Minor Co. League Div 1: Dingle 2-10 (16) Austin Stacks 3-7 (16)
Our Minors came within a whisker of losing their season’s unbeaten record in Dingle on this Tuesday evening (18th April) but a brilliant long-ranged point by David Fitzmaurice in the 63rd minute saw this penultimate round of the Co. League end in a draw in dramatic fashion.
Played in perfect conditions no more than two points separated the sides at any stage during the first half, at the end of which we led by 1-4 to 1-2.
Gearóid Fitzgerald opened the scoring in the 3rd minute with the home side equalizing a minute later. A beautiful point, into the breeze, from a well-taken forty five by Ciarán O’Reilly put us back in the lead after seven minutes. Four minutes later Dingle were back in the lead when a dipping ball deceived Robbie (and very seldom has this happened) and dropped into the net, Two good points from Michael Slattery and a Harry O’Callaghan free leveled matters again after 16 minutes (0-4 to 1-1).
Only two more scores came in the second quarter – a 25th minute point for Dingle and two minutes later a perfect pass from Ciaran O’Reilly found Michael Slattery and his low shot found the net to give us that two points lead at half time.
Three Dingle points, and two for our boys, Donagh Mc Mahon & Donagh Mc Kivergan, left us just one ahead ten minutes into the second half. Then in the 43rd minute a second Michael Slattery goal put us four up. But a minute later a Dingle free somehow found its way to the net and they added two more points by the 53rd minute to inch ahead by one point again (2-7 to 2-6).
But if there is one thing we have learned from this year’s Minor Team it’s their never-say-die attitude. And this was displayed again two minutes later. Donagh McMahon won the kick-out. He quickly found Joseph O’Connor, who burst his way through the Dingle defence, and his perfect pass to Michael Slattery was placed beautifully by Michael into the corner of the net to clinch his hat-trick and give us a two point lead again .
However Dingle fought back in the closing minutes, putting over three unanswered points to give them a one point lead again as the clock ticked over the 60th minute. Then deep in added time the ice-cool David Fitzmaurice pointed from long range to level matters for the 5th and final time in the game.
Team: Robbie Murphy, Shane Kelliher, Dylan Casey, Tomás Sheehy, Odhran Liston, Ciarán O’Reilly (0-1 – forty five), Donagh McMahon (0-1), David Fitzmaurice (0-1), Shane Walsh (Capt), Conor Lowe, Michael Linnane, Donagh McKivergan (0-1), Gearóid Fitzgerald (0-1), Harry O’Callaghan (0-1 free), Michael Slattery (3-1).
Subs used: Joseph O’Connor (41m), Gearóid Sheehan (47m), James Quigley (47m), David Couchman (53m).
The final round of games are due to take place on this coming Friday (21st April) and we are due to travel to Farranfore to play Firies at 6.30pm. Irrespective of the outcome we have already booked our semi-final spot but Firies must win or at least draw (and hope that other results will go their way) to secure their semi final spot. So a keen contest is in the offing on this occasion.
MINOR HAT TRICKS: So far this has been a year of hat-tricks for our Minors. Earlier in the season both Harry O’Callaghan and Gearóid Fitzgerald have achieved this – both in Town League games – Harry against Ballymac on the 5th February and Gearóid against John Mitchels on the 15th March.
However, Michael Slattery’s hat-trick in Dingle on this Tuesday evening (18th April) was in the Co. League, and we have to go back to the millennium year of 2000 to find that last Co. League hat-trick. And it was scored by none other than Mikey Collins (still, to this present day, playing SF for the Club). Mikey scored that hat-trick in a Co. League semi final, played in Cromane (against Waterville-Dromid), on Sunday, 7th May 2000. And Michael Slattery was just 36 days old when Mikey achieved that feat.