Shil­le­lagh/Cool­boy grab vic­tory from jaws of de­feat

Wicklow People (West Edition) - - SPORT - LIAM O’LOUGH­LIN in Aughrim

THESE two sides fin­ished level at the top of Di­vi­sion 3 of the county foot­ball league.

They needed a play-off in Aughrim three weeks ago to de­cide the out­right win­ners of that di­vi­sion and the Coollattin side came out on top fol­low­ing a great game of foot­ball.

On Tues­day night last, July 9, they met once again.

This time it was in the final of the top four play-off in Di­vi­sion 3 for the Fin­negan Cup.

The game was played in Aughrim in ideal sum­mer con­di­tions. Once again the two sides served up a rip-roar­ing game of foot­ball which kept the sparse at­ten­dance on their toes right to the end.

And the end came af­ter two pe­ri­ods of ten min­utes each way of ex­tra-time.

Once again Shil­le­lagh/Cool­boy came out on top but Ash­ford lost no hon­our in this de­feat.

For a long time in the se­cond half of this game they looked likely to re­verse the re­sult of the pre­vi­ous en­counter but a great Dan Nolan goal for the Coollattin side brought the game to ex­tra-time.

When the game got un­der way, both sides were un­suc­cess­ful with a few scor­ing at­tempts in the open­ing few min­utes.

Garry Mur­phy got the men from the South off the mark with a point as the time ap­proached five min­utes.

Bren­dan Be­han added two more points be­fore Ash­ford opened their ac­count with a Ross Quinn point with eight min­utes on the clock.

Cor­mac Doyle brought a save out of Paddy Byrne be­tween the posts for Shil­le­lagh/Cool­boy, forc­ing the cus­to­dian to tip over the bar.

A Bren­dan Man­ning free brought the sides level af­ter ten min­utes.

Ash­ford had gained a bit of mo­men­tum now and Bren­dan Man­ning put them ahead from a free af­ter four­teen min­utes.

A great cross-field ball from Bren­dan Be­han set up Dan Be­han for the equaliser on the quar­ter hour.

David Dowl­ing and Bren­dan Man­ning put the black and am­ber two up but Jonathan Smyth re­duced the gap to the min­i­mum on twenty min­utes.

Back came Bren­dan Man­ning to in­crease the lead again but two points from Wayne Kin­sella (free) and Johnny Wil­loughby left the sides level at 0-7 each at the break.

The South men got a great start to the se­cond pe­riod and Bren­dan Be­han had them a point up within the open­ing minute.

Ross Quinn re­sponded for Ash­ford with two quick points and Cor­mac Doyle landed a third to leave them two points ahead by eight min­utes.

Wayne Kin­sella had a great goal op­por­tu­nity but his shot was de­flected out at the expense of a fruit­less ‘45’.

Kin­sella did pull back a point in the ninth minute but Colm Doyle re­sponded with another Ash­ford point.

Ex­cite­ment was be­gin­ning to build as both sides sought supremacy and the tempo of the game built up to cham­pi­onship in­ten­sity.

It was at this stage in their pre­vi­ous en­counter that Shile­lagh/ Cool­boy drove on for vic­tory but quite the op­po­site ap­peared to be hap­pen­ing now.

Ash­ford were strik­ing for home and the Coollattin men were strug­gling to stay with them.

Bren­dan Man­ning put Ash­ford three points up at 0-12 to 0-9 but Wayne Kin­sella re­duced the gap again on the three quar­ter hour mark.

Man­ning pointed again and when Ross Quinn added another af­ter 20 min­utes, Ash­ford now led by four points.

They were look­ing likely win­ners at this stage but did not score at all in the final ten min­utes as Shil­le­lagh/Cool­boy re­fused to throw in the towel.

Dan Nolan and Wayne Kin­sella, who was turn­ing up in po­si­tions all over the field, kept plug­ging away with their de­fence bat­tling hard to keep the Ash­ford at­tack at bay.

Dan Be­han scored a crit­i­cally im­por­tant point with seven min­utes left on the clock, re­duc­ing the gap to a goal.

Ash­ford tried hard to re­spond but were thwarted of an in­sur­ance point.

With three min­utes to go Ash­ford’s worst fears were re­alised when the bat­tling Dan Nolan, who had a great se­cond half stint for the Coollattin men, fired a ground shot through a crowded goal­mouth past Ash­ford goalie Wil­liam Hen­der Phillips to bring the sides level again at 1-11 to 0-14.

Shil­le­lagh/Cool­boy were elated while Ash­ford were feel­ing quite the op­po­site.

Thus the game ended and we went into two pe­ri­ods of ex­tra-time.

The game was won and lost in the first pe­riod of ex­tra-time. Hav­ing es­caped de­feat in the final min­utes of the drawn game, Shil­le­lagh/Cool­boy were on a high and played ac­cord­ingly.

Bren­dan Be­han pointed af­ter thirty sec­onds, Daire Fo­ley fin­ished off a long run down­field from his full back po­si­tion with another point and Wayne Kin­sella had two more scores – one with his fist – to leave his side four points up at the break. Ash­ford failed to score in this pe­riod.

Garry Mur­phy, Wayne Kin­sella and Johnny Wil­loughby had three points in as many min­utes in the se­cond pe­riod to leave the Fin­negan Cup on its way South.

But Ash­ford were handed a pos­si­ble life­line when they were awarded a penalty.

Paddy Byrne be­tween the posts had so of­ten in the past pulled the trigger in this sit­u­a­tion but now he found him­self in Gra­ham Mooney’s sights as the Ash­ford man ex­pertly placed his shot to Paddy’s right.

Cor­mac Doyle fol­lowed with a pointed ‘45’. Now the gap was back again to a goal at 1-18 to 1-15.

How­ever, Bren­dan Be­han slot­ted over the in­sur­ance point as Shil­le­lagh/Cool­boy ran out as de­serv­ing win­ners.

Just be­fore the call of time Ash­ford lost Jamie Byrne to a red card.

The Fin­negan Cup was pre­sented to joint cap­tains Dan Nolan and Bren­dan Be­han by County Cathaoir­leach, Martin Fitzger­ald.

Scor­ers – Shile­lagh:Wayne Kin­sella 0-6, Bren­dan Be­han 0-5, Dan Nolan 1-0, Garry Mur­phy 0-2, Dan Be­han 0-2, John Wil­loughby 0-2, Jonathon Smyth, Daire Fo­ley 0-1 each.

Ash­ford: Bren­dan Man­ning 0-5, Ross Quinn 0-4, Cor­mac Doyle 0-5, Gra­ham Mooney 1-0, David Dowl­ing and Colm Doyle 0-1 each.

SHIL­LE­LAGH/COOL­BOY: Paddy Byrne; Gar­rett Gre­gan, Daire Fo­ley, Jack De­whurst; Jonathon Smyth, Paddy Hen­nessy, Aaron Kin­sella; Dan Nolan, Sean Car­roll; PJ O’Ke­effe, Johnny Wil­loughby, Dan Be­han; Wayne Kin­sella, Garry Mur­phy, Bren­dan Be­han. Subs; Noel Mur­phy and James Gre­gan.

ASH­FORD: Wil­liam Hen­der Philips; Rian O’Dwyer, Michael Dick­en­son, Rob Clarkson; Rob­bie Keenan, Danny Ka­vanagh, David Dowl­ing; David Nolan, Brian Shan­non; Ross Quinn, Bren­dan Man­ning, Gavin Weir; Dean Mooney, Cor­mac Doyle, Colm Doyle. Subs: Call Con­nolly, Gra­ham Mooney, Cian Marah, Daniel Rooney, Jamie Byrne.

Fin­negan Cup win­ners Shil­le­lagh/Cool­boy.

Shil­le­lagh/Cool­boy cap­tains Bren­dan Be­han and Daniel Nolan with Martin Fitzger­ald.

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