AGB survive real scare to secure bragging rights
AGB survived a real scare from Avondale to secure bragging rights in this Junior B championship game last Thursday in Pearse’s Park.
In a topsy turvy game where both teams enjoyed prolonged periods of dominance it was AGB’s finish to the first half that probably was the difference.
Avondale started well and led 1-2 to 0-2 after the first ten minutes. Their goal was an exquisite chip over the goalkeeper by Callum Pursey from a difficult angle. Jack Manley was showing very well for Avondale and he was playing plenty of good passes in side to where Pursey and Ian Heffernan were lively.
Alan McBride converted a penalty for AGB after Ross McBride was fouled on a rare break up field for them as Avondale continued to dominate around the middle. Avondale through Pursey, Ian Heffernan and Shane Birch with a booming long-range score restored a four-point lead again by the 17th minute and were looking comfortable at this stage.
They missed plenty of other opportunities too and could well have been out of sight by the time AGB started their fightback.
Donal O’Keeffe pointed before Garret Kenny rattled the net after a fine build up to tie it up at 2-2 to 1-5.
The home side kicked the last four points of the half with a McBride free added to with a brace of points from midfielder Johnathon Doyle and another O’Keeffe score to leave them leading 2-6 to 1-5 at the break.
The hard running and ball carrying of Mark Fitzgerald, Jack Darcy and Ross MacBride along with Tom Hurley getting on top at centre back was central to their change in fortune at that time.
Donal O’Keeffe who was showing well at full forward opened the second half scoring with a point before a change in tactics from Avondale opened the game up again.
Michael Sheehan had come on at full forward and they started to deliver long direct ball inside and he caused all sorts of problems for the AGB full-back line.
Heffernan pointed from play and the hard-working Darren Beevor also pointed as they sought a way back.
Darragh Culleton lifted the siege somewhat with a pointed free but going in to the last ten minutes it was AGB who were hanging on to a 2-9 to 1-9 lead.
Sheehan continued to cause problems and Avondale were almost in for a levelling goal but for the quick reactions of Kyle O’Connor in the AGB goal who cleared away for a 45. By now AGB had brought Donal O’Keeffe back to help out in their back line but he still found time to kick their last score of the game in the 52nd minute.
All Avondale had to show for their efforts in the last seven minutes was a point from Ian Heffernan as AGB held out for the win. Paddy Kinsella, Kieran Penn and Michael O’Dea formed a fine half back line for Avondale all evening and were the platform for many of their attacks.
Scorers - AGB: Johnathon Doyle 0-2, Darragh Culleton 0-2, (1f, 145), Alan McBride 1-1 (1-0 pen, 1f), Mark Fitzgerald 0-1, Garret Kenny 1-0, Donal O’Keeffe 0-4.
Avondale: Jack Manley 0-2, Darren Beevor 0-1, Shane Birch 0-1, Callum Pursey 1-1, Ian Heffernan 0-5 (2f).
AGB: Kyle O’Connor; Michael O’Sullivan, Paul O’Donohoe, Brendan O’Sullivan; Shane Donohoe, Tom Hurley, Corey Mills; Johnathon Doyle, Darragh Culleton; Ross McBride, Alan McBride, Mark Fitzgerald, Garret Kenny, Donal O’Keeffe, Jack Darcy. Subs: Gary Fennel for B O’Sullivan, Ger Kavanagh for R MacBride, Stewart Mills for Darcy.
Avondale: Harrison Penn: Conor Penn, Conor Sheehan, Paul McGann; Michael O’Dea, Kieran Penn, Paddy Kinsella; Seamus McGraynor, Jack Manley; Darren Beevor, Shane Birch, Donal McGraynor; Ross Merry, Callum Pursey, Ian Heffernan. Subs: Michael Sheehan for Merry, James Busher for Birch.
Referee: Kieron Kenny