Future is bright for Shillelagh/Coolboy
Amalgamated side see off Ashford
AFTER finishing level on points on top of the SFL Division 3, Ashford and Shillelagh/Coolboy met in the county grounds in Aughrim last Wednesday in a play-off to decide the winners of the league and to discover who would be the holders of the Johnny Fox Cup for 2019.
Following a great battle, the team from Coolattin country came out on top by two points and returned home as winners of the Johnny Fox Cup.
The early stages of the first half swung both ways with both sides alternating between periods of dominance and finding themselves on the defence moments later.
Shilelagh/Coolboy made the stronger start and were two points ahead after three minutes through points scored by Brendan Behan at corner-forward and full-forward Wayne Kinsella.
Both these players were prominent all through and were decisive about their chances, shooting when the opportunities arose. Three pointed frees in a row by Brendan Manning had the black and amber side from Ashford in the lead by nine minutes.
Cal Connolly became the first Ashford player to score from play when he put his side 0-4 to 0-2 ahead in the tenth minute.
Midfielder Dan Nolan pulled back the lead when he scored a badly needed point from outside the 45-metre line.
The pattern of conceding needless frees continued for the south side and Brendan Manning duly punished them again with another point from his trusted left boot.
However, in the space of two minutes Shilelagh/Coolboy had brought the game level. Corner-forward Brendan Behan got possession of an intercepted William Hender Phillip’s pass to a defender and quickly scored a point.
Within a minute Behan was back again to score a great point from the right wing. It was 0-5 apiece at this stage but the men from the south were moving well.
Wayne Kinsella pointed a great free kick from the45-metre line and added another point off his left foot to quickly put his side two points up.
Brendan Manning reduced the gap again with yet another pointed free on 20 minutes. However, Brendan Behan came back with another great point from a very narrow angle which went over off the upright and crossbar.
Wayne Kinsella quickly added another point to leave his side a goal ahead. Back came Ashford. With five minutes to go to the break they were awarded a penalty. Laurie Cullen denied Brendan Manning with a great save at the expense of a 45.
When the 45 dropped in, the ensuing play brought another penalty. This time Dean Mooney beat the goalie and the game was level again. Gavin Weir put the black and amber side ahead just before the half-time with a shot that was tipped over by Laurie Nolan. Ashford were ahead by 1-8 to 0-9
They went two points ahead when David Nolan added a point in the opening minute of the second half.
Ashford were not to score again for 20 minutes and that score was their only other score of the second half. However, this half was played at a higher level of intensity and provided great excitement for the loyal band of followers both sides brought to Aughrim on a lovely summer’s evening.
Shillelagh/Coolboy slowly got the upper hand but they took a while to register this dominance on the scoreboard.
Brendan Behan pointed after five minutes when he got on the end of a passing movement which might have yielded a goal. Coming up to ten minutes Wayne Kinsella brought the sides level with another point.
Ashford were still putting up stiff resistance in defence but were finding it difficult to get past the half back line of Aaron Kinsella, Daire Foley and Jonathan Smyth.
Over a three-minute period from 14 minutes on, Wayne Kinsella (2) and Jonathan Smyth put the men from Coolattin country three points to the good.
It looked like they might pull away now but, in fact, they were not to score again. Brendan Manning finished as he began the game by pointing a free with ten minutes to go.
Ashford tried manfully to save the game over the last ten minutes, but they could not break the grip Shilelagh/Coolboy had established in the middle third of the field.
Unfortunately for Ashford, they lost Gavin Weir to a straight red card with five minutes left. They battled to the end, but it was to be a night of celebration for the Coolattin men.
The final score saw them victors by 0-14 to 1-9.
After the game the Johnny Fox Cup was presented to the winning captain Daniel Nolan by Muireann Tighe, granddaughter of Johnny Fox. She was accompanied by her grandmother, Susan Fox.
Scorers - Shillelagh/Coolboy: Wayne Kinsella 0-7, Brendan Behan 0-5, Dan Nolan and Jonathon Smyth 0-1 each.
Ashford: Brendan Manning 0-6, Dean Mooney 1-0, Cal Connolly, Gavin Weir, David Nolan 0-1 each.
SHILLELAGH/COOLBOY: Laurie Cullen; James Gregan, Sean Carroll, Enda Foley; Aaron Kinsella, Daire Foley, Jonathan Smyth; Daniel Nolan, Ray Murphy; PJ O’Keeffe, Cathal Murphy, Johnny Willoughby; Brendan Behan, Wayne Kinsella, Michael Gregan. Subs: Daniel Behan, Jack Dewhirst.
ASHFORD: William Hender Phillips; Rian O’Dwyer, Michael Dickenson, Robert Clarkson; Robert Keenan, Danny Kavanagh, James Coffey; Ross Quinn, Dean Mooney; David Nolan, Gavin Weir, Joseph Doyle; Cal Connolly, Brendan Manning, Colm Doyle. Subs: David Dowling, Graham Mooney, Cian Marah, Brian Shannon, Joe Doyle and Daniel Rooney.
REFEREE: Ciaran Fleming (Baltinglass)
The Shillelagh/Coolboy footballers and supporters after their Johnny Fox Cup win over Ashford in Aughrim.
Shillelagh/Coolboy’s Daire Foley and Jonathan Smyth make Ashford’s Colm Doyle the filling in their sandwich.
Johnny Willoughby charges away from Ashford’s Cal Connolly.
Shillelagh/Coolboy’s Shaun Carroll closes in on Brendan Manning.
Shillelagh/Coolboy joint captains Daniel Nolan and Brendan Behan receive the Johnny Fox Cup from Susan Fox and Miriam Tighe with County Chairman Martin Fitzgerald alongside.
Shillelagh/Coolboy’s Laurie Cullen saves the first of two penalties. He would be ebaten by the second.