Fechin’s are spot on as they clinch U-16 crown

The Argus - - SPORT -

MAG­NIF­I­CENT is the only way to de­scribe the ef­forts of the Sta­ban­non/St Kevin’s team who came back from an 11-point half-time deficit to win the Un­der-14B Cham­pi­onship on Sun­day last.

Th­ese teams had al­ready met in the league fi­nal ear­lier this year when the com­bi­na­tion side ran out win­ners de­spite a gal­lant come­back by St Fechin’s.

How­ever on Sun­day last the Fechin’s were on course to gain re­venge when lead­ing 3-6 to 1-1 at the half-way stage.

In that first 30 min­utes St Fechin’s had a strong breeze be­hind them and dom­i­nated in all ar­eas of the pitch and forced Sta­ban­non/St. Kevins to make nu­mer­ous er­rors.

De­spite this both the men­tors and the play­ers of Sta­ban­non/ St. Kevins knew that they had much more in them and that a come­back was pos­si­ble.

With words of en­cour­age­ment from their men­tors the girls emerged on to the pitch with their heads held high and Aoife McMa­hon found the back of the net to bring the back to eight.

St Fechin’s re­sponded with a point, but af­ter some po­si­tional changes So­phie Smith and Aoife McMa­hon both found the net, only for St Fechin’s to raise a green flag of their own.

Three points from play from the com­bi­na­tion team re­duced the gap to five and two fur­ther Sta­ban­non/Kevin’s goals even­tu­ally brought them level, and when So­phie Smith hit the back of the net her team were a goal ahead with about 10 min­utes to go. deficit TOP scorer Ryan Walsh’s se­cond-half penalty goal proved de­ci­sive in the Un­der-16 FC de­cider in Dun­leer on Sun­day af­ter­noon as St Fechin’s edged out St Mary’s.

The Ardee boys pushed hard through­out, with Jonathan Com­mins kick­ing nine points to keep them in touch, but de­spite a late push they came up just short.

While the Mary’s were prob­a­bly con­sid­ered favourites, it was the Fechin’s who came out all guns blaz­ing, with Sean Ker­risk reg­is­tered the open­ing score of the game be­fore Luke Matthews’ re­ply.

Ryan Walsh reg­is­tered a quick­fire brace, in­clud­ing a 45, and when Adam O’Neill slot­ted over the Ter­mon­feckin side led 0-4 to 0-1.

Then came the Marys re­sponse, with Com­mins was at the heart of it. Two rou­tine frees from Com­mins and a Carl Gille­spie ef­fort from play had them in front. Com­mins then got his fourth of the day to ex­tend the ad­van­tage.

Just when they thought it was turn­ing their way, St Fechin’s worked the ball up the field to find the back of the Sta­ban­non net, bring­ing the sides level again.

Roisin Maguire hit the ball over the bar and Ais­ling Maguire goaled to put Sta­ban­non/ Kevin’s four points clear.

Af­ter that there was no way back for St Fechin’s and the com­bi­na­tion team put some gloss on the score­line with a fur­ther 1-2 to com­plete a nine­point vic­tory.

Gille­spie popped over a free of his own and then Com­mins span away from Pe­ter Mee­gan and put over af­ter ex­cel­lent work from Dy­lan Whyte.

With four points in it at the break, the Mary’s looked well placed, and with 15 min­utes to play they still held a nar­row ad­van­tage, but then Aaron Keenan was black-carded when he dragged O’Neill down to the ground right in front of the posts and Walsh dis­patched the penalty past James McGil­lick.

Com­mins got scores seven and eight of his af­ter­noon, but Pe­ter Mee­gan, O’Neill and two more scores from the bril­liant Walsh left the Fechin’s with a three-point lead with five to play.

Walsh man­aged one more be­fore the end, tak­ing his tally to 1-8, and de­spite Tiar­nan Cor­ri­gan and Com­mins point­ing in re­ply it was too lit­tle too late and Walsh lifted the Der­mot O’Brien Cup for St Fechin’s. Caoimhe Boyle, joint cap­tain along with Roisin Maguire, re­ceives the Player of the Match award.

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