Antrim U20 B Football Final
Naomh Padraig Lisburn 1-12 St. Mary’s Rasharkin 0-4
A slick Naomh Padraig, Lisburn wrote their own little bit of history when they proved too good for Naomh Muire, Rasharkin in the U20 B football final at Crumlin Leisure centre today. Stephen Brannigan’s well organised side had too much pace, power and knowhow for a St. Mary’s Rasharklin side who never really got going.
The Dreen side did take an early lead when Jacek Kedzierski fired over in the third minute but it would be the only time they would lead in the contest as the Lisburn side came back strongly.
Eoin Dixon, who was excellent throughout, levelled matters within a minute and when the same player fired to the net with nine minutes gone the momentum was all with a Naomh Padraig side who were growing into the game.
With Conor Ewing lying deep and doing a great job as sweeper, Naomh Padraig took the game to their opponents and James Morgan and Eoin Dixon added further points to leave them 1-3 to 0-1 ahead at the first water break.
Tiernan O’Boyle gave Rasharkin a bit of hope when he pointed a 40 meter free on the restart but wing half, Oisin Gormley raced forward with a quick reply for the Lisburn side and Niall Dixon added a couple more before Eoin Dixon finished the first half scoring with a late point to leave his side 1-7 to 0-2 ahead at the break and good value for that lead.
With the slight wind now behind them, Rasharkin needed a good start to the second half if they were to get back into contention but after Tiernan O’Boyle fired wide in the opening minute it was Naomh Padraig who edged further ahead as Niall Dixon pointed in the third minute.
A well drilled Naomh Padraig were moving the ball around at pace and always seemed to have a man in support of the player in possession and Rory Kennedy extended their lead before Ruadhan McKenna stepped out from goals to direct a ‘45’ between the uprights.
Odhran McGarrell opened Naomh Muire’s second half account with a point from a free but the Dreen side were in need of goals, even at this early juncture but didn’t possess the key to unlock a well organised Naomh Padraig defence.
Instead it was Naomh Padraig who came storming back with a good point from Oisin Gorman as the Lisburn side began to empty their bench, confident that they were well on their way to completing the job.
McGarrell, who had been Rasharkin’s best forward, added his second free of the game after the second water break and the same player opted to go for goal from another close range free shortly after but it was deflected wide for a ‘45’ that came to nothing.
After that Naomh Padraig controlled possession as the clock ticked down with Eoin Dixon’s pointed free with five minutes remaining proving to be the game’s final score and Fionntan McCotter’s full time whistle was greeted by a mini pitch invasion as Naomh Padraig celebrated their first title in this age group.
A great win for Naomh Padraig and one that augers well for the future of the club. Stephen Brannigan and his backroom team deserve a lot of credit for entering a side in the competition at the start of the season and he has kept his side busy and focused during a competition that has been dogged by cancelled fixtures.
He has unearthed some fine talent with many of them looking capable of pushing on to represent their senior side in the years to come and Antrim committee member and Rasharkin man, Paddy Kelly was wholesome in his praise for the club and their performance on the day before presenting the cup to captain, Collie Burns.
Naomh Padraig: Ruadhan McKenna, Jude McMullan, Jack Broderick, Liam McCutcheon, Luca Mulholland, Sean Burns, Oisin Gorman, Colm Burns, Adam Patterson, Che Smyth, Niall Dixon, James Morgan, Rory Kennedy, Eoin Dixon, Conor Ewing. Subs: Daniel Nelson, Joseph Mulholland, Peter Lenaghan, Lewis Collins, Calum Loney, Logan Mallon, Noel McGuigan, Liam McKeown, Matthew McDermott, Vital Zuwala
Rasharkin: Oisin Johnston, Ethan McAfee, Connor Higgins, James Higgins, Colm Kennedy, Callum Montgomery, Darach Duffin, Tiernan O’Boyle, Ruairi O’Boyle, Ruairi Hawthorne, Liam Quigg, Jacek Kedzierski, Cathal Darragh, Sean Condron, Odhran McGarrell. Subs: Ethan McMullan.
Referee: Fionntan McCotter (Sarsfields)