U16's deliver comprehensive win on high drama occasion
Post date: Sep 18, 2013 12:47:27 AM
Moycullen 4-11 Ahascragh Fohenagh 1-08
The final was the third meeting between the teams in as many months. Ahascragh/Fohenagh delivered the teams only defeat in 12 outings this year when the sides first met in Ahascragh at the group stage. The comprehensive 5-12 to 1-12 mauling was a shock to the system at the time.
In the group first/second place playoff in Carnmore, Mágh Cuilinn reversed that result by 2-12 to 3-06 but only after Ahascragh had come from five points down to level before a Cian Connell goal decided the game.
So the stage was set for the best of three decider in the final with the cup at the end of it. Despite the persistent rain blustery wind throughout the day, as the skies cleared and the wind abated, the most significant element was the low sun hanging just above the scoreboard in Pearse Stadium throughout the first half. Fortune allowed Mágh Cuilinn to play with the sun behind them in the first half.
Mágh Cuilinn had a glorious start getting danger man, Ryan Fox, on the ball immediately and ruthless defence yielded a free and an immediately yellow card for the right corner back. Anraoi Whyte dismissed any early nerves with a well taken point. A second possession for Ryan yielded a second free, this time on the 21yard line. With the sun behind him, Anraoi confidently powered the ball to the net to give Mágh Cuilinn a glorious start. Another foul on Anraoi himself saw another point converted. Again Anraoi delivered a huge strike toward goal before taking out his management team as he crashed over the sideline. Joseph Lydon contested the high ball and this time when the ball came to Ryan Fox he was not to be denied and finished into the net. Mágh Cuilinn leading 2-02 to no score after 10 minutes.
As experience had shown with Ahascragh Fohenagh in both the previous games when they also weathered an early storm, they began to find a foothold in midfield and won and converted a free themselves. They pressurised the Mágh Cuilinn puckout and their strong runners began drive at the Mágh Cuilinn defence. A run and shot from Ahascragh centre forward was nearly stopped by Micheál Bohan but the goal put the eastern team back in the match. Over the next ten minutes Ahascragh converted two more frees as Mágh Cuilinn struggled to get a grip on the game.
Then as he contested a high ball, Tim McDonagh was challenged heavily by two players while in the air and fell heavily. Play continued even as Tim remained prone and others players came to his assistance. When play was eventually stopped with an Ahascragh point, with Tim already being attended to, it was decided that his injury was potentially very serious and full precautions should be taken.
Nurse professional, Barbara Bradley, and another unknown male nurse colleague responded to the call along with our experienced First Aider, Tom McDermott, and they supervised the transfer to a stretcher and removal to the first aid room. Cumann na nOg chairman, Michael O'Hehir summoned an ambulance promptly. As can be seen from our photo, the good news is that Tim was discharged later that evening and got home in time to get his hands on the Cup. Thanks to the ground staff who had all the appropriate equipment in place quickly. While it may have seemed like an eternity the game was able to restart after seven minutes.Unfortunately for Ahascragh the long break in play seemed to interrupt their momentum, substitute, Aaron Connell's first act was to get bowled over by an Ahascragh defender and Anraoi Whyte converted once more as Mágh Cuilinn got their first score in 12 minutes of play. Before halftime, Ryan Fox struck for goal again this time evading the keeper to finish into the empty net to establish a 3-03 to 1-04 lead at halftime.
In the second half Cian Connell dropped to midfield in a swap with Anraoi Whyte but with Daire Davoren also dropping back picking up breaks, Mágh Cuilinn were operating with a two man full forward line of Aaron Connell and Ryan Fox operating in 50 yards of Pearse Stadium's wide open spaces. Protected from their half back counterparts and midfielders running at them, the Mágh Cuilinn half back line began to dominate their forwards, with Dylan Curran and Ciaran Scully in particular returning a lot of ball. With Kyle Cunningham and Joseph Lydon working hard , Cian Connell combative and Anraoi Whyte driving forward, the inside line had a huge supply of ball for Ryan in particular to torment the Ahascragh rearguard as he always looked goalbound. In the end only one goal resulted as defenders chose to sacrifice the point to an unerring Anraoi Whyte on three occasions; another well fashioned opportunity skimmed over the crossbar, while Joseph Lydon salvaged a point from another barely defended opportunity. Aaron Connell drew another foul as brother Cian did also to add to Anraoi's total and he supplemented that with his only score from play. In return, uncompromising defending meant Ahascragh could only fashion three points from their equally reliable freetaker and a gem of a point from a narrow angle on the right. Despite the lead gradually extending there was continued anticipation on the sideline of the Ahascragh Fohenagh surge seen previously. However, David Jackson and Caleb McGuinness had personal duels with Fohenagh's two most dangerous attackers and their success was a big factor in Ahascragh not driving through for goals as had happened in the two previous games. James Dempsey was easily the most consistent defender throughout and Kian Mac Lochlainn continued his penchant for drawing pressure relieving frees. Paul Wynne with Micheál Bohan sweeping up all the overhit ball behind him, saw little ball but then neither did the succession of opponents who tried their luck throughout. Micheál Joyce, Evan Hurney and Gerard McDonagh all came in as reinforcements towards the end. However, a second yellow card for Anraoi Whyte and subsequent reorganisation in the final moments stymied the final substitution. A large contingent of club members and supporters were on hand to enjoy the presentation of the Cup to captain Anraoi Whyte and the Man of the Match award to Ryan Fox.
MIcheál Bohan, James Dempsey, Paul Wynne, Kian Mac Lochlainn, Dylan Curran, Caleb McGuinness, Ciaran Scully, David Jackson, Anraoi Whyte, Kyle Cunningham, Cian Connell, Tim McDonagh, Joseph Lydon, Ryan Fox, Daire Davoren, Aaron Connell, Seán Barrett, Gerard McDonagh, Evan Hurney, Gareth Kenny, Shane Clancy, Micheál Joyce, Andrew McDonagh, Ceillan Leonard, Walter McDonagh, Neil Mulcahy, Daniel Faherty, Daniel Lydon,
All facing in the same direction.
From left: Chris Hurney, John Connell, Martin Barrett, Hugo Molloy, Niall Mannion
and Kenneths Clancy and Fox
Not for the first time, success has emerged from a crisis. Long after preparations for the campaign should have begun the U16's were without a manager. John Connell and Aodh Davoren approached Kenneth Fox to manage the team and Chris Hurney & Niall Mannion to help out with the coaching. John Connell stayed on board and Hugo Molloy also volunteered. It was an inauspicious start with only 13 and 12 legitimate players for our first two challenges. Our early games featured 16, 17 and 18 successively although crucially we remained unbeaten in all the games. When U14 concluded Kenneth Clancy and Martin Barrett joined the team bringing a large influx of u14 players to training as sharing the coaching burden themselves. The final panel has expanded to 28 (Daniel Lydon played an important part in the early games before concentrating on handball). Throughout the summer, Aodh Davoren, John Fox, Maureen Bohan, Seamus McDonagh and Nollag Cunningham have been all on hand at training and matches and helping out in the background. Parents have been very supportive in delivering players and ensuring they were available in some unusual and often trying circumstances. Thanks also to the Minors who have joined up for training from time to time, particularly, Kurtis, Carl and Lairgnean who were there more often. We hope they can go on and do the business in their own Championship.
On behalf of the management, I would like to thank the players for being a pleasure to work with, particularly those of us who had never worked with you before. All those involved have really enjoyed the experience over the last six or so months.