Piercestown show their class in nine goal thriller
Piercestown 5-7 Ballygarrett 4-1
Piercestown powered to a well-deserved Allianz Cumann na mBunscol MiniSevens county title on Wednesday last after a strong display against a valiant Ballygarrett side in Bellefield.
The game began with some great football from both sides and scores proved hard to come by. It was Piercestown who went into the lead in the first five minutes when Ella O Connor pointed and Amy O Leary finished into the goal after some good team play. This lead was extended further in the seventh minute when Ella O Connor clipped over another point after a good pass from Ciara O Connor. Ballygarrett were finding it hard to create scoring chances at the stage of the game largely due to brilliant Piercestown defending by Anna Hennessy and captain Niamh Dunne.
The hard working Ballygarrett team were not intimidated by this good start however and they grabbed a goal of their own in the eighth minute through Ciara Doyle.
Piercestown quickly responded with two killer goals from Amy O Leary and Clodagh Walsh, the two girls combining together twice and taking turns each time to provide the pass and score the goal. Ballygarrett briefly rallied when Sherene Hamilton latched on to a long through ball and buried it into the back of the net only for Amy O Leary to snatch another goal just before halftime, bringing the scores to 4-2 to 2-0.
The second half kicked off with the ever more influential Ella O Connor kicking over her third and fourth points of the game. After a long period of pressure, Sherene Hamilton got her second goal of the match when she palmed in a rebounded goal in the 14th minute to keep Ballygarrett in contention.
Piercestown were not to be denied however and when Clodagh Walsh got another goal the lead was extended to 5-4 to 3-0. Moments later Ballygarretts chances were hampered further when impressive goalkeeper Chloe Morris was forced off through injury as a result of a brave save.
Piercestown’s Ciara O Connor finished the game strongly with two scores, one of which was a skilful sideline kick from an acute angle and similarly Ballygarrett’s Ciara Doyle played to the final whistle and scored a long range point and a well taken goal. At this stage however the lead was too great and the time too short for Ballygarrett to fully recover and so it was with great delight that Niamh Dunne proudly accepted the cup on behalf of the talented Piercestown team from Rackard League Co. Chairman Jim Dempsey.
Piercestown: Ciara Harrington, Anna Hennessy, Niamh Dunne, Ciara O’Connor, Ella O’Connor, Amy O’Leary, Clodagh Walsh, Fiona Esmonde, Camille McGrath, Clare Barrett, Sarah Hobbert, Gemma Ryan
Ballygarrett: Chloe Morris, Taina Kavanagh-Cardiff, Josephine Gahan, Ciara Doyle, Sherene Hamilton, Amy Lawless, Avile Wafer. Rebecca Byrne, Eve O Loughlin, Ellen O Loughlin
Ballythomas claim their first title
Ballythomas 4-9 Murrintown 2-4
Specators got full value for money in Bellefield on Wednesday last when Ballythomas and Murrintown contested an excellent final for the Allianz Cumann na mBunscol MiniSevens football title. It was a credit to the skill levels of both teams that so many scoring chances were created in the short twenty minutes and it was this and the sheer determination and commitment of the players that provided much excitement for those in attendance.
The game began with a few nervous mistakes on both sides but when the players relaxed the game took on a frantic pace that was end to end. Murrintown were first off the mark with a Darragh O Sullivan-Connell 45 but were lucky to survive an early goal scare when Paraic Hughes rattled the crossbar. Conor Hughes did well to collect the rebound and slot over a point from an acute angle. Darragh O Sullivan-Connell then scored his second before Paraic Hughes and Conor Hughes put Ballythomas into a slender lead with two well taken points. Ballythomas were glad to get any score at this stage as Zac Firman and Ben Morris were very solid in defence for Murrintown.
Murrintown came agonisingly close to scoring the first goal of the match when Ruari Whelan’s shot edged just wide of the post and that miss really did hurt when Paraic Hughes drove up the field and got a goal to extend his team’s lead further. Before the half was done however, the dangerous Darragh O Sullivan-Connell responded with another great score from out the field to bring the halftime scores to 1-3 to 0-3.
The second half provided more drama from the off. Darragh O Sullivan-Connell scored his fourth point of the match and then Conor Hughes pointed a free for Ballythomas. Murrintown came close again when they put the Ballythomas keeper under pressure and forced Tom Mordaunt to clear a loose ball off his own line. Murrintown were to rue these near misses as the next two plays turned what was a very close game on its head.
The first was an intelligent quick free by Paddy D’Arcy that went over the top of the Murrintown defence for Conor Hughes to race on to and finish to the back of the net. This was almost immediately followed by a high lobbing ball across the goal by Jason Bolger that Paddy D’Arcy somehow got a hand onto for another devastating goal. Conor Hughes coverted a free and a 45 to put the scores at 3-6 to 0-4 and the game seemed to be slipping past Murrintown.
Murrintown goalkeeper Oisín Waters rose to the occasion and made two inspiring saves at this stage of the game and there looked to be a comeback on the cards when Ben Morris got the goal that Murrintown deserved. The two Hughes were not finished however and a Conor Hughes free and goal followed by another Paraic Hughes point saw Ballythomas regain their strong lead.
Sam Audsley muscled past the Ballythomas defence to get a late consolation goal but the damage had already been done and it was Paraic Hughes who finished proceedings with a well taken long range point just before the final whistle. It was with great delight that he then stepped up as captain to accept the cup from Rackard League Co.Chairman Jim Dempsey and bring it back to Ballythomas for the first time.
Ballythomas: JJ Kinsella O Neill, Ciarán Bolger, Tom Mordaunt, Paraic Hughes, Jason Bolger, Paddy D’Arcy, Conor Hughes, Conor Kinsella, Tadhg O Neill, Jason Byrne
Murrintown: Oisín Waters, Zac Firman, Ben Morris, Conor Kelly, Sam Audley, Darragh O Sullivan Connell, Ruari Whelan, Tiernan Dempsey, Eoin Whelan, Tony Roe, Brandon Dodd, Conor Doyle, Conor Brennan, Jamie Berry, Richie Stafford