South West U16 Football League
All Saints 3-13 Tir Na nOg 6-12
Tir Na nOg travelled to Slemish Park on Wednesday night and came out tops in a nine goal thriller. No sweepers or pulling men behind the ball in this game. Tactically it would not have met the approval of Mickey Harte or Rory Gallagher but for pure football it was refreshingly entertaining
The visitors threatened to run away with it in the early stages with towering mid-fielders Cormac Devlin and Ciaran O’Neill taking control in this sector and making a number of good marks which provided a platform for swift counter attacks.
Goals from Nathan McKee, Ciaran O’Neill, Connor McCamphill and Oliver McAtamney and some excellent points from Emmet Murray, Oliver McAtamney, Rory McDonnell, Cormac Devlin and Ciaran O’Neill saw them in a commanding 4-8 to 2-4 lead with the All Saints goals coming from Aidan Scullion and Ruairi Campbell.
The space afforded to the visitors during the opening 30 minutes was generous in the extreme with Devlin and O’Neill too often unchallenged as they fielded the dropping ball and Tir Na nOg took advantage with Emmet Murray threatening to run riot.
The All Saints management made an excellent switch, moving U14 player Ronan McKillop unto Murray early in the game and his contribution was huge, both in curtailing the ‘Blues’ number 12 and pushing forward intelligently to support his attack when the opportunity arose.
Still the Slemish Park lads looked a well beaten side as they switched ends but whatever was said to them at half time had an amazing effect on them and they returned a much more focused and determined side for the second half and began to take the game to the opposition.
Both Jake White and Jack Agnew got much closer to their opposite numbers, denying them the free catch and as they began to win more possession their confidence grew as they moved the ball much quicker and got up to support the man in possession.
All Saints went on to dominate the second half hitting a flurry of excellent points with Jake White, Ruairi Cambell, Ronan McKillop, Charlie Metrustry and Kieran O’Boyle all finding the target from play and Aidan Scullion giving an exhibition of free taking with some excellent points from long range, off the ground.
Although on the back foot for the greater part of the second period Tir Na nOg always looked dangerous on the break and significantly, added goals through Emmet Murray and McDonnell to keep distance between themselves and the opposition.
In the end goals win games and it was Tir Na nOg who bagged six of them over the hour to win by eight points but the margin of victory slightly flatters them. They had excellent performers on the night in Joshua Higgins, Ricardo Cozcapy, Brandon McLarnon, Ciaran O’Neill, Cormac Devlin, Emmet Murray, Nathan McKee and Oliver McAtamney.
Although well beaten in the end All Saints can be well pleased by their second half performance but need to realise that they need to show that level of commitment from the start of games. When they did finally get going Ronan McKillop, Rory McAllister, Conall O’Neill, Jake White, Jack Agnew, Aidan Scullion, Oisin Crilly and Ruairi Campbell were the men who caught the eye.
All Saints: Ryan Mark: Ronan McKillop, Rory McAllister, Eamon McDonnell: Conall Killough, Conall O’Neill, Kevin Brady: Jake White, Jack Agnew: Kieran O’Boyle, Oisin Connolly, Aidan Scullion: Charlie Metrustry, Conor O’Rawe, Ruairi Campbell.
Tir Na nOg: Joshua Higgins: Casper Logan, Ricardo Cozcapy, Ryan Crilly: Justinas Venckus, Brandon McLarnon: Cormac Devlin, Ciaran O’Neill: Connor McCamphill, Nathan McKee, Emmet Murray: Oliver McAtamney, Randal Rory McDonnell, Adam Reid.