New­town give com­bi­na­tion side the Blues

The Argus - - SPORT -

NEW­TOWN Blues’ dom­i­nance of Louth foot­ball con­tin­ued on Satur­day as they saw off a gal­lant Mat­tock Rangers/ Hun­ter­stown Rovers/ Glen Em­mets amal­ga­ma­tion side to win the un­der 21 foot­ball cham­pi­onship on a wet and rainy night in Darver.

The Blues were in con­trol for most of the match and led by 0-8 to 0-1 at half time with Jamie Kelly mak­ing a sig­nif­i­cant con­tri­bu­tion to that tally from free kicks and from play.

The amal­ga­ma­tion side will be proud of the phys­i­cal­ity and pas­sion that they brought to the fi­nal with the Cara­her twins and Ryan Ward work­ing ex­cep­tion­ally hard dur­ing that 60 min­utes.

How­ever, they will with­out doubt rue their waste­ful­ness in front of the posts es­pe­cially in that open­ing half when­they only reg­is­tered 0-1 from 8 shots which in­cluded a su­perb save from Blues goal­keeper Dean Martin to deny Ryan Ward af­ter 10 min­utes with the Blues lead­ing 0-2 to 0-1. You felt when watch­ing this game that these were the sort of op­por­tu­ni­ties that the amal­ga­ma­tion side needed to con­vert to re­ally put pres­sure on the Blues. Had they not been so waste­ful, the out­come may have been dif­fer­ent.

A gor­geous point from play by Ciaran Downey and a hat trick of Jamie Kelly scores gave the Blues a 0-4 to 0-1 lead af­ter 13 min­utes. The Blues found the phys­i­cal­ity of the Amal­ga­ma­tion side dif­fi­cult the break down at times but their class and co­he­sion up front came to the fore and points from Ian Con­nor, Jamie Do­herty and two fur­ther Kelly strikes placed them New­town Blues cap­tain Ro­nan Levins re­ceives the U-21 cup from Chair­man of the Louth County Board, Des Halpenny. Pic­tures: Ken Fine­gan

in a com­mand­ing lead of seven points at the in­ter­val.

Mat­tock Rangers/ Huntestown/ Glen Em­mets con­tin­ued to bring the game to the Blues and thanks mainly to scores from Ben McKenna and Kee­lan O’Neill, they kept the Blues hon­est. But when­ever Colm Nally’s side were asked a ques­tion by their op­po­nents they stepped through the gears with their strength and fit­ness lev­els ev­i­dent. Play­ers like Fer­gal Dono­hoe who touched the ball 26 times over the hour and won the ball back off the op­po­si­tion 7 times de­serve ap­praisal along with Kevin Carr who had 16 touches of the size 5 while Daire Nally younger brother of Ross had an im­pres­sive cameo af­ter com­ing off the bench, which was capped off with ar­guably one of the scores of the game. The Mat­tock/ Hun­ter­stown/ Glen Em­mets com­bi­na­tion man­aged to cut the deficit to seven points with 8 min­utes re­main­ing thanks to the ef­forts of McKenna and O’Neill while Dean Martin

pro­duced an­other save to deny Cathal Flem­ing in that pe­riod. They moved mid­fielder Ryan Ward to full for­ward but again the Blues showed su­perb game man­age­ment and raised the fi­nal three white flags of the game through Ross Nally (2) and Em­met Carolan to cap off a hugely suc­cess­ful 2018 for the New­foundwell out­fit. NEW­TOWN BLUES: Dean Martin; Ro­nan Levins, Conor Ayson, Ciaran McCann; Alan Con­nor, Ian Con­nor 0-1, Fer­gal Dono­hoe; Kevin Carr, Em­mett Carolan 0-1; Jamie Do­herty 0-1, Ciaran Downey 0-2, Jamie Kelly 0-7 (4f); De­clan McNa­mara, Ross Nally 0-2, Johnny McDon­nell. Subs: Daire Nally 0-1 for McNa­mara, James Moore for Do­herty, Luke Cormi­can for McCann, Ryan Levins for McDon­nell.

MAT­TOCK RANGERS/HUN­TER­STOWN ROVERS/ GLEN EMMETTS: Mark Leni­han; Alan Cara­her, Patrick Taafe Ben Quaile; Sam Kenny, Bren­dan Leacy 0-1, Shane Hickey; Ryan Ward, James Cara­her; Cathal Flem­ing, Ben McKenna 0-3 (1f), Marc Ward; Cil­lian Hickey, Kee­lan O’Neill 0-2, JP Wat­ters. Subs: Evan English for Wa­ters, Ben Markey for C. Hickey.

REF­EREE: Colm McCul­lough (re­placed by Ul­tan McEl­roy due to in­jury). Ro­nan Levins of New­town Blues at­tempts to break past Patrick Taaffe and James Cara­her of Mat­tock/ Hun­ter­stown/Glen Em­mets. ROSS Nally and Kevin Carr have been win­ning cham­pi­onship ti­tles al­most as long as they have been play­ing foot­ball and the win­ning men­tal­ity in­stilled into this New­town Blues group was there for all to see again on Satur­day night.

‘It is just sur­real,’ Carr said. ‘I have played un­der­age with that group of lads and we have won cham­pi­onships at ev­ery age group, for me per­son­ally to fin­ish my un­der-age ca­reer with an un­der 21 cham­pi­onship is fan­tas­tic, hope­fully in the next few years we can keep at it and con­tinue to be suc­cess­ful’

‘We’re just en­joy­ing play­ing the game and we just want to play and work hard for each other, we have that feel­ing of win­ning and we don’t want to lose it.’

Nally echoed those sen­ti­ments, stat­ing that at the be­gin­ning of the cam­paign the aim for the Blues was to try to win ev­ery com­pe­ti­tion that they en­tered. He talked about the sheer hunger and drive that was in­stilled in him and the rest of his team mates since un­der 14 and now onto un­der 21 and se­nior level. ‘We set out at the start of the year to try to win ev­ery com­pe­ti­tion we were in,’ ex­plained Nally. ‘From un­der 14 un­til now that hunger is still there to win and keep work­ing hard.’

The win­ning men­tal­ity was ev­i­dent in the sec­ond half es­pe­cially. Hav­ing been re­duced to four­teen men fol­low­ing Ciaran Downey’s dis­missal en­ter­ing the last quar­ter, the amal­ga­ma­tion side scored a few con­sec­u­tive points but ac­cord­ing to Nally it was all about main­tain­ing com­po­sure and cru­cially not con­ced­ing a goal which Dean Martin played his part in with a fine save in each half.

‘It was about keep­ing that score­board tick­ing over,’ stated Nally. ‘ Once we did not con­cede a goal, we did not mind con­ced­ing a cou­ple of points here and there.’

A per­sonal bonus for Ross Nally was that this is the first time he has lined out for the Blues along with his younger brother Daire an­other ex­cit­ing prospect. Younger brother Daire’s im­pact fol­low­ing his in­tro­duc­tion as a sub­sti­tute was im­por­tant. For Ross, it made this un­der 21 cham­pi­onship suc­cess a lit­tle bit spe­cial.

‘It is the first time that I have got to play with Daire, I am 20 years old, he is 18 next month so we never got a chance to play to­gether as two years is a big gap in un­der age foot­ball,’ he ex­plained.

‘I was de­lighted that I got the chance to play with him, he is a good young player and hope­fully he will be an as­set to the se­nior team in a few years’ time.’

Marc Ward of Mat­tock/Hun­ter­stown/Glen Em­mets and Jamie Kelly, New­town Blues com­pete for pos­ses­sion.

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