MATCH PHOTOGRAPHS NOW ADDED
U21 Club Championship: Ballydonoghue 3-12; Austin Stacks 5-19.
This first round game of the County Club Championship, played in ideal conditions at Coolard on this Wednesday evening (20th Aug), had everything. We led by 13 points at half time (3-8 to 0-4). Five minutes into second half we had increased that lead to 16 points (3-12 to 0-5). Sometimes in a situation like that a team with that lead will drop its guard, and that is what happened. In an 18m period (35th to 53rd minute) Ballydonoghue had outscored us by 3-6 to 0-4, thus reducing our lead to just 5 points (3-16 to 3-11). But what will have pleased Team Mentors, Tim McMahon, Colm Mangan and John O’Sullivan is the manners in which our boys responded to this potential crisis – as in the closing eight minutes of the game we upped our performance again – scoring a further 2-3 to 0-1.
We started in brilliant fashion with Darragh O’Brien scoring what must be the quickest hat-trick of goals in Gaelic Football, and all three consecutively. The first came from the throw-in which Michael O’Donnell (just a day back from the USA) won. He found Greg Horan and his perfect pass was gathered by Darragh who netted after just 12 seconds. The second came two minutes later when a brilliant run by Ciarán O’Connell was put away by Darragh. Colm Mangan timed Darragh’s 3rd goal (made on this occasion by Colin Griffin) at 7m 33 seconds and this surely must create a GAA record (Robbie Fowler did score a hat-trick for Liverpool against Arsenal in December 1995 in 4m and 33 seconds – but that is all they do in soccor – score goals). By the 20th minute it looked as if Darragh was the only forward on the pitch as, by that stage, he had added a further 3 points to leave us ahead by 3-3 to 0-2. But then others got in on the act and by half time Ciarán Flanagan, Michael O’Donnell, Greg Horan and Eamon McAllen (2) had added to Darragh’s tally to leave the half time score 3-8 to 0-4.
Then we had that bizarre second half described above. Ciaran O’Connell and Seán Dukes added to our goal tally in the closing minutes to restore our 13 points half time lead when referee Jim O’Connor blew the final whistle. Darragh O’Brien finished the game with 3-9, an incredible score – with 3-8 of this coming from play and his 9th point from a brilliantly converted 45. In fact 5-18 of our total score came from play. So now we are into a quarter final at least, and with seven teams in the quarter final, one will obviously get a bye to the semi final, but that’s for another day.
Team: Patrick Fitzgibbon, Paul Galvin, Barry Walsh, Colin Griffin, Tom McLoughlin, Conor Jordan, Ciarán O’Connell (1-0), Michael O’Donnell (0-2), Alan Duggan, Ciarán Flanagan (0-1), Greg Horan (0-1), Breandán Caball (0-2), Kyle Fitzgibbon, Darragh O’Brien (3-9 – one 45), Eamon McAllen (0-2).
Subs used: Seán Dukes (ht) (1-2), David O’Sullivan (35m), Dylan Harnett (40m), Seán Fitzmaurice (40m).
Referee, Jim O’Connor (Scartaglin) with captains, Damien O’Carroll (Ballydonoghue) and Darragh O’Brien (Austin Stacks.)
Austin Stacks U21 team.
Colin Griffin was well in control of proceedings in the no. 4 jersey.
Breandan Caball in attack with support from Colin Griffin.
Rockie supporters at Coolard.
Greg Horan had a great game.
Pa Fitzgibbon’s goalkeeping skills were tested in the second half by Ballydonoghue, as they whittled the Stacks lead to 5 points at one stage in the second half.
Stack’s Minor, Sean Dukes, followed up his good game with the Juniors in Rathmore last Friday evening with another good performance in attack for The Rock.
Our trusty scribes, Martin and Brian.
(all photographs by Adrienne Mc Loughlin).