Under-20 side see off Blessington to seal final berth
BALTINGLASS qualified for the final of the newly formed Under-20 Football Championship after a solid display against Blessington on Sunday morning last.
Baltinglass delivered a blistering third quarter that proved crucial to the outcome in the end, on a beautiful fresh morning, with ideal conditions for football and with a good vocal support for each side.
The game burst into life as Daniel Kelly got the visitors of to a flying start when he lofted in a shot that crept in under the crossbar in the opening minute following a good ball in from Karl Furlong.
Blessington broke straight up the field from the kick-out, and Jordan McGarr had a great chance to level, but fired wide of the target - a huge let off for Baltinglass.
Both defences were on top in the early stages, with neither standing off. Eventually in the seventh minute, the blues registered with Jordan McGarr tapping over after good work from Kevin Quinn.
Sean Doody made a dashing run up the middle and was fouled. A yellow card was issued to a Blessington defender, before goalie Mark Jackson fired over the resultant free.
Danielius Sarkauskas dropped a high ball into the danger zone where Adam Boland collected what looked like off the ground, and laid off to Jordan McGarr, whose powerful shot was parried by Mark Jackson, who then brought off a double save to clear his lines.
The football ebbed and flowed from end to end, but again both defences were doing their job.
Stephen Carroll cut over a sweet point for the Blues after a good move by Ciaran Mescall. The referee seemed somewhat harsh with steps rule as both sides were regularly blown up.
Mark Jackson crashed a 55-meter free back out off the upright with 18 minutes played in a low-scoring period. Ethan Cotter won possession and turned on a sixpence and fired over Blessington’s third point to reduce the lead to a single score.
Baltinglass found a bit of momentum however, but they landed three bad wides in a row to let their opponents of the hook.
The Slaneysider’s were gifted the next two scores, as first a Blessington defender collected the ball inside the 21 from a kickout, Jordan Deans won the resultant throw in and was fouled, Adam McHugh fired over his first point of the game.
Then a rushed kick-out was intercepted by the lively Tadgh O’Toole who dispatched the ball between the uprights with great composure to stretch the lead back out to three.
Another brace of yellow cards followed. Baltinglass started to dominate around the midfield sector, going into the closing stages. Adam McHugh pulled a shot wide, however play was called back, and McHugh found the target from the free.
Daniel Kelly drew a powerful save from Adam Murphy in the Blessington goal, who cleared up the field where the industrious Kevin Quinn rifled over the last point of the opening half, with the score reading 0-4 to 1-4 in favour of Baltinglass.
Just as they finished the first half, Baltinglass virtually owned the third quarter. They hit the ground running on the restart, tagging on three white flags in the opening three minutes, the first from Tadgh O’Toole, the second from the boot of the dynamic Sean Doody, the third, and pick of the three, a beast of a score from Adam McHugh out on the wing.
Jordan McGarr replied with a point for the home side. That only slightly dented Baltinglass’ momentum, as the defining moments of the game followed, in a blistering two-minute spell. Firstly, Cian Lee laid off to Jordan Deans, who turned and ran at goal, hitting the target from six meters out.
Sean Doody gathered the kickout and was fouled, yet again the ball went forward 13 good meters. A quickly taken free was gathered by Jack Fleming, who rocked the onion sack for the second time in a two-minute spell, to rock Blessington to the core.
Baltinglass introduced a couple of fresh legs. The home side broke the dominant hold by Baltinglass around midfield and Kevin Quinn and Sean Price each pointed to close out the third quarter with the score reading 0-7 to 3-8.
Sean Mescall had a great chance of a goal, but Pat Kirwan put in a crucial block to clear the danger. Blessington lost their centre half-back to a black card, again the ball went forward for dissent. Johnny Keogh jinked through and split the posts for Baltinglass.
Again, Mark Jackson saved brilliantly from a James Mulligan piledriver, going into the final five minutes. Blessington then lost Jordan McGarr to a second yellow. Adam McHugh fisted over Balto’s last point in the 59th minute.
Craig Maguire was cutting through when Glen Farrell hauled him down, he somehow escaped with a yellow, that didn’t go down well with the home side’s management. Stephen Carroll fired over the resultant free as the final whistle sounded to send Baltinglass forward to the final where they will face AGB this weekend.
Scorers - Blessington: Jordan McGarr 0-2, Stephen Carroll 0-2 Kevin Quinn 0-2, Ethan Cotter 0-1, Sean Price 0-1.
Baltinglass: Dan Kelly 1-1, Adam McHugh 0-3, Jordan Deans 1-0, Jack Fleming 1-0, Tadgh O’Toole 0-2, Sean Doody 0-1, John Keogh 0-1, Adam Barrett 0 -1, Mark Jackson 0-1.
BLESSINGTON: Adam Murphy; Aaron Curran, Conall O Gallchobair, Ciaran Mescall; Ruairi Finan, Ethan Cotter, Glen Farrell; Danielius Sarkauskas, Craig Maguire; James Mulligan, Kevin Quinn, Stephen Carroll; Sean Mescall, Adam Boland, Jordan McGarr. Subs: Brian Bohan, Fionn Walshe, Sean Price.
BALTINGLASS: Mark Jackson; Jason Steed, Pat Kirwan, Chris Grimes; Karl Furlong, Dara Doyle, Aaron Barrett; Cian Lee, Sean Doody; Dan Kelly, Johnny Keogh, Tadgh O’Toole; Alan Barret, Adam McHugh, Jordan Deans. Subs: Jack Fleming, Dian Marcu, Ciaran Germaine, Jason Sinnott, Wesley Balfe, Liam Fisher. REFEREE: Eamon Doyle (Kiltegan)
The Baltinglass under-20 footballers who defeated Blessington to seal their place in the final against AGB this weekend.
Blessington, who fell to Baltinglass in the under-20 semi-final.
Aaron Barrett, Eamonn Doyle and Mark Jackson in Blessington.