U21 B Football Championship Final
Michael Davitts 1-23
St Patrick’s 0-8
By Kieran Murphy
A TALENTED and determined group of young footballers who were undoubtedly good enough to play in the A championship duly took the under-21 B football championship title in Netwatch Cullen Park on Saturday.
In their first round and semi-final matches they recorded an impressive haul of 6-31. St Patrick’s were not too shy in front of goal earlier in the season either. Their 4-30 out of two games suggested a close encounter here. It wasn’t to be.
In the Michael Davitts team was an experienced core of footballers who have played senior and intermediate championship football this year. That counted for a lot. They didn’t exactly run riot but they were comfortable winners.
Two points from Darren Lunney and one from Lee Conran in the opening five minutes gave a hint of what was to transpire. The Michael Davitts half-back line had the room to come forward with Niall Roche and Pauric Coughlan both featuring on the scoreboard in the first half. Any forward would have been happy with the way Coughlan eased into space to take his three points.
A good passing movement yielded St Patrick’s a good point for Ross Hanley but Davitts were remorseless. Coach Michael Meaney alluded to this.
“They were with their own adult teams, they are easy to coach and while it was an easy victory we still had to grind it out,” said the Moanmore man afterwards.
The Davitts tally went up in the first half while a break out of defence saw Cathal Murray register a quality St Patrick’s point. It was never going to be enough as the eventual winners led 0-11 to 0-4 at the interval.
A TJ Kavanagh point for the Slaneysiders suggested a revival might be on the cards but that door was shut almost immediately with Aaron Amond and Colin Byrne replying for Davitts. When Lee Conran fisted across the St Patrick’s small square, Aaron Amond looked certain to find the net but a piece of fine defending by Conor Murphy saw him clear his lines.
It was only a stay of execution. Eric Nolan finally breached the Patrick’s cover for the only goal of the game. From there it was just a matter of playing to the final whistle.
Late in the game, Pauric Coughlan picked up a black card. As the competitive element of the game died both sides had a goal chance with Murray fly-kicking over the bar while at the other end Shane O’Reilly’s screamer cleared the crossbar when a three-pointer looked on.
“It is nice to win something. I am happy for the lads. It is difficult to get them together but they are a good group of lads,” said Meaney afterwards.
Michael Davitts: Zak Yongram; Keith Lillis, Rory Keating, Jordan Kelly; Niall Roche (0-2), Pauric Coughlan (0-3), Tadhg Roche; Colin Byrne (0-3), Darren Lunney (0-8, 0-5 frees); Eric Nolan (1-0), Declan Gough, Darren O’Keeffe (0-1); Aaron Amond (0-2, 0-1 free), Lee Conran (0-1), Mikey Bambrick. Subs: Aidan Lillis (0-1) for Conran (38 mins), David Cox (0-1) for Gough (40 mins), Liam Coughlan for Lillis (40 mins), Sean Taylor for Nolan (47 mins), Jamie Lunney for O’Keeffe (47 mins), Shane O’Reilly (0-1) for P Coughlan (black card 53 mins).
St Patrick’s: Jeremy Barry; Ryan O’Neill, Conor Murphy, Eoin Cleary; Robert Gahan, Jamie Ansbro, Griffin Kennedy (0-1); Jack Ryan, Garrett Fitzgerald; TJ Kavanagh (0-1), Ross Hanley (0-2), Eoin Brennan; Cathal Murray (0-4 0-2 frees), Nathan Doran, Ben Hade. Subs: Ryan Malone for Cleary (42 mins), Conor Maxwell for O’Neill (43 mins), Paul Sheppard for Murray (48 mins), Murray for Brennan (55 mins).
Referee: Pat Kehoe (Rathvilly)