Fu­ture looks bright

St Mary’s pip Ti­na­hely af­ter su­per bat­tle in Coolkenno

Wicklow People - - SPORT -

THE St Mary’s and Ti­na­hely un­der-13 foot­ballers served up an ab­so­lute cracker of a foot­ball match on Mon­day evening last in Coolkenno. If this open­ing game is any­thing to go by in terms of stan­dard and ex­cite­ment, then the sea­son ahead prom­ises great ex­cite­ment and po­ten­tial.

This was a bat­tle that had ev­ery­thing. High skill lev­els, tenac­ity, sweep­ing at­tack­ing foot­ball, dogged de­fend­ing, great scores and not a bad word said from start to fin­ish.

At the end it seemed al­most cruel that there had to be a win­ner, such was the ef­fort and hon­esty of both sets of play­ers. Alas, sport can be an un­kind crea­ture and so it is that St Mary’s were left re­joic­ing af­ter a scin­til­lat­ing sec­ond half, while Ti­na­hely can cer­tainly hold their heads high af­ter their first half ex­cel­lence and their com­ing so close to seal­ing the deal thanks to some re­ally ex­cel­lent play, only for missed chances to haunt them on the fi­nal whis­tle.

St Mary’s can rightly slap ev­ery sin­gle player on the back af­ter their per­for­mances. Each war­rior gave his all on the field, but it was per­haps the per­for­mances of Conor Byrne and Ed­die Cullen, es­pe­cially in the sec­ond half, that de­liv­ered the vic­tory for the Shil­le­lagh/Coolkenno com­bi­na­tion.

We sin­gle out Byrne for two rea­sons. In Thomas Kelly, Ti­na­hely have an ex­cel­lent at­tacker. He bagged 1-3 (three frees) and was the go to man for the hour up front. How­ever, Byrne’s de­fend­ing against Kelly in the sec­ond half was su­perb and it helped to slightly cur­tail the tal­ented for­ward. The sec­ond rea­son we high­light Conor Byrne is that when his side needed some­one to break the line and drive hard at the Ti­na­hely goal, there he was, burst­ing from deep and his late 1-1 was in­cred­i­bly vi­tal for the St Mary’s cause; the point gave them the lead af­ter 55 min­utes, the goal put them out of sight at the death.

But this win was so much more than a one-man show for St Mary’s. All over the field they had fine young foot­ballers. Ciaran Lam­bert stood tall in goal when re­quired. Ryan Hil­liard, Patrick O’Byrne, Rua De­faoite and Sa­muel Driver de­fended ad­mirably, with Driver show­ing all the signs of a tight-mark­ing tena­cious cor­ner-back.

Ryan Pur­cell, Ed­die Cullen, Conor Mer­nagh/Bowes, Harry Knight, Dy­lan Doyle, Jamie Schoeb, Shane O’Connor Keogh, Jamie Pur­cell, Alex Mee­han and Lor­can Fitzsi­mons were all ded­i­cated to the cause. Ed­die Cullen was a huge fig­ure for St Mary’s. His tally of 1-4 (one free) was in­cred­i­bly vi­tal, but 1-3 of it came at the per­fect time and lifted St Mary’s from trail­ing by four points to lead­ing by two in the space of three min­utes early in the sec­ond half.

The first half was owned by Ti­na­hely, at one end thanks to the de­ter­mined Daniel Tighe, the ex­cel­lent Barry Kealy and the for­mi­da­ble Mau­rice Hed­der­man. Jake Kenny in goals was mas­sive to the Ti­na­hely cause, as was Pearse O’Byrne.

Around the mid­dle of the field, Ti­na­hely had qual­ity in the form of James McDon­ald, Ross Byrne, Lucas Cronin and Cal­lum Keenaghan while Cil­lian Mur­phy, Aleskey O’Shea and Shane McLough­lin all worked their socks off over the course of the en­ter­tain­ing 60 min­utes.

It was Thomas Kelly and Bryan Tal­lon that dom­i­nated in the scor­ing charts for Ti­na­hely. Tal­lon looks to be a goal-poach­ing ma­chine and Kelly is a proper at­tacker who can win his own ball and score or cre­ate as he sees fit. Seems to have that bit of space when he’s on the ball.

Tal­lon opened the scor­ing with a well-taken goal that got in past Ciaran Lam­bert. St Mary’s re- sponded well and pointed through Ed­die Cullen only for Thomas Kelly to swing over a free to make it 1-1 to 0-1 af­ter nine.

Conor Mer­nagh/Bowes bagged a fine score three min­utes later and St Mary’s could have lev­eled but for two wides.

Ti­na­hely re­sponded well. A point from Cil­lian Mur­phy was fol­lowed by a lovely goal from Thomas Kelly and the St Mary’s net was rat­tled mo­ments later when Bryan Tal­lon fired home with 22 on the clock to give the vis­i­tors a 3-2 to 0-2 lead.

Thomas Kelly added a point from a free be­fore Conor Byrne stirred the St Mary’s chal­lenge with a late 1-1 to send the home side in within reach of the vis­i­tors at 3-3 to 1-3.

St Mary’s needed a good start and Jamie Pur­cell gave them ex­actly that with a rip­per of a goal. Ti­na­hely hit back through a su­perb Daniel Tighe point and then Ed­die Cullen took con­trol of things and had 1-3 on the board in three min­utes, the goal noth­ing short of a mis­sile that gave Jake Kenny no chance of stop­ping it.

Ti­na­hely fought back bravely but recorded some wides be­fore lovely play up the field through Barry Kealy, James McDon­ald and Thomas Kelly re­sulted in a shot blazing across the St Mary’s goal­mouth to the back post where goal mag­net Bryan Tal­lon was on hand to flick home to the back of the net with 16 gone.

Back came Ti­na­hely but the hand of Conor Byrne saved the day when he in­ter­cepted bril­liantly, and Jake Kenny was on hand to save at the other end from Jamie Pur­cell as the game swept up and down the field.

Sa­muel Driver won a dirty ball in his own back­line and was awarded a free out with 20 on the clock. This al­lowed his team to launch an at­tack down the wing where the ex­cel­lent Jamie Schoeb played a big role in what would be­come a point for Shane O’Connor Keogh to level the game af­ter 21 min­utes.

Both sides missed chances over the next few min­utes but the ma­raud­ing Conor Byrne fired over a screamer with the help of the cross­bar to give St Mary’s the lead af­ter 25 min­utes of the sec­ond half.

St Mary’s were in the as­cen­dency now, but Cil­lian Mur­phy caught a high ball su­perbly and Jake Kenny found a man with his kick-out de­spite huge pres­sure on the restart from St Mary’s.

Ti­na­hely at­tacked for all they were worth, but they just couldn’t fin­ish their chances. At the other end, St Mary’s had scor­ers and line break­ers and Cal­lum Keenaghan raised a white flag thanks to ex­cel­lent work out the field by Jamie Schoeb and Shane O’Connor Keogh.

Ti­na­hely struck back through a free from Thomas Kelly, but the last say of the game went to Conor Byrne who had gal­loped up the field from deep and was on hand when Ed­die Cullen’s strike was saved by Jake Kenny and the St Mary’s man wal­loped home the re­bound to the back of the Ti­na­hely net to put the game to bed once and for all.

This was an ex­cel­lent game of foot­ball packed with en­ter­tain­ment and ex­cite­ment and plenty of skill and brav­ery. Fair play to both teams.

Scor­ers – St Mary’s: Ed­die Cullen 1-4 (1f), Conor Byrne 2-2, Jamie Pur­cell 1-0, Conor Mer­nagh/Bowes 0-2, Shane O’Connor Keogh 0-1.

Ti­na­hely: Bryan Tal­lon 3-0, Thomas Kelly 1-3 (3f), Cil­lian Mur­phy 0-1, Daniel Tighe 0-1.

St Mary’s: Ciaran Lam­bert, Ryan Hil­liard, Patrick O’Byrne, Rua De­faoite, Conor Byrne, Sa­muel Driver, Ryan Pur­cell, Ed­die Cullen, Conor Mer­nagh/ Bowes, Harry Knight, Dy­lan Doyle, Jamie Schoeb, Shane O’Connor Keogh, Jamie Pur­cell, Alex Mee­han, Lor­can Fitzsi­mons.

Ti­na­hely: Jake Kenny, Pearse O’Byrne, Mau­rice Hed­der­man, Daniel Tighe, Barry Kealy, Ross Byrne, James McDon­ald, Cal­lum Keenaghan, Lucas Cronin, Cil­lian Mur­phy, Bryan Tal­lon, Aleskey O’Shea, Thomas Kelly, Shane McLough­lin.

Ref­eree: Ea­monn Doyle (Kil­te­gan)

The St Mary’s un­der-13 foot­ballers who de­feated Ti­na­hely in the Un­der-13 Foot­ball League in Coolkenno on Mon­day evening last.

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