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South Board Division 2 Final; Cúchulainn Gaels 3:08, Milltown 1:07

posted 5 Oct 2011, 13:31 by Unknown user   [ updated 7 Oct 2011, 09:55 ]
 Cúchulainn Gaels made it two-in-a-row with a fantastic victory over Milltown in the Under 13 League Final at a wet and windy Ballykelly on Wednesday evening 5th October.  Having beaten Castledermot in the same fixture last year, many of the Gaels players were chasing a second medal at this grade.

Cúchulainn Gaels started well and had three points on the board inside the opening ten minutes as Milltown seemed to be finding it impossible to get the ball out of their own half.  Corner forward JB Murphy was the Gaels main threat during this period and his speedy footwork and accurate kicking was causing the Milltown defence all sorts of problems.

Mid way through the half Milltown settled and their half forward line moved back to help their midfielders win possession.  Two well pointed frees in the tricky conditions left the minimum between the sides.  The game could then have taken a different path as Milltown were denied a goal when Daniel Cawley saved brilliantly low to his left.  From the clearance, Callum Sourke moved the ball quickly to Cormac O’Mahony who sent a long ball into the square where his brother Fergal was hauled to the ground for a penalty. Cormac stepped up and slotted the ball to the net and the lead was increased to four.

Some ‘rash’ defending allowed Milltown in for two more pointed frees before Robert Hanley increased the Gaels lead to three with a free of his own.  On the stroke of half time Milltown were dealt a blow when a well worked move ended with Cormac O’Mahony rattling the net for the second time to put the Gaels 2.4 to 0.4 ahead as the half time whistle sounded.
The first ten minutes of the second half was when this game was really won and lost. 
 It was intense end to end stuff as both teams slogged it out in the driving rain.  Luke Barry, Josh Clinton and Stephen Keogh were outstanding in the Gaels defence in this period and thwarted many Milltown attacks.  Having weathered the storm, in more ways than one, the Gaels resumed control of the game with points from Cormac O’Mahony and Evan Foley. Milltown pointed to reduce the gap to seven before the Gaels got the clinching score. 

Ryan Moran chased down a ball that most forwards would have let run wide.  Having gained possession, he rounded two defenders and crossed perfectly for the in-running Robert Hanley who punched to the net to put his team 3.6 to 0.5 ahead.  The lead was stretched further when Cormac O’Mahony pointed following a foul on the hard working Robert McGrath and Ryan Moran shot over the Gaels final score shortly afterwards.
The story didn’t end there as Milltown showed true character in the final minutes as they played for pride.  They were awarded a penalty late in the game which hit the crossbar before going over for a point and then had the ball in the net after a free was deflected past Daniel Cawley in the Gaels goal.  Referee David Cody then sounded the whistle that we had all been waiting for and joint captains Jordan Kaye and Evan Halford collected the cup on behalf of Cúchulainn Gaels for the second year in succession.
Both teams deserve great credit for providing a very entertaining game of football in difficult conditions.  Despite the scoreline, the game could have gone either way, especially in the early stages of the second half when Milltown threw everything they had at us.  Had Milltown managed a goal at that stage it could have been a different result but the Gaels defence showed tremendous heart and determination.

Finally, well done to all members of the panel, as well as mentors Tom Moran, Ger Donoher and Tomas O’Mahony, as we have gone through the competition unbeaten and finished with some silverware.  We look forward to next year when we hope to make it three-in-a row!