Despite the difficulties of staging competitions since the inception of All County competitions at Juvenile level the South West committee have continued to run their various competitions to the highest standards and on Sunday in Ahoghill we were treated to a Festival of excellent finals.
This time it was the turn of the U13 footballers to take the spotlight with the finals of the Plate, Shield and Cup competitions and the participating teams didn’t disappoint as we were treated to some great individual and team performances from all six teams taking part.
South West U13 Cup Final
Dunloy 2-8 St. Enda’s2-6
Like the marriage feast of Cana, the South West committee kept the best wine to the last with Cuhullians Dunloy and St. Enda’s Glengormley serving up a real cracker of a final that had the good crowd assembled on the edge of their seats until the end.
The early stages suggested that the Hightown side might have too much in their armoury for their opponents when they went ahead from the penalty spot through Caodhan Quinn after four minutes.
Dunloy replied almost immediately when Oisin O’Brien pointed at the other end and might have had a goal but it was St. Enda’s who continued to call the shots during the opening exchanges.
Caodhan Quinn was displaying electric pace and skills as he set up mid-fielder Oisin McKenna who fired over to restore his side’s three point advantage and at this stage the Glengormley youngsters were looking the better side.
Slowly though Dunloy began to settle as Padi O’Kane converted a couple of frees but Sean Cunningham replied for St. Enda’s to restore their three point lead with three minutes to go to half time.
Those final three minutes would go some way to defining the eventual outcome of the game when a Dunloy team growing in confidence struck for a goal of their own through Oisin O’Brien and another pointed free from Padi O’Kane had the young Cuchullian’s one ahead at the break.
O’Brien increased that lead to two with a point on the restart with Oisin McKenna replying with a point for St. Enda’s but Ronan Elliott put Dunloy in a strong position when he finished to the net in the 5th minute to put his side four ahead.
Caodhan Quinn replied with a point for the Hightown side to leave just a goal in it once more but Dunloy were starting to get on top and Oisin O’Brien, Lorcan Martin and O’Brien again hit three points on the bounce to move the young Cuchullian’s six ahead by the 14th minute.
They looked home and dry at this stage but an excellent St. Enda’s side were in no mood to throw in the towel and Sean Cunningham replied with a point and as they pressed hard, Sean Ryan palmed the ball to the net after an Oisin McKenna free broke favourably into his path.
It came too little to affect the result and Dunloy held on in the moments that remained to the final whistle to collect the title and add it to Saturday’s U13 hurling success with the majority on duty involved in both sides,
After the game South West Chairman, Stephen Graham, who with members of his committee, was there throughout the day to ensure matters ran smoothly, presented the Cup to Dunloy’s joint captains, Noah Bradley and Cillian Cunning.