Unlike the last few U12 games, this latest game against city side Knocknacarra was no blowout or one-sided affair. Both teams, evenly matched, produced a most competitive and entertaining tie played in great spirit as both sides were unbeaten before they faced each other in Colemanstown this morning. The ability to perform well when it matters most is the most valuable attribute in sports and Jayo Finn had that perfectly instilled in the lads and girls and it was evident from the word go today. It was a bit like a good movie – the game was riveting enough to send the fans in the stand into an emotional rollercoaster from deep sorrow at the end of the first half, as Colemanstown trailed 2-0 to absolute bliss at the end of the 2nd, turning the game around with a late winner to win 3-2.
The game was end to end with some superb drives on goal, some of the finest goalkeeping by both keepers, great corners, superb headers as the visitors played with the wind at their backs in the first half. It wasn’t until the 13th minute that the crowd were completely silenced as Knocknacarra were awarded a penalty. Up stepped their striker who blasted off the butt of the post as the rebound was hacked away from danger by Dylan Murphy as it hit off the crossbar on its way. Knocknacarra broke the deadlock on 20mins assisted with the breeze as they latched on to a long clearance and their striker squared across to a better positioned player who beat the outstretched Fionn Flattery. Further misery was inflicted on the Colemanstown youngsters 3mins later as Knocknacarra struck No. 2 as their initial effort was well stopped by Fionn Flattery but the rebound was smacked into an empty net as Flattery was stranded on the ground. They could have got a third moments later only for the outstretched feet of Flattery who was playing out of his skin. Stockdale you beauty as I write this!! Two eyes on the tv! Half time: 2-0 to Knocknacarra.
Within the first minute of the restart Colemanstown’s first half work rate and work ethic was rewarded as Jonah Donnellan just squeezed the ball past the keeper in a great move involving David Walsh, Killy Hughes and Cian Burke. Fionn Flattery made another great save while in the ensuing play Jonah Donnellan controlled the ball perfectly dead with his right boot and as he attempted to shoot with his left, he got drowned out and the momentary goal chance was exhausted. 9mins into the 2nd half Patrick Flynn pounced for the equaliser as he got on the end of David Walsh’s left footed corner and his execution was exquisitely finished to claim his third goal in as many games. Stalemate in Colemanstown as chances came thick and fast for both teams as the tempo of the game increased. Jonah Donnellan’s run through the centre resulted in him blasting wide while Cathal Kennedy’s effort was not too far off target. Twice, David Walsh had to whip a certain goal off his goal line and as play continued he had a great drive towards goal which was marginally wide. Jonah Donnellan then had a low drilled effort turned around the post with Walsh and Cian Burke involved in the move. Would either side score a winner with emotions and tension running high as Jayo Finn & Gary Lally of the management team were spotted making their way to the dressing room to tog out for the ‘A’ team’s league encounter with Corrib Rangers leaving Edo Flannery a lone figure on the sideline. With 6 mins left Knocknacarra had another certain goal swept off the goal line followed by a long range free kick palmed away by Fionn Flattery. Jonah Donnellan skipped by 2 defenders and with a gilt edged chance blasted wide. Was that the last hooray. No… there was to be late drama. David Walsh sent in a smashing delivery from the far side of the field only for the smallest man on the pitch, Killian Hughes, but one with the biggest hearts to rise and head a cracker to the net to a rapturous applause. However, his joy was short lived as the ref adjudged him to be offside. The goal was so perfect it really should have been awarded – offside or not. It looked like this was Colemanstown’s last chance as the seconds were dying down on the clock. Then came the winner originated at the back by an almighty clearance from Diarmuid Ryan in defence which Donnellan ran on to, beat two defenders, maintained his composure and calmly slotted right of the keeper to rescue all 3 points and elevate Colemanstown to pole position on the table with 4 wins out of 4.
It was an overall team performance, one of their best to date with each player playing out of their skin in a most enjoyable match. The game was crisp and of great quality with both teams creative with some massively accurate passing. Fionn Flattery was mighty between the posts while Dylan Murphy, Diarmuid Ryan, David Walsh & Niamh Kennedy tenacious at the back. Cathal Kennedy got stuck in, in his CDM position. Killian Hughes, Cian Burke, Patrick Flynn & Shane Kenny were involved in every passage of play while up front Jonah Donnellan created plenty of opportunities. Well done lads and management on a great display.
Squad: Fionn Flattery, Dylan Murphy, Diarmuid Ryan, David Walsh, Cathal Kennedy, Killian Hughes, Cian Burke, Patrick Flynn, Jonah Donnellan, Niamh Kennedy, Shane Kenny, Cathal Hynes, Sean Connolly, Ella Carroll, Daniel Melia. Missing on the day: Ross Lally.