Goals win thriller for blues
Oylegate-Glenbrien 7-4 Ballyhogue 3-12
Six days after the Division 4 final served up a treat of attacking football, the New Ross Standard Under-14 football Division 3 championship title decider staked an early claim as 'final of the year' too as Oylegate-Glenbrien majored their way past Ballyhogue in St. Patrick's Park on Tuesday.
This game had it all. Both sides went into it full of confidence, happy to attack with pace and in numbers, and it made for a dramatic, hugely entertaining contest. Part of the beauty of the game was the slight contrast in styles.
Oylegate-Glenbrien built their success on speed. They possess such pace that they can cut teams with solid, combative defences to pieces through the middle - it's hard to defend quick off-loads to attackers in full flight.
There are few teams in any of the Under-14 divisions with as much football savvy as Ballyhogue.
Their fundamentals are excellent, they play the game well and to their strengths, meaning they are really only going to get better as they move up to the Under-16 age group.
Dara Casey broke onto Conor Murphy's pass to rattle home an early goal but Ballyhogue led by 1-2 to 1-0 after points from Liam Doyle and Jamie Fitzpatrick, plus a fisted Shane Roche major. Yet Murphy converted a penalty and Aaron Quigley slotted soccer-style past Martin Doyle to change the complexion of the contest.
The back and forth continued with Nicky Dempsey tapping over and James Reville firing home from close range for Ballyhogue.
Murphy's second major was followed by four points at the other end, three from David Hennebry and one from Fitzpatrick, to leave the game deadlocked at the interval (4-1 to 2-7).
The point-scoring exploits of Ballyhogue continued into the second-half, and with Hennebry and Liam Doyle on target they maintained a lead into the final seven minutes (2-11 to 4-4).
Ryan Cullen was creator for Quigley as he burst through to net for Oylegate-Glenbrien to put them back in front.
Quigley fired home again three minutes from time to give his side what looked like a match-winning four-point lead.
However, Hennebry cut in from the left and thumped past Paul Burns to put the minimum in it heading to injury time.
With the tempo through the roof, and both teams giving it absolutely everything, it was Oylegate-Glenbrien who clinched the win.
Cameron Clarke did the hard work, finding Casey on the run, and the talented midfielder made no mistake with a cool finish to ice the game in injury time for the boys in blue.
Oylegate-Glenbrien: Paul Burns; Ned Maher, Adam Roche, Jack Hennessy; Adam Nolan, Cameron Clarke, Mikey Doyle; Ryan Cullen, Dara Casey (2-0); John Fortune, Conor Murphy (2-4, 1-0 pen., 0-3 frees), Andrew Fitzhenry (capt.); Seán Rowley, Aaron Quigley (3-0), Conall Byrne. Subs. - Darragh Harris for Fortune (39), Graham Curran for Roche, black card (47), also Richard Fortune, Conor Somers, T.J. Frost, Cian Cullen.
Ballyhogue: Martin Doyle; Conor O'Brien, Ben Harrington (capt.), Conor Rogers; Keith Roche, Liam Doyle (0-2), Darragh Bates; David Hennebry (1-7, 0-5 frees), Conor Dawson; Tobias Redmond, Jamie Fitzpatrick (0-2), James Reville (1-0); Seán Furlong, Nicky Dempsey (0-1), Shane Roche (1-0). Subs. - Odin Doyle for Furlong (31), Conor Kelly for Hennebry, black card (50+3), also Cormac Kehoe, Mark Asple, Keith Kishenka, Ben Asple, Liam Parnell, Ryan McGlynn, Odhran Kehoe.
Referee: Paddy Brady (Réalt na Mara).