Peter's rocked by brace of late sucker punches
This was a day when the elements were going to rule, and how right it turned out as St. Peter's College despite a brave bid went under to a one-point defeat to St. Aidan's C.B.S. in this Leinster Colleges Senior football 'A' championship first round game at a windswept Carlow Centre of Excellence near Fenagh on Friday.
St. Aidan's 2-9 - St. Peter's 0-14 (AET)
St. Peter's looked to have pitched their bid for victory in the opening 30 minutes when wind-assisted, going on to build a nine-point interval lead.
And while they hung on valiantly through the opening 20 minutes of the second-half, a two-goal salvo in a 90-second spell on 51 and 52 minutes transformed the scoreline as it left the Dublin college side leading by 2-5 to 0-10.
The Wexford town side were still trailing by a point as the game moved into additional time, but a fine move forward and point from wing-back Jack Pettit brought the game into extra-time.
It looked as if St. Peter's had learned from that mid second-half concession of goals as they led by one point at half-time in extra-time having played into the gale-force wind.
But that was as good as it got for the side as they failed to score in the second period when wind-assisted, and St. Aidan's substitute Adam Conway kicked two points into the wind to push his side into a one-point lead.
St. Peter's were gifted one last chance to force a replay when awarded a free in the final seconds after Jake Firman was hauled down 35 metres from goal. Straight in front of the posts, Firman chose to take the free from the hand, but ballooned the ball high into the elements and it was carried several metres wide, when a kick from the ground could have brought richer dividends given the howling wind.
Having conceded the opening point after four minutes to Conor Kavanagh, St. Peter's went on to take a firm grip on the first-half, kicking over ten unanswered points from a variety of angles, with Conor Halligan, Tony Smith, Shane Wilde, Jake Firman and Matthew Joyce all finding the target. However, the goal they so badly needed eluded them, but still they looked quite comfortable leading by 0-10 to 0-1 at the interval.
Despite playing into the wind on the resumption, St. Peter's kicked three scoreable chances wide inside the opening five minutes of the re-start.
The Dublin side eventually managed to open their second-half account in the 40th minute through a Conor Kavanagh point, with the same player adding a further point two minutes later.
Through the opening 20 minutes of the second-half the St. Peter's defence was conceding little as Conor Halligan, Aaron Maddock and Rowan White were defending superbly, but then disaster struck in the 21st minute when John Connell rose to punch a high ball across the face of the goal to the net.
From the kick-out they returned to the attack with this time Cathal Doran taking full advantage of space in front of goal to find the net. Suddenly the game was transformed with St. Peter's surrendering a five-point cushion to fall one point in arrears (2-5 to 0-10).
Six minutes from the end a Jake Firman point, their first of the half, brought the sides back level, but a Gavin King point restored his team's advantage. With additional time running out, Pettit drove forward to kick over a splendid levelling point, leaving the final scoreline at 2-6 to 0-12, and extra-time required.
St. Peter's controlled the opening period of extra-time despite playing into the wind, with points from Rowan White and Tony Smith giving them a two-point lead, until an Adam Conway effort left the scoreline 0-14 to 2-7 at the break.
Surprisingly it was St. Aidan's who took the initiative in the second period of extra-time and two Conway points sent them through to the next round, as St. Peter's faded from the game by conceding the initiative to a fired-up opposing side.
St. Peter's College: Richard Ryan; David Clarke, Conor Halligan (0-2), Conor Maddock; Jack Pettit (0-1), Jake Firman (0-3, 1 free), Rowan White (0-2); Glen Malone, Aaron Maddock; Tony Smith (0-2), Joe O'Connor (0-1), James Stafford; Ronan Devereux, Matthew Joyce (0-1), Shane Wilde (0-2, 1 free). Subs. - Jody Donohoe for Wilde, inj., Ben O'Shea for Stafford, Dan Murphy for C. Mahoney.
St. Aidan's C.B.S.: Seán Power; Rory Kerins, Seán Brennan, Tony O'Sullivan; Daire Gray, Cathal Doran (1-0), Elliot Craig; Aaron Elliott, Gavin King (0-1); James Doran, Conor Kavanagh (0-4, 2 frees), Cian Gerrard; Paddy Small, Jeff Rafter, John Connell (1-1, 0-1 free). Subs. - Enda O'Donnell for Connell, Adam Conway (0-3) for J. Doran, Donal Ryan for Gerrard.
Referee: David Hickey (Carlow).