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North U21 'A' Football Final 2015

posted 11 Mar 2015, 14:12 by Sluder Bullins   [ updated 11 Mar 2015, 14:18 ]
Newport Gaels have the goal touch

Newport Gaels 2-07
Kildangan        0-10

in Lacken Park, Newport. Saturday  7th March 2015.
Report by James Hayden, Nenagh Guardian.

Newport Gaels captured the first silverware of 2015 with a hard-earned victory over Kildangan following an absorbing North U21 'A' final on Satruday afternoon. 

The Gaels, an amalgamation of players from neighbouring parishes of Ballinahinch and Newport, staved off a strong second half come back to be deservedly crowned North champions.

A tenth minute Darragh McGrath goal combined with a flurry of scores as the interval approached including 1-1 from impressive substitute, Dave Ryan and a fine effort from Jack Delahunty provided the necessary platform for a Gaels victory.

Having employed a two man full-forward line, the Gaels launched ball after ball down on top of Kildangan's rearguard in the opening half. IT was a tactic that paid dividends, particularly following the introduction of Ryan in the 17th minute.

With a strong wind at their backs, the Gaels were first to register with early points from Jack Delahunty (45') and Kevin Connelly before McGrath netted in the tenth minute after he plucked Rob Houlihan's searching delivery out of the air and slipped the ball past the advancing Andy Loughnane in the Kildangan goal.

Although Kildangan threatened in the early stages their frustrations were heightened by a trio of wides before they were finally rewarded with their opening score in the thirteenth minute after Willie Connors set up wing forward Ben Banaghan. However, the hugely impressive Conor Floyd fired an almost instant riposte for the Gaels.

Although they enjoyed long bouts of possession in the opening half the men in blue and gold failed to make it count on the scoreboard. Successive points from Willie Connors and, captain, Tom McLoughlin narrowed the gap to three points before Kevin Connolly stretched the Gaels lead to four in the twenty fourth minute.

The Gaels bagged their second goal less than a minute later after Darragh McGrath found Dave Ryan unmarked and in space and his low right-footed finish gave Andy Loughnane no chance. Jack Delahunty quickly added a fifth point for the Gaels before Willie Connors replied with a well struck twenty seventh minute effort.

The Gaels added a late point as the break approached thanks to the boot of Dave Ryan to ensure a comfortable eight-point interval lead, 2-6 to 0-4.

Kildangan enforced a double substitution at the break in a bid to freshen up their side and indeed they started brightly with early points from Darren Moran and substitute, Paul Flynn.

although the game was played in a sporting manner, matters did become a little fractious in the 35th minute with a 28-man schemozzle following a couple of over robust tackles. Surprisingly, referee, Shane Hodgins chose to take no action and re-started the game with a throw-in.

Matters calmed quickly though with Kildangan reducing the gap further thanks to a second point from Tom McLoughlin. The Gaels battled hard to keep Kildangan at bay and their chances were boosted when Keelan Floyd flighted over a fine effort in the 37th minute.

Although it proved to be their only score of the half Floyd's point gave his side a little bit of breathing room at a crucial stage in proceedings.

Kildangan responded with a number of dangerous attacks though; Tadgh Gallagher hitting the crossbar in the 50th minute before David Sweeney bisected the uprights with a fin effort. Despite the incessant pressure the Gaels broke out on a number of occasions with Darragh McGrath gifted the opportunity of putting the game to bed following a fantastic through ball from Dave Ryan. McGrath's effort was blazed right and wide.

As time ticked away Kildangan cut the gap to three with a Ben Banaghan 45' and an Alan FLynn point and for the closing stages they threw everything bar the kitchen sink at the Gaels. For the closing few minutes a total of 29 players were in the Newport Gaels half of the field as the Gaels fought a determined rearguard action. 

The Gaels held out though to record a memorable and deserved victory over a gallant Kildangan side following a thrilling and climatic finish.

Man of the Match: Conor Floyd (Newport Gaels)

Scorers: Newport Gaels: Dave Ryan 1-1, Darragh McGrath 1-0, Kevin Connolly, Jack Delahunty (45' & fr)  0-2 each, Conor Floyd, Kealen Floyd 0-1 each. Kildangan: Tom McLoughlin, Willie Connors (1f), Ben Banaghan (1f) 0-2 each, Alan Flynn, Paul Flynn, Darren Moran, David Sweeney 0-1 each.

Newport Gaels: Keith Mawdsley (7); Conor Hickey (7), Paddy Kelly (Capt, 8), Jordan Young (7); Cian Flanagn (7), Kevin Mulcahy (8), Corrie Mooney (7); Conor Floyd (8), Rob Houlihan (8); Kevin Fitzpatrick (7), Darragh McGrath (7), Oisin O'Reilly (6); Kealan Floyd (7), Kevin Connolly (8), Jack Delahunty (8). Sub: Dave Ryan for O'Reilly (17), Tom Kennedy, Bernard Ryan, Brian McAuliffe,, Evan Gleeson, Cathal Keating, Colin Floyd.
Management: Pat Brennan, Seamus Carew, Trevor Delahunty, James Flanagan, Cormac McGrath