On Saturday 19th August, at the National Sports Campus, Dublin, the St Patrick’s Area Cavan team achieved silver in the U10 Community Games Gaelic Football competition. Played in perfect conditions, although a crossfield wind did cause difficulty for some of the players, they took on Munster Champions, Monaleen from Limerick, in the first semi-final at 10.30. St Patricks dominated the first 10 minutes and attacked from the throw-in. Odhrán Lee won a penalty in the first attack. Unfortunately, Odhrán placed his kick narrowly wide. He would make up for this miss when he scored 1-01 in the opening 10 minutes. Charlie Fallon added a point to make the score 1-02 to 0-00 in favour of St Patricks at the first break.
Despite controlling the game with lots of possession, St Pats did not score in the second quarter. Wayward shooting and taking the wrong options at times cost them points. The young players were struggling to get to grips with the strong crossfield wind which made kick-passing very difficult. Defensively St Pats were very strong with Finn Crowe, Daragh Gilsenan and Samuel Clarke excelling in this area. Monaleen got off the mark with a pointed free coming up to half time – St Pats 1-02, Monaleen 0-01
St Pats settled themselves in the third quarter and scored 2 goals early on. Again it was Odhrán Lee and Charlie Fallon who did the damage, Odhrán with a brave fisted effort and Charlie with a great finish to the net. At this stage St Pats were in total control and looked to be heading to a comfortable win. Divine Imade was winning good possession for St Pats, but Monaleen to their credit had other ideas. They scored a point from play and coming up to the end of the third quarter they scored two goals in the space of a minute to put the game right back in the melting pot. Having dominated possession in the first three quarters St Pats now found themselves going into the last quarter with a slender lead of three points with a scoreline of 3-02 to 2-02.
To their credit St Pats saved their best football for the last 10 mins. Conor Doyle, Paddy Brides and Faolan Graham started to have a major influence on the game. Odhrán Lee found the net again and popped over a point early on to give St Pats a bit of breathing space. Conor Doyle scored an excellent point from distance but Monaleen were not finished yet and pulled back a goal and pushed hard for another to get back into game. The St Pats backline held out with good tackling from Dara McDonald and Samuel Clarke. Goalkeeper Thomas Gilsenan pulled off a brave save to deny Monaleen a certain goal. In the final quarter Conor Doyle broke the Monaleen hearts with a great finish to the net to put the game out of reach. At the final whistle St Patricks were through to the final on a score line of 5-04 to 3-02 where they would take on the Connaught champions Carrick Area from Leitrim.
The final was a very evenly contested affair between two very committed and talented teams. Defences had the upper hand in the opening 10 mins with the sides only scoring a point a piece. Paddy Brides scored St Pats first effort. In the second quarter Carrick started to get on top and their ability to take points put them into a commanding position 0-06 to 0-01. Cian McConnell and Caolán Maguire were working hard up front for St Pats and their efforts were rewarded when Paddy Brides and Charlie Fallon both found the net to give the Cavan side a narrow half time lead of 2-01 to 0-06. The third quarter was full of action. Carrick found the net and a minute later were awarded a penalty. Thomas Gilsenan saved it but the Carrick players were quickest to react to the rebound and blasted to the net. St Pats fought back with Lashawn Lombard and Jamie Lovett working really hard. Despite having good possession St Pats could not add to their point tally. Charlie Fallon brought St Pats right back into the game with another goal direct from a free kick. At the start of the fourth quarter Carrick had a slender lead of 3-02 to 2-06.
The final 10 minutes was a very tense affair with both sides trying to win it. Carrick increased their lead with a point from play. Charlie Fallon continued his rich vein of form with another goal to give the Cavan side a slender one-point lead. With players from both sides tiring it was an epic struggle. St Pats were dealt a double blow when Paddy Brides and influential captain Lashawn Lombard had to go off injured. Carrick kept probing looking for an equaliser but the St Pats defence was holding out but then in the final minute a Carrick player goes down while being tackled and the referee gives a penalty. Peter Moran sends an unstoppable shot to the net to give them a two-point lead and break the Cavan players’ hearts. On the kickout the referee blows the final whistle, the Carrick supporters, parents and mentors invade the field to start joyful celebrations while the St Pats players fell to the ground crestfallen with disappointment.
After such gallant effort by all 15 players involved it was a cruel way for the St Pats players to lose but they composed themselves to congratulate the Carrick players and their smiles were back again for the medal presentation where they received their silver medals.
The panel of 16 players have had a great run of games and have improved as players. They will no doubt continue to improve and they all have a bright future with their clubs.
Panel: Paddy Brides (KILLYGARRY), Samuel Clarke (CAVAN GAELS), Finn Crowe (CAVAN GAELS), Conor Doyle (CAVAN GAELS), Charlie Fallon (KILLYGARRY), Darragh Gilsenan (KILLYGARRY), Thomas Gilsenan (KILLYGARRY), Faolan Graham (BUTLERSBRIDGE), Divine Imade (BUTLERSBRIDGE), Ordhan Lee (BUTLERSBRIDGE), Lashawn Lombard (BUTLERSBRIDGE), Jamie Lovett (KILLYGARRY), Caolan Maguire (BUTLERSBRIDGE), Cian McConnell (BUTLERSBRIDGE), Darragh McDonald (CAVAN GAELS). Killian Reilly (KILLYGARRY) unfortunately was not available for the semi-final or final.