Score: Kilmacow 2-08 St Martin’s 2-04
Kilmacow were crowned U15B Football Champions 2019 following a very exciting contest with St Martin’s on Sunday 28th December in Thomastown. Kilmacow reached the final having overcome Railyard GFC seven days previously whilst St Martin’s were victorious against Erins Own in their semi-final in early December.
Kilmacow, playing against a stiff breeze settled into the game and found themselves two points to the good after 5 minutes following a neat point from play from full forward Ciaran Murray and a Josh Maher Mate free from 25 metres.
Whilst both teams registered wides in the next 10 minutes, St Martin’s began to get into their stride applying pressure in the full forward line where they had a superior height advantage. Only the close man marking skill shown by Kilmacow’s Donnchadh Williams who shepherded full forward Sean Hunt away from the goal when in a good scoring position, stopped St Martin’s from registering their first point of the game.
Left half forward David Williams relieved the pressure temporarily when he put Kilmacow’s advantage to three points following a powerful run with the ball and intelligent interplay with Calum Regan to create the space to score a stylish point from play in the 16th minute.
St Martins response was instant and they sent out a statement of intent by outscoring Kilmacow for1-02 to no score between the 18th and 21st minutes. The goal came from a quick side-line ball played in towards the square which found the Kilmacow backs out of shape and Cillian Dowling was on hand to dispatch the ball into the net. Excellent quickfire points from play followed from Conor Dooley and Jamie Morrissey put the Coon Muckalee lads out in front by two points for the first time in the match. Only resolute defending from the Kilmacow backs stopped St Martin’s from adding to their tally in this purple patch.
The final 5 minutes of play in the first half saw a flurry of scores. Josh Maher Mate put another close in free between the posts before Ciaran Murray got on the end of a Tadgh Connolly pass to level the score with a fantastic point from play. With their tails up Kilmacow struck for goal. The hard working Darragh Kelly powered through on goal but his effort which appeared to be going wide was pounced upon by Tom Reddy who slotted the ball into the bottom left hand corner to re-establish a 3-point lead in the 28th minute.
Not to be outdone, St Martins once again found the net right on half time when Cillian Dowling found himself in space and launched a ball into the square. Despite four heroic blocks with great work particularly from Sean Dowling in the Kilmacow goal, Tadgh Gill got the vital touch and netted to bring the sides in level.
HT Kilmacow 1-05 St Martin’s 2-02
St Martin’s were straight out of the blocks in the second half to regain the lead with a Cillian Dowling point from play to add to his earlier goal. However, with the wind at their backs Kilmacow began to dominate the possession statistics. James Walsh and Tadhg Connolly were winning the aerial battle to stamp some authority on the game and Nick Cass, Calum Regan, Alex Burke Dehham, Tom Reddy and Ciaran Murray worked tirelessly up front. Despite all the possession, Kilmacow were unable to translate this onto the scoreboard which was largely down to the great defensive work shown by St Martins, particularly Ciaran Nolan and Ewan Buggy which denied the Kilmacow forwards with close in opportunities. Another Josh Maher Mate free in the 40th minute levelled the scores and the game had to wait a further 12 minutes when the same player put Kilmacow ahead from another free in.
St Martin’s responded instantly when Jamie Morrisey popped over his second point of the game to set up a grandstand finish. Lorcan Suffin and Fionn Walsh of Kilmacow were marshalling Conor Dooley & Cormac Quirke well in the half back line whilst corner backs Eden Gillespie and Eoin Murray defended resolutely and with great confidence to get out in front of their men to limit St Martins scoring opportunities throughout the game.
Kilmacow were denied a goal when Jack O’Neill worked himself into a good position following a move involving Ciaran Murray who was a handful for the St Martins defence all afternoon only to see his shot whistle narrowly past the foot of the right post.
Josh Maher Mate completed his masterclass of free taking when he slotted over his fifth point in the 56th minute to once again put the South Kilkenny club in front by the minimum.
St Martins never say die attitude once again saw them go in search for a leveller and the opportunity presented itself by way of a free in the final minute of play. Cillian Dowling’s effort appeared to have enough distance to once again level the scores but James Walsh rose highest to stop the ball from going over and cleared the ball to safety.
At the death, man of the match, James Walsh capped off his fine display when he kicked in a side-line ball towards Jack O’Neill who turned smartly to lose his marker and ensure he got his name on the scoresheet as he buried the ball into the left-hand corner of the net to complete the scoring and ensure victory for Kilmacow.
St Martins put in a gallant performance but the day belonged to Kilmacow. A fine team performance was rewarded with the trophy being presented by Bord Na Og Chairman John Byrne to Kilmacow captain Josh Maher Mate.
A special note of thanks to Thomastown for the use of their facilities to host the game at short notice.
Sean Dowling, Eden Gillespie, Donnchadh Williams, Eoin Murray, Fionn Walsh, James Walsh, Lorcan Suffin, Josh Maher Mate Captain (0-05), Tadgh Connolly, David Williams (0-01), Darragh Kelly, Calum Regan, Tom Reddy (1-00) Ciaran Murray (0-02), Nick Cass
Subs: Jack Quinn, Jack O’Neill (1-00), Alex Burke Derham, Gearoid Long, Shane Morrisey, Killian Blanche,
Donal Kelly, Ewan Buggy, Ross Dowling, Peter Downey, Matthew Bolger, Cathal Keegan, Ciaran Nolan, Jamie Morrisey (0-02), Tadgh Gill (1-00) Cormac Quirke, Cillian Dowling (1-01), Conor Dooley (0-01), Niall Shore, Sean Hunt, Colin Hayes
Subs: Christopher Kealy, Jack Dooley, Michael Keane, James O’Neill, Patrick Coughlan