St. Nicholas take crown with convincing victory
St. Nicholas 3- 14, St. Patrick’s 3-3: After being beaten in the U-14 football A final, St. Nicholas bounced back at Arklow on Saturday to take the B crown in rather convincing style in the end, defeating opponents St. Patrick’s by eleven points in the decider.
However St. Patrick’s need not be downhearted in defeat as they were coming to this final a year early for their age.
All the Wicklow town players are eligible for the U-14 grade again next year when they will strongly fancied not just for the B championship but to win the A championship, especially as this same bunch of players who won the county U-10 and U-12 titles on their way up.
However on this occasion St. Nicholas, a combo of Dunlavin and Donard-Glen boys, were that bit too strong and every time that St. Patrick’s drew near or level the westerners had that extra bit of power to step on the gas and pull away again.
Yet St. Patrick’s drew level with their opponents after 12 minutes with a goal by their corner-forward James Kavanagh and they were still in contention into the third quarter after full-forward Andrew Murphy rifled to the net following a Brian Doyle free into the goalmouth, leaving just two points between the sides at that stage (2-3 to 1-8).
St. Nicholas had a whirlwind start to this match as they raced into an early five points lead before the Wicklow lads hauled them back to parity but they were able to accelerate away again whenever St. Patrick’s threatened serious danger to their superiori- ty. Andrew Howard gave a man of the match performance for St. Nicholas at full-forward and he accounted for 1-4 as they went on to lead 1-8 to 2-3 at half time, the two goals for St. Patrick’s scored by inside forwards James Kavanagh and Andrew Murphy.
St. Patrick’s continued to mount a stiff challenge up to the three quarter-stage when a third goal by Brian Doyle following a ‘45’ by Andrew Murphy, who was now playing further outfield, cutting the deficit to two points for a third time, 3-3 to 1-11.
However the Wicklow town boys were not to raise another score flag between that and the final whistle, with goals for St. Nicholas by Andrew Howard and Scott Phelan wrapping up the title for the Westerners.
St. Nicholas are managed by Garda Inspector Ashley O’Sullivan, a former county player, who won senior medals with Dunlavin in 1979 and 1981 when he was the youngest player on the team. Ashley’s had a son Alan playing on the St. Nicholas team at wingback.
After the game Pat Mitchell presented the trophy to the St. Nicholas captain Kevin Kealy while the Wicklow People man of the match award went to Andrew Howard.
Eddie Leonard presents the Wicklow People ‘Man of the Match’ award to Andrew Howard of St. Nicholas.