hopes, but it was the Seasiders that were fastest out of the blocks scoring three rapid fire points against the wind in the first five minutes from David Bell, Luke Brady and a typically well taken effort from the cultured left foot of half back Stephen Breen.

Ashbourne replied with a point from corner forward Simon Wilson and the same player followed up with a goal to leave Ashbourne leading by one after 15 mins and the game looked set to be a tight contest. Incredibly, this was to be Ashbourne’s last score of the game as the Cilles defence, excellently marshalled by the superb central spine of Hugo Collins at fullback and Louth’s Ruairi Hanlon at centre back, shut up shop for the remainder of the game.

David Bell responded to the goal with an immediate point and then full forward Ewan Coughlan struck for goal leaving Cilles in front by 1.5 to 1.1 after 25 minutes. Central to the St Colmcilles game plan was negating the threat of talented County midfield pairing Killian Hogan and David Carr and as the first half went on, both Daniel Doyle and Luke Brady had wrested control in this sector.

The workrate and movement of the Cilles forward line was exceptional at this stage particularly epitomised by the hard running of David Bell and Aaron Lynch on the half forward line and Ferdia Quigley in the corner, but the unit as a whole was causing major headaches for the Ashbourne rearguard. Another well taken David Bell point from a free followed and after 27 minutes Cian Flynn scored a second Cilles goal. With the half about to close, captain Ross Molloy stepped up to break through the middle smashing a trademark powerful drive to the net to leave the score 3.6 to 1.1 in favour of his side at the break.

With the wind at their backs in the second half, Ashbourne pressed forward for the first ten minutes but with corner backs Jamie Duffy and Gary Burke to the fore, they were repeatedly repelled by the Cilles defence. On the break, a lightning counter attack saw Cian Flynn grab his second goal of the game and now St Colmcilles were firmly in the driving seat.

Another excellent move saw David Bell score his fifth of the game while they was no respite for Ashbourne as Cilles introduced three top quality players with Cathal Butler, Oran Kinch and Endy Ehicoya joining the fray. After 49 minutes, Ferdia Quigley got just rewards for a fine display with the last point of the game.

Fittingly, given the squads contribution throughout the league campaign, for the last ten minutes all remaining players in the squad of 25 (with the exception of the unfortunately injured Mark Harris) took to the field. The game ended 4-9 to 1-1 in favour of the Cilles and while it was not Ashbourne day, there is no doubt this fine team will be back competing for honours in the years ahead.

Like a fine wine, this St Colmcilles squad is certainly improving with age. Following on from the clubs many underage successes last year and with the U14s representing Meath next month at Feile, this success is another fitting testament to the ongoing hard work and commitment of all involved in the Juvenile section of the club.

St Colmcilles Squad: Daniel Hatch, Jamie Duffy, Hugo Collins, Gary Burke, Adam McCabe, Ruairi Hanlon, Stephen Breen, Luke Brady, Daniel Doyle, Aaron Lynch, Ross Molloy, David Bell, Cian Flynn, Ewan Coughlan, Ferdia Quigley, Cathal Butler, Endy Ehicoya, Oran Kinch, Ian Day, Killian Murphy, Sean Paul Maloney, Mark Harris, Ciaran White, Matthew Weir, Sean Collier