Shil­le­lagh/Cool­boy set up bat­tle with Ash­ford

Wicklow People (West Edition) - - SPORT - BREN­DAN LAWRENCE at the Fair­green


AN im­pres­sive 11 points from the in-form Wayne Kin­sella and a sublime lobbed goal late on off the boot of the tal­ented Bren­dan Be­han helped Shil­le­lagh/Cool­boy to guar­an­teed pro­mo­tion from Divi­sion 3 and sent them on a col­li­sion course with Ash­ford this week­end for the league crown.

Nine wins out of 10 games is the im­pres­sive stats for John Smith’s side so far this sea­son and the re­cently merged out­fit seem to be im­prov­ing with each pass­ing week and should present a ma­jor chal­lenge to what will be an ul­tra-com­pet­i­tive Ju­nior ‘A’ foot­ball cham­pi­onship in a few weeks’ time.

Bless­ing­ton were se­ri­ously de­pleted for this game with as many as nine bod­ies miss­ing from the fray in the Fair­green but the west side still pre­sented a very dif­fi­cult chal­lenge to the home side on a very pleasant evening for foot­ball.

It was to Kevin John Rogers, Eddie Boy­lan and Adam Boland that the Blues would look to for lead­er­ship and all three along with the ma­jor­ity of their com­rades per­formed very well and pos­si­bly should have taken more from this game had things worked out dif­fer­ently at key stages.

Shil­le­lagh/Cool­boy’s ten­dency to fade out of games for spells will be a big concern for their man­age­ment team.

Once en­gaged in the bat­tle they are a se­ri­ous force, but they seem to al­low their op­po­nents a path­way back into the game by lapses in con­cen­tra­tion, and this will need to be cut out as the big games keep rolling.

A bright start for the home side saw them cruise out to a 0-2 to 0-0 lead with points from Wayne Kin­sella and the stylish PJ Mul­hall at cen­tre half for­ward.

Kin­sella would strike again af­ter 10 min­utes but ei­ther side of points from Adam Boland and Stephen Carroll from a free to leave Shil­le­lagh/Cool­boy leading by a point at 0-3 to 0-2.

John Smith’s men en­joyed one of those Fair­green pur­ple patches then with heavy pres­sure pro­vid­ing the out­stan­ing Wayne Kin­sella with two chances from frees and the dual player obliged to push Shil­le­lagh/Cool­boy out to a 0-5 to 0-2 cush­ion af­ter 16.

But Bless­ing­ton were al­ways threat­en­ing once they broke out of their own half and they en­joyed a very healthy pe­riod of dom­i­nance with Eddie Boy­lan prov­ing to be a se­ri­ous tar­get man.

Fion­nan Leahy be­gan the re­cov­ery before Boy­lan struck with two beau­ties before Adam Murphy replied to a PJ Mul­hall ef­fort at the other end to leave the game nicely poised at 0-6 apiece af­ter 24 min­utes.

Shil­le­lagh/Cool­boy pos­sessed a goal threat and it looks to be at its most po­tent when Bren­dan Be­han is on the ball and when he gath­ered a long PJ O’Ke­effe ball with only Cian Ger­aghty to beat in the Bless­ing­ton goal you fan­cied his chances but Ger­aghty stood up well and Be­han was forced to turn and self­lessly hand off to the on­rush­ing PJ Mul­hall who fin­ished to the back of the Bless­ing­ton net for the game’s open­ing goal.

The home side took a 1-7 to 0-7 lead into the break; Eddie Boy­lan pluck­ing a sweet ball from the sky before split­ting the posts for Bless­ing­ton before Bren­dan Be­han fi­nally got him­self on the score­board af­ter sav­age work from Wayne Kin­sella.

Things looked all the sweeter for Shil­le­lagh/Cool­boy not long af­ter the restart when they won a penalty but Wayne Kin­sella got un­der the ball and drove over for a point and the lead was pushed out to a 1-10 to 0-7 lead thanks to two more points from Kin­sella (one free).

But Bless­ing­ton were never gone away, and points from Glen Far­rell, Fion­nan Leahy and a con­verted free from Eddie Boy­lan af­ter 14 left just the ma­jor be­tween the sides with John Smith’s men los­ing Jonathon Smyth to a black card in what was an­other boost for the vis­i­tors.

Su­perb play from PJ Mul­hall set Wayne Kin­sella up and the big full-for­ward split the posts with a fine score but a tame Bless­ing­ton ball from Stephen Carroll caused the Shil­le­lagh/Cool­boy de­fence plenty of headaches and cen­tre half for­ward Michael Nu­gent dis­patched the ball to the back of Lau­rie Cullen’s net to pull his side to within one of the home team.

The sides were level mo­ments later when Stephen Carroll fired over a sweet 45 but the lead didn’t last for long as Wayne Kin­sella cut in­side on the dress­ing room side to launch over an absolute bomb of a point af­ter good work from

PJ O’Ke­effe.

This was the key phase of the game. Bren­dan Be­han fi­nally shook free of the shack­les of the Bless­ing­ton de­fence and wal­loped over on 20 min­utes.

Bless­ing­ton had chances but could only regis­ter a wide from Nu­gent while Boy­lan was blocked down by the hard-work­ing Aaron Kin­sella.

And then Bren­dan Be­han did some­thing that few can man­age at this level.

A stray kick-out was gath­ered by the Shil­le­lagh/Cool­boy at­tacker and he in­stinc­tively struck a dream ball that sailed in over the head of the re­treat­ing Cian Ger­aghty for a su­perb lob that ef­fec­tively killed the game as a contest.

It was all Shilel­lagh/Cool­boy in the clos­ing stages with points from Wayne Kin­sella (two, one free) and a fisted point from Bren­dan Be­han as the home side ran out com­fort­able win­ners at the end of a very en­ter­tain­ing bat­tle by 2-16 to 1-11 to set up a win­ner-takes-all bat­tle with Ash­ford this week­end.

Scor­ers - Shil­le­lagh/Cool­boy: Wayne Kin­sella 0-11 (4f), Bren­dan Be­han 1-3, PJ Mul­hall 1-2.

Bless­ing­ton: Eddie Boy­lan 0-4, Michael Nu­gent 1-0, Fion­nan Leahy 0-2 (1f), Stephen Carroll 0-2, Adam Boland 0-1, Sean Byrne 0-1, Glen Far­rell 0-1

SHIL­LE­LAGH/COOL­BOY: Lau­rie Cullen; Gar­rett Gre­gan, Sean Carroll, Enda Fo­ley; Aaron Kin­sella, Daire Fo­ley, Jonathon Smyth; Dan Nolan, Ray Murphy; PJ O’Ke­effe, PJ Mul­hall, Cathal Murphy; Bren­dan Be­han, Wayne Kin­sella, Daniel Be­han. Subs: Patrick Hen­nessy for J Smyth (B/C), James Gre­gan for G Gre­gan BLESS­ING­TON: Cian Ger­aghty; Bradley Fos­ter, Eoin Howlin, Stephen Byrne; Peter O’Con­nell, KJ Rogers, Glen Far­rell; Adam Boland, Sean Byrne; Stephen Carroll, Michael Nu­gent, Fion­nan Leahy; Eddie Boy­lan; Kieran McGovern, Adam Murphy. Subs: Paddy Reilly, Ruairi Fi­nan, David Phibbs. REF­EREE: Stephen Fa­gan (Balt­in­glass)

Photo: Joe Byrne

Shil­le­lagh/Cool­boy’s Dan Nolan bat­tles with Bless­ing­ton’s Adam Boland dur­ing the Divi­sion 3 clash at the Fair­green.

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