Super show from Junior As
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.