Magnificent double-double for Gorey as Under-15s end year on a high
U15FP final in St Patrick's Park: Naomh Eanna 2-6 Glynn-Barntown 2-3
Naomh Eanna completed an historic double-double as they collected the Gorey Guardian Under-15 football Premier championship title by dispatching a gutsy Glynn-Barntown in St. Patrick's Park on Saturday.
This crown, along with the hurling title they picked up seven days earlier, means the Páirc Uí Shíocháin club matched their stunning achievement at Under-14 level last season. It was also the club's fourth People Newspapers Coiste na nÓg title this season, putting them to the top of the pile in Wexford.
This success was achieved the hard way as, after a relatively fine autumn, the November weather took a turn for the worse before the game and the driving crossfield wind and rain made it impossible for either side to hit their top form.
Despite the squalid conditions, there was no shortage of commitment from either team. The key to the win for the champions was probably their game intelligence, their ability to bring the ball into contact and not only emerge with possession, but always into space.
The Killurin-based underdogs would have known a fast start was vital and they hit the ground running.
Alan Mahoney kicked a nerveless free in the second minute but Shane Flood did respond with a point a short time later.
The opening goal came for Glynn-Barntown in the eighth minute. Darragh Carley sent the ball in long and it travelled on the breeze, with Mahoney rising and glancing it past Rory Tubritt in the Gorey goal.
It was probably enough of a touch for the full-forward to claim the goal but it was such a tricky ball that the 'keeper would have been struggling to get to it regardless.
Great teams respond to adversity and Naomh Eanna did just that. They immediately broke down the other end, and Brian Cushe did all the creative work in the build up.
When he fed Thomas Wheatley, the attacker still had plenty to do but it managed it perfectly and shot low to the net.
The conditions were dastardly for everyone but it was most difficult for goalkeepers with the ball swirling around on the breeze.
Undoubtedly the wind played a huge part when Rian Fitzpatrick's shot dipped under the crossbar and into Darragh Murphy's net in the twelfth minute.
Scores tend to be harder to come by the longer these games go on, so the points Gorey added towards the end of the first-half were critical to their victory.
Fitzpatrick kicked a quality free before Murphy made a stunning double save from Cormac Doyle and Jack Curley.
Wheatley kicked a classy point to increase the lead to five in the 21st minute, and J.J. Twamley completed the first-half scoring eight minutes later to ensure his side went in at the interval leading by 2-4 to 1-1.
Things got even tougher in the second-half but Gorey did keep control of the game through the third quarter.
Fitzpatrick tacked on a point in the 39th minute but his midfield partner, Brian Cushe, was denied by a fine save from substitute 'keeper Will Hayes moments later.
The longer the game went on with seven points between the teams, the more Glynn-Barntown started to get the upper hand.
Michael Mackey closed the gap with a point but Twamley responded at the other end with eight minutes left.
Mahoney put six between the teams again but it was clear that Glynn-Barntown needed a goal. That's just what they got when Mahoney and Seán Cooney combined in the 56th minute and the latter found the net with a clinical finish.
The tempo ratcheted up a level in the final minutes but Glynn-Barntown couldn't find the equalising major. The closest they came was a Cooney shot that flew a few feet wide of the right post in the 58th minute, but there was to be no miraculous recovery and Naomh Eanna held on for their historic double-double.
Naomh Eanna: Rory Tubritt; Conor Kelly, Seán Egan, Cian Ó Tuama; Kyle Kenny, Darragh Fitzpatrick, Luke Darley; Rían Fitzpatrick (capt., 1-2, 0-1 free), Brian Cushe; Shane Flood (0-1), Cormac Doyle, J.J. Twamley (0-2); Lee Cushe, Jack Curley, Thomas Wheatley (1-1). Subs. - Tomás Mythen for Curley (38), James McGraynor for L. Cushe (55), also Scott Murphy, Enda McCrea, Shane Mahon, Tiernan Black, Niall O'Dwyer, Tadhg Byrne, Harry McGuckin, Rúairí Sheil, Jamie Kinch, Ruadhan Comerford, Ross Kavanagh, Dylan Cooke-Leonard, Ryan Callaghan, Mark Kinch, Daniel Ennis, Mylie Connors, Brandon Flynn, Stephen Smyth, Alex Gartland.
Glynn-Barntown: Darragh Murphy; Ryan Curran, Tommy Gallagher, Cian White; Josh Carley, Robert Hillis, Corben Brown (capt.); Darragh Carley, Michael Mackey (0-1); Conor Lyne, Luke O'Rourke, James Boggan; Cian Turner, Alan Mahoney (1-2, 0-2 frees), Conor Foley. Subs. - Seán Cooney (1-0) for Brown, inj. (29), Conor Mackey for Foley (31), Will Hayes for Turner (31), also Ferdia Reynolds, Maurice Reynolds, Daniel Brazzill, Morogh O'Flaherty, Nickey Rossiter, James Doyle, Josh Murphy, Liam Donoghue, Pierce Arthurs, Seán Laffan, Aaron Murphy, Callum McDonald, Casey Brazzill, Aaron Nolan.
Referee: John Carton (Monageer-Boolavogue).