U15 Div 1 League Final – Gowna 1-11(14), Killygarry 3-08(17)
The pundits predicted that this would be a tight contest and so it was. The game was played in Drumlane’s excellent pitch and facilities in Milltown last Sunday evening. It was a windy evening which proved to be another challenge that both sets of players had to contend with. Killygarry were slow to get started. Gowna had the wind at their backs and their midfield was dominant. Their star player Madden got four of their six points within ten minutes to give them a five-point lead which they deserved. In fact, the margin could have been bigger if they hadn’t had so many wides. Killygarry’s only response in that opening ten minutes was a pointed Darragh Lovett free. Gowna popped over another two points and along with a Darragh Lovett point from play the margin was up to six points. Killygarry needed a boost and Darragh Lovett provided it in the 23rd minute when Cillian Moran found him with a glorious long ball into the forward line. Darragh shook off his marker and planted the ball in the roof of the net. It was all Killygarry from then to the end of the half. Darragh converted a free almost immediately after the goal. He converted another free after he was fouled himself as half time aaproached. Killygarry had kept Gowna scoreless for the last ten minutes of the half to leave the score at the break Gowna 0-08(8), Killygarry 1-04(7). Killygarry would have been the happier of the two sides with that scoreline as they would have the benefit of the wind in the second half.
Conditions got a bit trickier at the start of the second half when some rain made the ball and ground a bit slippier and the wind died down. Killygarry were dominating the play in the early stages of the half during which Cian Keaney was unlucky to see a goal effort saved. Kevin Lovett also saw his shot cannon off an upright. Cian Keaney settled the nerves with a point from a free to level the scores and then Sean Beirne showed a shimmy and a clean pair of heels to slot in a fine goal to give us the lead for the first time in the game. Cian Keaney added another point to extend the lead to four points. Gowna pulled a point back but Darragh Lovett cancelled it out with a pointed free. Gowna were still dangerous and midway through the half Oscar Brady had to be sharp to pull off a great save to keep them at bay. Killygarry were using their substitutions wisely and keeping better control of the game than their rivals. With ten minutes to go Darragh Lovett retrieved the ball in midfield. He headed straight for the square, dancing through numerous tackles before planting the ball in the back of the net for a brilliant goal. The lead was now seven points but Gowna weren’t finished yet. They converted a penalty and added two points to narrow the margin to two. But our defence stood strong and in the dying minutes Darragh Lovett’s free fell short and Cillian Moran was on hand to pick off the insurance point before the final whistle.
Congratulations must go to all the players and management on this great Division 1 League title win. It took skill, courage and determination to achieve it. It was a squad effort. Defenders don’t often get mentioned but Gabriel Cosgrave was outstanding when the pressure came on in the latter stages of the game. All the substitutes played their part too, particularly Darragh Carty who fought like a tiger up and down the line to win vital ball. Any player who didn’t get a mention here should also hold their heads up on a fantastic win
Killygarry Squad: Oscar Brady, Ciaran Sheridan, Gabriel Cosgrave, Dylan Glynn, Darragh Carty, Kevin Lovett, Jamie McDonald, Shane McCabe, Cillian Moran (0-01), Cian Keaney (0-02, 1f), Nik Serga, Neil Reilly, Dean McNamara, Darragh Lovett (2-05), Ciaran Carty, Callum Kelly, Conor Gilsenan, Cormac Breslin, Gerry Murphy, Jude McManus, Kevin White, Neili Tuipuluto, Sean Beirne (1-00).