U15 Div 1 Championship Final – Gowna 2-08(14), Killygarry 2-12(18)
The double of league and championship titles was the ultimate challenge for our lads against a quality team like Gowna who they already had defeated in the league decider last May. But they were up to the challenge and although they were pushed to the limit again this time, they deserved their victory – County Division 1 Champions 2019!
Gowna opened the scoring with a point from play in the first minute. Our lads looked a little nervous and took a few minutes to feel their way into the game. It was end-to-end stuff. We were creating scoring opportunities but the Gowna defence stood solid. Then in the eighth minute Darragh Lovett darted in from the wing. His shot seemed to have been saved but he got a boot to the loose ball and opened our scoring with a goal. Gowna bounced back with two points to level matters within a few minutes but our forwards were starting to find their shooting boots. They kept Gowna scoreless for the next fifteen minutes with some inspirational defending. During that period they scored six points – a brace each from Shane McCabe, Darragh Lovett and Cian Keaney. One of the features of these scores was that many of them were fine long-range points. Gowna’s staunch defending contributed to the long-range shooting but our lads were fit for it. The lead was six points but Gowna weren’t finished yet. They narrowed the gap with a point and then in the last minute of the half they nipped in from the wing for a well-taken goal. The gap was down to two points but Cian Keaney provided the perfect response with a point just before the half-time whistle to leave the score Gowna 1-04(7), Killygarry 1-07(10) at the break.
Gowna put the pressure on our lads in the third quarter. They kept us scoreless and tagged on three points as the game entered the final quarter. The match was level again but Cian Keaney opened our second half account with a point to get us going again. Then came that little bit of magic we were looking for. Darragh Lovett turned his man near the sideline and couldn’t be caught as he rushed towards goal and rifled the ball past the keeper. It was the inspiration that our lads needed. Almost immediately, Kevin Lovett caught a ball inside his own ’45, sprinted the length of the field and fired over another inspirational point. The lead was five points but Gowna put the pressure on again. A shot was pushed out for a ’45 and another was disallowed for a square ball. This was followed by a Darragh Lovett point to stretch the lead to six. Gowna weren’t beaten yet. As the game entered the last five minutes, they added a point and a goal to narrow the gap to two. They kept pressing but gallant defending and midfield play kept them at bay. Cillian Moran showed great fielding on two occasions in the dying minutes to catch vital balls and set up attacks. Darragh Lovett added a point to put three between the sides. Gowna fought back and were denied by a brilliant point-blank save on the goal-line by Oscar Brady but Cian Keaney put over the insurance point with almost the last kick of the game. His five points from play earned him the Man of the Match award which he richly deserved.
It was a tough encounter but that will have made the victory even sweeter. The attackers get a lot of the plaudits for their scores but this was as much a defenders’ victory as an attackers’ one. Oscar Brady was solid and reliable between the posts. Gabriel Cosgrove and Kevin Lovett were a tower of strength in the heart of the defence. Sheridan, Glynn, McDonald and Murphy covered the wing positions well. In attack, Nik Serga, Neil Reilly, Dean McNamara and Sean Beirne set up attack after attack and defended when they were needed. The two Carty brothers, Darragh and Ciaran, also contributed well when they came on as substitutes. Massive congratulations to all the players and the management team of Frank Lovett, Austin Reilly and Neil Brady.
Killygarry Squad: Oscar Brady, Ciaran Sheridan, Gabriel Cosgrove, Dylan Glynn, Gerry Murphy, Kevin Lovett (0-01), Jamie McDonald, Shane McCabe (0-02), Cillian Moran, Cian Keaney (0-05), Nik Serga, Neil Reilly, Dean McNamara, Darragh Lovett (2-04, 1f), Sean Beirne, Darragh Carty, Ciaran Carty, Callum Kelly, Conor Gilsenan, Cormac Breslin, Jude McManus, Kevin White, Neili Tuipuluto.