‘We wanted a team performance’
and the threatening figure of Jordan Deans.
AGB were very well served by Tom Maher at full-back, Andrew Maher, Cormac O’Shea and Tiernan McBride.
Scorers – Baltinglass: Adam McHugh 1-6 (3f), Jordan Deans 1-1, John Keogh 0-3 (1f), Cian Lee 0-2, Tadhg O’Toole 0-1.
AGB: Cormac O’Shea 1-3 (3f), Mark Hurley 0-2, Andrew Maher 0-1 (f), Cathal Kelleher 0-1 (f). BALTINGLASS manager Billy Cullen was a happy man after watching his young side defeat AGB in the under-20 ‘A’ football final in Joule Park Aughrim last weekend.
The Baltinglass management team sent out a hungry and passionate football team that hunted their prey relentlessly over the 60 minutes and were fully deserving winners of this inaugural clash for the cup named after the legendary Peter Keogh.
Billy Cullen said they had done their homework on the AGB kick-out and that it served them well in the final.
‘The one thing we were saying all week was on Arklow’s kick-outs, that they’re running for every kick-out, starting in the middle and breaking out, so we worked on that during the week, our forwards had to push up, we were shouting, probably hoarse from shouting, ‘touch, touch, touch’ so everyone was man on man. And we said if we could win three of their kick-outs a half we’d go a long way. And it did work out, I think we got 1-2 off it in the end,’ he said.
Coping with AGB’s tactic of opening up a gaping wound in front of their full-forward line was a problem for the Baltinglass boss and there were a number of occasions when his defence was opened up but he was happy with the huge effort from his team overall when it came to coping with the AGB attacking threat.
‘Arklow started really well, they went two points up. We could see it, they do it the very same as their Senior team, they have their full-forward line in and they get their centre-forward out of there so there’s a big gap there, there’s a 40-yard gap in front of our full-back line. So, that was a problem. And we were trying to go man on man, we didn’t want to play a sweeper because then we’re on the back foot straight away.
‘We done well overall and you couldn’t say there was a bad performer on the day. We didn’t care. We didn’t want any stars on the day. We just wanted a team performance and I think that’s the way it worked out in the end,’ he added.
John Keogh’s impact early in the second half was key to the Baltinglass win. It put them firmly on the front foot after a tight opening half.
‘Running with the ball, his heart is as big as the Baltinglass club,’ was Billy Cullen’s take on his half-forward.
The hunger of the Baltinglass defence was another massive factor in this victory. Billy Cullen’s men conceded the first goal of the campaign to the AGB men but the constant pressure on the attackers coming through was key to Mark Jackson’s net not being found on plenty more occasions.
‘Arklow had their chances (goal) as well, we conceded one goal in four matches and that was day. You seen a couple of times there when lads, Arklow midfielders, broke, and we were on the wrong side of them and they were coming straight at goal and our lads didn’t give up, even when they were taking a shot the pressure was on. We mightn’t match them for pace, but we matched them for pressure,’ he said.
One noteworthy aspect of this game was the physical difference between the two teams. Where AGB are a light, athletic side for the most part, Baltinglass appear to be a more muscular outfit.
‘Very strong team. Even the lads who aren’t on the Senior team are in the gym. It stands to them,’ said Billy Cullen.
The Baltinglass manager was impressed with the competition and delighted that the Peter Keogh Cup was heading to Baltinglass for its first year in existence.
‘I got a phone call about seven weeks and from then on it has really ran on. I was surprised. Like you see Wicklow town don’t even have a Junior team, so I wasn’t expecting them to even have a team. It was ran really well, and to have it done and over so quick, like seven weeks ago we knew the dates. And to have a good referee and linesmen for the final was great.
‘’Look a championship is a championship. The Minor was the second championship in Wicklow, but now there’s Senior and now there’s the under-20,’ he added.
obbie Doyle, Lisa Keogh and Aaron Kavanagh with the newlt commissioned Peter