Counsel had to fight hard
Blues suvive some scares
Good Counsel College sent Ardscoil na Trionóide packing, but it took extra-time before the favourites eventually emerged with four points to spare in this Leinster Colleges Senior football 'A' championship opening round game in New Ross on Thursday.
Good Counsel 2-17 - Ardscoil 2-13 (AET)
Good Counsel survived a real scare but they showed their battling qualities in a variety of circumstances. Looking like coasting to victory at the end of normal time when leading by four points, they were hit with a dramatic 1-2 in additional time as their opponents gained a one-point advantage.
However, they battled their way back and in the sixth minute of additional time they forced extra-time when Jason Shiely pointed a free after Mikey Dwyer was fouled.
Even in extra-time they still created many heart-stopping moments as they trailed by a point at the break, but they answered their opponents' stern challenge with some of their best football in the second period when, helped by an excellent goal from substitute Jamie Myler, they eventually succeeded in pulling clear to advance to the next round.
The New Ross college used their extra physique to advantage as they succeeded in closing down the game against a side that looked more skillful and slicker when in possession. When their opponents were allowed to open up the game they looked the complete outfit, but credit to the Counsel boys as they never gave up the chase and, aided by some quality football both in defence and attack, they finally got their reward but it was not without many anxious moments. Still, the game should prove of huge benefit to the side as they now look ahead to the quarter-final stages.
Good Counsel, who played into a stiff breeze, got off to the ideal start with a Thomas O'Connor goal inside two minutes, but the visitors struck back for points from Tadhg Foley and Andy McEvoy.
With Mikey Dwyer kicking over two excellent points it gave the home side a real grip playing into the stiff breeze, but Peter Kealy responded with two points so the visitors remained in touch. One minute into first-half additional time, Tadhg Foley was placed in front of goal to shoot low to the net, leaving the sides level (1-4 each) at the interval.
The impressive Athy boys continued to put it up to the pre-match favourites as the sides continued to trade points, leaving them level (1-7 each) at the end of the third quarter. But Good Counsel began probing the opposing defence with some long balls and with Bob Whitty, Mikey Dwyer and Joe Sutton kicking some fine points they looked to have secured victory, leading by 1-11 to 1-7 after 60 minutes.
The home side were then hit with some sucker punches in additional time, as two points from Peter Kealy and a goal from Tadhg Foley left Athy leading by 2-9 to 1-11, but six minutes into additional time a pointed Jason Shiely free brought the game to extra-time.
Early points from Andy McEvoy and Conor Kealy had the visitors back in front, leaving them ahead by 2-11 to 1-13 at the break.
Substitute Jamie Myler, only minutes on the pitch, won possession and despite the presence of several defenders found the net from twelve metres after 71 minutes which was to prove the decisive score as Good Counsel forced their way to a dramatic victory in a tense finish, with the visitors reduced to 14 players close to the finish when Barry Kelly was sent-off on a straight red card offence.
Good Counsel: Cian O'Connor; David Kelly, Donncha O'Connor, Seán Barden; Eoin Porter, Ian Carty, Christopher Molloy; Darragh Joyce (0-1), Bryan Power; Jason Shiely (0-4 frees), Bob Whitty (0-3), Adam Swan (0-3); Mikey Dwyer (0-5), Joe Sutton (0-1), Thomas O'Connor (1-0). Subs. - Tadhg Cody for Molloy, inj., Stephen O'Gorman for Sutton, Jamie Myler (1-0) for Shiely, Shiely for Dwyer.
Ardscoil na Trionóide: Marc Prior; Andrew Baldwin, Ben Flood, Niall Foley; James Baldwin, Mark Hyland, Barry Kelly; Rory Feely (0-1), Brian Daly; Conor Kealy (0-1), John Moran, Peter Kealy (0-5); Andy McEvoy (0-4, 1 free), Tadhg Foley (2-1), Tony Martin (0-1). Subs. - Ciarán Ramsbottom for Moran, Shane Miley for Martin.
Referee: John Hickey (Carlow).