Avondale claim crown after thriller
GAELIC GAMES COISTE NA NÓG FINALS
Avondale 3-8, Ashford 2-10: Ashford’s bid to put together back-toback wins in the U-14 B football Shield was thwarted on Friday night as opponents Avondale lifted the title with a onepoint home win in a frenetic paced final. U-14 B FOOTBALL The quality and standard of football shown by both sides belied the competition’s B status and the result was in the balance right up to the end of a game seasoned with passion and spirit from both teams.
Midway through the second-half Avondale looked to have the game wrapped up as they extended their lead to 37 to 1-7 with an early second-half goal by fullforward Shane Farrar, but then the black and amber boys put in a storming finish that put the result down to the wire.
Points by star forward Aaron Nugent (2) and Andrew Yague and a goal by predatory fullforward Gavin Weir brought the sides level at 2-10 to 3-7 with just minutes left on Gerry Corbett’s watch. It was still all to play for.
Urged on by strong local support Avondale struck again for the vital lead point from Mark Manley but gallant Ashford were pressing strongly - albeit unsuccessfully - for another equaliser right up to the moment that the referee sounded the final whistle.
Aaron Nugent had the opening point for champions Ashford after just 20 seconds, and sides were level after ten minutes (1-1 each) after Mark Manley and Gavin Weir had traded goals.
If Nugent and Weir were ticking all the right boxes for Ashford, so too were Ryan Cahill and John Nolan on the other side and Avondale went on to lead by 2-4 to 1-5 at the break.
Lining out for Avondale were the Baker cousins David and Naoise at centre-back, respectively a son and daughter of Kevin and Pat, two of the finest footballers in the county in their time.
Again Aaron Nugent got the ball rolling for Ashford in the secondhalf, narrowing the gap to just one point after four minutes.
Play moved up and down the field at a fast pace throughout but Avondale looked to be in a very comfortable position indeed as a third goal by Shane Farrar eased them into a 3-7 to 1-7 lead into the final quarter. However, Ashford put in a terrific finish to the match only to be beaten by that late winner from Avondale’s midfielder Mark Manley.
Afterwards Pat Mitchell presented the Shield to the Avondale captain Seán Geoghe- gan. There were a number of strong contenders on both sides for man of the match but in the end the Wicklow People award went to Avondale’s dynamic wingback John Nolan.
Scorers for Avondale: Ryan Cahill (1-3), Mark Manley ( 1- 1), Shane Farrar (1-0), John Nolan ( 0- 3), Seán Geoghegan (0-1).
Ashford scorers: Aaron Nugent ( 0- 8), Gavin Weir ( 2- 0), Emmett Byrne ( 0- 1), Andrew Yague (0-1)
Avondale: Seán McGraynor, Conor Doyle, Alan Manley, Patrick Kinsella, John Nolan, Naoise Baker, Adam Benson-Byrne, Mark Manley, Seán Geoghegan, David Baker, Ryan Cahill, Cian O hAnnoin, Jack Townsend, Shane Farrar, Conor Fullam. Subs: Shane Beaver for C. Fullam.
Ashford: Fergus Ward, Eoin Connolly, Conor Linnane, Kevin Cullinane, Seán Murphy, Jamie Byrne, David Dowling, Fiacra McDermott, Iarla O’Donnell, Frank Kelly, Emmett Byrne, Daniel Staunton, Andrew Yague, Gavin Weir, Aaron Nugent. Subs: Paddy O’Donnell for A. Yague.
Avondale, winners of the Under-14 B football shield.
Avondale captain Seán Geoghegan receives the U-14 Shield from Pat Mitchell.
John Nolan receives the People Newspapers man of the match award from Eddie Leonard.