U20A Football Semi Final
Naomh Ergnat Moneyglass 4-07 Naomh Mhuire Aghagallon 1-12
Report by Niall Kelly
Moneyglass clinched their place in this year’s U20A decider thanks to their imperious eye for goal at the expense of a dogged and industrious Aghgallon outfit. The early introduction of Tiernan McCormack proved to be an inspired decision as the young number 18 put in a talismanic performance notching two goals of his own whilst assisting multiple other scores. His driving runs from deep when his team were under the cosh were instrumental in getting the hosts over the line. Truth be told, Aghagallon enjoyed the lion’s share of possession for the majority and looked a constant threat. However, they lacked the same efficiency as their opponents in front of the posts and were somewhat reliant on midfield maestro Jonny Hannon’s enviable ability from the dead ball to keep the score-board ticking over. Every time the men in green and white seemed to get within touching distance of their hosts though, Moneyglass would respond emphatically with a goal to reinstate the gap.
Aghagallon started proceedings the brighter and shaded the opening exchanges but couldn’t seem to make it count as efforts often dropped short of the mark. The men from Marrion Hill made them pay for their shortcomings as Shay Madden pointed from range on the fifth minute before Tyler Cassidy raised the first green flag of the day two minutes later with an emphatic finish to Baine’s net. Madden’s trickery and craft was proving to be a handful for the visitors and he further extended the lead moments later finishing off a move of his own making.
Aghagallon were in desperate need of a score and Padraig Gowdy duly obliged as he sent over a caressed effort off the outside of the boot from range thanks to good work from Jonny Hannon. Hannon then got his first of a total of eight from a long range free before Jack Nelson popped up with another after tenacious work from Ciaran Maginnis.
In what became a recurring theme, just as Aghagallon had began to rally again and gain ground on their hosts, Moneyglass responded devastatingly with another major. Tiernan McCormick’s rampaging run and resulting drilled effort was well blocked on the line by Liam Russell but the Aghagallon rearguard was powerless to stop McCormick from tapping in the rebound.
Again, the men from the Colane Road responded with vigour with Maginnis, Gowdy and Hannon leading the charge. Hannon and Callum Mulholland responded with well taken scores before Connlaodh McCann replied from the placed ball on the twenty sixth minute. However, as the game approached the interval, it was the visitors who were asking all the questions and had the final say of the half in the familiar form of Hannon as he angled over another free to leave three in it at the break.
Aghagallon’s number nine then started off the second half where he’d finished the first as he ably converted another dead ball to cut the gap to two on the thirty second minute. Yet again though, Moneyglass would deal their opponents another hammer blow as that man McCormick proved to be the thorn in their side. In what was a goalmouth scramble, McCormick emerged celebrating as he poked the ball goal-bound among the pandemonium to trigger an almighty roar from the home faithful.
Aghagallon demonstrated their fighting spirit once more with Hannon slotting over two before Ruairi McShane guided his effort over from a tight angle midway through the half as the gap was two yet again.
The two-point gap seemed to be a trigger button for Naomh Ergnat as for the third time they grabbed a crucial goal to re-establish their five-point lead. This one was arguably the pick of the bunch though as Paul Duffin bulldozed his way out of defence before offloading to James McCormick. With it all to do and a sizable distance from goal, the Moneyglass number seven drilled the ball off the greasy surface as it arrowed into the bottom right corner of the net.
With the game approaching the final ten minutes, it looked as though McCormick’s goal would surely have extinguished any hopes of another revival. Wrong. Aghagallon produced a flowing, sweeping move involving intricate link play between Padraig Gowdy and Enda McCartan before Callum Mulholland provided the finishing touches with a rifled effort to the roof of the net.
Momentum had now swung back in favour of the visitors as they probed relentlessly for openings but a dismissal amongst their ranks proved to be decisive. Moneyglass took full advantage with points from McCann and Cassidy but that man Hannon with ice in his veins responded with two of his own from tricky frees.
With the game into added time, Aghagallon had pushed higher and higher in search of an elusive goal and were pumping a few ‘Hail Mary’ balls into their forwards in the hope it would stick. Paul Duffin, who had marshalled his defence superbly all game, halted their efforts though with a few towering catches. One such turnover resulted in yet another blistering run from Tiernan McCormick who set up captain Frank Duffin to tap over. Tyler Cassidy then sealed victory in the dying embers with a curled effort from close range.
A mammoth display from Moneyglass who will certainly look to utilise their eye for goal in the final against a St Brigid’s outfit which boasts an array of talent. Commiserations to Aghagallon who were resilient to the end.
Naomh Ergnat Moneyglass
R Gribben; J Totten, H O’Donnell, C McCloskey; M Mullen, P Duffin, J McCormick (1-00;) C O’Kane, F Duffin (0-01;) C McCann (0-02,) A McErlain, K McCann; S Madden (0-02,) T Cassidy (1-02,) S McIntosh
T McCormack (2-00)
Naomh Mhuire Aghagallon
G Baine; C Magill, S Devlin, L Russell; J Hannon, P Gowdy (0-01,) C Maginnis; P Maginnis, J Hannon (0-08;) J Nelson, E McCartan, H Hannon; C Mulholland (1-01,) M McStravick, R McShane (0-02)