U17 Div 2 Champ Final 2020 – Cavan Gaels: 1-7(10), Killygarry 1-8(11).
Didn’t we just Lovett!!! Everyone in Kingspan Breifni and those watching the streaming on YouTube had to admit that this was a thrilling final with each team giving everything for the cause for their clubs. It was a crisp dry autumn evening but with a strong wind which favoured the Gaels in the first half. The spectators couldn’t feel the wind in the stand but it was deceptively strong on the field. Cavan Gaels took full advantage of it in the first quarter. They scored four points without reply and our lads were finding it hard to settle into any kind of rhythm. We had a number of failed attempts into the wind until Darragh Lovett decided to take a short free to Kevin Lovett who gave the return to Darragh and he slotted over an excellent point from outside the 21m line to get us off the mark.
The Gaels got two quick points after the water break to stretch their lead but Darragh Lovett converted a free after a foul on Mark McDermott following a powerful run from midfield. Then in the 24th minute Cavan Gaels threw down the gauntlet to our lads when they managed to break through for a goal to give them a seven-point lead. This seemed to inspire our lads instead of deflating them. They were showing more grit and determination all over the field. Darragh Lovett converted a difficult free after he was fouled himself. A Kevin Lovett point attempt was short and Richard Ayodele made a great effort to punch the dropping ball to the net but it was saved. Our lads were winning the one-on-ones and unsettling the Gaels rhythm. As the game entered first half injury time, they got their just reward. Darragh Lovett was bundled over in the penalty area following a mix-up in the Gaels defence. Kevin Lovett powered the spot-kick past the keeper. As the halftime whistle blew, we had reduced the Gaels’ lead from seven to three. This must have given great encouragement to our lads, knowing that they would have the advantage of the strong wind in the second half. The halftime score was Cavan Gaels: 1-06(9), Killygarry 1-03(6).
Our lads knew that they’d weathered the storm in the first half and that it was up to them to push on and take advantage of the strong wind in the second half. Five minutes in, Darragh Lovett scored a great point from well outside the 21m line. This was followed quickly by a point from Kevin Lovett who was venturing into the opposition half much more frequently and causing them much more problems in the second half. The next ten minutes was like a game of chess with both sides trying to outmuscle their opposite numbers but it was our lads who kept their discipline and they got their just rewards when a move started with excellent fielding on the Killygarry endline by Mickey McCabe. He passed to Adam Butt who passed it on to Kevin Lovett. Lovett soloed up the wing at pace and fed the ball to Darragh Lovett who stroked it over the bar for the equaliser. At the other end, Oscar Brady had to be on his toes when he plucked a Gaels effort from just under the crossbar.
Then the Gaels scored their only point of the second half to pull a point ahead with the game entering the last ten minutes. But our lads weren’t to be denied. From the kickout, a patient build-up involving Mickey McCabe and Neil Reilly led to a fine Kevin Lovett point to equalise again. As the game went into injury time, our lads were putting in good tackles and turning over possession. From one of the turnovers, Mark McDermott got possession in midfield following an interception and found Darragh Lovett with a long pass. Lovett sent a few defenders the wrong way before slotting over the winning point. The defenders did their job well in the closing minutes even though the Gaels had one last long-range free which went well-wide.
There were wild celebrations among the Killygarry squad as the final whistle was blown. It had been a fantastic game for which both teams deserve enormous credit. Our defenders’ ability to limit the Gaels to one score in the second half was proof of their skill and true grit. Adam Butt and Gabriel Cosgrave were outstanding and Gerry Murphy was an able lieutenant. Mickey McCabe also did a great job bolstering up the defence. Oscar Brady’s distribution between the posts was flawless. Mark McDermott, Richard Ayodele and Cillian Moran battled throughout the hour in the middle of the field. Shane McCabe played his part too. Cian Keaney and Nik Serga were at the centre of everything up front along with Darragh Lovett who is a scoring machine. Kevin Lovett put in a great shift to deservedly earn his Player of the Match award. The subs played their part too when they were drafted in to replace tired legs.
Congratulations to all the players and management on a fantastic achievement – county champions 2020!
Killygarry squad: Oscar Brady, Adam Butt, Gabriel Cosgrave, Richard Ayodele, Kevin Lovett (1-02, 1pen), Gerry Murphy, Mark McDermott, Cillian Moran, Nik Serga, Shane McCabe, Cian Keaney, Darragh Lovett (1-06, 2f), Mickey McCabe, Neil Reilly, Jamie McDonald, Dylan Glynn, Callum Kelly (Crubany), Callum Kelly (Shankill), Darragh Carty, Dean McNamara, Sean Beirne.