St Kevin’s re­joice

Su­perb ‘B’ fi­nal en­joyed by big crowd in Balt­in­glass

Wicklow People (West Edition) - - SPORT - PAT DUNNE at Balt­in­glass

ST KEVIN’S showed huge heart and bot­tle on Sun­day morn­ing last af­ter they bat­tled through a thrilling Un­der-17 ‘B’ foot­ball fi­nal against near neigh­bours and ri­vals Bless­ing­ton in a packed Balt­in­glass.

There wasn’t a kick of a ball be­tween ei­ther side through­out this ac­tion-packed block­buster. Bless­ing­ton got off to a fly­ing start in the open­ing half but the su­per Saints dug their way back into the game in the sec­ond pe­riod.

Bless­ing­ton ral­lied late on, but some su­per dis­plays in the art of block­ing and de­fend­ing laid the plat­form for this in­spi­ra­tional win.

Kevin Quinn pointed in the sec­ond minute to get Bless­ing­ton up and run­ning. Jake O’Kelly fol­lowed up with a mighty point in the next at­tack. Daniel Cooney reg­is­tered an­other point af­ter good work by James Mul­li­gan for Bless­ing­ton to get off to a fine start.

Ryan Mul­vey got St. Kevin’s on the score­board with a well-ex­e­cuted point in the sev­enth minute. Daniel Silke Fether­son crashed his ef­fort off the cross­bar to let Kevin’s of the hook with the next chance.

Eoin Ka­vanagh pointed to close out the first quar­ter with Bless­ing­ton lead­ing 0-4 to 0-1.

St Kevin’s never looked too flus­tered early on, and Eoin Clarke pointed from an acute an­gle, which was fol­lowed by an­other from a beast of a free from 50m out by Keith Burke to re­duce the lead now down to a sin­gle point.

Thomas Fisher added a brace of points as Bless­ing­ton upped a gear af­ter good work by Cor­mac Roe. Conor Reid in­ter­cepted a ball from Kevin Quinn, who looked in for a cer­tain score in the next at­tack. Padraic Keogh made a dart­ing run up the field and was fouled, Rob Mi­ley hit the tar­get from the re­sul­tant free.

Bless­ing­ton won a 45 mo­ments later, Thomas Fisher took the shot which sailed into the Kevin’s net for a for­tu­itous score in this cru­cial point of the game just be­fore half-time.

Luke O’Brien launched over an­other point as St Kevin’s were some­what shell-shocked. Bless­ing­ton landed a cou­ple of bad wides which gave Kevin’s a lifeline, and that lifeline did come when a penalty was called for af­ter a foot block by a Bless­ing­ton de­fender.

Padraic Keogh put the ball on the spot, took two steps back and drilled the ball high into the roof of the net as the stand in Balt­in­glass shook with the roars of ap­proval by the vo­cal Kevin’s faith­ful.

As the half-time whis­tle sounded, it was game back on.

There was a fran­tic start to the sec­ond pe­riod, with both de­fences soak­ing up lots of pres­sure early on. Ben O’Keefe was hit late with a shoul­der and Ryan Mul­vey pointed the re­sul­tant free as the gap went down to two.

Kevin’s missed a cou­ple of chances to cut the deficit from a pair of frees and then Keith Burke crashed the ball of the cross­bar to let Bless­ing­ton of the hook.

Rob Mi­ley pointed an­other free as Kevin’s found a new lease of life, buoyed on by a vo­cal fol­low­ing. Rob Mi­ley tagged on an­other brace of mighty points for his side to hit the front, for the first time in the game, go­ing into the fi­nal quar­ter. Bless­ing­ton ral­lied again in the next play with James Wil­liamson bomb­ing over a point, lev­el­ling the game, (amaz­ingly this would be their only score in the sec­ond half) as it was the Bless­ing­ton faith­ful who now spurred on their side.

Bless­ing­ton ap­plied a lot of pres­sure, but Kevin’s were de­fend­ing like lions. A match-sav­ing block by Eoin Clarke pre­vented Jake O’Kelly a cer­tain goal go­ing into the fi­nal ten min­utes.

Rob Mi­ley added an­other brace of points af­ter great work by Ben O’Ke­effe and Brian Keogh who were driv­ing for­ward with aban­don, for Kevin’s to hit the front again.

Bless­ing­ton threw the kitchen sink and more at St. Kevin’s in search of an­other score. Wave af­ter wave, were blocked and cleared by the com­bined side as the fought to hold of the blue tsunami.

The ten­sion rose ten­fold and was un­bear­able, with a two-point lead to hold onto.

Christy Mooney broke up the field and put Rob Mi­ley in for a point to chalk up his sev­enth to up the lead to three go­ing into in­jury time. Again it was all hands on deck for St Kevin’s as Bless­ing­ton went in search of a lev­el­ling goal, but some un­be­liev­able res­o­lute de­fend­ing by the su­per saints, they held on, as Bless­ing­ton ran out of road and their chal­lenge de­railed.

Ryan Mul­vey pointed the fi­nal score of the day for St. Kevin’s as the full-time whis­tled sounded.

Coiste na nÓg Chair­man, Pat Dunne com­pli­mented both teams on a pow­er­ful match, thanked the ref­eree and thanked Hugh Kenny for or­gan­is­ing all the fix­tures.

Pat then pre­sented the cup to win­ning cap­tain Dub­hal­tach McSweeney.

The de­ci­sion for the man of the match was one of the hard­est ever made, with Bless­ing­ton’s Kevin Quinn and Thomas Fisher in the hunt along with St. Kevin’s Rob Mi­ley, who landed seven points, along with the whole de­fence, who were im­mense.

Pat Dunne pre­sented the Man of the Match award to St Kevin’s Brian Keogh to spark off wild cel­e­bra­tions.

Scor­ers - St. Kevin’s: Rob­bie Mi­ley 0-7, Padraic Keogh 1-0 (p), Ryan Mul­vey 0-3, Éoin Clarke 0-1, Keith Burke 0-1.

Bless­ing­ton: Thomas Fisher 1-2, Eoin Ka­vanagh 0-1, Daniel Cooney 0-1, Kevin Quinn 0-1, Luke O’Brien 0-1, Jake O’Kelly 0-1,

James Wil­liamson 0-1.

St. Kevin’s: Ryan Wil­loughby; Christy Mooney, Don­nacha Halpin, Conor Reid; Robert Coyne, Tadgh Mi­ley, Brian Keogh; Luka Har­ney, Dub­hal­tach McSweeney; Ben O’Ke­effe, Rob­bie Mi­ley, Keith Burke; Ryan Mul­vey, Paraic Keogh, Éoin Clarke. Subs: Eoghan Daly, Jean Luc Mor­ris, Ben Burke, Shane Allen, Eoin Harkin.

Bless­ing­ton: Micheal O’Toole; Claude Touno, Oísin Bro­gan, Sean Lambe; Niall O’Gail­chobair, Craig Maguire, Cor­mac Roe; Thomas Fisher, Daniel Cooney; James Mul­li­gan, Kevin Quinn, Luke O’Brien; Eoin Ka­vanagh, Jake O’Kelly, Danny Silke Fether­son. Subs: James Wil­liamson.

Ref­eree: John Whyte (Donard-The Glen)

St Kevin’s, who claimed the Un­der-17 ‘B’ foot­ball crown by beat­ing Bless­ing­ton in Balt­in­glass last Sun­day morn­ing.

The Bless­ing­ton side who fell to St Kevin’s in the county fi­nal last sun­day.

Pat Dunne pre­sents Dub­hal­tach McSeeney with the cup.

Brian Keogh ac­cepts the Wick­low Peo­ple Man of the Match award from Pat Dunne.

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