Under 14′s emerge in thriller
Our under 14 footballers made the short journey to O’Rahilly Park, Latton on Saturday 29th September to take on Clontribret in the final of the Division 6 Shield competition. When these sides met a couple of weeks ago it was a fairly one-sided affair but this match turned out to be a real humdinger between two very committed sides. It was a close game from start to finish with both sets of players battling hard for every ball and in the end we managed to secure the victory over a gallant Clontibret team on a score-line Rockcorry 5-5 Clontibret 2-10
We got off to an incredible start and opened the scoring on the 2nd minute when Vincent O’Brien punched the ball to the back of the net and a couple of minutes later his younger brother Paraic O’Brien followed this up with a lovely goal to put us 2-0 to 0-0 after four minutes. Clontibret registered their first point on the 5th minute and shortly afterwards they tapped over again to leave the scoreboard showing 2-0 to 0-2. Caoilian Gallagher notched over a superb point on the 9th minute following a good build up involving Patrick James and Paraic O’Brien. Clontibret upped their game and dominated the closing stages of the quarter as they scored a point on the 11th minute and with only seconds remaining they broke through our defence and buried a shot past Kyle Brannigan to reduce the arrears to a single point, 2-1 to 1-3.
At the start of the second quarter Clontibret started with purpose and equalised with a neat point on the 4th minute and knocked over another fine point moments later to take the lead, leading 2-1 to 1-5. Patrick James got his name on the score-sheet when he fired between the uprights on the 7th minute and moments later Kyle Brannigan pulled off a stunning save to deny Clontibret a definite goal opportunity. Clontibret did manage to restore their lead on the 10th minute when they converted a free-kick and a couple of minutes later Kyle Brannigan was called into action again and showed nerves of steel as he made another spectacular save to deny them a goal. A point from Vincent O’Brien on the 15th minute levelled proceeding at the midway point with the scoreboard showing Rockcorry 2-3 Clontibret 1-6.
On the resumption of play we broke the deadlock on the 3rd minute when Gavin West delivered a measured pass across the square and Caoilian Gallagher flicked the ball to the back to the net. We doubled our advantage, on the 5th minute, with arguably the best move of the match and it started with a Kyle Brannigan kick-out to Gavin West who skipped away from his marker and played a couple one-twos with Gareth Smith and he off-loaded to Vincent O’Brien who powered his way through the heart of the Clontibret defence and he teed-up Caoilian Gallagher who calmly hit an almighty strike to the left corner of the net to give us a 4-3 to 1-6 advantage. During the last five minutes Clontibret responded with a massive effort and kept in touch with two converted free-kicks and they slotted over a point from play to reduce the deficit back to three points 4-3 to 1-9 going into the final quarter.
Clontibret were quicker out of the blocks in the final quarter and scored a point after fifty seconds. Kyle Brannigan showed quick reactions and made another important save on the 3rd minute but Clontibret did manage to find the back of the net two minutes later to put them a point in front, leading 4-3 to 2-10. Thankfully, our lads showed great determination and within twenty seconds cancelled that score out when they broke at pace and when Caoilian Gallagher collected he turned inside his opponent and rifled a low shot past the Clontibret goal-keeper to restore a two point lead. We stretched our advantage on the 10th minute when Caoilian Gallagher converted a free-kick following good work by Gavin West and when Paraic O’Brien found space in front of goals he was through one-on-one but the Clontibret goal-keeper made a super save to push the ball around the upright for a forty-five which was duly tapped over by Caoilian Gallagher to put four points between the sides. With only a couple of minutes of regulation time remaining Clontibret continued to put us under pressure but our lads defended with gusto and as the final whistle sounded moments later there were great scenes of jubilation as we secured the victory on a final score-line Rockcorry 5-5 Clontibret 2-10
Both sides are due great credit for the quality of the match and for producing a thoroughly enthralling game of football. Amid great scenes of celebration team captain Mark Duffy received the Shield Cup from Patricia Smith (PRO of the County Board Youth Committee) and Gerry McElroy of Gerry’s Prepared Veg. On behalf of the club I would like to congratulate Felix Granaghan, Pascal Smyth and the panel of players for their wonderful achievement. Well done everyone.
To view a selection of action photographs from the game please click the link below: