Im­pres­sive Bless­ing­ton

Su­per show from Ju­nior As

Wicklow People (West Edition) - - SPORT - BREN­DAN LAWRENCE at Bal­li­nakill

THE Bless­ing­ton Ju­niors turned in a su­perb dis­play of foot­ball against Shil­le­lagh/Cool­boy on Fri­day night last in Bal­li­nakill that must mark them out as se­ri­ous con­tenders for the Fitzger­ald Kitchens Ju­nior A Foot­ball cham­pi­onship.

This was a com­pletely dif­fer­ent Bless­ing­ton side who were turned over in Shil­le­lagh in the league ear­lier in the sea­son and they pos­sess qual­ity foot­ballers all the way through their ranks and, what’s more, they are play­ing a suf­fo­cat­ing brand of foot­ball that sees them de­fend in num­bers be­fore at­tack­ing at pace with the likes of the might­ily im­pres­sive Kevin Quinn and Michael Nu­gent caus­ing all sorts of prob­lems go­ing for­ward.

As good as Bless­ing­ton might have been, Shil­le­lagh/Cool­boy will be livid with them­selves over their per­for­mance and the de­feat might have come with an added tax that they may well be un­able to pay with the loss of mid­fielder Dan Nolan fol­low­ing a col­li­sion on the far side of the field. An ap­peal is likely and the re­sult of that may well de­cide the cham­pi­onship fu­ture of John Smith’s side.

Bless­ing­ton were out­stand­ing in this game. When they didn’t have the ball they hunted in packs. Eoin Howlin, Con­all Ó Gall­chob­hair, who played full-back on the Naas CBS team who reached the All-Ire­land Se­nior col­leges fi­nal, and Bradley Fos­ter com­pleted a very mo­bile and as­sured full-back line.

James Kearns was class at cen­tre back and had able lieu­tenants in Brian Bo­han and Glen Far­rell. Eoin Hig­gins and Craig Maguire were for­mi­da­ble in the mid­dle and their at­tack­ing six of Fionán Leahy, Michael Nu­gent, Kevin Quinn, who was also on the start­ing 15 of that Naas CBS team, Eoin Devlin, Sean Byrne and Sean Mescall proved way too strong for a bat­tling Shil­le­lagh/Cool­boy de­fence who had few an­swers for their run­ning power.

The 0-9 to 0-2 half-time lead tells its own tale. Bless­ing­ton led by 0-6 to 0-0 af­ter 17 min­utes be­fore Shil­le­lagh/Cool­boy opened their ac­count through Wayne Kin­sella from a 45.

Kevin Quinn (3), Eoin Devlin (2), and Sean Mescall all bagged scored for Bless­ing­ton in a stun­ningly im­pres­sive open­ing quar­ter from which Shil­le­lagh/Cool­boy would never re­ally re­cover.

Wayne Kin­sella fol­lowed up his 45 with a point from play but Michael Nu­gent, Sean Mescall and the ram­pag­ing Kevin Quinn can­celled any planned Shil­le­lagh/ Cool­boy re­cov­ery with ruth­less ef­f­i­cency to leave it 0-9 to 0-2 at the break.

Things wors­ened for the com­bined team who for some rea­son or other didn’t start Bren­dan Be­han in this game but were forced to in­tro­duce him late in the first half to try and sal­vage some­thing from the game.

Kevin Quinn and Mescall pointed be­fore a Wayne Kin­sella free at the end of the third quar­ter made it 0-11 to 0-3 and it was 0-13 to 0-3 when Shil­le­lagh/Cool­boy even­tu­ally found the ma­jor they needed in the first half through a glo­ri­ously struck Cathal Mur­phy penalty mo­ments af­ter Wayne Kin­sel­lla had pulled an­other spot kick just wide of the Bless­ing­ton post.

Shil­le­lagh/Cool­boy did im­prove in that sec­ond half and they will take heart from that ahead of their quar­ter-fi­nal tus­sle with An Tochar who got the bet­ter of Balt­in­glass in their last group game but this game was all about Bless­ing­ton and the man­ner in which their went about their busi­ness in a con­vinc­ing and fully de­served vic­tory in Bal­li­nakill.

Scor­ers – Bless­ing­ton: Kevin Quinn 0-7, Sean Mescall 0-3, Eoin Hig­gins 0-2, Eoin Devlin 0-1, Michael Nu­gent 0-1.

Shil­le­lagh/Cool­boy: Cathal Mur­phy 1-0 (p), Wayne Kin­sella 0-3 (1 45, 1f),

BLESS­ING­TON: Barry Be­han; Eoin Howlin, Con­all Ó Gall­chob­hair, Bradley Fos­ter; Brian Bo­han, James Kearns, Glen Far­rell; Eoin Hig­gins, Craig Maguire; Fionán Leahy, Michael Nu­gent, Kevin Quinn; Eoin Devlin, Sean Byrne, Sean Mescall. Subs: Danielius Sarkauskas, Damian Breen.

SHIL­LE­LAGH/COOL­BOY: Lau­rie Cullen; James Gre­gan, Shaun Car­roll, Gar­reth Gre­gan; Aaron Kin­sella, Daire Fo­ley, Daniel Be­han; Ray Mur­phy, Dan Nolan; Jonathon Smyth, Wayne Kin­sella, PJ Mul­hall; Michael Gre­gan, Cathal Mur­phy, Johnny Willoughby. Subs: Bren­dan Be­han, Enda Fo­ley.

REF­EREE: Anto Nolan (Balt­in­glass)

The Bless­ing­ton Ju­nior A team who de­feated Shil­le­lagh/Cool­boy in Bal­li­nakill last week.

Shil­le­lagh/Cool­boy, who fell to Bless­ing­ton.

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